|I am encouraged by Ed Hudgins' sense of proportion: although I have problems with civility myself, it seems beyond doubt that denuciations inhabit a different ground than do the discourses he bruits -- "civil and constructive."|
That said, I must point to today's News of the Bizarre.
. . . open letters, open hearts . . .
I just noted Lindsay Perigo's quote of Ed Hudgins' post at the outpost of reason known as SOLO. What is odd about the quote is that it didn't come directly from this place, but via an almost-on-vacation DMH, who apparently forked it up and passed it on to Lindsay, who responded with "Challenge to Ed Hudgins."
Now, I know not the detailed context in which Ed posted that, and I care not to find out. I would just like to say the following to him, directly and personally:
Ed, come over here and say these things to me directly and personally. If you do, I'll ask everyone else to stay off the thread and leave it to the two of us. Just you and I. Man to man. One on one. Respectfully, in good faith.
See Ed, there's even something we could agree on, right at the outset. I, too, regret my failings and see there's a situation here that is sad and tragic. I would disagree that "name-calling" is one of my failings, since my epithets convey an accurate polemical point. But "other failings"? Hell, I'm riddled with them. (Dishonesty is most emphatically not one of them though, and you could expect vigorous disagreement from me on that one.) But I'd want to focus most attention on the situation I regard as sad and tragic.
I regard it as sad and tragic that an organisation that started out with such promise looks set to go out with such an amoral whimper. Ed, the ARI needed to be taught a lesson back in 1990. It needed someone to give it the two-fingered salute and jolt it into realising that its snotty arrogance wouldn't go for ever unchallenged. David Kelley did that. IOS was the exact breath of fresh air so many yearned for. But Ed, it's long since lost its way, and lately, any semblance of a moral compass. On the pretext of eschewing an "obsession with denunciations" it has proved willing to tolerate well-nigh anything and anyone, to the evident disgust of your former colleague Bill Perry, over whose departure TOC cloaked such risible euphemisms.
Ed, there's something I agree totally with David Kelley about—when moral condemnation is called for, it should occasion sadness, not relish. There've been a number of things that have made me sad over the last year, but none comes close to the current situation re Chris. If you regard it as resulting from an obsession with denunciations, you couldn't be more wrong. I'm in a complete funk about it, if you must know. I couldn't have been more dismayed when I saw the evidence that made me realise a painful, public break was inevitable. But it's equally true, Ed, that we cannot build an Objectivist society if folk purporting to be at the vanguard blithely shrug and turn the other way when confronted with bad faith in its myriad forms, such as smearing, lying, back-stabbing, and obfuscating or otherwise diluting the very philosophy we claim to promote. In particular, TOC's hierarchy has refused to read, let alone debate, the evidence of these vices being exercised against Objectivism's founder, presented in PARC. Rather, you have remained militantly in thrall to the perpetrators thereof, again to the evident disgust of Mr. Perry.
And Ed, while TOC has been shedding morality, ARI has lifted its game. Ed, have you seen the bright young things from ARI posting on SOLO? They're hot, Ed, and they're the future. I don't see their equivalent at TOC. Endlessly recycling veteran Rand-diminishers just doesn't cut it, I'm afraid. ARI is out there with sizzling op-ed pieces, too, Ed, while TOC seemingly slumbers, awakening occasionally to recycle an old op-ed and bring its magazine up to date. In short, ARI are running rings around TOC, Ed. But still, I see their old habits dying hard, and an ongoing need for healthy competition. Healthy, I stress, not ailing, tepid, wheezy and dissolute.
SOLO, you may be sure, will remain independent. It will judge when appropriate, and be prepared to be judged. It will remain a beacon of Objectivism with KASS for the rationally exuberant! But Ed, I would love to see TOC get back its moral testicularity and become again a force to be reckoned with. There will never again be one monolithic organisation touting reason and freedom, and that's a good thing. Different groups will have different emphases and suit different temperaments. But let's all take care to ensure that it is reason and freedom that we're touting. Open debate amongst us all is one means by which we can do that, Ed—and it is in that spirit that I invite you here to engage in just such open debate. We're both busy men, Ed, but I'll make the time if you will. You found the time, after all, to post the above at your proxy site—you're most welcome to say the same things right here to the people at whom they're directed.