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Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 5:36pmSanction this postReply
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This news follows the cancellation of most of TOC's scholarly activities, including cancellation of the yearly Advanced Seminar. Hudgins, the new Executive Director, has previously made a name for himself as the consumate compromise-meister at Cato Institute.

TOC's decision to get out of head-to-head competition with ARI on scholarship is economically rational, but existentially disastrous for future scholarly development of Objectivism. ARI is very weak on the kind of critical study that is needed for Objectivism to keep pace with the ongoing need for new work on the frontiers of philosophy, especially epistemology and philosophy of science.

In the political think-tank market, I just don't see how TOC can do any useful work that is not already being done by Cato etc. I have no idea what Kelley could be thinking.



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Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 9:20pmSanction this postReply
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Adam: "TOC's decision to get out of head-to-head competition with ARI on scholarship is economically rational, but existentially disastrous for future scholarly development of Objectivism."

I read the announcement differently, Adam. I"m pleased that David will "focus now on writing, research, and working with students and other scholars." This is what he should be doing, granted his significant scholarly skills, and I'm glad he'll be leaving the job of executive director to someone else. This should greatly improve TOC's future scholarly development of Objectivism.

Barbara




Post 2

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 8:48pmSanction this postReply
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I think it is a HUGE mistake for TOC to move into the belly of the beast, the putrid heart of the American Imperium.  Within the Beltway is no place for an organization intending to promote a philosophy, at least not one for rational people.

CATO has lost all credibility with me.  Now I will have to wonder about the continuing viability of TOC.

Truly sad news in my eyes.




Post 3

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 9:59pmSanction this postReply
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With all do respect, I think there is probably no place better. DC is closest thing to being "in the center of it all" and TOC will know be closer to important decision-makers and enfluencers. In addition, I don't see how moving to DC "within the beltway" (is that a figure of speech or the name of inner DC?) would effect its goals of promoting its philosophy, especially with common media (newspapers, internet, etc.)



Post 4

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 12:19amSanction this postReply
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I too am delighted to learn that David will be focusing on what he's best at. And if there's a new regime in town, I hope it'll bring some KASS to TOC.

Linz



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Post 5

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 1:37amSanction this postReply
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I, also, think that Adam is looking at this the wrong way. If anything, this move will result in an increase in scholarship from the TOC, since its primary source of scholarship, David Kelley, will now be devoting himself fully to the task.

At the same time, they are now fully utilizing their only productive asset of late: Ed Hudgins. I see this as a perfectly rational compartmentalization. How do you maximize outreach, efficiency, exposure, and scholarship? For outreach and efficiency, you give the job of organization and management to the man who's best at it. For exposure, you move to a location in which your sheer presence would result in more of it. For scholarship, you allow your scholars to devote exclusive attention to it. This move adds to all four objectives.

The type of people who resent Cato for actually having an influence will naturally be repelled by this move, but the ultimate obstacle of Objectivism remains that of effectively talking to other people. In order to teach someone a new language, you need to learn theirs first.

Alec

(Edited by Alec Mouhibian on 12/16, 6:39pm)




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Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 6:54amSanction this postReply
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I think this is an unwise strategic move. TOC will become a small fish in a poluted lake.

I am in agreement with Adam on this one.

John



Post 7

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 8:48amSanction this postReply
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Alec says it well!

I commend Kelley for moving beyond the choir and engaging a larger audience. TOC complements CATO. The latter is primarily economic in focus while TOC is more philosophical and cultural.

Besides, what’s there to do in Poughkeepsie? Even with its proximity to NYC, that only gives you access to the Leftist Elite and Sciabarra can take care of them with one hand tied behind his back! Washington may be the "belly of the beast", but it does have Middle American representation.




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Post 8

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 9:40amSanction this postReply
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Reason Foundation greatly increased its focus and influence when it moved some 15 years ago from the sleepy Santa Barbara to the "belly of the beast" Los Angeles. Let's hope this is the fate of TOC.




Post 9

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 10:56amSanction this postReply
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Jason wrote: "Besides, what’s there to do in Poughkeepsie? Even with its proximity to NYC, that only gives you access to the Leftist Elite and Sciabarra can take care of them with one hand tied behind his back!"

Whaddaya mean? Sciabarra *is* the Leftist Elite!








Post 10

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 11:11amSanction this postReply
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Ha! Yes, Linz, but he’s our “leftist” elitist in his loving dialectical way.



Post 11

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 12:07pmSanction this postReply
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I consider this to be very good news, for the reasons, amongst others, that Alec stated.  One concern I have, however, is whether all the staff will be moving with them.  I suppose we'll learn the details of the move later, but perhaps Bill Perry can shed some light on this question.

Thanks,
Glenn




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Post 12

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 12:35pmSanction this postReply
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It's been some time since I've been employed by TOC, but as one with a unique "insider's" perspective, I couldn't be happier about the move.

I'm amused by the monastic sorts who believe that engaging one's adversaries on the existing battlefields of the Real World is an innately corrupting enterprise. Like those holier-than-thous who harbor a religious disdain for The Evil World, these Objectivist "Idealists" apparently believe we should instead fight our battles by computer, from the safety and sanctity of our armchairs, walled off from humanity in remote and inaccessible places. (If not Poughkeepsie, perhaps Antarctica...)

Sorry, folks. As one who has had a measure of success spreading Objectivist messages and values via major media, I have a weary contempt for those timid, nonconfrontational souls who prefer to think that mixing it up with people in the real world might sully one's purity. That seems more a confession of their own susceptibility to compromise...or perhaps their own fear of confrontation...than it is a valid critique of the TOC move to Washington.

Here are the brute facts of modern communication in the U. S.

There are three centers of cultural, political and media influence in America: Washington, New York and Los Angeles, in that order. (Boston is probably a very remote runner-up.) If you aren't in those locations -- preferably, Washington -- you will not forge associations with major publishers and editors; you cannot be on immediate call for fast-breaking talk show and interview opportunities; and you cannot network with likeminded denizens of think tanks and and advocacy groups. Moreover, how can you attract participation and coverage for news conferences, panel discussions, seminars, etc., if your audience and the media have to make distant, multi-day excursions just to attend?

Those who criticize TOC's move to Washington would have more credibility if any of them had demonstrated their own experience and success in spreading Objectivism in the culture.

Those who criticize the ascension of Ed Hudgins to executive director would have more credibility if they themselves had any track record of running an organized enterprise.

And those who believe that freeing up David Kelley from day-to-day business management chores, in order to do more serious scholarly work, represents a betrayal of Objectivism, are simply beyond hope and beneath belief.

--Robert Bidinotto

(Edited by Robert Bidinotto on 12/16, 5:05pm)




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Post 13

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 2:07pmSanction this postReply
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Jason wrote: "Besides, what’s there to do in Poughkeepsie? Even with its proximity to NYC, that only gives you access to the Leftist Elite and Sciabarra can take care of them with one hand tied behind his back!"
Linz replied:  "Whaddaya mean? Sciabarra *is* the Leftist Elite!"
And Jason replied to that: Ha! Yes, Linz, but he’s our “leftist” elitist in his loving dialectical way.


And I'm just ROLLING with laughter.  hehehe

For the record, I am absolutely delighted to hear that David Kelley will be focusing on philosophical work, and I wish Ed Hudgins well in this new endeavor.

Cheers,
Chris






Post 14

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 6:00pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

Since TOC seeks to expand its influence, perhaps you can persuade them to make their audio products available for download at http://www.audible.com in the same way as your audio program "The World of Atlas Shrugged."  I see that many of Ayn Rand's books as well as OPAR now avail themselves at that site.  I love Audible and my little Audible Otis player and I have no doubt many others do as well.  Nathaniel Branden's 24 hour program "Basic Principles of Objectivism" stands as an excellent candidate for such infiltration.


Luke Setzer

(Edited by Luther Setzer on 12/16, 8:01pm)




Post 15

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 6:11pmSanction this postReply
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Congratulations to Ed Hudgins on his promotion.  I'll be interested to see what direction he takes TOC.  And like others have mentioned, I'll be glad to see David Kelley focusing on philosophical work.




Post 16

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 6:42pmSanction this postReply
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I guess that my own reaction is colored by the cancellation of the Advanced Seminar, which was unique and in the current context irreplaceable. Giving David Kelley, and even more Will Thomas, more time for scholarship is good - but in my experience scholarship stagnates without social support for the dialectical process, and the Advanced Seminar was the main engine of this support, for me and for several other neo-Objectivist and paleo-Objectivist scholars.

More power to Hudgins if he actually creates a true neo-Liberal think tank in Washington. His record points in the opposite direction. I can't think of anything Hudgins has written, in his assigned role as the agent of Objectivist influence on the political scene, that was not either redundant, or wimpy, or wrong. But of course, I wish him success. I very much hope to be proven incorrect in my extrapolations about the future of TOC.



Post 17

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 7:40pmSanction this postReply
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Robert wrote:
There are three centers of cultural, political and media influence in America: Washington, New York and Los Angeles, in that order. (Boston is probably a very remote runner-up.) If you aren't in those locations -- preferably, Washington -- you will not forge associations with major publishers and editors; you cannot be on immediate call for fast-breaking talk show and interview opportunities; and you cannot network with likeminded denizens of think tanks and and advocacy groups. Moreover, how can you attract participation and coverage for news conferences, panel discussions, seminars, etc., if your audience and the media have to make distant, multi-day excursions just to attend?


Not necessarily. ARI is reaching out from Irvine, CA. Their on-site events are well attended. Also, Yaron Brooks' frequent appearances on Fox TV (O'Reilley, Jeraldo Rivera) reach a national audience, not just those living in the DC area. When the message is strong and clear, it reaches the audience. When the message is diluted to accommodate like-minded think tanks and advocacy groups, it will not leave a strong impression, regardless of where it is said.

I, for one, hope that the "Minaret for Freedom" is not included in these like-minded advocacy groups. Their President was quite hostile toward me as an Israeli/American in a WMOD meeting.

Still, I wish Hudgins success in his new position. Let him focus on getting the undiluted message through! 

 






Post 18

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 9:39pmSanction this postReply
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Michelle,

I think that much of ARI's prominence stems from the fact that to the outside observer, they are the "official" or "authoritative" source on Objectivist ideas.  Through Piekoff, they own the rights to all her books, and Rand herself is on record as saying that Leonard is her intellectual heir. 

Newcomers to Rand's books usually first see the word "Objectivism" on an insert ad in the book, and they are led to ARI to learn more.  And why wouldn't someone at first think that ARI is the most authoritative source for the study and application of her ideas? 

TOC has never had this sort of visibility or perception.  Hopefully this move to DC will help them overcome that competitive disadvantage with ARI.




Post 19

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 11:59pmSanction this postReply
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Rand never anointed Peikoff her intellectual heir. If you disagree with me, show me where she said it. She didn't. Peikoff did.

And TOC is not the alternative to ARI - at least as things stand. TOC is too cowardly, compromising, timorous, tepid & tame.

SOLO is the alternative to ARI. It is the voice of authentic Objectivism. Why the hell else do you suppose we would have bothered?? We all hoped TOC would deliver, but it became a repository for wusses.

Linz



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