About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Forward one pageLast Page


Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 20

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 5:08amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michelle raises an interesting point about location. Let me suggest another interpretation. ARI is best located away from population centers. Their printed and polished articles are exemplary but their atmosphere is abysmal. Yes, they do attract interest to Objectivism but as long as that interest is distant and superficial one will be unaware of the limitations of the organization. Once one dives deeper into the subject and seeks personal guidance, one comes up against the stifling wall of orthodoxy. Unless one is content to toe the party line, or if one happens to accidentally agree with every word, one will soon find a very inhospitable atmosphere. Perhaps, ARI is best located in Irvine, CA or better yet Fargo, ND. They’d do too much damage in NYC, LA, London, or Wellington.



Post 21

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 7:16amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Linz wrote:

TOC is too cowardly, compromising, timorous, tepid & tame.

Here we are with the TOC-bashing again.

 

Linz,

 

I reread your article: “TOC, SOLO ... and KASS” by Lindsay Perigo.  In it you said, after praising the TOC Summer Seminar in Vancouver, that you experienced

 

... a deep anxiety over TOC's lack of what I came to call - borrowing from the American colloquialism - the "kick-ass" factor (in all public discourse hereafter, I shall refer to it as KASS). All present in Vancouver seemed aware that TOC lacks KASS - the sharp polemical edge that should accompany the scholarly deliberations on which TOC wants to be able to pride itself.

Well, let's look a little closer to home.  The most visible part of SOLO is this website.  So, if someone comes here for the first time, what will he/she see?  First, an article entitled "Saving for Greatness" by Luther Setzer.  In this article we get the following:

 

Your savings, believe it or not, affect the way you stand, the way you walk, the tone of your voice -- in short, your physical well-being and self-confidence. A man without savings is always running.

Useful advice?  Perhaps.  But, not KASS.

 

Another article found is "The Plague of Postmodernism" by Edward W. Younkins.  An interesting article, but basically already said by Stephen Hicks.  Wait; isn’t he at TOC?

 

One of the best recent articles was "Transitioning to Self-Interest" by Joe Rowlands.  It was well written and argued and very worthwhile.  But KASS; I don’t think so.  In fact, it was just the kind of article I would expect from TOC.

 

Then we have the thread: Chapter 13 - The Fountainhead.  In this thread we have a “Christian libertarian” (whatever the hell that is) who thinks he can pick and choose which parts of objectivism fit his “integrated philosophy for life (Christ).”  And another poster saying to him “lets agree to disagree on whether atheism is a form of faith or not”!  Is this the "the sharp polemical edge" you're striving for?

 

So, what's my point?  Well, I just don't see a whole lot of KASS here.  Don't get me wrong; I love this site.  But, I think you're demanding of others what you don't deliver yourself.  The only KASS here right now is probably my ass getting kicked for writing this, but that's OK.

 

Thanks,

Glenn

 




Post 22

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 7:29amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I confess to not being very familiar with what was or wasn't said by Rand as far as Peikoff being her intellectual heir is concerned.  I simply assumed he was since he's heir to her estate, which includes her intellectual property.  ARI marketing materials certainly paint the picture of Leonard as intellectual heir...



Post 23

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 7:36amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Glenn,

My comment (Objectivism Q&A - Chapter 13 - The Fountainhead - 34) regarding atheism as "faith" was not to appease wether it is a fiath or not, but to do what I say in that quote itself - to try and keep the thread from a tangient and focused on its subject. If you are going to imply things about my post, make sure you don't take it out of context; becuase here, you do just that but in an extreme manner: you lifted a phrase out of its own sentence! 




Post 24

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 7:39amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I think it is an interesting marketing ploy as well - what the hell is supposed to be an "intellectual hier"? I used to think the ARI was like the Catholic church, but more and more they look Mormons to me.



Post 25

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 1:55pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Pete: "ARI marketing materials certainly paint the picture of Leonard as intellectual heir."

Unfortunately, that's true. Also, they call the organization "The Ayn Rand Institute," despite the fact that Rand said -- and wrote -- that she never wanted any organization to use her name in its title. And after her break with Nathaniel Branden, Rand said that she never again would give anyone the title of "intellectual heir."

Barbara




Sanction: 7, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 7, No Sanction: 0
Post 26

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 9:10pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Linz,

Regarding your latest, and obviously continuing, TOC bashing (i. e., your comment above): 

I'd have preferred to offer this criticism to you privately, but since you don't constrain your sniping at fellow Objectivists to private settings, I guess I'll follow your lead and just say my piece here.  

I was on the TOC staff for about six years. Since for the past couple of years I have been off doing my own thing, I no longer really have a dog in this TOC-SOLO race. For the record, my rhetorical approach, like yours, tends to be somewhat feistier than that often associated with TOC. That may have a lot to do with the fact that, unlike the TOC staff, neither of us are scholars, Linz.

In any case, Linz, your constant "mine is bigger than yours" jabs vis-a-vis TOC are getting old. And tedious.

A bit of history, for those who don't know. You published your initial rant against TOC some years back, about one or two months after TOC had proposed a generous job offer for you in the U. S. -- a job offer which (I'm in a position to know) you not only seriously entertained, but initially accepted.Your sudden change of mind and unexpected, insulting public rant against TOC afterward (under the title, I recall, "Singing Solo," or some such) was a shock and disappointment to us...mainly because it was so ungrateful, all things considered. I recall saying to David Kelley after reading it: "Boy -- am I ever glad that he DIDN'T accept the job!"

Your most recent bashing, here, only underscores that assessment. Worse, it occurs after TOC tried to bury the hatchet you have been sticking in its back, repeatedly and without provocation -- to reconcile with you by inviting you to speak at yet another Summer Seminar this past July. I was present, and a witness to the fact that you were warmly welcomed, generously treated and given an uncensored platform for precisely the kind of testicular polemics which you prefer (and which, in fact, I often prefer myself).

Yet you have responded once again to such olive branches and attempts at cooperation with more petty sniping.

Worst of all, it occurs at the time that TOC is announcing the kind of changes which you have claimed to want it to make.

Or do you?

Linz, you have found your comfort zone, as I have found mine, as TOC has found its own. Aren't you comfortable with letting each do his own thing? Or do you think Perigo can succeed only by making all his competition fail -- or at least look bad by comparison?

Finally, regarding the "lack of passion" you find in TOC:

Having read you for a long time, I wonder about the nature of that "passion" you claim to find lacking at TOC. Based on your own work, "passion" appears synonymous with incessantly negative tirades against Evil. Rather than a focus on the positive and uplifting (with rare exceptions), you seem to equate "passion" with a snarling, combative, derogatory attitude.

Like your digs at TOC, a little of that negativity goes a long, long way, Linz. Why don't you give it a rest? I still prefer to think that you've got a lot better in you.

In closing, let me emphasize that I'm speaking only for myself, not TOC, which was not consulted about my comments or informed in advance that I'd be writing this. One advantage of NOT being on the staff is that I didn't have to. For all I know, Linz, they may still want to invite you back to future Summer Seminars. In which case I'll join you in criticizing them. For altruism. 

Sincerely,

Robert




Post 27

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 10:35pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Robert - you should have scrolled back a bit further before launching your attack. You would have seen that I expressed delight that David was being freed up to do philosophy, & the hope that the new regime would bring some KASS to TOC. I meant it, but I'm not holding my breath, partly by virtue of the fact that 'Navigator' has *yet again* persisted with that canard about my country being the freest on earth. An organisation so cavalier with the facts, & so bloodless in its presentation of them, lacks credibility as an alternative to the ARI, which was the point of my most recent post.

Your very personal assault on me is replete with inaccuracies & injustices, which I shall reply to in article form rather than as a lengthy post on this thread.

There's one funny aspect to this. When I saw your initial posts in the moderator's queue, I asked Joe to lift you from moderation immediately, since it was self-evidently appropriate to exempt someone of your stature from the rites of passage that others go through. Joe jokingly asked me if I were sure about this? Actually, I would have let the above post through regardless, but you'll forgive me, I'm sure, if I say a few words in my defence.

Linz



Post 28

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 10:43pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
    I'd like to second Bob Bidinotto's comments about emphasizing the positive. Having attended several TOC Summer Seminars, 94-96, 98-99 and 2004, I never failed to have a terrific time and learn a great deal to boot. I think after an absolutely meteoric rise in Objectivist scholarship in the 1990's (Can anyone remember what happened in Objectivism in the 1980's?) after TOC's founding, we've seen something of a lull.
    I think this has something to do with a certain idea of what an Objectivist intellectual is "supposed" to be and the models of what is held up as an ideal for promising students of Objectivism. The remaining big problems in philosophy are unlikely to be solved by philosophers. Actually solving free will/determinism is likely to be solved or at least further elucidated by someone with a reasonable knowledge of quantum mechanics, thermodyamanics and neurology. Resolving conflicts in the market between intellectual property and the right to compete freely will likely be resolved by lawyers and economists.Resolving conflicts between reason and emotion will be largely tackled by psychologists. Defining a new ethics concerning genetic engineering will be tackled by philosophically-minded biologists and biochemists.
   Given these realities, students of Objectivism who want to tackle these questions meaningfully should prepare accordingly and not think choosing another field precludes making significant contributions to Objectivist scholarship. We need all the help we can get and should cast the net widely in embracing future Objectivist intellectuals.

Jim Heaps-Nelson




Post 29

Friday, December 17, 2004 - 11:14pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
...partly by virtue of the fact that 'Navigator' has *yet again* persisted with that canard about my country being the freest on earth.


Linz, I'm genuinely curious to know what country you would rank #1 and where NZ stands among free places. I'm interested in checking out the Bay of Islands one day.

Regarding the TOC/SOLO horse race, there is plenty of room for both to flourish. The individuals involved are what I'm interested in. It's a mistake to get wildly attached to any club or group. I learned that after meeting David Koresh and his coterie.

(Edited by Lance Moore on 12/17, 11:21pm)




Sanction: 7, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 7, No Sanction: 0
Post 30

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 3:34amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Perhaps I should abstain from commenting on this until Lindsay's article is up, but by that time i'll likely be out of town.

I have been vocal about my criticisms of TOC in the past, but those criticisms have always come out of love, or if not "love" necessarily, then lust.

I know this sounds terribly cheesy and I should probably burn in hell for saying it, but complaints directed toward TOC should qualify as "constructive criticism." As I told a TOC staffer who privately criticized me for my criticisms, I make a stink because I CARE, and because I see increasing apathy and hopelessness as the ultimate death knell of TOC. I fear that, yet that's what I'm seeing! The fact is, if TOC fails, there will be no catastrophe and no funeral. There will only be a gradual surrender of hope and lack of caring on the part of its followers. As soon as an organization fails to motivate its own supporters, it is doomed -- you don't even need to consider fundraising consequences to see why.

Likewise, it is important for all who care about TOC to voice their concerns and demand change wherever they know it is needed, and I'm upset that more people haven't been doing it. Things change only when there is a demand, and in the intellectual sphere, where demand is much more vague (and hence tougher to identify and measure), it is much easier for an organization to morph into an ineffective bureaucracy.  

This, I know, is Lindsay's primary motivation, his end. I do not consider it "bashing Objectivists" to constructively criticize in an Objectivist forum. We are among friends, and if we don't correct ourselves, nobody will.

But we all know that Lindsay has his own, shall we say, methods, and this time I must criticize some of them, because the issue is too important...

1. It is wrong for him to imply that SOLO and TOC are in any sort of competition, to pit the two against each other. I know he doesn't always mean to pit the two, but it is an unintended consequence of some of his rhetoric. SOLO is not aimed at generating scholarship. Scholarship cannot have the type of KASS that polemical intraobjectivist journalism can and should have. And SOLO, what's more, is not a think tank, but an intraobjectivist forum for likeminded people to strengthen their minds and entertain themselves. I'm aware of Linz's fondness for fruits, but this apples-and-oranges comparison gets us nowhere.

2. Linz should not make his random public wisecracks about TOC. I support humor and edginess in all its forms, but this is one case in which I think circumstances require special tact. The fact is, Linz, everyone doesn't know your entire history with and philosophy regarding TOC, and such cracks are bound to be taken out of context. They are bound to insult and seem like self-important name-calling, and thus bring the attention to you, rather than the real problem. Your position as head of SOLO and as vanguard of objectivist reform requires that all your public criticism of TOC be in the constructive context. By constructive, I don't mean "2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate" crap, but aimed at influencing.

3. Linz should not, because of these words, physically hurt me in any way. My body, though firm, is vulnerable.

That's all for now.

Alec  




Post 31

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 6:42amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Alec said:
Likewise, it is important for all who care about TOC to voice their concerns and demand change wherever they know it is needed, and I'm upset that more people haven't been doing it. Things change only when there is a demand, and in the intellectual sphere, where demand is much more vague (and hence tougher to identify and measure), it is much easier for an organization to morph into an ineffective bureaucracy.  
 
Absolutely right. So here I speak up:

I wanted to support TOC by giving talks at TOC seminars, but after my one talk in 2001 (on Victor Hugo's Ninety Three) all my proposals were rejected for lame reasons, including one for the Advanced Seminar.  So I concluded that there was no demand for my knowledge and ideas, and perhaps I should look elsewhere for like-minded Objectivists. 

Michelle







Post 32

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 7:16amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jason,

I think you paint a picture of ARI as it was in the 1990's. As far as I can tell as an outsider, things changed a little for the better. For example, there was an open debate about Peikoff's endorsement of Kerry, with Binswanger openly endorsing Bush. Also, I recently listened to Robert Mayhew's audiotape on Aristotle, where he explained how Rand was wrong about Aristotle on several issues. It's a matter of looking longer and harder at the catalog of the Ayn Rand Bookstore. The main concern of ARI is to get the word out, so their publicly distributed material is rudimentary. But scholars associated with them, such as Tara Smith, go way beyond the rudimentary. This year's talk at the Ayn Rand Society will feature Douglas Rasmussen's paper on Rand and Aquinas, where he shows that Rand was wrong to reject Aquinas' version of concept formation. Rasmussen's paper also has a reference to Kelly's article "A Theory of Abstraction." The chairman of the Ayn Rand Society, Alan Gotthelf, is associated with ARI. 

Michelle





Sanction: 10, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 10, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 10, No Sanction: 0
Post 33

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 7:28amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Alec,

Thank you for "getting it." I hope you and others grasp that my complaint is not about criticism of TOC per se. It's the fact that such criticism has gone way over the top. It has become personal and nasty. If one wishes, say, to criticize "Navigator" as being dry and boring, fine. However, if one then publicly ascribes such stylistic dullness to "cowardice," he has crossed the line.

Lindsay has crossed the line.

Let's get real, shall we? True "cowards" would do things other than become lifelong, devoted public advocates of an unpopular philosophy in a hostile culture -- as David Kelley and the TOC staff have done. And would a real "coward" respond to being expelled from an orthodoxy like ARI by setting up his own alternative organization -- as David did? Or would he instead crawl back on his knees, groveling and boot-licking and apologizing for his alleged transgressions, as so many others (who will go nameless) have done?

My point was not that TOC is above criticism: far from it. I have been quite vocal in my own, as the staff of TOC only too well know. But you won't read those criticisms here, or on my blog or in a published article. For the most part, I've voiced those criticisms in private: directly to the relevant staff, Board members or influential donors who might be in a position to militate for changes.

Oh, I suppose I could have taken the occasion of my leaving TOC to do a bit of guttersniping. I have a blog, after all; and I might have followed the heroic path pioneered by one or two former TOC hangers-on, who have transformed their departures from TOC into Extreme Makeovers, crafting entirely new public identities and even forging new social circles from these episodes. Ah, the things some nonentities will do to acquire Significance...

But those are not the things true Objectivists should be doing. For moral instruction, let's play the old "What would Howard Roark do?" game. Why didn't HR invest his time publicly blasting Francon & Keating, et al., for their bad architectural ideas or "compromises"? Because he knew that the best way to put forth a better alternative was...well, to put forth a better alternative.

This is called "competition in the marketplace of ideas." If you don't like what some other established, allied group or spokesman is doing, well then, show the world how to do it. It is much more practical -- and reflects far more savvy, class and character -- simply to put forth your better alternative. If you do, you'll teach by example and inspire others, and those frustrated with the established group will flock to your door.

But if you spend a lot of time simply cutting down your philosophic colleagues, calling them wimps and "wusses" and cowards and compromisers and the like, you'll not accomplish any of those things. Those are not constructive criticisms; those are "fighting words." (And if you choose to "get personal" in that way, please don't start whining afterwards when somebody gives you a taste of your own medicine. Perhaps that was done precisely to demonstrate that such is not a profitable or worthy form of criticism...hmmm?)

Are charges of "cowardice" and the like ever appropriate? Sure. They are appropriate for adversaries, but not for allies. If one has truly decided TOC represents an enemy, then fine -- the gloves can come off. But in that case, one shouldn't also be feigning cooperation or friendship by accepting speaking engagements and the like. It seems to me it's "either/or."

Rather than provoke Lindsay to publish yet another public, destructive and (now) defensive anti-TOC tract, I would like nothing better than for him simply to withdraw his personal charges of cowardice, wimpiness, compromise, etc. If he would simply leave his public criticisms of TOC at something like "a failure to communicate moral passion," without ascribing ugly personal motives to such "failure," then I'll happily refrain from "getting personal" in response. But I know these folks; they are my friends; and I don't accept personal attacks on my friends lightly.

Linz, it's time for this pissing contest to stop. We're better than this.
(Edited by Robert Bidinotto on 12/18, 7:30am)

(Edited by Robert Bidinotto on 12/18, 7:39am)

(Edited by Robert Bidinotto on 12/18, 7:54am)




Sanction: 2, No Sanction: 0
Post 34

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 7:36amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Now, in the interests of playing nice, let me say something in agreement with Lindsay.

He is absolutely correct that nowhere did Ayn Rand ever designate Leonard Peikoff her "intellectual heir." Never happened. Ever. He was the heir to her estate -- her property -- period.

ARI and Peikoff have been milking this "intellectual heir" claim since the moment she died. But it ain't so, and I publicly challenge them, or anyone else, to come forward with a single quotation, hidden diary entry, independently eyewitnessed public statement, etc., by Ayn Rand to prove the contrary.

I won't hold my breath.





Post 35

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 11:12amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

He is absolutely correct that nowhere did Ayn Rand ever designate Leonard Peikoff her "intellectual heir." Never happened. Ever. He was the heir to her estate -- her property -- period.

ARI and Peikoff have been milking this "intellectual heir" claim since the moment she died. But it ain't so, and I publicly challenge them, or anyone else, to come forward with a single quotation, hidden diary entry, independently eyewitnessed public statement, etc., by Ayn Rand to prove the contrary.

 

I won't hold my breath.

 

In 1976, Peikiff gave a lecture course titled "The Philosophy of Objectivism".  At the time, Rand said, "Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff's course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism -- that is, the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate."

 

In November of 1980, about a year and half before her death, Rand wrote a "To Whom It May Concern" reference for Peikoff which stated clearly that she considered his understanding of Objectivism and his ability to explain it to be unmatched by any other intellectual or philosopher. "..I know of no philosopher who is his equal on this subject."  From Letters of Ayn Rand, page 666.

 

So, Rand's publicly stated position was that: 1) Peikoff was the creator of the only authorized presentation of Objectivism, and 2) Peikoff's understanding of Objectivism was unmatched (at the time of Rand's death).

 

I don't know exactly what Peikoff means by the term "intellectual heir", but it is clear that at the time of Rand's death she considered him the pre-eminent authority on Objectivism, second only to herself.  If that is the sense in which he means "intellectual heir", I have no problem with it.

 

 





Post 36

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 9:06amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michelle,

    After ARI kicked everybody out what was there left to do? They have not changed their basic policies about voicing philosophical differences of any substance. The HBL list still has an insulting exclusion policy. I took my Buddhist wife to the 2004 TOC Summer Seminar and to local TOC events. I wonder what would have happened if she even managed to open her mouth at an ARI event? 
   I applaud whatever good philosophical work ARI is doing, but as far as I've seen it is along the lines of discovering a novel 33rd move in a well known variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined to use a chess analogy. I have met and like many ARI-affiliated people as individuals and took a terrific course from Darryl Wright while I was undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College. However, until and unless they produce anything along the lines of Kelley's Unrugged Individualism or Reisman's Capitalism they simply don't  have the intellectual standing to call themselves the "official" organization of Objectivism.




Post 37

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 3:59pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
James,

Binswanger's work on the relationship between evolutionary biology and teleology, or Gotthelf's work straightening out Thomist misunderstandings of Aristotle, are valuable beyond anything in the two examples you cited (although Kelley's work in epistemology IS in the same league as Gotthelf or Binswanger, and Will Thomas' work on a consequentialist foundation for virtue is the best recent philosophical work in Objectivism.)

My main problem with the changes at TOC is that the Advanced Seminar, their most valuable activity for me, is gone. My main problem with the TOC way is that there is a pervasive lack of intellectual focus. On more than a couple of occasions TOC did side publicly with the enemy; on two of those occasions I did call them on it with articles right here on SoloHQ, after direct communication with those at TOC who were responsible for those specific intellectual atrocities proved fruitless.

All three organizations, including Solo, have their gaps, but of those, the gap where TOC's Advanced Seminar used to be is the one that gapes the widest.



Post 38

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 4:41pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Adam,

I believe you posted something recently about Rand's view of evolution.  She did express hesitation about this theory in her writings.  See my article on the subject:

http://www.solohq.com/Articles/Parille/Ayn_Rand_and_Evolution.shtml




Post 39

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 9:07pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

I don't know if Mr. George Cordero is impishly sitting on the sidelines and thumbing his nose through this Aristotle quote at this thread:Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.

But if so I think it applies brilliantly here to many of the posts.

And I cannot help but think of a comment Rand made about the real challenge of writing about conflict was not about good vs. evil but about the good vs. the good.

Michael




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.