Simple Exercise

James S. Valliant's picture
Submitted by James S. Valliant on Sun, 2009-05-10 18:08

This is a paragraph from the ethics section of Wikipedia's article "Objectivism."

It's so very bad that it provides beginning students of Rand's thought with a (simple) exercise: how many misstatements of Rand's ideas can you detect?

"In The Virtue of Selfishness [Rand] attempted to derive ethical egoism from first principles. Value is relative: something can only be valuable for a particular being, and it can only be valuable if that being has a choice. Only living things are able to choose, therefore values only exist for living things, and whatever a living thing acts to gain or keep is a value for that thing. Every living thing maintains its life for its own sake, and - according to Rand - for any living thing, only its own life is valuable for its own sake. On the assumption that every living thing should do or ought to do whatever is valuable for itself, it follows that it should do whatever promotes its own life. But people can only live if they are rational. Since reason is man's means of knowledge, it is also his greatest value, and its exercise his greatest virtue. 'Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive he must act and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch––or build a cyclotron––without a knowledge of his aim and the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.' Therefore everyone ought to be rational."

My list.

1. Values require choice? Not according to Rand, who said that only conceptual consciousness is volitional. Or, is it that values require an "alternative" according to Rand? (For example, a living organism can adapt [either modifying its behavior within its own life-span or through mutation and natural selection]. Such adaptation is a kind of value pursuit that does not necessarily imply a volitional choice.)

2. Values are "relative"? Does this mean that values imply "of value to whom and for what?" That's certainly true, but it also here seems to require a state of consciousness.

3. Values are that which are pursued, sure, but, are values then subjective, i.e., "whatever" happens to be pursued?

4. Get this: "Every living thing maintains its life for its own sake"? IF ONLY!

5. Does Rand "assume" that "every living thing" should do "what is valuable for itself"? Is this idea any part of Rand's case? Isn't this precisely a circle Rand avoids -- and answers? (Talk about upside down and inside out.)

6. "People can only live if they are rational"? Say what?! As Rand knew and dramatically depicted, irrational people survive all the time -- but even for them, reason is their basic tool of survival, of course.

7. Finally, my favorite, the last "therefore" -- as if Rand's argument had just been recounted!

I've said it before and will say it again: Criticism, rational criticism, is a good thing. It sharpens that tool of survival to its finest edge. But the two sorts of criticisms which have unfortunately marred most of Rand scholarship are: 1. ad hominem, i.e., the Branden and Rothbard based lies and distractions about Rand herself, and 2. gross misstatements of what Objectivism says, i.e., the Nyquist, Whittaker Chambers, Robert Nozick, and, now, the Wikipedia, stuff.


( categories: )

And What's the Point?

Robert Campbell's picture

In the absence of Mr. Perigo, Mr. Valliant, and Mrs. Valliant, Gregster rushes into the breach.

Not sure what the point of it is, but he's unleashed quite a rant.

For the record,

(1) I don't support Barack Obama. Never have.

(2) I don't support the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or any of their Islamic imperialist crew. No need to add the "never have," in their case.

(3) Lindsay Perigo calls his personal enemies "scum."

(4) Mr. Perigo is a pretty good example of an "ortho-Objectivist." So are several of the principals over yonder at the Ayn Rand Institute.

(5) When I kept pressing Mr. Perigo about the source of the annotated email blaming certain events at Wikipedia on "B. Branden," he went on a tear as to how I was the spittin' image of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.

Robert Campbell

Gregster

Neil Parille's picture

I'm not sure what your comment has to do with me.

-Neil

Pariah Neil

gregster's picture

In the absence of uncached excitement, try for example, observing the developing lesson from Iran for you Americans (you're not alone in this admittedly), for the moral reaction required, when faced with years of despotism - in readiness for your Obama overthrow. (I'm presumptuous in thinking you would despise your fly-attractant President).

Perverse humour section: Recent comments on the Sewer-net.

"Michael Stuart Kelly
Yesterday, 10:24 AM
Post #317

$$$$$$ [Unsure here - MSK has many dollars or he's proudly donated to himself?]

Group: Root Admin
Posts: 9,684
Joined: 3-December 05
Member No.: 3

Robert, [the Prof.]

It saddens me to say this, but what we are witnessing (in addition to all the other schism crap) is one of the reasons I would never want a dyed-in-the-wool ortho-Objectivist in political power. Give me a good old-fashioned corrupt politician any day of the week.

If one of these dudes ever gets his hands on real power, we can expect the following based on many, many acts by ortho-Objectivists that are on record for any and all to see thanks to the Internet:

1. Constant rewriting of history.
2. Gross manipulation of authority.
3. Outright lying to the public practiced as a moral value.
4. Never answering uncomfortable direct questions with a direct response unless it is smarm, intimidation, cussing or moral outrage.
5. Strong formation of cliques.
6. Scapegoating people or groups to the point of bigotry.
7. Anonymous vandalism attacks on public sources of information, including attempts to skew the results of polls and surveys.

And on and on and on. "

There you have it. The Objectivism site which admits to mistrusting Objectivism.

I'd seriously like to hear what a dyed-in-the-wool ortho-Objectivist is. Or to make the task easier - can he name any such character! (I don't expect MSK to be capable of the descriptor's explication.)

[..]

Look who continues the theme:

"Barbara Branden
Yesterday, 01:32 PM
Post #321

$$$$$$

Group: VIP
Posts: 1,362
Joined: 4-December 05
From: Los Angeles, CA
Member No.: 12

Michael,

there is no question in my mind that you are correct and that you are naming something important. For the Objectivist fundamentalists, many of whom are consumed with hatred and rage, their "enemies" are scum, morally worthless, deserving to be with the doomed and evil passengers on the last run of the Comet in Atlas Shrugged. No moral blame could attach to whomever saw to it that they received justice.

You say such people would sell out the tenets of Objectivism once they were in power. It's true -- but they would do something still worse; they would convince themselves they were remaining true to their Objectivist beliefs.

Barbara"

(Well, I found it more than mildly interesting.)

Peikoff's Letter

Neil Parille's picture

I can't find it on his website, although it is "cached."

-NP

It's the Lawyer...

Michael Hardy's picture

> It is this household which may
> not reference PARC at Wikipedia,
> and there is no time limit whatever
> to this restriction.

That would be under conflict-of-interest rules. I haven't looked at the details of those in a while. I've heard some people assert that one must never edit a Wikipedia article about oneself, but I think even extremists would admit that that is an exaggeration. Harry Binswanger once did an edit to the article about himself that someone reverted because of those rules, when in fact he was correcting the article's mistaken attribution to him of some achievement. The usual reasons for worrying about conflicts of interest did not apply. I put the article back the way it was after Binswanger's edit and commented about it on the article's talk page. Last I checked my edit remained intact.

I think maybe in some circumstances one might be justified in violating that rule even when it's blowing one's own horn, although I'm not sure I have any really good examples. Maybe if a list purporting to be a complete list of books one has written is there, one could fill in a gap. Or at least qualify the statement about completeness.

But once one has made an issue of the thing, drawing the attention of people who want the rules followed, maybe one is more constrained in one's actions.

At any rate, if PARC is relevant to an article, the Valliants could still ask someone else to cite it, and then they're within the rules, if I understand correctly.

Acknowledgments

Robert Campbell's picture

Ms. Stuttle has drawn the following conclusions:

(1) Barbara had nothing to do with Wikipedia's deeming PARC not a "reliable" source;

Right, she didn't.

Dr. Peikoff is still maintaining that she did, however. Who encouraged him to believe that? Who encouraged Mr. Perigo to believe it?

Mr. Valliant has not been forthcoming on the subject during his latest visit.

(2) "Reliable" in Wikipediaese doesn't mean "true" or (the term Leonard Peikoff used in his email to Jimmy Wales) "reputable." It means "properly credentialed" (according to Wikipedia's consensus-based standards of credentialing);

Correct.

What does Mr. Valliant think it means?

What was Dr. Peikoff told that it means?

(3) Leonard Peikoff wrote the email to Jimmy Wales;

Correct.

In the letter, Dr. Peikoff claimed to have discussed Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden with her; this remains to be explained.

Mr. Valliant's role in the production of the letter remains to be explained.

(4) Holly Valliant made by far the bulk of the contributions from the Valliant household on both the IP 160 and the Pelagius1 accounts.

A long way from proven.

Except for a few Pelagius1 items that read as though Mrs. Valliant wrote them, all we have is Jim Valliant's assertions, which are addled, contradictory, and lacking in credibility.

Let Mrs. Valliant step forward and own up, if she was really the major contributor to IP160 and Pelagius1's activity.

Robert Campbell

Who Posted These?

Robert Campbell's picture

Instead of relying on Mr. Valliant's incredibly belated and confused statements, let's ask who actually authored these two contributions from "Pelagius1".

They are both taken from my post of May 28, http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

******

Number 1.

In all seriousness, there do not appear to be "independent" or neutral sources in the sense you seem to be requiring here. 'The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies' is a hostile source per the ARI scholars who will not participate in publishing there. That's why the JARS invite (still open) to one from the opposing camp -- Valliant -- is itself significant. Valliant did get a very positive Kirkus Review - as the jacket and Kirkus site indicate - and this is as "neutral", independent and 3rd Party as it comes. The "independence" of the positive reviews of Brandens themselves is less clear. Pelagius1 (talk) 03:34, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Number 2.

Here and here for strongly positive views of Valliant's book, and here for some impact. Pelagius1 (talk) 03:08, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

The links were, respectively, to Cass Hewitt's review in the Autonomist; an old broadside by Mr. Perigo; and an online article by Casey Fahy.

*******

Who really believes that Holly Valliant was the author of these?

The first one should be highly familiar to anyone who read Mr. Valliant's endless posts on this board in April and May 2006.

Robert Campbell

Disorientation

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Valliant's style of posting has typically resembled a juggler trying to keep 7 Indian clubs in the air, confusing the audience as to which is which, and more often than not taking a glancing blow to the head from an errant club.

But some of what he is posting on his current visit to SOLOP drops all of the clubs squarely on his noggin.

For instance, this attempted riposte to Neil Parille:

Er... Then, Kant was on the side that you claim (without proof) PARC had taken, i.e., one morally critical of the deception and manipulation (using others as "means," Kant might've said) involved in any such parties... so, how "saintly" could he have been, Neil? Well, at least he would have thought my actual point was worthwhile, I guess. Smiling

Clonk clonk clonk, clonk clonk clonk, clonk.

This looks to be a product of disorientation, if not dementia. One can only hope that it is reversible; for instance, on different medication.

In the meantime, there is a desperate need for Holly Valliant to post here—if only because she is still able to think straight.

Robert Campbell

Confusion over 1 of the 4

Robert Campbell's picture

Ms. Stuttle's efforts at sorting out what Mr. Valliant said and what he didn't have fallen short.

In part, this is because it's a fool's errand to presume that any of his statements on this thread are credible or reliable. In a brief time back here, he has already contradicted himself. Anyone who puts credence in Mr. Valliant's denials that he contributed to IP160's edits regarding PARC or Pelagius1's statements regarding PARC (even though he might have contributed other stuff) should keep in mind that he initially denied having any idea what IP160 and Pelagius1 were.

I'll say more about Mr. Valliant's attempt to deny authorship of "Pelagius1" material in another post.

I want to focus on Ms. Stuttle's point 4, for here we are on firmer ground.

(4) Here (#72601) is James' statement that Holly goofed logging on in the one (thus far) Pelagius1 edit. (The poster's identification appeared as IP 160 -- the IP # will show by defaul[t] if a poster forgets to log on -- then the post was deleted, though of course it remains in the edit record.)

Holly did that, good sir, and maybe she will log in when she tries again.

Ms. Stuttle refers to the very recent IP160 contribution to Pelagius1's talk page, whose removal within 7 minutes at the very least confirms the Valliant household's desire to keep up the pretense that IP160 and Pelagius1 weren't the same person.

But what Mr. Scherk alluded to downthread was an actual edit by Pelagius1 of a Rand-related article, back on May 19. See http://www.solopassion.com/nod...
where Mr. Scherk says:

At no time did Holly try to identify herself only to have this information removed. Below are the only items removed (by editor Richard Lawrence) [...]. Readers bear in mind that Pelagius1 has only made one edit under that account name (shown here). As I noted before, James admitted to making that edit in a private email to me.

The "shown here" links to

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)&diff=290984119&oldid=290906932

By the way, the actual edit performed by Pelagius1 on this occasion was unobjectionable. It consisted of inserting a reference to David Kelley's book The Evidence of the Senses.

Robert Campbell

A new page?

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Maybe people might want to resume fighting with each other with the following acknowledged:

(1) Barbara had nothing to do with Wikipedia's deeming PARC not a "reliable" source;

(2) "Reliable" in Wikipediaese doesn't mean "true" or (the term Leonard Peikoff used in his email to Jimmy Wales) "reputable." It means "properly credentialed" (according to Wikipedia's consensus-based standards of credentialing);

(3) Leonard Peikoff wrote the email to Jimmy Wales;

(4) Holly Valliant made by far the bulk of the contributions from the Valliant household on both the IP 160 and the Pelagius1 accounts.

(Re the latter, there might still be some reasonable question, although I've come to think it's true.)

Ellen

Reference hint to MSK

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Quoting MSK:

Link


There is a very odd thing going on at SLOP. [...] several statements by the hapless Valliant tag team on Wikipedia in the backstage comments are now gone. Some of the passages dealt with things like Pelagius1 claiming that she and she alon[e] (if it was a she) is responsible for all edits made on Wikipedia under the Valliant household IP [...].
[....]
What is odd is that, since these statements are no longer present, they are treated as if they did not exist at all [...].
[....]
But I saw these statements. I know they existed because I read them when I first starting reading all that material. (Who knows? Maybe they are still up and I just can't find them anymore.)

Maybe they are (still findable where you aren't finding them). One of them was quoted by "Grande Dame of St. Referee Ellen Stuttle."

Mr. Perigo Becomes Entirely Content-Free

Robert Campbell's picture

Since Mr. Perigo knows no relevant facts about Mr. and Mrs. Valliant's Wikipedian capers, and has shown no interest in learning any, his statements are getting more and more content-free.

I'm sure by now you know the Prof. won't let the facts get in the way of his lies.

is like one of his rants against "Babs" or "Sewer" (formerly, "The Chief Cockroach").

He can launch into them at any time, in any context, for any reason or none at all.

Most frequently, for none at all.

Robert Campbell

Rigorously Edited

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You said that (if I recall correctly) that your book was "rigorously edited" by Durban House.

Would you kindly name the editor.

Thanks,
NP

Er...

James S. Valliant's picture

Then, Kant was on the side that you claim (without proof) PARC had taken, i.e., one morally critical of the deception and manipulation (using others as "means," Kant might've said) involved in any such parties... so, how "saintly" could he have been, Neil? Well, at least he would have thought my actual point was worthwhile, I guess. Smiling

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm sure by now you know the Prof. won't let the facts get in the way of his lies. He is a disgrace to academia, though of course academia is full of his ilk.

James V. said only 1 out of the 4.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Robert (#72663):

"Mighty conveniently for Mr. Valliant, who remains the only source to affirm Mrs. Valliant's authorship of all of AnonIP160's edits, as well as Pelagius1's single edit and all of Pelagius's complaints on behalf of IP160. And the only source to affirm that Mrs. Valliant was lying when Pelagius1 claimed that Jim Valliant was the author of certainarticles on Wikipedia."

 

He didn't affirm (unless I couldn't find the affirmation) that Holly had authored all of the IP 160 edits and all of Pelagius1's complaints on behalf of IP 160; nor did he say that Holly was lying in her claim that James had authored certain articles on Wikipedia.

He did say that she made the single Pelagius1 edit. (She edited as a result of her forgetting to log in, an explanation which was an obvious explanation.)

 

Collating references:

(1) Here (quoted by WSS, #72629) is the Pelagius1 comment, in a part which was subsequently deleted by Richard Lawrence, in which Holly credited James' contributions:

Since it's come up as an issue, and although I would like to take credit for all of this, he is the author of the new Wikipedia John Chamberlain article, and the new Martin Anderson article, and he had the requested James Joyce and F. A. Hayek and L. von Mises references in the Max Eastman article at his fingertips. And all of those detailed citations from the critical reception section of Atlas Shrugged. These are just a few of his contributions here (via me) that I can recall. Pelagius1 17:08,
20 May 2009 (UTC)

 

(2) Here (#72602) is a plain statement from James about citations from PARC:

To repeat: I did not provide citations from PARC, since she did not need me to do that.

 

(3) Here is James' answer to Neil's further questioning (Neil's post is #72607; James' is #72611):

Neil wrote:
Jim,
You said: "To repeat: I did not provide citations from PARC, since she did not need me to do that."
To repeat, that was not the question. The question was: how and to what extent did you contribute to posts by Holly that mentioned PARC?

 

James replied:
I think readers can see the exchange for themselves, Neil, but to answer the current question, not at all.

 

(4) Here (#72601) is James' statement that Holly goofed logging on in the one (thus far) Pelagius1 edit. (The poster's identification appeared as IP 160 -- the IP # will show by defaul if a poster forgets to log on -- then the post was deleted, though of course it remains in the edit record.)

Holly did that, good sir, and maybe she will log in when she tries again.

 

Ellen

This thread

Brant Gaede's picture

is in a state of continuous fulmination but like Jason it will not die.

--Brant

Kant

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

I was banned when the issue came up, but I wanted to mention that I strongly disagree with your claim that Kant was likely a child molester. I think Kant was one of the most decent, saintly men to ever walk this earth.

I would have trusted Kant with my children (if I had any) without a moment's reservation.

Also, Kant didn't believe that lying was ever appropriate, so I wouldn't have to worry that he would throw a surprise party for them, thus scarring their psycho-epistemology for life.

-NEIL

Inexhaustible Reserves of Chutzpah

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Valliant's latest hot blast is directed at Mr. Scherk:

Since you will make public my emails with or without my permission (or even notice) anyway, let's just keep all of our exchanges public from now on. This is no promise I will waste the time to reply, just a warning that I am familiar with the Stalking Laws and such.

Hmm... I recall that when Mr. Valliant and his allies, Mr. Perigo, Ms. Hsieh, and Mr. Maurone, decided to publish private emails from Chris Sciabarra, they pumped one another up with self-righteous justifications.

I guess the prohibition against publishing private emails applies only in one special case: when the emails in question are from Jim Valliant.

One thing the guy never runs out of is chutzpah.

Robert Campbell

Back to the War Room?

James S. Valliant's picture

Scherk's complaint of "word salads" is not only plain bullshit about a plain statement (below), it displays the same incredible lack of self-awareness which we've come to expect from him. His own rule-violation at Wikipedia is it's own matter, but there has never been any observable value in any exchange with him, public or private, whatever. And, now, his strenuous and verbose efforts have seemingly directed themselves against my wife.

So, no, please, please never write me again, Mr. Scherk. Since you will make public my emails with or without my permission (or even notice) anyway, let's just keep all of our exchanges public from now on. This is no promise I will waste the time to reply, just a warning that I am familiar with the Stalking Laws and such.

The Fall Girl Will Not Appear

Robert Campbell's picture

According to Jim Valliant, Holly Valliant will not be regaling us with her experiences as an edit-warrior at Wikipedia:

And, for all the same reasons that she ever wants to be anonymous, Holly will obviously not be posting here.

Mighty conveniently for Mr. Valliant, who remains the only source to affirm Mrs. Valliant's authorship of all of AnonIP160's edits, as well as Pelagius1's single edit and all of Pelagius's complaints on behalf of IP160. And the only source to affirm that Mrs. Valliant was lying when Pelagius1 claimed that Jim Valliant was the author of certain articles on Wikipedia.

For a good while now, there's been no need for anyone else to cast doubt on Mr. Valliant. He's attained unsurpassed expertise at totally discrediting himself.

Robert Campbell

Ms. Stuttle

James S. Valliant's picture

The technicalities are irrelevant to us, Ms. Stuttle, the restriction will be observed whether any account permits posting or not. And, for all the same reasons that she ever wants to be anonymous, Holly will obviously not be posting here.

James, you ignorant slut

William Scott Scherk's picture

I will interpret James's latest word-salad as containing a query: will I help to restore useful Wikipedia mentions on PARC. The answer is yes, but I in addition will need help from James' erstwhile critics . . . and there is one condition for James that I will send to him privately -- if he reverses his earlier injunction to "never write me again." I will also parse his most recent salad to make sure we understand his claims on behalf of the missus and his understanding of the present situation. This may require several litres of Shiraz.

I will answer Ellen Stuttle's related query re the six-month topic-ban, but it requires plodding through a matted raft of Wikibyzantium.

In the meantime, I would like to call a Diminishers of Humanity meeting in the chatroom for a couple of hours this evening.

So, summarizing the Wikipedia activities

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Best I can piece it together, this is the breakdown of who did what:

Holly did at least the vast majority of the IP 160 edits; James contributed some articles from the IP 160 account, either via Holly (as a "forward" unidentified as such) or with Holly's help managing the mechanics;
Holly has been the main contributer to the "talk" fora from the Pelagius1 account; some of the Pelagius1 remarks have features so characteristic of James' writing, I'm unlikely to believe a denial that James wrote them, but maybe Holly did the actual posting even of those remarks.

Question: Where does the tally leave Pelagius1 in terms of the 6-months topic-ban? Is the Pelagius1 account included in the ban or not?

Ellen

PS: I wrote this post between reading James' "It's the Lawyer in Me" and signing on to post. Robert has meanwhile described Holly as "the fall girl." I think Holly really was the instigator of the Wikipedia activity from the Valliant household and that James was little aware of much of what was going on.

Expecting a Statement from the Fall Girl

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Valliant won't give up his charade.

Even though he admitted to WSS that he was the author of a "Pelagius1" edit, and Pelagius1 later attributed some of the work of AnonIP160 to him, Mr. Valliant insists that AnonIP160 and Pelagius1 were all Holly:

That was the real mistake: the "conflict of interest" to which she should have been on alert from the outset, whatever the motive or other activities.

If Holly Valliant is the real edit warrior, why doesn't she show up here and put her confession on the record?

I'm sure everyone would like to hear from the fall girl, er, retired Wikipedia edit warrior.

Besides, if she was responsible for all of 160 and Pelagius1's activity, she ought to be in a much better position than her husband to answer the questions I posed downthread.

Robert Campbell

It's the Lawyer In Me

James S. Valliant's picture

Jeeze, we had assumed that they had linked everything up already, and she has acted as if she was so restricted for some time now, even inquiring if she can participate in the Discussion there. Mr. Scherk is also mistaken. It is this household which may not reference PARC at Wikipedia, and there is no time limit whatever to this restriction. That was the real mistake: the "conflict of interest" to which she should have been on alert from the outset, whatever the motive or other activities. See, this error does not "prevent" her from using PARC, Mr. S. -- it ignored the fact that she may never use it, however relevant it may be. As an advocate of PARC's inclusion there, Mr. Scherk is still free to do so, I believe. But I'm not holding my breath.

Wow!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

So you agree the Wiki stuff is crap?! I commend you.

"Too clever by half" about the Brandens? How so? James has shown, with irrefutable back-up from Rand's journals, what lice the Brandens were (and are still). How can that be "too clever by half" other than to "humanity-diminishers"??!!

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

I think Valliant makes some good points in the critique of the Wikipedia article. James is a bright guy, if too clever by a half when he opines on Rand's life vis-a-vis theBrandens(TM).

-Neil

Neil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I believe the reference is to the SNL take-off on the old Sixty Minutes Shana Alexander/James J. Kilpatric point/counterpoint segements.
Dan Akroyd would say: "Jane, you ignorant slut" to (I think) Jane Curtain.

I've no idea what you're talking about. I care even less, though I enjoyed being called an ignorant slut.

Mr. Scherk should teach you, Campbell and Sewer the rudiments of humour, though in Sewer's case, lack of intelligence would get in the way.

BTW, Neil, why, in this instance, don't you take advantage of the opportunity to address the substantive, rather than minutiae-myopic, issues involved. James's initial post is about the distortions of Objectivism on Wiki. Anything to say about that, or does your knee-jerk Brandroidism and humanity-diminution get in the way?

PARC Triumphant

Neil Parille's picture

PARC is #254,727 on Amazon. The last time it was reviewed was over 7 months ago.

The Passion of Ayn Rand is #113,097. The last review was over a year ago.

Amazon doesn't report any books citing PARC. There are 28 books that cite Passion.

The recently released Objectively Speaking collection of interviews with AR is #63,312.

So to the extent that the sales of Atlas are drawing people to interest in Rand's life, it isn't drawing many people to Valliant's opus, or Branden's for that matter (though I don't know Amazon's numbers re these books prior to the GEC).

That being said, two books are coming out on Rand in October 2009. The first is Anne Heller’s Ayn Rand and the World She Made. It is a full-length biography. Its Amazon ranking is #548,001.

The second is Jennifer Burns’ Goddess of the Market. Its Amazon ranking is #92,633.

I don’t know much about Anne Heller’s book. James has implied that his book has influenced Miss Heller's take on Rand, even claiming that he was on the "send" list of the galleys.

I know nothing about Prof. Burns’ book. Here is what Amazon says:
___

The book also traces the development of Rand's Objectivist philosophy and her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, her closest intellectual partner, with whom she had an explosive falling out in 1968.
___

So if James’ book has been as influential as he likes to claim (although its grand importance is always just around the corner), let’s see what these two books say about his opus.

-Neil

Jane

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

I believe the reference is to the SNL take-off on the old Sixty Minutes Shana Alexander/James J. Kilpatrick Point-Counterpoint segements.

Dan Akroyd would say: "Jane, you ignorant slut" to (I think) Jane Curtain.

-Neil

Hahahaha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thanks for the belly-laugh, Scherk. I'll give you this: you're way better at denunciations than your soulmate Sewer. I respect your way with words, but not what you do with it.

Again, does it occur to you I don't care about who's offended by what I say? Nope. Your empty head is crammed way too far up your politically correct ass.

But I really enjoyed "ignorant slut," even though I've no idea to whom "Jane" alludes. If it's Cory Jane, Hurricanes fullback, I couldn't be more pleased. Thanks again! Eye

Jane, you ignorant slut . . .

William Scott Scherk's picture

Lindsay, you are tiresome, ill-informed, and predictable.

James and Holly blew their chances of influencing the Wikipedia process by fucking around. Anyone can see that -- even you, if your head wasn't crammed up your ass.

The Wikipedia page for Objectivism (Ayn Rand) was viewed 210,381 times in the last 90 days. The Wikipedia page for Ayn Rand was viewed 432,653 times in the last 90 days. The Valliant two-step deep-sixed any chance of PARC being referenced for the next six months. That's the point, you big fat fucking idiot. It has nothing to do with me. It has to do with going on the ice ill-equipped to play the game, and being trounced about 185 to one, and slinking off the rink with no hope of a return. Dumb tactics, dumb strategy, dumb dumb dumb.

Your hooting and spitting at me does fuck all to change that equation.

One of the reasons Objectivism goes four steps forward, nineteen steps back is because of the schisms. The people that celebrate, underline and extend the schisms are people like you and the Valliants and the other nitwits and cultic also-rans. You've splintered your own corner of the neighbourhood into six pieces because of your vanity and your ill-temper and your ego. You drive Objectivism into the fringes of thought by your lack of humanity, by your lazy arrogance, by your rampant pride and your inability to make common cause . . .

You are so far wrong on the subject of good faith, schismata and sundry you might as well zip up your body bag now.

Man, but you are pigheaded and blind sometimes.

You ignorant slut.



WSS

Wotta joke!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Scherk, for you to fault anyone for lack of good faith is akin to a carnivore professing allegiance to vegetarianism. Well might you apologise to James for making an allegation you couldn't substantiate, but after that you just couldn't help yourself, could you, you horrid, squalid little Brandroid? Will you fault your comrades-in-pomowanking, your fellow-humanity-diminishers Campbell and Parille, for not similarly apologising? Nope. Does it occur to you that folk might simply be naive about and unfamiliar with the ways of Wiki? Nope. Does it occur to you for a second that your fixation with the minutiae of schismata is as pathetic as it is? Nope. No surprise that you're in love with the ghastly Daniel Barnes. The two of you should get married. It's a toss-up which of you is more revolting and pretentious, but I'm sure you'd be very happy together.

Wotta joke! As hilarious as Sewer's meltdown.

Apology, Hubris, Comeuppance, and Curtain Call

William Scott Scherk's picture

I must take James at his word, to be fair: if he says he had nothing to do with mentions of PARC at Wikipedia, then he had nothing to do with mentions of PARC at Wikipedia. By extension, all the Wikipedia activity under both Valliant accounts was either wholly Holly's efforts (under direction from James) or -- except for a few unidentified or admitted edits -- mostly Holly's doings (with and without direction/assistance/prods from James).

It is still unclear to what extent the two acknowledged Valliant household accounts (IP160 & Pelagius1) were shared between Mr and Mrs Valliant -- and it is obvious that James is unlikely to ever give a clear statement one way or another.

(with regard to Lance's note, "I'm sure a mind as sharp as yours has considered the other glaringly obvious possibility -- I should be explicit: in answer to a query put to Pelagius1's talk page, and answer was posted then removed, and the account that posted and immediately removed the answer was IP160. QED. It doesn't take a sharp mind to figure out what happened).

Perhaps Holly tried to identify herself -- as fellow occupant of the household, as shameless promoter and literary agent for PARC . . . but surely the clearest way to identify herself would have been to declare "I am James Valliant's wife." This she did finally admit, on June 13, yet not on the appropriate discussion pages or on the shared Valliant User page, but on Richard Lawrence's talk page.

**********************

What remains of the wholly understandable and laudable Valliant project to improve the varied articles on Rand/Objectivism? Well, the way is blocked for either James or his wife to contribute edits (as the Pelagius1 account, being an extension of IP160, is covered under the six-month topic ban). The reasons are straightforward: the Valliants engaged in persistent and willful flouting of Wikipedia policies, at the cost of personal embarrassment and a diminution of their credibility and reputation as good faith participants.

The Wikipedia policies against canvassing, campaigning, close relationships, shared accounts and meatpuppets are all clear, consistent and plain -- they each and together mean that any efforts to edit or game the system will not work -- since the tag team attempt has failed, and the invited intervention by Peikoff has failed, and the attempt to canvas SOLO members has failed, and since the attempt to beg, badger or curry favour with several editors have failed, and since the majority of the WikiProject Objectivism editors are thoroughly disheartened by the peekaboo and deception and general soap opera, James and Holly will have to adjust their tactics to reality.

I suggest to the tag team to be forthright and follow the recommendations for good faith participation in Wikipedia. The guidelines are fairly clear . . . **

My suggestion is to retire both accounts and to begin a fresh account for each member, according to the policy called "Clean start." As I noted earlier, shared accounts are in violation of policy.

I append the relevant suggestions at bottom. Although the topic ban would still extend to November, both Holly and James would avoid being suspected of gaming/deception, and be able to fully participate in Wikipedia discussions under a 'fresh flag.' Over time, consensus could be achieved, and appropriate and useful references to PARC can be added. Playing peekaboo with Pelagius1 bears zero benefits to the Valliants and to their shared interests.

Since I now accept James' word that he did not have any part in putting PARC references in the Wikipedia articles, I apologize unreservedly for my earlier assertions.

As for James' claim that "Holly tried to identify herself and to indicate, by content, which contributions belonged to whom, only to have this material removed from the discussion by others, as you probably already know." -- this is a confused and misleading statement.

At no time did Holly try to identify herself only to have this information removed. Below are the only items removed (by editor Richard Lawrence), bolded. Readers bear in mind that Pelagius1 has only made one edit under that account name (shown here). As I noted before, James admitted to making that edit in a private email to me. Readers can judge whether the removed material was an attempt to indicate which of the 1300 contributions belonged to whom . . . and can also judge the extent to which Holly Valliant tried to identify herself.

He has already publicly posted about this empty allegation, but I don't
have the link handy. I was the agent for the book, so I happen to know,
personally, that he got a standard (non-vanity) contract for the book. He
paid nothing. This liberal (yes, liberal) house sincerely believed in the
book. But when he wakes up, and he's quite ill right now, I'll have him
get the citation for you or post a new one himself.

Since it's come up as an issue, and although I would like to take credit
for all of this, he is the author of the new Wikipedia John Chamberlain
article, and the new Martin Anderson article, and he had the requested
James Joyce and F. A. Hayek and L. von Mises references in the Max Eastman
article at his fingertips. And all of those detailed citations from the
critical reception section of Atlas Shrugged. These are just a few of his
contributions here (via me) that I can recall.
Pelagius1 17:08,
20 May 2009 (UTC) [LINK]

Personal details about Valliant removed from the preceding comment by
RL0919. It was not my intention to solicit that type of information. --
RL0919 19:02, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

James' statement "I knew that "Pelagius1" was the name she recently chose, but I have no idea how to sort out the differences or what has been ascribed in the Histories to that handle" is spurious and misleading. As I noted, the single Objectivism(Ayn Rand) edit under Pelagius1's name was made by James Valliant. The full list of Pelagius1's contributions to Wikipedia (including only four article edits out of 85 contributions) is one click away, here. If James is claiming that he cannot tell which of the 1300 edits under the banned account name were done by him, and which by Holly, I can understand his confusion: the style is the same madcap, comma-raddled, over the top jamboree or expostulation that we have come to expect from the PARCmeisters. The funhouse burlesque of the Valliant/Wikipedia Wrassle has now reached its apogee . . .

******************

-- I will answer any appropriate and relevant questions posed, but otherwise I will bow out of this thread.

-- in answer to Lindsay's query far down the thread (and for which answer he presumably reinstated my SOLO posting privileges), the account in question at Wikipedia, the mixed Valliant tag team account was known only by its recorded IP (internet Protocol) address, 72.199.110.160. James Valliant's IP address is, you guessed it, 72.199.110.160. The blunder noted by Robert Campbell and I was that 72.199.110.160 posted an answer to Pelagius1 on Pelagius1's talk page, then attempted to delete the message. The message, although no longer showing on the page, is recorded on a change page by Wikipedia's mighty software engine, and can be seen as laid out by Robert Campbell. Since neither Holly nor James had the jam to come right out and admit that both accounts originated from their household, the blunder was rather funny, sad, pathetic, and an example of hubris . . . for a rather less dry exposition of the 'exposing' of the connection, see the entertaining post at ARCHN by Daniel Barnes, Author of His Own Misfortune.



WSS

________

**

To avoid accusations of sock puppetry, such users may want to make an advance declaration on their user pages. Closely connected users may be considered a single user for Wikipedia's purposes if they edit towards the same objectives. When editing the same articles, participating in the same community discussion, or supporting each other in any sort of dispute, closely related accounts should disclose the connection and observe relevant policies such as edit warring as if they were a single account. If they do not wish to disclose the connection, they should avoid editing in the same areas, particularly on controversial topics. (emphasis added)

Clean Start:

If you have a negative track record and you have decided to make a genuine, clean, and honest new start, and do not wish it to be tarnished by your prior conduct, you can simply discontinue using the old account( s ), and create an unconnected new account which becomes the only account you then use, and is used in a good manner.

Discontinuing the old account means specifically that the old account is not used for editing ever again. If the old account is later used in addition to a new account after supposedly being discontinued, then it has not been discontinued and would fall under the policy for alternative accounts, above.

When an account is discontinued, it is recommended that the old account be noted on its user page as being inactive, in order to prevent the switch being interpreted as an attempt to abusively sock puppet. The {{retired}} tag can be used.

Ha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

As this thread shows, once more, the name "Valliant" inevitably attracts a certain kind of attention from some, no matter what the context.

You'll never be forgiven by the Brandroids for questioning the veracity of the Brandens' portraits of Ayn Rand. They're demented and panic-stricken. Valliant Derangement Syndrome. Wear it as a badge of honour. Eye

Well, Linz...

James S. Valliant's picture

... she has made a difference there -- on so many issues -- and she's owned up and started to dialogue with others. We'll see. As this thread shows, once more, the name "Valliant" inevitably attracts a certain kind of inevitable attention from some, like moths to a flame, no matter what the context.

Thank you, but it's been rough lately, healthwise.

Evidently?

Robert Campbell's picture

In two consecutive sentences Mr. Perigo tells us:

To this day I haven't even looked at the stuff on Wiki that has been in contention. Evidently the Wiki editors have decreed that Holly, under one or more of her guises, breached protocol.

In other words, Mr. Perigo says he has no data, and expresses no interest in obtaining any.

Yet he concludes that "evidently" Holly Valliant was banned as IP160, and got into further hot water as Pelagius1.

Translated from Perigonian into English, the statement nets out as:

I have no idea who pulled those shenanigans at Wikipedia and I don't care to find out. My fellow Babsomaniac, Jim Valliant, had decided to pretend that his wife was responsible for all of them. As a gesture of loyalty to our common hatred, I'll pretend to believe him.

Robert Campbell

Both Jim and Holly Valliant Have a Conflict of Interest

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Valliant is so far gone in his lying that he expects readers here to believe that his wife, as AnonIP160, did all of the edit-warring on Wikipedia (including the insertion of gratuituous links to Jim Valliant’s book).

After Ms. Valliant, in her IP160 disguise, was given a six-month ban on editing Rand-related articles on May 12, he then wants us to believe that she popped right back up as Pelagius1, who went about vociferously defending the actions of AnonIP160, promoting PARC, and complaining vehemently about the editorial decision that PARC was an unreliable source.

The reason I asked whether Holly Valliant posted regularly on SOLOPassion under her husband’s name—and whether she was the actual author of PARC—is that time and time again, Pelagius1’s posts read like the work of the author and poster who has always presented himself to us as James Valliant, not as “The Magenta Hornet” or Holly Valliant.

Besides, if it was Holly Valliant who was doing her overzealous thing as AnonIP160, why didn’t she identify herself as IP160 after 160 was hit with a 6-month ban on May 12?

And if it was Holly Valliant who was sockpuppeting for IP160 as Pelagius1, why didn’t she admit who she was and what she was doing before now?

Why are we not hearing from Holly Valliant, right here on SOLOP, that she was AnonIP160 and Pelagius1? Why is it Jim Valliant who reappears here, a month after the IP160 ban, bearing this “news”?

In the end, Jim Valliant’s frantic charades will probably not succeed in their aim: to fend off more permanent sanctions against him at Wikipedia.

For even if we were gullible enough to believe that Holly Valliant authored material supersaturated with Jim Valliant’s preoccupations and densely covered with his stylistic fingerprints, her actions as AnonIP160, and more recently as Pelagius1, would still violate Wikipedia’s conflict of interest policy. Pelagius1 has gone so far as to demand that every citation to The Passsion of Ayn Rand or to Nathaniel Branden’s memoirs be accompanied by a citation to PARC. Kinda looks like a shameless effort to promote the work of someone near and dear…

Here are two pertinent items.

First, from Anon160’s Talk page.

*************

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

Topic ban

As logged in the Arbcom case, you are banned from editing articles related to Ayn Rand for six months. The ban expires 22:26 (UTC) 12 November, 2009. You can still participate in Talk page discussions on these articles. Any administrator may issue blocks to enforce this ban, if needed. EdJohnston (talk) 22:38, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

*****************

And from Pelagius1’s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde...

Conflict of Interest

If you have a close connection to some of the people, places or things you have written about in the article Template:Objectivism and Ayn Rand Cross Talk, you may have a conflict of interest. In keeping with Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy, edits where there is a conflict of interest, or where such a conflict might reasonably be inferred from the tone of the edit and the proximity of the editor to the subject, are strongly discouraged. If you have a conflict of interest, you should avoid or exercise great caution when:

1. editing or creating articles related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with;
2. participating in deletion discussions about articles related to your organization or its competitors; and
3. linking to the Wikipedia article or website of your organization in other articles (see Wikipedia:Spam).

Please familiarize yourself with relevant policies and guidelines, especially those pertaining to neutral point of view, verifiability of information, and autobiographies.

For information on how to contribute to Wikipedia when you have conflict of interest, please see our frequently asked questions for organizations. For more details about what, exactly, constitutes a conflict of interest, please see our conflict of interest guidelines.

Pelagius, I strongly encourage you to review Wikipedia's conflict of interest policy, especially with respect to "close relationships" and consider whether it is appropriate for you to be involved in the discussion about PARC at all. Thanks.KD Tries Again (talk) 18:03, 11 June 2009 (UTC) KD Tries Again

*****

Holly Valliant also has a blatant conflict of interest, where PARC is concerned.

Is Jim Valliant stupid enough to imagine that his wife will be permanently banned from Wikipedia in his place?

Robert Campbell

James!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Good to see you back in battle-mode.

I too can't imagine how Conspiracy Campbell expects you to answer his questions when he prefaces them with an accusation like that and is the very model of mendacity himself.

As you know, I'm not a fan of anonymity or pseudonymity. To this day I haven't even looked at the stuff on Wiki that has been in contention. Evidently the Wiki editors have decreed that Holly, under one or more of her guises, breached protocol. If you think the exercise worth pursuing—and frankly, I'm dubious—it would pay to address the editors' concerns. I'm assured some of them are Rand-friendly and ordinarily, absent these breaches, would be PARC-friendly.

Of course, nothing will mollify the Brandroids except something they call "total discredit." I hope, talking of a rich harvest of mirth, you caught Michael Sewer Kelly's hilarious meltdown quoted further down this thread. Smiling

Keep well, Buddy, and please—keep up the fight. Here, preferably. Eye

Mr. Valliant Never Intended to Tell the Truth

Robert Campbell's picture

On the other hand, after someone calls me a liar he should not expect any more answers.

No need to worry.

Mr. Valliant never intended to give truthful answers to any of the questions I asked.

Robert Campbell

Prof. Campbell

James S. Valliant's picture

You, sir, are the only one whom I can really count on to fabricate at the drop of a hat, so ignoring your authority on such matters should not be done lightly. Certainly not as lightly as we routinely dismiss the substance of your claims and the bizarre assumptions of your "questions."

I seriously doubt that even you actually think Dr. Peikoff would sign something I authored as his own, but I hesitate to call you a liar. It is just possible that you are no better than the likes of a UFO conspiracy crackpot who could pass a lie detector test about his various "convictions."

On the other hand, after someone calls me a liar he should not expect any more answers.

But know that your attention has not gone unnoticed, and that the Byzantine efforts that others always seem go through on my behalf are truly flattering to me. I also deeply appreciate that your posts almost invariably yield a rich harvest of fiction, and mirth.

Neil

James S. Valliant's picture

I think readers can see the exchange for themselves, Neil, but to answer the current question, not at all.

Questions for Mr. Valliant

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Valiiant,

Did the Ayn Rand Archives open its doors to Neil Parille, as you assured readers of this board you could and would arrange?

Did you assert, in editorial conversations at Wikipedia, that Cass Hewitt’s favorable review of PARC was evidence of your book’s impact?

Did you assert, in editorial conversations at Wikipedia, that Chris Sciabarra’s invitation to you to publish in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies is still open?

Is Dr. Sciabarra’s invitation to you still open?

Did you draft a complaint to Jimmy Wales about the decision to classify your book as an unreliable source, and ask Leonard Peikoff to put his name on it?

Did you ask Dr. Peikoff to cc me when he emailed the complaint to Jimmy Wales?

Did you lead Dr. Peikoff to believe that Barbara Branden had intervened in editorial conversations at Wikipedia, and was behind the decision to deem your book an unreliable source?

Did you annotate a copy of Barbara Branden’s email of May 16 (about your book being deemed unreliable) with a statement implying that Ms. Branden was behind the decision, and forward it to Lindsay Perigo?

Did you encourage Dr. Peikoff to put his complaint to Jimmy Wales on his website, without amending or retracting the charge against Barbara Branden?

Do you expect Dr. Peikoff to vouch for your book in any forum, including SOLOPassion and ObjectivistLiving?

Did Holly Valliant write The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics?

Robert Campbell

Say What

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You said: "To repeat: I did not provide citations from PARC, since she did not need me to do that."

To repeat, that was not the question. The question was: how and to what extent did you contribute to posts by Holly that mentioned PARC?

-Neil

James Valliant: Immune to Parody

Robert Campbell's picture

One would be hard pressed to find a purer exponent of lying for its own sake than James Valliant.

He has to value lying for its own sake. It cannot be as a means to an end, because he so often stands to gain nothing from it.

As in the following stretch of prose, where the lies end up canceling themselves out:

And, as its readers know, PARC does not argue, suggest or claim that anyone was "evil" from that surprise party, your [i.e., Neil Parille's] description is not apt, and you do nothing to substantiate such a serious claim on those pages of your paper. Claiming malice from the party would be ridiculous, and PARC does not make such a claim. The implication already present in PARC is that a bunch of people, including certainly her husband, may have been involved in this deception. The obvious purpose of the passage in PARC is to question the basis for the psychologizing by the Brandens on this topic (something you yourself call "speculation," I believe), and to foreshadow a developing habit of manipulating Rand through deception, whatever evaluation we place on each instance of it.

Boiled down, this passage says that Mr. Valliant never intended to state or imply that TheBrandens (TM) were evil on account of their involvement in a surprise party that Ayn Rand did not like. But after slipping and sliding through 4 sentences, Mr. Valliant admits that he did take TheBrandens' involvement as proof that they were into manipulating Ayn Rand through deception—which, of course, Mr. Valliant expects his readers to consider evil.

It very well could be that Mr. Valliant doesn't personally consider manipulating others through deception to be evil. Not, at least, when he is the one doing the manipulating. If that is his view, however, he couldn't exactly afford to proclaim in it the pages of his book.

The addled tangle of sleaze in the paragraph that I quoted is beyond parody. I doubt that even Holly Valliant could produce a plausible facsimile of it.

Unless, of course, Mrs. Valliant actually authored the posts here at SOLOP that have have always carried her husband's name and photo.

Robert Campbell

Say What?

James S. Valliant's picture

Huh? What evasion, Neil?

To repeat: I did not provide citations from PARC, since she did not need me to do that.

What "anyone could see" was that you had made a baseless assumption from what I said. (That is, your own habitual evasion.)

I (heart symbol) Prof. Campbell

James S. Valliant's picture

"Whatever"?

Holly did that, good sir, and maybe she will log in when she tries again.

Since Peikoff has so obviously backed away from PARC, as you once claimed, maybe you should consult your mind-reading skills to sort out her mighty "blunder."

Jim

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You write: "Holly's contributions are her own, but when asked, I provided citations, and tossed books and journals at her."

I then said: "So you did have something to do with her posts referencing PARC, it seems."

Now, as anyone could see, my point was that you appeared to admit that you
were providing research to Holly for her PARC edits.

You responded: "And, no, most of Holly's edits had nothing to do with PARC, for which she certainly does not to need me to provide citations."

This was a classic non-response response.

Look Jim, I don't blame you if you were inserting references to PARC or helping your wife by providing help in her PARC edits. (Although the quantity and context is suspect.) In the grand scheme of things it ranks up there with not flossing after you brush, but why the evasion?

-Neil

Mr. Valliant's Blunder of June 14, 2009

Robert Campbell's picture

Here, as noted by Mr. Scherk, is the online blunder committed by Mr. Valliant yesterday.

It only took him 7 minutes to catch it, but it left a trace.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde...

**********

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Line 80:

Pelagius1, are you by any chance the Pelagius who posts (or used to post) on Hatrack? Or on AI Jane? Just wondering. -[[User:Lisa|Lisa]] ([[User talk:Lisa|talk]]) 14:28, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

: Sorry you had to wait so long, but, no, I don't think so. It's just a great name, from a certain philosophical point of view.[[Special:Contributions/72.199.110.160|72.199.110.160]] ([[User talk:72.199.110.160|talk]]) 12:04, 14 June, 2009.

Current revision as of 19:13, 14 June 2009 (edit) (undo)
72.199.110.160 (talk)
(→Hey there)

Line 80:

Pelagius1, are you by any chance the Pelagius who posts (or used to post) on Hatrack? Or on AI Jane? Just wondering. -[[User:Lisa|Lisa]] ([[User talk:Lisa|talk]]) 14:28, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

***********

Mr. Valliant may prefer to blame it on his meat puppet. Or on his sock puppet.

Whatever.

Robert Campbell

Neil

James S. Valliant's picture

I knew that "Pelagius1" was the name she recently chose, but I have no idea how to sort out the differences or what has been ascribed in the Histories to that handle. Not a clue. And, no, most of Holly's edits had nothing to do with PARC, for which she certainly does not to need me to provide citations.

Motive

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You state:
___

I have no idea what those designations Neil used mean.
___

You didn't know what Pelagius1 and IP160 are?

You then say:
____

Holly's contributions are her own, but when asked, I provided citations, and tossed books and journals at her.
___

So you did have something to do with her posts referencing PARC, it seems.

-NEIL

Interest in Rand

Brant Gaede's picture

JV: "Interest in Rand has dramatically increased lately."

Digression: Two years ago Rand material for sale on eBay was about three pages of listings.

Last I checked it's ten pages.

These data can be ambiguous. They can mean this or that or both this and that.

--Brant

That IP160 and Pelagius1 are

Lance's picture

That IP160 and Pelagius1 are the same entity is also shown by a blunder made by James/IP160 today.

While that is a reasonable conclusion, I'm sure a mind as sharp as yours has considered the other glaringly obvious possibility.

Motive

James S. Valliant's picture

No, Mr. S., let me try again: I had nothing to do with mentions of PARC at Wikipedia. I have no idea what those designations Neil used mean. At the Wikipedia discussion, Holly tried to identify herself and to indicate, by content, which contributions belonged to whom, only to have this material removed from the discussion by others, as you probably already know. While the debate over PARC has aged with the book, interest in Rand has dramatically increased lately. One of my favorite Holly-contributions remains as the first four paragraphs of the "Early Activism..." section (and the title) of the Ayn Rand biography there. Check it out. Made me proud. See, many of our friends have worried that the wave of new Rand readers being born out there would be poisoned with the worst deceptions of her critics. Holly's contributions are her own, but when asked, I provided citations, and tossed books and journals at her. Of course, I was outraged when Holly told me that John Chamberlain had no biography at all over there, so I submitted one, as she said that she lacked the confidence to do so. The same happened with Martin Anderson. But I was and remain, in general, a skeptic of their standards and practices. But don't let me interrupt your sermon.

Own goal for the A Team

William Scott Scherk's picture

Neil Parille asks of James Valliant a couple of questions, in reaction to James' announcement that "the editor in question" is his wife, Holly Valliant.

Neil: 1. Which editor? Pelagius1?
James: _______________________

Neil: 2. IP160 was banned for uncivil behavior and various violations of Wikipedia protocol. How many of IP160's posts were you, and how many your wife? Were you the one inserting the references to PARC?
James: Ask someone who knows, Neil, cause I sure don't.

At best, James' answers are disingenuous and obscure. The take home message from the non-answers is that James would like all to believe that he has had nothing to do with any activity on WIkipedia under the account IP160, let alone working up PARC references. (I did not "insert" PARC anywhere.)

The objective record shows otherwise. James has been editing Wikipedia articles on Rand/Objectivism since mid-December of 2008, until he was topic banned on 12 May 2009. He subsequently resumed contributing to Wikipedia on 19 May 2009, under the account Pelagius1. He admitted to an edit using this account in a private email to me.

Facts: there are two Wikipedia accounts that originate in the Valliant household, IP 160 and Pelagius1. The editors at Wikipedia, and the administrator who banned IP160 from editing any Rand/Objectivist articles, have concluded that for all intents and purposes, the two accounts are the same. The two shared accounts are in a conflict of interest with regard to promoting PARC. This has been pointed out to James/Holly/IP160/Pelagius1, to no avail. It very well could be that James' wife Holly has shared some tasks with James (sharing Wikipedia accounts is forbidden), but it is also obvious that the vast majority of the pre-banning edits were performed by James -- as Pelagius1 has acknowledged in Wikipedia discussions. That IP160 and Pelagius1 are the same entity is also shown by a blunder made by James/IP160 today.

It is unfortunate for James' goals to 'correct the record' that he attempted to obscure his identity as the author of the book whose references he urges be restored to Wikipedia. It is troubling that given ample opportunity to declare his interests, he has declined to do so. It is doubly unfortunate that he coaxed Leonard Peikoff into complaining -- this merely alerted the Wikipedia crew that undue pressure was being applied and that efforts to subvert Wikipedia policy were underway. This move almost guaranteed that no action would be taken to reinsert references to PARC in the present climate.

Oddly, James has strong support for the aim of having PARC represented in references in Wikipedia's articles on Ayn Rand and Objectivism -- from several of his sparring partners here on SOLO. I myself support the inclusion of PARC references, where appropriate, as do Robert Campbell, Neil Parille and Ellen Stuttle.

I attempted to alert and aid James in private messages on Facebook and email (copied to Lindsay at the time) -- I warned him that there was Wikipedia rumour to the effect that IP160 was actually him and I also let him know at the time (late May) that I doubted he was the anonymous editor; I warned him that coming clean was the best policy if he was indeed posting as IP160. I invited him to check his IP address against the rumours, since it would come out in the wash anyway.

He declined to come clean, and thereby wrecked his reputation at Wikipedia; any project to include PARC in Rand/Objectivism articles will need to wait for a fresh crew who are not sick of the gamesmanship, posturing and disingenuous bullshit that occlude the issue presently.


WSS

-- I should note that James' many contributions to Wikipedia Rand/Objectivist articles were generally useful, sharpening and improving the articles he edited: many of his edits have been retained. The inclusion of references to PARC have been removed for several reasons, chief among which that the editorial additions are partisan rather than 'neutral,' that they put forward a particular point of view rather than a synoptic. That mention of PARC has been stripped out of the very places where it should still remain should not be laid at the feet of an anti-Rand cabal at Wikipedia. The blame should squarely be laid at the feet of the disingenuous, arrogant and presumptuous actor who attempted to ride roughshod over keen and committed editors. You can't promote your own interests, work or partisan point of view and get away with it on Wikipedia, as many have discovered, from the State Department to Jimbo Wales himself . . .

(Edited for clarity, June 14)

Yes

Brant Gaede's picture

Yes, Robert, I do think she could do that. She's in love with him. Establishing whether JV is an inveterate liar is an ad hominem approach to the discussion. This is understandable to an extent, because anonymous representations of oneself on Wikipedia is an ad hominem approach to a discussion over there too, to an extent, when one's actual identity represents a conflict of interest.

--Brant

Which Editor? When?

Robert Campbell's picture

Could it be that Holly Valliant has developed the talent of writing like Holly Valliant some of the time, and writing like Jim Valliant the rest of the time?

Robert Campbell

Linz, on technical website issues [UPDATE, 7/10/09]

Ellen Stuttle's picture

CORRECTION:

At some point in the last couple days (I'm writing at about noon, EDT, Friday July 10, 2009) the OL site has been "upgraded." The current result for the formerly excellent and fast OL Search function is to render it almost as slow and awkward to use as SOLO's. OL's Search function does still have the advantage of being reliable -- that is, it will find all posts using X criteria in which a search term is correctly spelled.

None of the OL links I gave in the comparative examples below still works.

 

 

===

 

"Stephen's posts, for instance, appear on the front page when he posts, and are usually blue-stickied by me for a few days. How can I make them more obvious than that?"

 

Linz,

Here's the problem. It's not that a new post by Stephen isn't made obvious. It's the difficulties of finding information one might want for research in the whole history of his posts.

Suppose that I want to find:

 

(1) All of Stephen's posts on SOLO.

As best I'm aware, there are only two ways to do this. One is to enter "Stephen Boydstun" in the Search slot. If I do that, I'm taken to a Google search screen:

SB's posts on SOLO

If you click on the link, you'll see that you get a list of 291 entries (as of this posting). If I wanted to see the individual posts, I'd have to click one by one on the Google links. And there's no guarantee that all of his posts on SOLO have been linked on Google -- nor that all the links are to posts by him; some might be to posts which refer to him using his full name.

The other way to find his posts on SOLO is to go to his user "Track" record. The "Track" feature is just horribly awkward and time-consuming to use -- one has to hunt and peck through threads, one by one.

 

By contrast, click here:

SB's posts on OL

You're instantly given the entire text of Stephen's (to date) 313 posts on OL, in order of posting (either reverse or forward, whichever you ask for), and with a link to the thread in which the original post appears.

The search procedure (going to Stephen's userprofile, clicking "Find user's posts," and waiting a few seconds for the results) takes less than a minute -- and gives a complete list of Stephen's posts with no one else's mixed in.

 

(2) References in Stephen's posts to a particular subject.

I know of no way to find those on SOLO except by the iffy procedure of entering "Stephen Boydstun" [term X] in the Search slot.

Suppose, for instance, I want to find all the posts in which Stephen mentioned Aquinas. I enter:

"Stephen Boydstun" Aquinas

I get this Google screen:

SB on Aquinas on SOLO

It lists 47 entries. I'd have to click on each entry separately to see what was said, and I don't know if there are entries which weren't Google linked. Plus some of the entries will be entries by someone other than Stephen in which both SB and Aquinas were mentioned.

 

By contrast, suppose I search on OL for "Aquinas" in Stephen's posts.

Performing the search takes less than a minute.

I get:

SB on Aquinas on OL

There are 7 entries, all by Stephen, the full text of which appears in date order, and with a link to the original thread. (For some reason the word "Aquinas" didn't highlight in a couple of the entries, I suppose because of being followed by punctuation.)

I can be confident that the list is complete unless someplace there's a mention of Aquinas where Stephen misspelled the name.

 

Try another example: Nozick.

If I search on SOLO, I get:

SB on Nozick on SOLO

On OL, by contrast, in less than a minute, I get:

SB on Nozick on OL

 

(3) References in everyone's posts to a particular subject.

Let's do Nozick again.

Searching on SOLO I get:

Nozick references on SOLO

On OL:

Nozick references on OL

 

If you see what I mean about how very much easier it is on OL to get search results -- and in a form where the results are easy to use and compare.

 

Linz: "To be candid, on the few occasions I went to Lying, I couldn't find an effing thing."

Others, too, have complained of difficulties finding things on OL. One has to learn the site-navigation tricks. When those are learned, however, sailing around the place is simple, and fast.

Ellen

ICE

Brant Gaede's picture

I think "back on the ice" is a hockey reference.

It's silly to put so much on a party that started out by discomforting Ayn Rand. I think she should have sucked it up, and apparently she did. While I've never had a surprise party, I don't think I would like one. You go someplace with one idea in your mind that you've been thinking about for a few days or a week or so and all that gets ripped out--SURPRISE! Only you get surprised, no one else. The guest becomes the victim. But again, small potatoes, especially if that was the end of it. Doesn't anybody here understand that social and personal interactions involve mistakes and inadvertent hurts--friction? What's "evil" got to do with it?

--Brant

Neil

James S. Valliant's picture

Thank you, but I am not quite "on ice," yet.

Ask someone who knows, Neil, cause I sure don't. I did not "insert" PARC anywhere.

And, as its readers know, PARC does not argue, suggest or claim that anyone was "evil" from that surprise party, your description is not apt, and you do nothing to substantiate such a serious claim on those pages of your paper. Claiming malice from the party would be ridiculous, and PARC does not make such a claim. The implication already present in PARC is that a bunch of people, including certainly her husband, may have been involved in this deception. The obvious purpose of the passage in PARC is to question the basis for the psychologizing by the Brandens on this topic (something you yourself call "speculation," I believe), and to foreshadow a developing habit of manipulating Rand through deception, whatever evaluation we place on each instance of it.

Really?

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

Good to see you back on the ice.

1. Which editor? Pelagius1?

2. IP160 was banned for uncivil behavior and various violations of Wikipedia protocol. How many of IP160's posts were you, and how many your wife? Were you the one inserting the references to PARC?

3. As far as the suprise party goes, I think the term "evil" is apt. See pages 32-33 of my critique for documentation:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/9421...

-Neil

Duh

James S. Valliant's picture

Forgive me if I am short and sweet. The editor in question was, of course, Holly, a passionate believer in all that she writes.

(With Jim away, Neilo will play: PARC accuses someone of being "evil" for that surprise party?)

Well ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... webmasters are there to have suggestions made to them. But suggest to me: what would you have me do? Stephen's posts, for instance, appear on the front page when he posts, and are usually blue-stickied by me for a few days. How can I make them more obvious than that? This is not a rhetorical question. I genuinely want this site to be as user-friendly as possible. To be candid, on the few occasions I went to Lying, I couldn't find an effing thing. I had to go back and ask for a specific address for the specific thread I had been referred to. But I am a DBT (Dizzy Bitch Technophobe).

That aside, again I say, moral hygiene must surely count for something. If you dip your fundamentals any old place, you get moral AIDS.

Linz, re your puzzlement

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Linz:

"Do you somehow miss stuff, Ellen? Or is it a function of the fact that every day there is so much new material?"

Linz, you're a self-confessed mere skimmer of only occasional threads on OL. A comparison between subject-matter concentration and volume between the two sites gives a very different portrait of the two. Re volume, the volume there is much more than here.

Yes, Stephen posts here, and, yes, I read Stephen's posts here -- but they're not near what can be found, and easily by comparison, on OL. (He also posts on RoR. Stephen is concerned with content, not where it appears.)

I will repeat that your research features here aren't remotely comparable in providing the ease of researching which the OL software provides. Please don't again say, as you have before, make suggestions to the webmaster. The two software packages are different, the two lists are different -- in style, in emphasis, in facilities, in interests of the people who post. The one doesn't substitute for the other.

Ellen

Puzzling ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Bob Kolker, whoever he is, is not banned here.

And Stephen posts on the subjects you mention here. I'm not impressed with his lack of moral hygiene, but I give him free rein. Do you somehow miss stuff, Ellen? Or is it a function of the fact that every day there is so much new material? Is there something more we need to do to make it more conspicuous?

A word about OL - to Greg, et al.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Greg:

"How could one contribute to such a site [OL]? Set up in part to defend the Brandens!"

Greg,

There are lots of reasons why people might post on OL which have nothing to do with the OL/SOLO divide and/or the Rand/Brandens split and/or issues pertaining to PARC.

The PARC-related threads get lots of reads, but I think that many of the reads are from people who aren't members on OL.

Meanwhile, many OL threads pertain to foundational questions of metaphysics, epistemology, mathematics, physics which interest a number of people, even if they don't interest you.

Plus, the OL software is excellently suited to detailed discussion (with easy quote and tracking features) and to research of past discussion, unlike SOLO's software.

You'd find, if you checked carefully, that a number of the most frequent posters on OL threads today are persons who weren't even born at the time of the Rand/Brandens split and who never or seldom appear on the PARC threads.

Then, for instance, there's Bob Kolker (70+) who has particular areas of expertise which are talked about on OL and aren't much on SOLO (and he might be banned on SOLO, I'm not sure).

Also -- an important "also" for me -- Stephen Boydstun posts much excellent material on OL. Stephen's posts are a gold mine for persons interested in foundational philosophic, mathematic, scientific subjects -- and as best I recall he doesn't post about the schism issues.

OL is a complex and multi-faceted site. I don't post there any longer. MSK and I do not get along. But I'm really glad that OL is still thriving because there's much which I find valuable to be read there. Obviously, there's much which others find valuable -- and for reasons which might have nothing to do with the particular subjects uppermost for you in comparing the two lists.

Ellen

Erasmus, Montaigne, "higher lunacy," "comedy of"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Neil:

"It reminds me of Erasmus' description of something (I forget what): 'a comedy of a higher lunacy.'"

Ummm... the phrase is catchy, but I don't think it fits the particulars.

I did some tracking of the history.

Looks like Erasmus used "higher lunacy" and Montaigne then used "the comedy of the higher lunacy."

 

Warning: The URLs blow my Safari browser; they work using Firefox.

 

http://tinyurl.com/mj2say

The Theological Origins of Modernity
by Michael Allen Gillespie
"Erasmus like most humanists had an antipathy to metaphysics, which in his mind was closely connected to scholasticism and to the debates between the scholastics and the nominalists. He famously described these debates as 'higher lunacy.'"

 

http://tinyurl.com/l5d7gk

The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza
by Richard Henry Popkin
Popkin is describing Montaigne's views:
"When we look at the entire biological kingdom, and examine the lives of the animals and of man, and then compare them with the boasts of the philosophers about man's mental abilities, we cannot avoid being overwhelmed by the 'comedy of the higher lunacy'.

 

Ellen

James Valliant's Comedy of a Higher Lunacy

Neil Parille's picture

Ellen,

I suspect that Pelagius is mostly James Valliant, but occasionaly Holly Valliant. Even when Holly is doing the typing, I think that she is acting as Valliant's amanuensis much of the time.

The latest batch of posts were clearly James Valliant as you indicate.

We started with Valliant's nutty book which (among other things) accused the Brandens of being evil for attending a surprise party for Rand. Then we had Valliant's defense of the book in which he (among other things) told us that he could put stuff in quotes even if they weren't literal quotes ("Valliantquoats"). Now we have blatant sockpuppetry and meatpuppetry, and a bizarre claim that all references to the Brandens' books must include a reference to PARC.

It reminds me of Erasmus' description of something (I forget what): "a comedy of a higher lunacy."

-Neil

Frank Nuttiness

Robert Campbell's picture

Brant says:

I'm worried about James Valliant. To make a statement to Wikipedia that all references in Wikipedia to the Brandens also reference PARC is, frankly, nuts.

It most certainly is.

And Mr. Perigo has been so busy bobbing and weaving, he doesn't seem to have noticed what shape his ally is in.

Robert Campbell

"this mysterious Pelagius1" - Neil

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Neil, you write:

This is what Mr. Pelagius said:
"I do live in the same house with him, but he'd rather I not do this at all. He is one my expert advisers and sometimes uses this account too. But never about himself. Wikipedia -- if you check the changes -- is the much better for it. I avidly and shamelessly promote him."

That post and some others from the same time period I think were by Holly not by James. Another of "Pelagius1"s posts from the same sequence says that James was sleeping and the poster didn't want to wake him, plus a detail about his state of health which was deleted by another editor as being too personal.

Then there were some posts which had James not Holly styling. Then a break. The current group of posts (last I looked, more than 36 hours ago) was unmistakably by James (giveaway style features).

Ellen

On and On

Brant Gaede's picture

I don't think we are going to hear further from Dr. Peikoff on this matter. If someone asks him a question in a public venue he might elaborate a little. He'll probably just refer to his published statement. I doubt if he'll explain how he used the DIM hypothesis in evaluating the matter much less normal thinking. He stonewalled Barbara's bio when it was published and PARC will get--and has gotten--essentially the same treatment. The supportive letter is only a retrenchment. He'll stay hunkered down. You really can't stay King of the Hill and engage hoi polloi. He tossed JV a bone and went back inside. That's always been the problem with the orthodox in Objectivism. Someone is on top. One can understand Rand being there, but LP preserved the structure by replacing her. This structure is incompatible with individualism though part and parcel with the philosophy as explicated starting with Atlas Shrugged.

I'm worried about James Valliant. To make a statement to Wikipedia that all references in Wikipedia to the Brandens also reference PARC is, frankly, nuts.

--Brant

The Peikovian Predicament

Robert Campbell's picture

Gregster is clearly not getting it.

Continuing despicable efforts from Pariah Parille; he complains of only one forthcoming defender for PARC at Wiki - Leonard Peikoff. Oh, only, Peikoff? Not somebody who actually knows his stuff then?

Leonard Peikoff was the original sponsor of Mr. Valliant's opus.

I had thought, wrongly as it turned out, that when push came to shove even Dr. Peikoff would see Mr. Valliant and his book as an embarrassment.

After all, the arrangement was for Dr. Peikoff to afford access to the diaries, ARI to sell the book, and Mr. Valliant and his crew would do the rest. Dr. Peikoff was to stay back, the Estate and ARI were to keep well back, and Mr. Valliant was to do all the dirty work. Deniability and dignity could be largely preserved.

Well, it's been four years, and Dr. Peikoff finally stepped out into the light. After desperate begging and pleading from Mr. Valliant and however many partisans he still has. After being lied to concerning the involvement of Barbara Branden.

Yes, this means that Mr. Valliant will not be left entirely twisting in the wind, as he deserves. And ARI's remaining stash of PARCs won't be trucked to the pulper, as they deserve. Because of Dr. Peikoff's pontifical status, ARI is locked in regarding Mr. Valliant's opus, until Dr. Peikoff dies or is declared non compos mentis.

But Dr. Peikoff has taken on a bunch of new exposures, not least of them a pissing contest with Wikipedia that he is unlikely to win.

He didn't want to have to defend Mr. Valliant's book in public. Now he will have to, or his public declarations will be written off as empty gestures.

Gregster crows that Dr. Peikoff "actually knows his stuff," but the Peikoff to Wales missive has Dr. Peikoff claiming to know all about the matters covered in PARC. Well, Topic A in PARC is Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden, an affair that began and ended while Dr. Peikoff was a member of Ms. Rand's Inner Circle. Yet Dr. Peikoff apparently did not learn of the affair until after Ayn Rand's death. Does Dr. Peikoff really want to relive all of that? Does he want to answer questions about all of it?

Dr. Peikoff had some excellent reasons not to want to defend PARC in public.

They remain excellent reasons, but now he's stuck in a role that for all these years he's badly wanted to avoid.

Robert Campbell

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

Who do you think this mysterious Pelagius1 is?

This is what Mr. Pelagius said:

"I do live in the same house with him, but he'd rather I not do this at all. He is one my expert advisers and sometimes uses this account too. But never about himself. Wikipedia -- if you check the changes -- is the much better for it. I avidly and shamelessly promote him."

Why can't he name himself? Don't Mr. Pelagius' comments sound exactly like James Valliant's?

And do you really think that Anon160 -- who anonymously edited out existing references, and replaced them with references to PARC and who has the same IP address as Valliant -- is not Jim Valliant? Do you support Anon160's continued violation of Wikipedia's rules, after being told to stop?

And is Valliant really so ill he can say not one sentence about this alleged housemate who is dragging his credibility through the mud and getting him banned in the very public forum of Wikipedia?

What if you had a housemate who was dragging your credibility through the mud? Wouldn't you say something about it?

Gregster

Brant Gaede's picture

I am not RC and not MSK. Are you LP?

Do you remember my initial involvement in this thread, when I merely asked LP for a reference?

Because I like you I suggest a broader context: freedom, individualism, rationality, happiness--not SOLOP. I post here; you post here, there is a difference though. What is it? I always plead for my context. What context is yours? Mine? No. Why do we have this context conflict? What are you championing? What do you want to champion? Are they the same? Please understand, I support SOLOP. I actually admire what Linz has created here. Okay. I don't admire him. If he says Barbara Branden did or is X,Y, and Z and these are, like, negative and I ask him for his evidence because she's my friend--and she is--and he doesn't in the particulars mentioned--then he and I simply stop on that except he probably calls me a few names. Did I try to defend her? I only asked for the evidence as per his particulars. It is a defense as far as it goes but Linz didn't go--any farther.

And can you understand why I will not engage anyone on the moral status per se of a friend of mine who is his or her purported enemy? I grant Lindsay the privilege of being Barbara Branden's enemy. I grant it to anyone. Fine. Call her names. But when you say she did X and I ask for evidence Y to support X and he doesn't cough it up then ...

For me, that's all. Robert Campbell has his thing and MSK has his. Mine is mine. Mine is I'm Barbara's friend.

--Brant

Dear me!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What is this "it" for which "they" have asked over and over ad infinitum again? And who are "they"? What is the "crap" that is going to end one way or the other?!

Do keep copying and pasting this stuff, Gregster. It's nearly as good as a Campbell theory conspiracy for comedic value. Eye

Ho hum

gregster's picture

"sounds like he's attached to the outside of a rocketship leaving the atmosphere banging on a window trying to get inside."

Gratuitous Brant, under the latent influence of the Other Side?

Speaking of which; how about this shocking school kid prose from your mate Sewer Kelly. To his credit though, he has repeatedly apologetically excused the depravity of his scrawlings.

"They wanted it. They wanted it again when they didn't get it. Then they wanted it again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.

Well they finally got it. Now live with it.

I'm not letting up. This crap is going to end one way or the other. I'm shooting for total discredit and I'm willing to go there if that is what it takes.

I find it strange that people like Mr. Perren (and he is not the only one) never make a similar question about having "much greater battles to fight" against the Perigos and Vallaints in the subcommunity. This is only reserved for the side that they attack over and over and over."

How could one contribute to such a site? Set up in part to defend the Brandens!

Continuing despicable efforts from Pariah Parille; he complains of only one forthcoming defender for PARC at Wiki - Leonard Peikoff. Oh, only, Peikoff? Not somebody who actually knows his stuff then?

Total discredit has come for you MSK.

The diminishers' response to

jeffrey smith's picture

The diminishers' response to those on my side of the divide is that we have some strange psychological need to believe that Rand was "perfect," notwithstanding that none of us has said that, believes it or needs to believe it. We do say she was heroic. They say the whole notion of hero-worship is inappropriate for adults.

There are four ways to look at the underlying dispute
1) Rand was a generally admirable person, who consistently attempted to put her own philosophical convictions into action; and therefore her good character shows what Objectivism is capable of, as a positive thing.
(Lindsay, I'm assuming this would describe your position, and most of the other people here at SOLO.)

2)Rand was not a generally admirable person, who consistently attempted to put her own philosophical convictions into action, and therefore her bad character shows what Objectivism is capable of, as a negative thing.

3)Rand was not a generally admirable person, who did not consistently attempt to put her own philosophical convictions into action. 3a) Her character flaws therefore do not reflect badly on Objectivism, but suggest what could be avoided if one actually tries to put Objectivism into practice in one's own life. 3b) Her character flaws do reflect badly on Objectivism, and suggest the negative outcomes which would be caused by trying to put Objectivism in practice.

(I'll leave it to you to decide which alternative fits the various individuals involved in Branden and Co.)

4) What Rand did and said should be almost totally irrelevant to the merits of Objectivism, which is a philosophical system to judged as such, and the sooner you forget about Rand, the better.

(Me; although I will gladly read Rand biography for the entertainment value.)

It probably won't surprise you to find out that that I'm not in favor of hero-worship. I think it diminishes humanity, because it encourages the idea that the "hero" is somehow greater than the hero-worshipper, not in actions but in essence; that he or she achieved something that the hero-worshipper thinks him/herself incapable of achieving--that the hero is somehow superhuman. IOW, it discourages the hero worshipper from going out and being a hero him/herself.

Or to put it in a more positive phrasing: Hero worship is fine as long as the hero you are worshipping is yourself.

Jeff P

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I doubt that I spend anything like even the 10% that you ascribe to me of my energies on SOLO on this stuff. But I do think it's important to take on the Rand-diminishers who spend 100% of their time on this stuff because for so long the Rand-diminishing biographies by their pin-ups were taken as gospel. James Valliant, bolstered by Rand's own journals, gave the lie to much of the negative stereotyping of Rand's character in which the diminishers revelled. The diminishers' response to those on my side of the divide is that we have some strange psychological need to believe that Rand was "perfect," notwithstanding that none of us has said that, believes it or needs to believe it. We do say she was heroic. They say the whole notion of hero-worship is inappropriate for adults. One of them has confessed quite openly to being a "humanity-diminisher."

On these matters one should not practise moral equivalence or sniffily ascribe superiority to staying out of the debate. My advice to all is: if you want to stay out, fine; but in that case stay out completely; don't enter once in a blue moon with something half-assed.

One of the reasons I seldom bother with Prof. Campbell is that he argues as though no one ever answered him. I've addressed the Sciabarra matter umpty-tum times yet still he proceeds with his version of events which is flat-out wrong. I note he is now using it as the pretext for his whole anti-Valliant anti-Perigo rampage, which he describes as "giving [us] hell". That gave me as good a laugh as his claim Valliant and I were conspiring to take over TAS. With the presumption and vanity typical of a pomo-academic, the Prof. grossly overestimates his own import.

Fair Questions

Jeff Perren's picture

I suspected I was going to regret getting involved in this discussion, but in for a penny, in for a dime.

"I would take this question seriously if Mr. Perren had ever addressed it to Mr. Valliant, or to his chief ally Mr. Perigo."

Fair enough. It's his forum (and both your lives) so you're of course both free to spend them as you wish and he can answer for himself. But I find it just as puzzling on Linz' part that he bothers excoriating you, Mr. Parille, B. or N. Branden, and on and on. Although, I do notice he spends about 90% of his time on this forum praising or condemning other things, which I don't see from any of the aforementioned. [Edit: 'Any' is too broad a brush. Narrow it to exclude B. and N. Branden; I have no idea what they do with their time.]

The same comments apply to Mr. Valliant (and to an extent his book) and on the latter (his book) I actually said so when the initial discussions of it began oh so long ago. When I read the title I was excited because I thought he was going to take on, oh I don't know, Buckley and Chambers or who knows who. I was disappointed when I found out the actual subject of the book. I can understand why some people get exercised over the subject because they see it as an important application of justice to defend Ayn Rand's character, and at least in part in order to clear the way for a more open and unbiased discussion of her philosophy. But in my view, her character needs no defending both because it was so obviously great in so many important respects and because she's been dead for decades. Frankly, I couldn't care less whether Wittgenstein, or Brand Blanshard for that matter, buggered little boys. (I don't know that either did; it's just an analogy.) Also, I disagreed with James at the time about the 'clearing the way' issue because anyone who attacks her philosophy on the basis that she failed to live up to it or she engaged in 'immoral behavior' or whatever is just using it as a smokescreen and has no real interest in ideas, anyway. He disagreed. As that's an empirical issue, I'm satisfied to let observation of future events settle the matter.

But, I am no longer puzzled about my original question.

"PS. Mr. Perren seems perplexed, but there's no real mystery to it. When Mr. Valliant and Mr. Perigo took part in the tag-team denunciation of Chris Sciabarra, they made it personal for me. When they abjectly apologize, in front of all Rand-land, for the way they treated him, I will stop giving them hell. Not until, not unless."

This explains everything vis-a-vis Dr. Campbell's actions on this issue... and that's the end of my dime. Now I'm going to go concentrate on something more important, to me at any rate.

A More Pertinent Question

Neil Parille's picture

Jeff,

You write:

_____

If you dislike these people, if you think them immoral, how much valuable time and energy do you think it worthwhile to devote to exposing their immorality again and again? Aren't there much greater battles to fight?

_____

A much better question would be the following, directed to Mr. Valliant: If you believe the Brandens books are so flawed and so dishonest, why, instead of spending hundreds of hours on and off-line pumping the book, didn't you instead take a one-hour drive to the Archives and publish some of the interviews and documents that would expose lie after lie of the Brandens?

-Neil Parille

A Peculiar Defense

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perren asks:

It isn't much of a speculation to suppose that those are higher priorities than answering what are in essence the same questions from the same parties over and over again.

Not much of a defense of Mr. Valliant's conduct, since over at Wikipedia he's busying himself doing exactly that. The only difference is that there he pretends not to be James Valliant, whereas here he identifies himself. And over there the cast of characters is different.

Besides, none of the questions that I asked in my previous post has been answered by Mr. Valliant—at any time, in any forum.

Specifically, it's Mr. Valliant's inability to get the Ayn Rand Archives to respond favorably to his "open sesame" that appears to explain his recent lengthy absences from this site. He has never stated in a public forum why he was so sure he could get Neil Parille admitted to the Archives... or why Neil Parille was never in fact admitted to those precincts.

Why this crusade against Valiant (and Perigo, and....). If you dislike these people, if you think them immoral, how much valuable time and energy do you think it worthwhile to devote to exposing their immorality again and again? Aren't there much greater battles to fight?

I would take this question seriously if Mr. Perren had ever addressed it to Mr. Valliant, or to his chief ally Mr. Perigo.

I never see Mr. Perren asking:

Why did Mr. Valliant feel a need to publish his opus? Why did he feel a need to defend it, in the manner that he has, for 4 years running? Is denouncing "the Brandens" more important than promoting freedom and reason?

Why doesn't Mr. Perigo ... put a crimp on his Babsomania? Desensitize his Sciabarrophobia? Can't he get over his Campbell Complex? Will there be any cure for his StewartKellyosis? Couldn't he lower the gain on his Perille Diminution?

Since Mr. Perren never asks such questions, he must be presupposing that criticisms of Mr. Valliant's conduct and Mr. Perigo's conduct are always and everywhere unwarranted.

But in that case, he ought to be prepared to defend their conduct.

I haven't noticed him doing any of that.

Robert Campbell

PS. Mr. Perren seems perplexed, but there's no real mystery to it. When Mr. Valliant and Mr. Perigo took part in the tag-team denunciation of Chris Sciabarra, they made it personal for me. When they abjectly apologize, in front of all Rand-land, for the way they treated him, I will stop giving them hell. Not until, not unless.

Valliant

Brant Gaede's picture

sounds like he's attached to the outside of a rocketship leaving the atmosphere banging on a window trying to get inside.

--Brant

Valliant

Neil Parille's picture

Jeff,

Valliant is well enough to show up on Wikipedia using his sockpuppet Pelagius1, so he could show up here as either himself or Charlie McCarthy.

As far as the issues I and others have with Valliant, I can only speak for myself. Valliant denounced me as dishonest, committing evasion, having a "reading problem," etc. for simply pointing out basic mistakes in his book. When I asked a question such as "did you consult the archives on this?" all I got was smart-aleky responses. After four years of talking about his many imaginary friends who support his book, only one (Leonard Peikoff) appeared.

If Mr. Valliant doesn't like theBrandens or doesn't find their books his cup of tea, that's fine with me. It doesn't given him the right to make stuff up.

-Neil Parille

Mr. Valliant's Ongoing Activity

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Valliant is still busy answering questions from his detractors.

Just not here.

Today's contributions to Wikipedia editorial discussions at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)#Valliant:_Attempt_at_a_Summary

Mr. Valliant's contributions (still unacknowledged by him, but he's not longer fooling anybody) are in bold.

*******************

It's been established, to my satisfaction at least, that PARC citations were freely inserted in the past by an editor (or editors) with a COI [conflict of interest]. It's also evident that discussion of its reliability here prompted wild discussions (really funny) on a series of objectivist forums. I am simply concerned that an invitation to insert the citations first and discuss them later will encourage interested parties (who clearly have plenty of time on their hands) to bombard the articles again.KD Tries Again (talk) 16:27, 11 June 2009 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Please be specific about the alleged COI being claimed. How has that been shown here? As the editor of these, and someone who makes no money on the book, I am at a loss with regard to this accusation. Also, I am here, which per the guidelines, is evidence of "playing it straight." In any case, this would only go to the editor, and not the reliability of the source. Please be clear: can other editors, in your view, then, use the source? Also, what actual conflict are we talking about? Is it me we're discussing, or the book?

Also, the issue is not, for example, Kant (who is actually discussed at length in the book) but Sciabarra's ~ use of Branden ~ as the original source of "facts". Such a comment using N. Branden, any such comment, must include its qualification by the book in question, or the Branden material must not be used at all. The principle is clear and simple: any use of Nathaniel or Barbara Branden in Wikipedia must be qualified by an accompanying citation or reference to "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics." It must be mentioned in their biographies, obviously, and it must be referenced in any factual claim made by the Brandens regarding Rand or the movement, or the Wikipedia description will distort matters.

If there is a claim, any claim, made by one [of] the Brandens about Rand or her movement in the books criticised by Valliant, it must come with a reference to PARC. The use of primary material from Rand's own notes, and Peikoff's endorsement, place this source on a par with Brandens. That is the issue. It is not vague or abstract at all. It pertains to the use, any Wikipedia use, of the Branden books as "reliable sources," since that is PARC's case. Pelagius1 (talk)11 June, 2009.

That's an interesting rule you propose, but I doubt it will attract consensus. As for the conflict, please review WP:COI. My understanding is that the 72.199.110.160 and/or Pelagius1 accounts are used by close associates of the book's author, if not the author himself; I believe that's what you told us.KD Tries Again (talk) 17:53, 11 June 2009 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Thank you, but does that apply to this discussion? The underlying issue is still pressing. And the application of PARC references is as broad and specific as the use of the Brandens as sources. Just that broad. The questions "where does censoring this source cause injustice?" and "how does this come up?" will come up that commonly. Including PARC exactly to the extent that the Branden books are mentioned or used is the only way to avoid a Wikipedia endorsement of a highly partisan view of the "reliability" of the Brandens' books as sources and of Ayn Rand herself. PARC argues that sources which had such a "falling out" with the subject of their books cannot be accepted uncritically, and that they are the "unreliable" sources when the evidence is examined. Why Rand's own notes or Peikoff's opinion should be ranked below that of the Brandens is unclear. Peikoff has published his letter at his own website. [1] Pelagius1 (talk)11 June, 2009.

I am going to disengage with this, but of course I disagree for all the reasons already given. And yes, COI policy does apply to discussion of the editing of articles. Please review it.KD Tries Again (talk) 19:24, 11 June 2009 (UTC)KD Tries Again


This material from Ayn Rand [i.e., the article on her at Wikipedia] should be removed unless PARC is used as qualification:
"In a 1984 article called "The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand", Nathaniel Branden, while noting that he was still in general agreement with her ideas, criticized Rand for her 'scientific conservatism' resulting from preconceptions of what was 'reasonable.' Branden noted that: 'Ayn always insisted that her philosophy was an integrated whole, that it was entirely self-consistent, and that one could not reasonably pick elements of her philosophy and discard others. ... This insistence turned Ayn Rand’s philosophy, for all practical purposes, into dogmatic religion, and many of her followers chose that path.[76]' (Paragraph) Stressing that this 'is not to deny the sophistication or originality of Rand's thought,' Chris Matthew Sciabarra discusses Branden's suggestion that her 'wholesale rejection' of some other viewpoints was due to her 'theatrical, emotional, and abrasive style.' As a polemicist, Branden argues, she often dismissed her opponents on 'moralistic or psychologistic' grounds, and her broad generalizations often lacked scholarly rigor.[77]"
Since this would not be an addition of PARC, but simply a removal of questionable critical material, can this simply be removed? If reference to all Branden material criticised in PARC is removed from Wikipedia, there is no need to include reference to the book, except in the N. Branden and B. Branden biographies themselves. Is this a reasonable compromise? Pelagius1 (talk)11 June, 2009.

I am sympathetic to many of the arguments in PARC, but the idea of pairing it up with every citation of material by the Brandens is so far off base that it is hard to know where to start with a response. The reason this suggestion will not draw consensus is that it completely misconstrues the significance of source citations and the meaning of 'reliable source' on Wikipedia. This is also why editor after editor is simply giving up on discussing this, because it has no foundation in Wikipedia's purposes or policies. The use of a source in a citation is not an "endorsement" of that source, and a source is qualified as 'reliable' based on its provenance and apparent acceptance in other sources, not based on its content or any agreement with its viewpoints. If a cited work contains a claim of fact about Rand that PARC does not contradict, and the article only repeats that factual material, then there is no justification for attaching PARC to the citation. The author of the cited work might surround the fact with interpretations or speculations that PARC disputes. But that is not relevant to the article if those interpretations or speculations are not repeated in the article. Wikipedia reference notes are not a forum for righting all wrongs done by its sources. --RL0919 (talk) 19:40, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Clearly, it is the "critical" material, such as that just mentioned above, which is "Critics" focus. PARC does not take issue with certain matters, like Rand's date of birth, but if another source is available for this fact, it should be cited first.
RL, don't you think that PARC should be noted in the biographies of each of the Brandens?
It is the context of suppressing PARC but including the Brandens books which would create the distortion and implied partisanship, RL, not merely their use in the abstract. Pelagius1 (talk) 11 June, 2009.

************

Robert Campbell

Because...

Jeff Perren's picture

"So why isn't he showing up here? ... Could it be because a bunch of us have questions for Mr. Valliant?"

Unlikely in the extreme given that he's answered hundreds of questions, charges, etc. from his detractors. More likely, as I know with a high level of confidence, it's because he happens to be seriously ill and that he's working as much as he can on a book. It isn't much of a speculation to suppose that those are higher priorities than answering what are in essence the same questions from the same parties over and over again.

Why this crusade against Valiant (and Perigo, and....). If you dislike these people, if you think them immoral, how much valuable time and energy do you think it worthwhile to devote to exposing their immorality again and again? Aren't there much greater battles to fight?

Back to Topic

Robert Campbell's picture

Amidst all the distractions, no one here seems to be noticing the absence of James Valliant, whose blog post sits at the top of this thread.

Mr. Valliant is clearly capable of posting, though maybe just intermittently. We can see that from the renewed "Pelagius1" activity in another venue.

So why isn't he showing up here? And why isn't his ally, Mr. Perigo, pressing him to do so?

Could it be because a bunch of us have questions for Mr. Valliant?

You know, questions like:

(1) Did he absent himself from SOLOPassion because of his failed effort to call spirits from the vasty deep? Mr. Valliant's say-so couldn't get Neil Parille into the Ayn Rand Archives. Could it get Mr. Valliant back into the Archives, if he were actually interested in the documents and interviews housed there?

(2) As an alleged exemplar of honesty and straightforwardness, how does he account for the outright lies (a whole swarm of "scholars" leaving TAS on account of his opus; a still-open invitation to publish in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies) and the incredible chutzpah (citing Cass Hewitt's review as proof of impact; claiming that still-open invitation) that have characterized "Pelagius1"'s contributions?

(3) Was Mr. Valliant the still-secret Perigonian source who forwarded Barbara Branden's May 16 email with a one-sentence annotation blaming her for getting his book branded an unreliable source at Wikipedia?

(4) Is Mr. Valliant still encouraging Leonard Peikoff to blame Barbara Branden for the actions taken against him and his book by Wikipedia editors? After several people (including me, if Dr. Peikoff ever got my email or bothered to read it) have told Dr. Peikoff that there is no evidence for this assertion whatsoever? After Jimmy Wales told Dr. Peikoff he knew of no evidence of her involvement? Isn't Mr. Valliant worried that, should he persist in making assertions for which there is no evidence, Dr. Peikoff will be relegated to the rung of hell reserved for the "apostles of the arbitrary"?

(5) Is Mr. Valliant still encouraging Leonard Peikoff to ignore Jimmy Wales' advice as to how to establish PARC as a reliable source? Is he pushing Dr. Peikoff to persist in a campaign that will change no minds or policies and will only piss off the Wikipedians?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Where are you, Mr. Valliant?

In the past, you were never at a loss for words.

Robert Campbell

Firefox Settings

Robert Campbell's picture

Jeffrey,

Thank you for the advice. I use Firefox on the Mac so I went to Firefox/Preferences first.

My cache is not getting purged each time I close Firefox.

Robert Campbell

Firefox

jeffrey smith's picture

Depending on your settings, Firefox may be purging the cache every time you close it, along with browsing history, cookies, etc. If you have to sign in to SOLO and other sites after closing a session of Firefox, that's probably a good indication.

You can also have Firefox ask you what to purge each time you close it.

To check on it, and tweak it, click on Options in the Tools menu, then click on the Privacy tab, and look at the bottom of the panel to find the relevant checkboxes.

Cache check

Robert Campbell's picture

Lance,

I ran the Firefox cache check, but apparently the old versions of everything from SOLOPassion had been written over.

Robert Campbell

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