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: )

At Peace

Stephen Boydstun's picture

Robert,

As you may know, for general standing reasons, I do not read these sorts of books. Also you may know, I do not throw away the good ideas of anyone.

I agree with Leonard’s attitude towards autonomy over the intimacies of personal identity. I respect that sanctity for everyone. I was sad that the privacy of Bill and Monica had to be uncovered and paraded before the public, even though there was a need for some of that, given the entire legal situation that unfolded.

I was about 20 years old when I read Rand’s announcement of the split between her and Nathan in The Objectivist at my University Library. I had discovered Rand’s philosophy a couple of years before. She had saved my life.

I was a little angry with both of them at the time. I thought the world needed Objectivism (I still do, even though I think the philosophy is in error here and there), and I took the dissolution of the Nathaniel Branden Institute as a serious setback to that end. I heard of the affair right away through a letter Nathan had sent to some of his associates, which was shown to me by someone associated with the Equitarians. I thought that between the two of them Ayn and Nathan were not acting like grownups over a splitting of the sheets, that they were acting irrationally (and thank goodness I personally knew people who were better Objectivists than they!), because bringing about the end of this crucial Institute was surely something rational people would have avoided however difficult the personal conflict.

Well, I was young and inexperienced. There were some dynamics of human nature that I had yet to learn. Painful learning.

Turning to time remaining for life and learning, you know the old saw: “There are people who talk about ideas. Then there are people who talk about events. And then there are the people who talk about people.” With this note, I’ve spent my limit for being of that third kind.

To close. Being wiser now, I don’t think Rand or Branden did anything irrational in letting the Institute be lost and themselves totally dissociated. I don’t need to know anything more about the particulars. I have my own life experience. When Branden came out with his book The Psychology of Self-Esteem, I smiled, seeing he had not been destroyed. As for Rand, you can easily guess what I wished for her remaining life: to be watched, as Auden said, “by every human love.” And you can easily guess what I most know and treasure about her. Leonid once said it here, if I may repeat it from rough memory: I know that Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged. Enough said.

Leonard Peikoff's Q and A from 1987

Robert Campbell's picture

As part of a promotion for Charles and Mary Sures' memoir, Leonard Peikoff's 1987 Ford Hall Forum appearance can be heard in its entirety at

http://www.facetsofaynrand.com...

Part 2, starting at 21:37 and running to 39:59, is the Q&A.

The third question was posed at 23:09.

Q: Would you please comment upon Mrs. Branden’s book, particularly with reference to her references to Ayn Rand’s alleged affair with Dr. Branden?

A: Yes [wearily]… I’ll be happy to comment on that.

I did not read Mrs. Branden’s book. [throat clearing]

I didn’t, because I discount — you know, the technical term is not lie, which I would regard as inaccurate—I regard her book as non-cognitive. Uh… By this I mean, I do not think that it has reached the realm of cognition to be evaluated as true or as false.

Umm… I happened to know the author of that book extremely well, being related to her and having known her for a long time—also Nathaniel Branden, and many of these other people that I alluded to in my talk. I know entirely what they are capable of, and I would not put any credence in anything that they say.

So I did not refrain from reading the book because of being afraid to face facts. On the contrary, by my best definition of “fact,” I would have no means whatever, including the fact that something was in quotes, of determining whether it ever occurred. And to show you that I am consistent on this point, I do not either believe or disbelieve this view that Miss Rand took her name from the typewriter Rand, which someone has referred me to. I have no source for that other than that book; therefore, as far as I’m concerned, I’m in the exact position with that ascription of the word “Rand” as I was before I heard it. It just doesn’t come up in my mind. I don’t say it’s a lie; it has no more status, if you know, uh, my lectures on Objectivism, than the sounds coming from a parrot. If Barbara Branden or anybody else gives an internally logical argument such as “2 and 2 is 4, etc. etc., therefore,” then her character and so on is entirely irrelevant. But I … I …didn’t gather that she was [doing] an exercise in mathematics. It was supposed to be testimony, of a factual sort, and that is precisely why I wouldn’t dream of considering from that source.

Now with regard to the affair with Nathaniel Branden, I’d like to tell you my exact, uh, state of mind with regard to that, setting aside, huh, the Barbara Branden book and the Nathaniel Branden book which is forthcoming, and who knows what else.

I never asked Miss Rand whether she slept with Nathaniel Branden. Wehh… she never volunteered that information to me. We respected each other’s privacy; we had a personal but not a, uh, how shall I put it, psychoanalytic, uh, relationship.

However, I am the heir of Ayn Rand, and I have access to all of her papers. And I have not read the book, my wife has. And she tells me that there are papers that indicate that there was an affair between Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden. In fact, I understand that there are lengthy documents in Ayn Rand’s handwriting recounting the salient, uh, facts, motivations, manipulations, lies and other … evils, let us say, to which she was subjected, that were, of course, written for herself as part of her own thinking.

You may wonder why I didn’t rush to read these papers. My wife is sorting out the Estate, which is why she did. I don’t see any philosophic or moral significance in the issue. And so, not that I’m not curious, but I just didn’t get around to it yet.

To elaborate on this briefly, I have for [a] long time as a standard Objectivist lecturer answered questions entirely independent of Ayn Rand to the effect of that it is not an absolute that you can never be sleeping with two men in the same period of your life. Of course, we do not advocate that as the rule of human relationships, but there are contexts and circumstances in which that can be done perfectly properly. Which the example that is obvious and is used in ethics texts is, uh, a woman is in love with her husband, he goes to war, she hears that he’s dead, she falls in love with somebody else, and he comes back. Now, even there, there are many options, but there are situations in which it, that, is conceivable and perfectly proper, assuming … many conditions, including that they both are extremely great values to her, that all three people know about it, etc.

I think there was, in this instance, an exceptional circumstance—I’m entirely speculating here, simply from my knowledge of Ayn Rand and her life—which was that she wanted a man with a mind equal to hers. And she knew that, as wonderful a person as her husband was, he was not her intellectual equal. I think the tragedy of her, huh, life, if you want to put it that way, was that she couldn’t find the mind and the soul in the same person. And, uh, she did think extremely highly of Nathaniel Branden at that period, as did all of us around her at that time. She thought he was an extraordinary genius, and, uh, leave [off] that that is wrong but I’m not here to attack him now, whatever rightly or wrongly, my explanation of the thing is that as the story was told it was perfectly open to everybody.

Well I see I have told you what I have to say. I think it is a terrible thing that a situation like this would be turned into food for scandal—I don’t think it is scandalous. And, uh, if there is anybody left in this country, uhhh, who is not, uh, eager to find some more mud to throw at a woman who was very able to defend herself in life and was never attacked until she died and couldn’t speak—I say if there’s anyone left, before I die, everything that she wrote is going to be published.

So you will hear the facts of her life from her side, which may after all be relevant.

I have only one last thing: I wish that these biographies of her—if I could have one wish granted, it would be that they would not pose as being balanced and impartial and so on, that they identified their venomous hatred in the preface, and then you could judge accordingly. Unfortunately, the dishonesty, ehh, would prevent that, that’s all I can say.

At 31:04, a Q was shouted from the audience “about her husband’s alcoholism.” [Some discussion on and off mike, plus a dropout …]

A: Can I comment on that? Just in a word—I have to ask his ghost to forgive me.

Umm, he was certainly not an alcoholic—uh, I gather that that’s a charge that’s been raised against him. I saw that man regularly day and night. In my entire life, I saw him have too much to drink once. And the manifestation of it was that he overtipped the waiter, which Ayn Rand asked him in some length why he did… I defy an alcoholic to survive 20 minutes in her apartment!

I believe, if you want some idea of objectivity in biography, the source of that was … story, so far as I can pin it down, was a cleaning woman who found empty liquor bottles in his studio after he died. He used those bottles to mix paints in.

Now you judge for yourself. Well, I’m, I’m insulting you and myself to refute these things, because it’s too disgusting to comment on—but I couldn’t let it go once people heard it.

This answer ends at 32:38. Two further questions were addressed before the event wound down.

Robert Campbell

The Answer Clock ticks

Robert Campbell's picture

It's been 8 days, and the Holly Valliant answer clock keeps ticking.

Robert Campbell

26 Questions for Holly Valliant

Robert Campbell's picture

(1) What was your relationship with Durban House Publishing from 2001, when it opened for business, through the publication of The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics in 2005?

(2) Did the owner or owners of Durban House Publishing know and approve of your posting a review on amazon.com in 2002, using the company’s name instead of your own?

(3) As literary agent for Andrew Bernstein, did you recommend Durban House as the publisher for any of his manuscripts?

(4) As the literary agent for PARC, did you submit it to any publisher other than Durban House?

(5) Jim Valliant has stated here at SOLOPassion that his manuscript was carefully edited by a Durban House employee (or employees) prior to publication. Who did the editing?

(6) How extensive were the changes made by the editors?

(7) Can you give an example of a non-trivial change made to PARC by editors in the employ of Durban House?

(8) Mr. Valliant has declared here at SOLO that he did not have to pay Durban House any money up front in order to get his book published. Did anyone else pay Durban House up front, to get DH to publish or promote PARC?

(9) Since you have represented other authors whose books were published by Durban House, could you comment on the charge that Durban House asked other authors to pony up fees as high as $25,000 as a precondition of publishing and promoting their books?

(10) Did anyone guarantee a bulk buy of PARC before it was published?

(11) If so, who?

(12) Under your old pseudonym “The Magenta Hornet,” you declared on SOLOHQ that the Ayn Rand Bookstore decided to carry your husband’s book after you submitted a review copy. Did the Ayn Rand Bookstore decide to carry PARC before or after the book was published?

(13) Who made the decision that the Ayn Rand Bookstore would offer PARC for sale?

(14) Who decides whether the Ayn Rand Bookstore keeps carrying PARC or not?

(15) In your opinion, was Writer’s Market fair to Durban House when it decided to drop the company from its 2006 edition?

(16) You and your husband, posting as Pelagius1, declared at Wikipedia that Durban House is defunct. When did Durban House go out of business?

(17) Since Durban House is defunct, who is responsible for the current availability of PARC at amazon.com and a few other sellers?

(18) If the Ayn Rand Bookstore exhausted its inventory of PARC, from whom would it obtain more copies?

(19) A Durban House Press website is up and running at present. Who operates this website?

(20) Who owns the name Durban House, the parrot logo, the back catalogue, and copies of DH titles that were unsold and in inventory when the company went under?

(21) When PARC was declared a non-reliable source at Wikipedia, and you and Mr. Valliant were forbidden to make references to PARC in any Wikipedia articles, did you encourage Andrew Bernstein to write a letter or email of complaint to Jimmy Wales?

(22) Did Andrew Bernstein write such a letter or email?

(23) Did you communicate with Leonard Peikoff, encouraging him to complain to Jimmy Wales?

(24) If you did not tell him, and your husband did not tell him, how did Leonard Peikoff learn that PARC had been deemed a non-reliable source at Wikipedia?

(25) Did you tell Andrew Bernstein or Leonard Peikoff that Barbara Branden was behind the non-reliable source ruling?

(26) After Lindsay Perigo retracted his charge against Barbara Branden on May 27, 2009, did you notify Leonard Peikoff of the retraction?

Not Mr. Perigo's Friends

Robert Campbell's picture

As usual, Mr. Perigo prefers not to make the acquaintance of too many facts.

Facts, it appears, are not his friends.

An odd aversion, for a professed champion of objectivity.

Robert Campbell

What Literary Agents Normally Do and Publishers Normally Do

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Davey has turned up further indications of Holly White Valliant's promotional activities for authors published by Durban House (in 2003 and 2004).

These look like normal activities of a literary agent and publicist.

However, the amazon.com review of David Kelley's book is from 2002.

What's more, I don't believe it's considered normal for either

(1) Literary agents (who are supposed to represent authors, not publishing houses) to take the identity of a publishing house

or

(2) Publishing houses, whoever speaks for them, to publicly pan a book put out by a competitor.

So it's fair to ask just what Holly Valliant's connection to Durban House was (and is, if Durban House still exists).

Here are the claims that Jim and Holly Valliant have recently made.

Statements by the pseudonymous Pelagius1, collected at

http://www.marciadamon.com/rnd...

May 20, 2009, 05:16 (appears to be by James Valliant):

There is no indication of the publisher's "vanity" status. Indeed, this publisher seem to avidly "believe" in the book, according to the jacket.

May 20, 2009, 16:01 (post looks like a joint product, but this part appears to be by Holly Valliant):

And you can't have it both ways: the claim was only that [Robert W.] Middlemiss [listed as editor at Durban House] is not an Objectivist of any kind, which is true. And that his passionate support-comments undermine the claim of "self-publishing" which is also true. The comments from such a author who is NOT an Objectivist is meaningful.

May 20, 2009, 17:08 (by Holly Valliant):

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.

SOLOPassion, May 20, 2009, 21:00 UTC (James Valliant, posting at Holly's prompting):

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

And, in that discussion, I am told it has become important for me to say, here and in public (one more time), that my book was not "self-published" or "vanity" published in any way, shape or form. I state as a matter of record that I signed a standard "two book" deal with Durban House, with a standard royalty agreement, and that I paid nothing to have it published -- nor would I have. It was Durban who shelled out even what PR moneys were spent on the book -- not me. I went with Durban House precisely because it was [a] liberal publishing house that believed in my work. They were careful editors, as well, demanding substantial verification for each of my claims.
(P.S. It'll be curious to see how Wikipedia handles critics -- and honesty.)

Robert Campbell

PS. Mr. Davey may wish to note another promotional activity of Holly White & Associates:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/...

Kinda blows a hole in Pelagius1's "Pollyvalliantanna" act.

Lance ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Like the Wiki carry-on, it's all a lot of Brandroid sound and fury, signifying nothing ... while manifesting the supreme Brandroid obsession with playing "gotcha" over whether Rand preferred her eggs poached or fried. They even consider that modus operandi to be going for the "juggler" in their battle to diminish her and discredit her defenders. Their sense of perspective is on a par with their literacy. And decency.

So, James' wife Holly, is

Lance's picture

So, James' wife Holly, is aka Holly White Valliant? And she's a literary publicist? Presumably she is one and the same with Holly White of "Holly White and Associates" who handled publicity for PARC.
http://www.encyclopedia.com/do...

I'm out of my depth here when it comes to what is "known" and what is not "known", so pardon if I repeat the obvious, but the impression I'm under here is that there was no connection to Durban House from the Valliant household prior to PARC being published. Which is what I have inferred from proff/Parille's posts.

marcusantonius12 is the nickname given in the "Durban House Publishing" profile that has a wish list for Holly Valliant containing PARC.

marcusantoniusn@anaddress.com is a variant on several email addresses appearing on pages as a contact for a Holly White Valliant/Holly White:

yahoogroups. Message posted by Holly White Valliant with a marcusantonius email

press release
A publicity event, scheduled for August 8 2003 for Dr. Chris Holmes, author of two books on bioterrorism. Both books published by Durban House, with Holly White listed as the guest contact, contactable at a "marcusantonius" styled email address.

Not sure how this ended up as a post on a contact lenses site - but here:
Durban House Published book publicity by Holly White - 2004.

The impression given by Proff and Parille with their posting the connection between Holly Valliant and Durban House is that it is damning. Yet with very little background knowledge I found multiple sources of evidence for a close business connection between Holly Valliant and Durban House Publishing. It doesn't look like a big secret.

What's going on here? Has James actually maintained there is no connection between him and Durban House prior to PARC's publication? What exactly does it mean, if anything, that there was?

That Liberal Publishing House

Robert Campbell's picture

As Neil Parille discovered, there is a review, sitting right out in the open at amazon.com, that makes for interesting reading. It's from someone or something calling him/her/itself "Durban House Publishing."

See

http://www.objectivistliving.c...

I've taken screen snaps, just in case the amazing artifact should ever disappear.

The reviewer turned out to be one Holly Valliant. Her wish list is attached to "Durban House Publishing"'s profile. Guess which book is on the wish list?

And Holly Valliant was posing as Durban House Publishing back in 2002.

What exactly was her relationship with that curious company?

Robert Campbell

Questions for the Honourable Mr. Valliant—And Their Status

Robert Campbell's picture

On June 14 I asked the Honourable James Valliant a series of questions

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

He refused to answer any of them.

Here's their current status, as best I understand it.

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

NO.

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

NOT SETTLED AS TO WHETHER JAMES OR HOLLY VALLIANT DID IT. MY MONEY IS ON JAMES VALLIANT. IN THE PELAGIAN CORPUS, HOLLY VALLIANT CAN BE SEEN HAVING TROUBLE FINDING PARC-RELATED LINKS.

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?

YES. PELAGIUS1 MADE SEVERAL ITERATIONS OF THIS CLAIM, AND MR. VALLIANT WAS THE AUTHOR OF SOME OF THEM.

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

NO.

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?

THE HONOURABLE MR. VALLIANT MOANED THAT THIS SUGGESTION WAS OUTRAGEOUS. DOESN'T MEAN IT COULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED...

BUT A MORE LIKELY SCENARIO IS THAT MR. VALLIANT ASKED LEONARD PEIKOFF TO COMPLAIN TO JIMMY WALES, AND PROVIDED TALKING POINTS FOR SAID COMPLAINT.

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

UNRESOLVED.

BUT LEONARD PEIKOFF DIDN'T COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF CC'ING ME ON HIS OWN, AND THE HONOURABLE JAMES VALLIANT HAS DEMANDED MY REMOVAL AS ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF JARS, ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS FROM 2006 THROUGH 2008.

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?

SOMEONE OBVIOUSLY DID. THE LIST OF CANDIDATES IS SHORT, AND MR. PERIGO HAS CREDITED MR. VALLIANT WITH PASSING HIM THE "PROOF" OF MS. BRANDEN'S INVOLVEMENT.

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?

UNRESOLVED.

BUT THE DISCERNING READER WILL NOTE THAT MR. PERIGO WENT ABSOLUTELY BALLISTIC WHEN I PRESSED HIM ON THIS ISSUE.

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

UNRESOLVED.

WE DO KNOW THAT THE LETTER WENT OUT ON MAY 29, TWO DAYS AFTER MR. PERIGO PUBLICLY RETRACTED HIS ACCUSATION. PELAGIUS1 REPRODUCED THE LETTER ON WIKIPEDIA ON JUNE 6, AND THE POSTING AT PEIKOFF.COM TOOK PLACE ON JUNE 8.

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

DR. PEIKOFF HASN'T DONE THIS. HIS LETTER TO JIMMY WALES CAME DOWN OFF HIS SITE ON JUNE 15, AND NO OTHER OUTBREAK OF VOUCHING HAS BEEN SPOTTED.

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

SARC ALERT: SHE OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T. THE HONOURABLE MR. VALLIANT DID WANT US TO BELIEVE THAT THE HONOURABLE (?) MRS. VALLIANT HAD DONE EVERYTHING AT IP160/PELAGIUS1.

Mr. and Mrs. Valliant could easily clear these up, if they wanted to.

Mr. Perigo might be able to help, too.

Robert Campbell

12 Lies from the Honourable James S. Valliant

Robert Campbell's picture

From his sudden reappearance on this site (June 13, 21:15 UTC) to his confused exit (June 16, 01:31), the Honourable James Valliant told quite the series of lies about his activities at Wikipedia.

Lie #1:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

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?)

Holly Valliant probably was doing the posting under the Pelagius1 moniker 40 to 90 minutes earlier (19:43 to 20:35 UTC).

But who was the Honourable Mr. Valliant trying to kid about this Pelagian blast at Neil Parille? It was dated June 8 (15:06-15:13 UTC).

Here it is in its final fulminating glory (UTC 15:13):

Mr. Parille has evaded every response by Valliant to each of his nonsensical assertions about the book. His dishonesty and evasion should be ignored, it is baseless in every case. Some of what he writes (take #5) has absolutely nothing to do with the book in question, and illustrate here his wild animus against Rand and Peikoff, which are well-known. No one is likely to waste time or effort responding to a truly "unreliable" source, such as the fact and logic-challenged Mr. Parille. His first is enough to show this. A "surprise party" inherently involves an effort to "manipulate through deception" in a benevolently motivated way. He thinks this is unfair to say out loud for some reason -- perhaps in light of the developed Branden habit of attempting to so manipulating [sic] Rand, for various other, less benevolent motives.

Will the Honourable James S. Valliant continue to disavow his authorship?

Lie #2:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

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

The Honourable Mr. Valliant both edited and posted as Pelagius1 (for more of his Pelagian productions see my previous post). Why would his denial of activity as IP160 carry any credibility?

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.

The Honourable James Valliant was still getting his licks in, after the June 8 exchange with Neil Parille was ruled out of order at Wikipedia and had to be deleted.

Lie #3:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

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.

The Honourable Mr. Valliant's bullshit denial ran at 20:29 UTC on June 14. It was at 19:06 that Pelagius1 had made an ill-fated response (to an Orthodox Objectivist Wikipedian who goes as "Lisa"). Pelagius1 away his/her/its/their IP160 origin. A hasty deletion was performed at 19:13. I now think the comment was posted and deleted by Holly Valliant. But James knew about it, because Pelagius1 was a tag-team operation all along.

Lie #4:

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.

Umm, and Jim made sure not to identify himself. The Honourable Mr. Valliant also avoided taking credit for many of his prior contributions.

Lie #5:

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.

So Jim's contributions weren't his own, then?

By now, Mr. Valliant had been hit so hard by William Scott Scherk and Neil Parille that he had to concede knowing what Pelagius1 was.

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

This still left plenty of scope for Lie #6:

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.

In other words, the Honourable Mr. Valliant was hoping his readers wouldn't be able to do the sorting.

Does the Honourable James really think that the (Honourable?) Holly wrote this (May 21, 00:19)?

So, Rothbard cannot have an eyewitness against him -- on an issue of witnessed fact -- except another academic? That seems odd, indeed, and if the standards around here require this kind of censorship, they should be changed. Especially since there is no evidence for Rothbard's original claim. No, thanks, I'll take the respected public prosecutor's eyewitness testimony.

Especially when, in between edits on this little complaint, Mr. Valliant emailed William Scott Scherk?

And Lie #7:

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.

How about the IP160 edits that did have to do with PARC?

When challenged by Neil Parille about his "non-response response," Mr. Valliant came back with

Evasion #1:

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.)

Farting and tap-dancing, with high technique.

Evasion #2:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

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

Sustained virtuoso farting and tap-dancing.

But, of course, even the Honourable James Valliant, with his advanced skills, can't fart and tap-dance forever.

Lies #8 and 9:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

... she [Holly] has made a difference there [Wikipedia]-- on so many issues — and she's owned up and started to dialogue with others.

Actually, all "dialogue with others" was over by then. Pelagius1 had effectively signed off.

And Mr. Valliant hadn't "owned up" to a damn thing.

Lies #10 and 11:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

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.

Previously, Mr. Valliant had professed ignorance of IP160 and Pelagius1—the very entities that had been "linked up."

And while Holly Valliant, as Pelagius1, had asked whether Holly Valliant could participate in discussions (albeit while making the misleading claim "I'm new"), James Valliant, as Pelagius1, never bothered to ask whether James Valliant could.

Lie #12:

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.

Of course, James Valliant also had a conflict of interest whenever he, as AnonIP160, inserted a reference to PARC. Or, as Pelagius1, promoted PARC while pretending to be Holly Valliant.

The Honourable Mr. Valliant had exhausted his reserves at this point. All that remained was

Evasion #3:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

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

Mrs. Valliant might make an unstrategic admission, as when Pelagius1 declared that PARC had made no money for the Honourable James Valliant.

Only two posts remained, one muttering threats in Mr. Scherk's direction, and the other making a wavering jab at Mr. Parille.

In such a brief run of SOLOP posts, the Honourable James Valliant may have set a record. 12 lies and 3 evasions... It sure doesn't happen every day.

For those who still imagine that Pelagius1 was all Holly Valliant, I'll close by appending the mini-essay that launched Pelagius1's career on Wikipedia talk and discussion pages. It first appeared at 18:19 UTC on May 19, less than an hour after Pelagius gave up trying to edit Rand-related articles. The "I'm new" routine didn't start till 18:41 (when a little plea from Pelagius1 was first attached to the end of this mini-essay).

Restoring References to 'The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics.'

There appears to be no serious justification for omitting this book as a source on issues related to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

It is the only source for Ayn Rand's own words on the topics of Nathaniel and Barbara Branden. So, including reference to the Brandens' books on Rand while excluding Rand's own perspective is necessarily non-neutral and one-sided.

Many of the sources Wikipedia cites have not been reviewed positively by Kirkus Reviews, as 'The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics' has been -- "deserving of a place on the growing shelf" of books about Rand, it said. Numerous books and articles critical of Rand from self-published "vanity" houses -- like Writer's Club Press -- are used in Wikipedia. In its brief life, however, Durban House was named one of the "best new imprints" by Publisher's Weekly. Unlike the Brandens themselves, the author did not have a personal, nasty falling-out with Rand. The book is far more of a neutral"/"third party" source than either of these, and it contains first hand reports of equal quality to the Brandens from Rand herself. The author's academic credentials appear to be superior to either of the Brandens.

The Sciabarra review cited has been distorted in the instant discussion of this book. Indeed, that this book got such sustained and serious attention from Sciabarra suggests that it is worthy of serious attention. It seems highly implausible that Sciabarra -- who also invited the author to discuss the book still further in 'The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies' -- intended excluding it as a scholarly source.

Quite the opposite appears to the case. Sciabarra's engagement with the author suggests the book's seriousness and importance to Sciabarra.

Also, previous references to 'The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics' show that lecturers and scholars once associated with David Kelley's Objectivist group (even a board member) left that organization as a result of the release of this book. These are scholars and lecturers impacted [by] the book being censored by Wikipedia. The book itself is part of the "history" of the Objectivist movement. That a number of scholars once critical of ARI were affected by the book also suggests its importance and seriousness, since these scholars and teachers found it to be "reliable" enough to act upon.

Indeed, as his review of the book shows, Sciabarra is far ~ more ~ critical of another source cited repeatedly in Wikipedia, Jeff Walker's 'Ayn Rand Cult.' Other scholars are, too -- according to Wikipedia's own references to it. To add another example, Walker repeats the allegation that Branden may have killed his second wife(!) Excluding the book suggested but not Walker (or Nyquist, for that matter) seems to distort Sciabarra's intention.

This author is also a first-hand reporter -- and a former student of -- Murray Rothbard. The error he cites from Rothbard is simply a fact -- no one was ever "excommunicated" by Rand for not sharing her musical taste, as Rothbard erroneously alleged. Thus, the facts presented in this title are also important, not merely the author's evaluation of them.

When you aren't well-drilled in it, it's hard to write consistently about yourself in the third person. Note the slip in the last paragraph: "This author" is a third-person locution that sometimes shows up in first-person accounts.

It's also worth noting that the overall tone of the Kirkus review of Jeff Walker's book was moderately positive. Throughout Pelagius1's run at Wikipedia the review of Walker's book was misleadingly presented as negative.

Robert Campbell

Why Did the Peikoff to Wales Email Repeat a Bogus Charge?

Robert Campbell's picture

One consequence of James and Holly Valliant's disastrous escapades at Wikipedia was the attempted intervention by Leonard Peikoff, complaining to Jimmy Wales about PARC being deemed an unreliable source (which Dr. Peikoff disorted into "non-reputable").

Dr. Peikoff did not complain about the topic ban and conflict of interest ruling against Mr. and Mrs. Valliant. Had he been told about them?

Most importantly, he laid the blame for the nonreliability determination on Barbara Branden:

My understanding, which may not be correct, is that one of the
instigators of your new policy is Barbara Branden, one of the two persons
identified in the Valliant book, with substantial corroborating evidence, as
hostile to Ayn Rand. Surely such an individual and her claque have a
transparent motive to kill this book. Can you justify removing one side of this
dispute, the one endorsed by someone with my credentials? Do you describe as
"reputable" only enemies of Ayn Rand?

Where did Dr. Peikoff get his "understanding"?

The unreliability determination, handed down on May 11, became widely known in Rand-land on May 16, when Barbara Branden emailed Michael Stuart Kelly's OL post

http://www.objectivistliving.c...

around to her distribution list.

A couple of days later, Lindsay Perigo launched his attack on "Babs the Book-Burner" at SOLOP (May 19, 06:40 UTC.)

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Later that same day, Pelagius1 got busy for the first time. Four edits, the last acknowledged by Mr. Valliant to William Scott Scherk, took place between 16:51 and 17:26 (all times UTC).

There would be no further edits. Pelagius1 was now desperately concentrated on making a case on the talk pages.

A mini-essay on "Restoring References to 'The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics'" went up on Wikipedia at 18:19. This has Jim Valliant's stylistic prints all over it. The Valliant household then stuck the essay up on a couple more talk pages, followed by the debut of the babe-in-the-woods persona Mr. Scherk calls "Pollyvalliantanna" ("I'm new"; "I am newly logged in").

The next 24 hours saw feverish activity from Pelagius1 (James and Holly Valliant, working in relays).

Mr. Valliant emailed WSS twice during this period (wee hours of May 20, UTC), pretending not to know that he was under a topic ban. He was obviously lying. Editing of Wikipedia articles had been abandoned and defensive operations, some quite disingenuous ("I'm new," James Valliant referring to himself in third person) were under way.

At 16:01 on May 20, a post mainly by Holly made a threat that is often the prelude to a lawsuit: "As to the current controversy, he is investigating other means of redress." Since Mr. and Mrs. Valliant have not served notice on anyone, this appears to have signaled their project of getting Leonard Peikoff to intervene with Jimmy Wales.

Of particular interest is the "I got him up for this" post (May 20, 19:26 UTC). What Holly said she woke James up for was a post at SOLO defending Durban House (the infamous "They were careful editors").

The version of it now on SOLOPassion has been edited; the time-stamp is 21:00 UTC on May 20.

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

During the hour and a half before his final edit, Mr. Valliant kept busy at Wikipedia, and he stayed busy for some hours after completing his isolated post at SOLO.

On May 22, Pelagius1 went silent for 2 weeks; he/she/it/they would not reappear at Wikipedia until June 6.

On May 24 (03:21 UTC), I challenged Mr. Valliant about the editing at Durban House and the lack of enthusiasm or support for his book:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Mr. Valliant and his book are now so discredited that just one uncertainty remains: When will the Ayn Rand Bookstore truck its remaining stack of PARCs to the pulper?

The pleas to Dr. Peikoff must have risen in amplitude.

On May 27, 06:26 UTC we got parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus. Lindsay Perigo admitted that his astounding piece of information was ... um .... well ... you know ... Barbara Branden's email of May 16.

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

An hour and a half later, Wikipedia editor J Readings whomped him upside the head

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

As for "B. Branden" and her alleged involvement in this unpleasant episode, let me state for the record that at no time did I speak with, contact, exchange e-mails with, or discuss with anyone affiliated with "B. Branden" the topic banning of anon IP 160 or the eventual consensus to remove the shameless self-promotion of the book, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, throughout Wikipedia.

Embarrassed, Mr. Perigo (May 27, 09:05 UTC) publicly retracted his accusation against Barbara Branden.

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

I'm prepared to believe "forgetfulness and lack of expertise with web use" is all I can pin on her [i.e., Ms. Branden] in this case. And I'm contemplating the possibility that I've been quite intentionally misled that it was she who laid the complaint. If I find this to have been the case, believe me, I shall shout it from the rooftops. And I intend to find out.

What he did privately could be a whole 'nother matter.

Did Mr. Perigo privately warn Jim Valliant to lay off accusations against Barbara Branden?

Or did he privately encourage Jim Valliant to carry on with the accusations against Ms. Branden?

Could it have been too late to call off the Peikovian dogs?

On May 28 (12:52 UTC) at

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Mr. Perigo declared

"...I say again, James is wasting his time there. At the moment he's in hospital. If he's now banned from Wiki I suspect that will help his recovery, even if he doesn't realise it."

Did anyone see fit to alert Leonard Peikoff to the bogus charge against Barbara Branden?

The Peikoff-to-Wales email went out at 22:13 UTC on May 29.

Leonard Peikoff did not respond to two queries from me about that email, on which I was cc'd for reasons that were never explained.

But on June 3 (01:54 UTC) Mr. Perigo could be seen chortling

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

"Is it possible that Peikoff has not acknowledged the prof's queries because he, Peikoff, regards him, the prof, as a skank?"

Did Mr. Perigo know anything about the Peikoff to Wales email before it went out?

Did he have any "input" into it?

If he did, he could have spared Dr. Peikoff some embarrassment.

Robert Campbell

The Sad Tale of Pelagius1

Robert Campbell's picture

The Pelagius1 story is now further annotated (see the little orange tabs with the red equal signs at the upper left corner of most items).

Same URL as in the previous post:

http://www.marciadamon.com/rnd...

If you read the items carefully, and note the times of James Valliant's other online activities (one of which was a post to SOLOPassion), you'll see that Pelagius1 was a tag-team production.

Some posts were by James Valliant, some were by Holly Valliant, and some look like joint efforts.

Mr. Valliant's got a little 'splainin' to do.

Robert Campbell

The Collected Wisdom of Pelagius1

Robert Campbell's picture

A complete set of Wikipedia posts and edits by the now-retired Pelagius1 can be seen at

http://www.marciadamon.com/rnd...

Robert Campbell

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

And I repeat my questions to Linz:

1. Do you think Valliant did a good job summarizing the Brandens' books?

2. Do you think that Durban House carefully edited PARC as James said?

-Neil

Oh dear!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Seem to have touched a nerve with the Usual Suspects.

Thanks for the reminder about your role in the lynch-Linz mob, Prof. I quite forgot it when composing my post, which I've amended accordingly.

The Social Metaphysics of Malice (revised)

William Scott Scherk's picture

Lindsay Perigo seems not to have heard of Aristotle's, "I love Plato, but I love the truth even more." Such a sentiment would be alien to him, in any event. The Principal would be looking for a hidden agenda behind it, wondering with whom was Barbara Branden colluding to utter such an outrage and what were its implications for the coalitions he, the Principal, had already imagined among Babs's ugly minions and acolytes. In the world of Principal Perigo, to agree with X about something and disagree with Y on the same matter is to join X in a coalition against Y, entered into for coalition's sake, with truth being irrelevant -- they are all scum if they agree with anthing on the Brandroid side. There can be no such thing as changing or modifying one's opinion according to evidence, not when the Brandroids are concerned. Criticism and negative moral judgement, no matter how well validated, are "Brandroidian bullshit, lies and smears"; any kind of explication is a "squalid little Brandroidian excuse by vile puppets, lying pigdogs and the humanity diminishers." A person's good faith is to be judged not by its actual content but by the number of people she might have alienated. Morality is not a matter of good and "evil" but a matter of backstage machinations by Brandroids, fashionable liaisons among Brandenians, and popularity contests among O-liars, cockroaches and their scummy also-rans, filth, scum, and so on. Heroes don't exist, but if perchance we find one we must tear her down as a matter of ongoing, obsessive urgency to decry Barbara Branden. "Man the normal being" is a laughable illusion, normal estimations of humanity inappropriate and abusing critics a full-time occupation propped up by a Mexican Tag-team of SOLO lockstep lackeys with souls as blemishfree as their opinions.

Your heart is in the right place, Lindsay, but your rhetoric cuts both ways. That is the tragedy of the Objectivist movement, the neat cutting at the bone of Them and Us. Does your encyclical sound as ridiculous and self-serving when it is turned about and reflected back against you?



WSS

A Word Processing Error

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo seems to have made a small error in his word processing.

His previous post as it appears on this thread makes no sense. But one small change renders it wholly intelligible.

All one has to do is replace the character string "Prof. Campbell" or "the Prof," wherever it appears, with the character string "Mr. Perigo."

We then obtain, for instance, a crisp statement of Perigonian tribalism:

In the world of Mr. Perigo, to agree with X about something and disagree with Y on the same matter is to join X in a coalition against Y, entered into for coalition's sake, with truth being irrelevant.

And another passage, in which there were no character strings that needed exchanging, can now be read in context:

Criticism and negative moral judgement, no matter how well validated, are "abuse"; any kind of explication is a "rant."

You know, as in Mr. Perigo's reaction to my stated and cogently supported judgment, back in January 2008, that, as a man of genuinely bad character, given to verbal bullying, backstage maneuvering, gross dishonesty, endless demands for personal loyalty, and frequent denunciatory outbursts, he should not be getting invitations to speak at TAS events.

Robert Campbell

PS. Mr. Perigo could stop exemplifying such dire descriptions of himself. But at a minimum that would require him to pay attention to evidence, an activity in which he appears to have no interest.

The Social Metaphysics of Malice

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Prof. Campbell seems not to have heard of Aristotle's, "I love Plato, but I love the truth even more." Such a sentiment would be alien to him, in any event. The Prof. would be looking for a hidden agenda behind it, wondering with whom was Aristotle colluding to utter such an outrage and what were its implications for the coalitions he, the Prof., had already imagined among Aristotle's students. In the world of Prof. Campbell, to agree with X about something and disagree with Y on the same matter is to join X in a coalition against Y, entered into for coalition's sake, with truth being irrelevant. There can be no such thing as changing or modifying one's opinion according to evidence. Criticism and negative moral judgement, no matter how well validated, are "abuse"; any kind of explication is a "rant." Anyone who disagrees with the Prof. is to be silenced and have his invitations to speak revoked. A person's character is to be judged not by its actual content but by the number of people he might have alienated. Morality is not a matter of good and "evul" but a matter of backstage machinations, fashionable liaisons and popularity contests. Heroes don't exist, but if perchance we find one we must tear her down as a matter of ongoing, obsessive urgency. "Man the heroic being" is a laughable illusion, hero-worship inappropriate, and humanity-diminution a full-time occupation propped up by a Greek Chorus of mocking gargoyles with souls as ugly as their faces.

Defer, Defer...

Robert Campbell's picture

The resident expert has spoken, and all had better defer.

Really, what's been happening is that Ellen Stuttle has a pet theory about TheValliants' recent misadventure at Wikipedia.

I have a different one. (This other theory isn't just mine, but I don't want to hold Neil Parille or William Scott Scherk responsible for details on which they may differ with me.)

The data are sparse: they consist primarily of posts and edits made anonymously or pseudonymously; the two people who really know what was going on have said very little under their own names; and what Mr. Valliant has said on this board is sometimes addled, often obscure, and arguably mendacious.

Ms. Stuttle has no facts available to her that are not also available to William Scott Scherk, or to Neil Parille, or to me.

Ms. Stuttle's theory is consistent with James Valliant's statements that Holly Valliant made all of the inserted references to his book. They are consistent with "Pelagius1"'s occasional claims to be Holly rather than James.

But the statements could be lies. Mr. Valliant has an incentive to lie in this kind of situation, where he may have done something to further embarrass himself—and he has been caught in lies before. A couple of obvious lies were told by "Pelagius1" over at Wikipedia, and they are lies that Mr. Valliant previously told under his own name. Mrs. Valliant remains helpfully unavailable to answer questions.

What's more, Ms. Stuttle's theory requires a change in Mr. Valliant's motivation. From early 2005 through August 2008, Mr. Valliant was strongly committed to the fervent promotion and defense of his opus, including exaggerated claims for its significance and bobbing and weaving and heaping derision, or worse, in response to criticisms. For Ms. Stuttle's theory to be true, Mr. Valliant has to have lost his appetite for such activity—nearly totally, so Mrs. Valliant would have to try to keep it going without his knowledge or approval.

A big change in Mr. Valliant's motives cannot be ruled out; he has been ill, and may have been led to reassess his priorities. But nothing that Mr. Valliant has said under his own name suggests any such change.

My pet theory requires that Pelagius1's claims to be Holly Valliant be set aside at least in part, and Pelagius1's claims to be acting without Mr. Valliant's knowledge be rejected as bogus.

On the other hand, it requires no big recent change in Mr. Valliant's motivation.

The bottom line is unaffected, whether my theory or Ms. Stuttle's is true. Either way, Holly Valliant, or James and Holly Valliant, have failed ignominiously at Wikipedia, and her/his/their failures were significantly self-inflicted. Either way, it will now be very difficult for anyone to make references to PARC on Wikipedia, even the kinds of references that critics of the book like me would consider appropriate.

Apart from a few predictably dismissible interjections by Lindsay Perigo and his boy Gregster, that's all that's ever been in play.

Except for Ms. Stuttle's ego.

All must acknowledge her as the expert, even when she doesn't actually know any more than some of her interlocutors do.

Ms. Stuttle is so annoyed that anyone might come onto this thread and persist in contradicting her, even on the tiniest detail, that she is willing to cozy up to Lindsay Perigo, and lend her voice to the periodic Perigonian chorus of abuse.

I do not believe, by the way, that Ms. Stuttle craves the approbation of Lindsay Perigo. Compared to enjoying the good graces of the Ayn Rand Institute's leadership, which does bring some genuine rewards mixed in with the major penalties, the approbation of Lindsay Perigo is 100% booby prize. Ms. Stuttle seems to know that as well as I do.

But if cozying up and joining in the chorus will help to run her perceived rivals off the thread, or even off the site, hey, why not?

The long-term problem for Ms. Stuttle is that if she succeeds in running me off, then in running others off (she can't stop with me, for I am not the only one who persists in contradicting her), she will end up in the near-exclusive company of Lindsay Perigo. No one else will be around, but the occasional drop-in or make-weight.

Then when Lindsay Perigo begins to contradict Ellen Stuttle, as he will, sooner or later—and she responds in anything like the way she has been doing here—Stuttle Syndrome will join Babsomania, Campbell Complex, StewartKellyosis, Sciabarrophobia, and all the rest. She'll get hit with Mr. Perigo's vituperation, full-bore. He'll be ranting about her long after she's made a one-way exit from the building.

In fact, once I'm outta here, and Neil Parille and William Scott Scherk and maybe a couple more are outta here (remember, Mr. Parille has been banned once already, Mr. Scherk twice, and Ms. Stuttle is on record supporting the banning of Jonathan, over on the music thread), Mr. Perigo will be less inclined to humor Ms. Stuttle when she says things like this:

As to whether or not James Valliant is typically guilty of "sleaze," I have never come to a firm conclusion. I'm always reminded of my inability to tell with MSK's misreadings, twistings, etc., etc., if he knows he's doing it or not. For instance, in James' case, even with the rigmarole of his not admitting incontestable error over whether Barbara told her readers that AB split with AR instead of vice versa, I don't feel sure what's going on in the processing.

Right now, Mr. Perigo is getting a kick out of seeing such slams at The Chief Cockroach coming from a disaffected participant on OL.

Later on, though, he is going to strongly resent any attempts to liken his good buddy Mr. Valliant to the ever-so-odious Michael Stewart Kelly.

If things continue as they've been going, Mr. Perigo is going to end up reminding Ms. Stuttle about her disrespectful utterance a lot more often than she is going to care to hear about it.

Robert Campbell

Unimpeachable

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo,

Do you stand by this remark in your review of Mr. Valliant's opus?

Your research is unimpeachable and your achievement admirable.

Robert Campbell

Blockquote for blockheads, code warriors, readership

William Scott Scherk's picture

Thanks to the Web Mavens on SOLO for slipping in the blockquote code / or to the Drupal mavens for including it in the last upgrade.

Now all we need is for Drupal coders to realize that there are sometimes second pages to discussions, and that the present software setup doesn't let you link to secondary pages . . . and yes, Lindsay, your code warriors have been apprised, and in Nancy Reagan's phrase, "we're doing all we can."

I doubt if it is simply the Google ads or recent search engine optimization, but SOLO readership is up 20% or so over the last three months, reversing a down trend.

RoR is experiencing a continuing decline, clocking a 6% slump.

OL, the third of the sister-lists split off during The Break of 2005/6 has also experienced an uptick in readership, racking up the same increase as SOLO. The only substantial difference between OL and SOLO readership statistics is that OL readers linger much longer at the sister list, with an average page-view of one hour.

OL also has fewer 'bounces' -- visitors rejecting the content, perhaps because of overlapping search terms, and 'bouncing' away ('Dammit, I wanted "Solo Passion, a sensuous alternative to masturbation, now with real flesh tones"').

SOLO is still the highest-ranked in Alexa rankings of the three, just ahead of Carl's Fried Chicken of Omaha, but below the official site of the North Korean Tourist Association.



WSS

Parille's Pretzel Logic

Neil Parille's picture

Gregster,

Thanks for the correction. I was relying on my flawed memory.

But my point remains. I don't think there was much editing by Durban House.

And I repeat my questions to Linz:

1. Do you think Valliant did a good job summarizing the Brandens' books?

2. Do you think that Durban House carefully edited PARC as James said?

-Neil

blockquote

gregster's picture

tags

Ellen. They now work. Previously only available to smart types like Duncan.

Oh, and sure, they can't all be as twisted as Parille, Campbell, Kelly, Jonathan, B Branden, Engle..

Ellen ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

just as there are other, and reasonable, reasons for people posting here who no more sign on to everything Linz says than folks on OL do to everything MSK says.

I want their names. I have the power to have them deported you know. Evil

Technical question to Greg:

Ellen Stuttle's picture

How did you get the shadowing of the quoted parts in your post?

Ellen

"mad band of malice-makers"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

A good phrase, Greg, but please catch up to the fact that only a few of the posters on OL are interested (count up how many of the more than 600 registered members have so much as appeared on the thread?) -- and some of the few posters on the thread are objecting to the direction of what's been happening.

As I've tried to explain to you before, there are other, and reasonable, reasons for posting on OL -- just as there are other, and reasonable, reasons for people posting here who no more sign on to everything Linz says than folks on OL do to everything MSK says.

Ellen

Time Runneth Out

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I have less than a month in which to prepare for departing on a plane to Budapest for an international Symmetry conference. I can't go on trying to keep up with developments here and on OL re James Valliant, etc.

Maybe this fall I'll have time for a re-hash of PARC and/or of Rand's aesthetics of music. I don't have time now.

I have no goal of adopting PARC, as MSK keeps saying I have. He's wrong. The day he understands my motivations will be the day.

Ellen

Hahahahaha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Juggler vein." Hahahahaha!

Comes from too much juguling of too many lies I expect. Hahahaha! *Do* keep us posted Gregster. Eye

Interestingly, it was Chris Sciabarra who alerted me to the "careless offhand remark" on Atlantis that kicked all this off. Bill Dwyer recalled seeing a pedo-book by Peron in the latter's bookstore. He also misconstrued a conversation he had had with Peron at the time. Peron was correct on that detail, and naturally made huge hay of it, but Dwyer was eventually vindicated re the rest. Dwyer insists to this day that the book he remembers was something else again from the "Unbound" magazine that Madeleine tracked down. The MP who outed Peron, Winston Peters, accused him of being a pedophile outside Parliament and challenged him to sue. Peron left the country, spirited out by ISIL, instead. He was banned from re-entry by the Minister of Immigration. His only public defenders now are Babs and Sewer as far as I know. Figures.

Smears from the Sewer continue

gregster's picture

even after further evidence to the contrary re Peron.

They're called O-lying for a reason.

Ellen,

Perigo had enough backstage power to boot Jim Peron out of NZ in the sneakiest, most underhanded manner possible with a vile smear to boot.

The only reason this kind of damage was not inflicted on Barbara Branden, Chris Sciabarra, and others is because he couldn't pull it off. I, for one, am making sure that his kind of damage will not happen again.

As to Valliant, he crapped all over himself. But he went for the juggler vein with everything he had. The only reason he did not destroy his targets was because he was inept and had competent opposition. But not because he didn't try.

You are free to try to support these malicious losers and suck up to them if you like, but this destructive crap will no longer be done in the darkness and by intimidating people into silence.

They don't run things and you don't run things.

I intend to make sure all the viciousness and tidal drifts stay out in the open. I have earned the audience to make sure it does. And you can count on it that this will happen.

Michael

Ellen replied:

Michael,

What an idiot you're being.

Re the Peron business: What you present about Linz's role isn't accurate. I know more about that whole business than you'll ever know, including from the inception of it with an off-hand careless comment made on Old Atlantis.

Ellen

His mad band of malice-makers are a sorry sight. Did he mean to characterise Valliant as a clown or was "juggler" supposed to be "jugular?" No, just another poor mistake.

Exiting from IOS/TOC

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Robert re- quotes the entry about exiting from Kelley's organization:

~~~~

Incidentally, the Wikipedia biography of Peikoff currently reads: "Kelley has worked with the libertarian movement in the United States and other groups with which Peikoff refused to associate. Nathaniel Branden, whom Rand herself had publicly repudiated, later joined with David Kelley and The Objectivist Center. This resulted in a number of members ending their own association with Kelley's group.[citation needed]" The needed citation, of course, are the numerous statements of scholars and writers influenced by 'The Passion of Ayn Rand;'s Critics.' This is bizarre, as most did not leave until they read Valliant's book. Have you decided to omit history as well? Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009
Far more shocking is the silence of all those (still) associated with David Kelley's group -- since Kelley had overtly called for such a debate about B. Branden's work in his initial attack on ARI. Here, a detailed reply, complete with Rand's own notes is published, and they stand silent after trumpeting the alleged silence of their opponents(!) Of course, this excludes those scholars who left association with TAS ~ because ~ of PARC. [...] Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009.

~~~~

 

That definitely sounds to me like it was Holly, with the ignorance displayed of the people -- and some of them important ones: AB, James Lennox, and a big donor whose name I never learned -- who left when Nathaniel was invited to talk in 1996. David took a big risk with that invitation.

Since the departure of those people is mentioned in PARC, I wouldn't think James would forget even if he was typing in a fuzzy-headed state. But Holly could be mixed-up about who left when and why.

Ellen

PS: I did not claim never to have seen the quotation, Robert. And I don't believe that you misread that badly what I did say.

"But what I don't

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"But what I don't understand, Ellen, is why Robert, Michael, et al. should become any less antagonistic to James Valliant and why you're becoming less. I'm not talking about the Wikipedia mess up. I'm talking about the whole ball of wax. If you're going to embrace PARC in spite of itself why not just do it and get it over with? There's more wrong with that book than egregious editing. It's becoming even more obvious to me that PARC is a pig with lots of lipstick. If you are of a different mind, I'd like to read your reasons."

Brant,

Would you bother for once to pay attention to what's going on? I AM talking about the Wikipedia mess up. THAT is what I am talking about.

Ellen

Oh yes, and ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Parille claimed Casey and I were plotting to uncover TAS's finances.

Mad as March hares.

Advisor Ellen for next time: Check Parille's twists

gregster's picture

Neil couldn't remember the exact words so just went with: "1. James Valliant stated that PARC was "heavily edited" by Durban House. Do you believe that he is telling the truth?"

Mr Valliant's words were: "They were careful editors, as well, demanding substantial verification for each of my claims."

So rather than the picture of a team of examiners with scissors at the ready, we get the impression that there was care in its edit execution.

We shouldn't forget ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

On re-reading I see that Robert wasn't suggesting I would seek admission there, just approbation in Linz's eyes. Likewise loopy, though not quite so bizarre coming from someone paranoid.

We shouldn't forget this is the same Prof. Campbell who posited quite seriously that Valliant and I were plotting to depose Hudgins et al and take over TAS. He also gave us the recent this-e-mail-from-Peikoff-is-a-fraud pantomine. Perhaps he's all-mad-no-bad after all, and we should treat his bizarre imaginings as harmless adventures in eccentricity. Eye

Imbecility

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"I hope I am wrong, but if my prediction is correct, Ms. Stuttle will find ways to blame her previous assessment on her once spiritually benighted state, the malign influence of her former companions in iniquity, etc."

I guess Robert thinks that everyone cares a damn about O'ist purity and engaging in purification rites.

Btw, Robert and everyone else, there are things in PARC which I think are correct. And I have said that all along. Indeed I've sometimes commented to Neil that I could have written a better critique of the Brandens' books. No conversion, opinions I held before I ever read PARC.

Ellen

PS: Robert, you're mad -- I mean as in loopy. You really think I have any interest in gaining admission to ARI? You must have no idea of what my life is. Amazing after all the years in which you've known of me.

Scratch the comment re ARI. On re-reading I see that Robert wasn't suggesting I would seek admission there, just approbation in Linz's eyes. Likewise loopy, though not quite so bizarre coming from someone paranoid.

Cheers, Robert; have fun.

Jiggery-pokery - wrap-up - to Neil, et al.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

This is a reply to a couple posts of Neil's on the thread "PARC Wars, Extended Dance ReMix". I don't want to split discussion between two threads, and anyway, as I say at the end of this, I've basically said what I have to say on the subject. So this is a "wrapping-up."

Neil,

Both James and Holly deny that he made the edits citing PARC. An argument that Holly shouldn't have made them doesn't inculpate James, unless you presume that he controls his wife's behavior.

Except for a handful of edits the day the Pelagius1 account was started, there weren't edits made from that account. IP 160 was topic-banned, not banned from the Talk pages. Given WSS's report of James' saying he'd made the edit adding a reference to The Evidence of the Senses, I think it's safe to presume that the other 3 or 4 initial edits, all of which pertained to getting the title of Night of January 16th right, were also made by James. (The editor first thought that the "The," which started outside the italics, belonged in the italics and then caught up to there being no "The" in the play's title and on a further edit deleted the "The" entirely -- lot of advertising for PARC going on!)

My belief is that Holly did at least most of the Talk entries on the Pelagius1 account. I think it would have been better if she'd stated immediately who she was. She did try to set the record straight about there being two persons contributing on the IP 160 account, and which of the contributions had been from him. Eventually she expressed herself as satisfied that PARC wasn't being "censored" and she admitted to being James' wife.

I do not think the behavior throughout was a good way to go about things, no. But neither do I really see it as evidence of "sleaze."

As to whether or not James Valliant is typically guilty of "sleaze," I have never come to a firm conclusion. I'm always reminded of my inability to tell with MSK's misreadings, twistings, etc., etc., if he knows he's doing it or not. For instance, in James' case, even with the rigmarole of his not admitting incontestable error over whether Barbara told her readers that AB split with AR instead of vice versa, I don't feel sure what's going on in the processing.

In regard to your report of James' telling you "he didn't know who was adding the references to PARC in Wikipedia," I'll repeat what I said to you privately:

I don't know what exact wording you used in your query, or he used in his reply. Depending on phrasings, I could see classifying that one as a justified "privacy lie," since a "none of your business" might have amounted to a yes, he knew. Also, which I didn't say, it could be that more than one person referenced PARC, and I think he didn't know just how much Holly was editing. Again, unless I saw the exact wording of query and reply, I can't assess the truth status of the reply.

As to PARC's being "heavily edited" by Durban House...I'd certainly not hire the editor (or copyeditor either) if someone on the Durban House staff in fact did do any editing (or copyediting). (Is "heavily edited" the exact wording which was used, or just "edited"? I don't remember, though I do recall reading the comment and feeling my eyebrows raise in professional disdain.)

I think I've basically said what I'm going to say on this issue. Repeating myself becomes tiresome. We don't agree in our understanding of the facts. Unless some kind of definitive proof one way or other comes to light as to the details of what happened, we're stuck with the disagreement.

Ellen

Mr. Perigo, Mr. Valliant, and ARI

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo insisted that Jim Valliant was not doing the bidding of the Ayn Rand Institute:

*******

It must equally be stated, however, that Valliant is not working to an agenda-ridden Branden-bashing brief drawn up by the Ayn Rand Institute. This is not a belated arousal of the orthodoxy via a stooge. Valliant is his own man. To be sure, the crucial exhibits—Ayn Rand’s private journal entries—were supplied by Leonard Peikoff, but these merely bolstered (enormously) conclusions Valliant and his associate Casey Fahy had already reached independently.

*******

Well, Mr. Valliant has not received the support from the Ayn Rand Institute that he was probably hoping for. The Ayn Rand Bookstore sells his book, but as yet no writer affiliated with ARI has referenced his book in print. All of the citations I have been able to find have come from writers whose attitude toward the book ranges from mildly skeptical (Brian Doherty) to highly unfavorable (Rob Bradley and myself).

But Mr. Valliant, during a prolific posting career at SOLOHQ and SOLOPassion, never has criticized any Ayn Rand Institute policy, or any official action taken by a person in a leadership position at ARI.

"A belated arousal of the orthodoxy via a stooge"?

Couldn't be anything like that, could it?

Robert Campbell

What Did Mr. Perigo Read?

Robert Campbell's picture

Here is a stretch of Mr. Perigo's review in which he endorses many of Mr. Valliant's claims:

******

Valliant’s beef is that the Brandens have succeeded in deflecting attention from the sheer enormity of their misconduct and given Objectivism’s enemies ammunition by painting a portrait of a Rand to whom it would have been near-impossible to ‘fess up and live to tell the tale: a portrait of an impatient, dogmatic, obsessive, humourless, psychologically ignorant, reality-removed, repression-advocating, rationalistic, manipulative moraliser with a hair-trigger temper who drove her husband to drink and her friends out of the park. She was the “woman scorned” than whom “hell hath no greater fury”—and her famous To Whom It May Concern, repudiating the Brandens, was simply a rationalisation of that fury. Contrast this unflattering picture—the one gleefully seized upon by critics—exhorts Valliant, with the actual Rand revealed in her journals:

*A Rand who gave endlessly of her time and intellect proffering Branden what amounted to psychotherapy, struggling to help him overcome problems that were actually fabrications by him designed to throw her off the scent of his clandestine affair with a young actress.

*A Rand who saw the fallacy of rationalism and repression in his problems as he falsely stated them and lovingly sought to haul him out of those traps.

*A Rand who virtually encouraged Branden to have a sexual affair with a younger woman as she came to realise that the age gap between herself and Branden must be a problem for him, notwithstanding his repeated reassurances that he would continue to find her desirable at any age. (All the while, of course, he was having a sexual affair with a younger woman!)

******

Is this "the actual Rand, as revealed in her journals"?

Or is it the Rand that Mr. Valliant wants his readers to see, as revealed in the hectoring commentary with which he surrounded the journal entries?

Which portions of the book did Mr. Perigo really read?

Robert Campbell

PS. Does Mr. Perigo agree with Mr. Valliant about the propriety of offering psychological counseling to one's lover, business partner, and disciple?

Mr. Perigo's Judgment of Mr. Valliant's Research

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo's review, now nearly 4 years old, contains the following passage:

"I owe James Valliant an apology for initially dismissing The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics, sight unseen. [...]. James, I’m sorry. Your book deserves much better. It deserves the widest possible readership. Your research is unimpeachable and your achievement admirable. You have redressed serious injustices."

Shall we take it, then, that Mr. Perigo still considers Mr. Valliant's research "unimpeachable"?

Robert Campbell

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

1. James Valliant stated that PARC was "heavily edited" by Durban House. Do you believe that he is telling the truth?

2. Do you think Jim did a good job of accurately summarizing the Brandens' books in PARC?

-Neil

Neil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I stated my position years ago in my review of PARC. I've restickied it just for you. Therein I deal with essentials, not the minutiae on which you are fixated, about which I care not one jot. In the review, I gave Babs considerable benefit of the doubt. That is the only thing I would alter now. Her behaviour subsequently confirmed that she did not merit it.

Linz: Two Questions

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

In all this back and forth on Valliant and PARC, I'm still not sure of your position. Let me ask you a couple questions:

1. James Valliant stated that PARC was "heavily edited" by Durban House. Do you believe that he is telling the truth?

2. Do you think Jim did a good job of accurately summarizing the Brandens' books in PARC?

-Neil

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

In exploring what had been going on, I came to a viewpoint which strongly differs from that of Robert Campbell, MSK, and Neil Parille. And so I said so. I'm under no illusions that animosities between those persons and various persons on SOLO will be any the less. They might even be more. Assuming that my interpretation is correct, or at least largely correct, I don't anticipate that Robert Campbell and MSK will ever forgive me. Or that they'll become any less negative about James Valliant.

I can only imagine what a feeding frenzy must be going down on Lying. "Tolerationism" at work. I see you're now being cast here as a "Perigonian." I wish! Hahaha! Actually, I am rapidly becoming a Stuttlian. Eye

Have You Ever Been?

Robert Campbell's picture

WSS,

Having witnessed such opportunistic conversion processes as Diana Hsieh's carefully staged transition into the Ayn Rand Institute, I don't see Ms. Stuttle's previous sharp criticisms of PARC as precluding a future endorsement.

I hope I am wrong, but if my prediction is correct, Ms. Stuttle will find ways to blame her previous assessment on her once spiritually benighted state, the malign influence of her former companions in iniquity, etc.

From what I can see of them, such opportunistic conversions carry their own punishment. You kick your old friends and colleagues under the bus to gain admission to ARI and the prize is... living the rest of your life in the company of ARIans, under ARI rules. Even less reward seems in the offing here... basking in the approbation of Lindsay Perigo? Given his track record, that won't be for the rest of anyone's life...

Robert Campbell

WSS

Brant Gaede's picture

I am quite aware of Ellen's disparagement of PARC. She has developed a momentum away from that, however, and I expect soon to see a limited but basic endorsement for it's already somewhat implicit.

I've never understood your horse in this race--or any race regarding online Objectivism. You don't seem to have a point of reference, but gloom onto one thing and then another.

--Brant

"Are you now, and have you even been . . . "

William Scott Scherk's picture

Are you now, or have you ever been, a supporter of TheValliants© Party? Do you embrace PARC in its totality? Are you now a partisan of We Hate TheBrandens™ Party? Your answers will determine your placement in the Party of Evul (1968)® or the Party of Good(1968)® You are under oath and are considered a proxy for one hundred thousand years of disputations between the two parties. Your answer will be met with the sword of justice.

Brant Gaede, golly, you write to Ellen Stuttle: If you're going to embrace PARC in spite of itself why not just do it and get it over with?

Now, she has made a general guess at the particular authorship of each of the Pelagius1 contributions and edits on Wikipedia -- of which there are 85, posted on eight different days over two weeks (between May 19th and June 13). She doubts that James made any but the first four -- when Pelagius1 writes things like "I am his wife" or "I am his shameless promoter" or "He doesn't want me here" or "I will wake him up, he is sick" and "I am new here" and "I made a booboo" that this is likely to be Holly.

I don't think you actually would disagree with Ellen so far, Brant.

Further to the point, you may be agnostic when you try to figure out individual contributions, for example the items in which Pelagius1 rants on about various 'reviews' of PARC or cites some boilerplate bullshit straight from the James Valliant Book of Tales. You may wish to lay a bet yourself, take a flutter, guess which jockey rode which horse in which race.

With regard to the posts Robert questions, Ellen bets "that they were picked up from old posts of James'" . . . Robert bets it was James himself.

Bear in mind that, in Wikipedia's eyes, individual contribution authorship is wholly and completely immaterial to Pelagius1's standing as an editor. Pelagius1 is banned from posting on any Rand/Objectivism related article, being subsumed under the topic ban applied to the other household account, IP160.

Dogpile on the proxy!

Brant: It's becoming even more obvious to me that PARC is a pig with lots of lipstick. If you are of a different mind, I'd like to read your reasons.

I am tempted to reverse my decision to post again at Objectivist Living. I am disappointed that Michael has cast Ellen into the role of perfervid Jeanne d'Arc defending the book which Ellen is on record savaging -- savaging not only as the worst-constructed piece of shit she has ever seen, but as a book shot through with murky and slop and misrepresentation.**

Brant, the Examination Committee for Purity of Evul will adjourn while you search the archives for the evidence that Ellen abjures PARC. If you do not turn up that evidence, The Committee will have no choice but to assign you to the outer ring of Objectivish Heck, and to include you in the cabal who now considers Ellen an Apostate to the Empire of Truth.



WSS

________

** seriously, Brant. I takes about 34 seconds to discover Ellen's evisceration of PARC on OL. If you cannot work the buttons, The Committee will do it for you at a later time.

The Fundamental Flaw

Robert Campbell's picture

All of Ms. Stuttle's special pleading for Jim Valliant presupposes the following:

Jim Valliant didn't want Holly Valliant inserting references to PARC in Rand-related articles at Wikipedia.

It never seems to have occurred her to ask about his motive.

Why on earth would Mr. Valliant be opposed to frantic, sleazy, fly-by-night efforts to promote his book?

For years, he has engaged in them himself, and encouraged others to collaborate in them.

Pelagius1 has said one thing that Mr. Valliant might not have wanted said. On two occasions Pelagius (sounding like Holly rather than James) swore that Mr. Valliant was making no money off his book, that it was a "back-list" title, blah blah. This was inconsistent with the marketing hype that Mr. Valliant and his old sidekick Casey Fahy used to emit. But Mr. Valliant did concede, on this site back in 2006, that his book had not sold as he would have liked.

Robert Campbell

Going All Perigonian, Part 2

Robert Campbell's picture

The third quotation that Ms. Stuttle claims never to have seen (actually, two quotations) is in this post, from downthread:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Here are the key passages:

Incidentally, the Wikipedia biography of Peikoff currently reads: "Kelley has worked with the libertarian movement in the United States and other groups with which Peikoff refused to associate. Nathaniel Branden, whom Rand herself had publicly repudiated, later joined with David Kelley and The Objectivist Center. This resulted in a number of members ending their own association with Kelley's group.[citation needed]" The needed citation, of course, are the numerous statements of scholars and writers influenced by 'The Passion of Ayn Rand;'s Critics.' This is bizarre, as most did not leave until they read Valliant's book. Have you decided to omit history as well? Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009

Far more shocking is the silence of all those (still) associated with David Kelley's group -- since Kelley had overtly called for such a debate about B. Branden's work in his initial attack on ARI. Here, a detailed reply, complete with Rand's own notes is published, and they stand silent after trumpeting the alleged silence of their opponents(!) Of course, this excludes those scholars who left association with TAS ~ because ~ of PARC. [...] Pelagius1 (talk) 6 June, 2009.

Multiple "scholars" allegedly left The Atlas Society after reading Mr. Valliant's opus.

In fact, only one appears to have done so: Bill Perry.

The first Pelagian utterance appears to project the influence of PARC backwards in time, so the departures of Murray Franck and Jim Lennox from the Institute of Objectivist Studies in 1996 are to be explained through the persuasive powers of a book published in 2005.

I suppose some would consider that statement so whacked out that it couldn't be a lie.

Robert Campbell

Going All Perigonian, Part 1

Robert Campbell's picture

Ms. Stuttle is going all Perigonian on us now.

One of Mr. Perigo's tactics is to pretend not to have read posts on his own site, on threads that he has been a regular participant in. (He also pretends not to have read his own posts; Ms. Stuttle hasn't started in on that one yet.)

Ms. Stuttle is now demanding that I repeat what I said downthread.

Very well, here is my original post, with direct quotes from Pelagius1 at Wikipedia and live links to the items that Pelagius1 was linking to.

It covers the first two "Pelagian" statements that Ms. Stuttle complained I had not rendered correctly.

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

I will link to material pertaining to the third statement in a follow-up post.

Re the first, has Chris formally rescinded the invitation?

My understanding is that he made that extremely clear via private email to Mr. Valliant.

Of course, Ms. Stuttle did not write it, so no doubt she would find fault with the way the rescission was stated.

Perhaps Ms. Stuttle is also forgetting Mr. Valliant's frequent loud declarations, during the run-up to "Dialectical Dishonesty," that he would never accept such an invitation. You know, the declarations that were interspersed with Mr. Valliant's public demands that Dr. Sciabarra fire me?

In any event, the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies has not published a review of PARC (one was in the works when Mr. Valliant was invited to respond to it, but there were multiple disagreements between editor and author, and it fell through a long time ago). Chris Sciabarra has made it very clear that he is no longer interested in running a review of Mr. Valliant's opus.

Robert Campbell

But

Brant Gaede's picture

But what I don't understand, Ellen, is why Robert, Michael, et al. should become any less antagonistic to James Valliant and why you're becoming less. I'm not talking about the Wikipedia mess up. I'm talking about the whole ball of wax. If you're going to embrace PARC in spite of itself why not just do it and get it over with? There's more wrong with that book than egregious editing. It's becoming even more obvious to me that PARC is a pig with lots of lipstick. If you are of a different mind, I'd like to read your reasons.

--Brant

FOOL?

Brant Gaede's picture

I don't think you're a fool Ellen, but I don't think you're a suck up either. In any case thanks for the detailed explication, which makes more sense even though Michael has just quoted the last paragraph on OL and called it "crap" and "total bullshit." I don't think Wikipedia is a stable platform, especially for contentious issues. It's more like sand running through our fingers over there. If someone writes a book someone else can read it and criticise it with that book being a good point of reference because the words don't slip, slide, come and go.

--Brant

Are we (making progress)?

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Robert (from a few posts below):

"Did Pelagius1 make the following claims at Wikipedia?

- Jim Valliant must have made a significant impact with PARC, because Chris Sciabarra is maintaining an open invitation to Mr. Valliant to publish in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies

- The review of PARC at the Autonomist [a fringe site in Rand-land that Mr. Valliant later publicly condemned in the strongest possible terms ("What vile phreaks")] is proof of the book's impact

- A large number of "scholars" at The Atlas Society were persuaded by Mr. Valliant's book to convert to ARIanism

Are the above claims true?"

 

You repeat the query as to the truth value.

First, I think you've paraphrased all of those statements rather than quoted any of them exactly, so you might be weighting the question by subtle changes in wording -- I'm not going to search for the original quotes; you find them if you want to.

I don't know about the 3rd. "A large number" would be stretching it, I think, but on the other hand it does seem to me that there's a drifting away from TAS and an increasing favorability toward ARI. Whether or not PARC had any affect on this drifting (assuming it's occurring) I couldn't say.

I think the context in which the Autonomist review was cited was as a link, along with some other link -- see here and here -- that form. If the comment was posted by Holly and picked up from an old post of James', did she even click the links? It was posted during a heavy battle over PARC's meeting the "reliable" standards of being noticed by reviewers. And does she know how insignificant the wider world would consider the Autonomist?

Re the first, has Chris formally rescinded the invitation?

Re all three: If a person says something which isn't true, lying is not the only possible explanation. If the mere statement of an untruth were a lie, then I'd have to accuse you of lying in some things you've said about me lately.

Ellen

Brant

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"I do think you see yourself as some sort of bridge between warring Objectivist factions representing calm reason."

That's silly. I'm not the fool you apparently think I am.

I said how I became intrigued by this imbroglio to begin with -- because of interest in discovering how Byzantine Wikipedia is, and because I wanted to find out how much effort might be involved should I decide to make an attempt to affect the Wikipedia coverage of "climate crisis" issues. I have learned a great deal. Including of course that the effort would be miles more than I have the energy and sight to waste.

I also said that I could only consider as being to the good, with the current interest in Atlas Shrugged and the high number of hits on Wikipedia Rand and Objectivism pages, to have the accuracy of those pages improved. (Thus I'd support the Valliants', anyone's efforts which were improving the accuracy.)

In exploring what had been going on, I came to a viewpoint which strongly differs from that of Robert Campbell, MSK, and Neil Parille. And so I said so. I'm under no illusions that animosities between those persons and various persons on SOLO will be any the less. They might even be more. Assuming that my interpretation is correct, or at least largely correct, I don't anticipate that Robert Campbell and MSK will ever forgive me. Or that they'll become any less negative about James Valliant.

Ellen

A Neglected Detail

Robert Campbell's picture

Ms. Stuttle,

As to the [Pelagius1] remarks you quote, my bet is that they were picked up from old posts of James'. I don't know if that's where they came from, but James certainly did say those things in old posts.

OK, we're making some progress...

Are the remarks true?

Robert Campbell

Let's Think

Brant Gaede's picture

Ellen,

I don't think you are trying to suck up to Valliant or Perigo. I do think you see yourself as some sort of bridge between warring Objectivist factions representing calm reason. This won't work. Objectivism needs to be cut down to its roots and thoroughly re-evaluated and understood apart from all its principals, past and present. Most people--Objectivists--do not understand the actual terrifying simplicity of Objectivism and that the complexity and difficulty is in the details of living an individual life.

--Brant

Dr. Campbell

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"Ms. Stuttle,

How do you evaluate Mr. Valliant's book?"

I have answered that, on this thread; I have said a great deal on the subject in threads on OL.

Stop trying to put me on trial.

As to the remarks you quote, my bet is that they were picked up from old posts of James'. I don't know if that's where they came from, but James certainly did say those things in old posts.

Holly admitted to being his wife -- and you yourself see Holly's style in many of those Talk remarks.

Good night, Robert. I have a big day tomorrow with people trimming trees, and I must get some sleep. I'm going to take a quick peek to see how much slamming me has occurred since last I looked on OL, and then.......

Opinions of PARC

Robert Campbell's picture

Also that, although you think PARC's acronym should be spelled backward, the Valliants consider the book a needed antidote to the Brandens' portraits of Rand.

Ms. Stuttle,

How do you evaluate Mr. Valliant's book?

Robert Campbell

PS. Wouldn't James and Holly Valliant appeal to their view (namely, that PARC is a needed antidote to Nathaniel and Barbara Branden's portrayals of Ayn Rand) in support of any and all actions that they have taken either to promote or to defend it?

Pelagius1

Robert Campbell's picture

Ms. Stuttle,

Did Pelagius1 make the following claims at Wikipedia?

- Jim Valliant must have made a significant impact with PARC, because Chris Sciabarra is maintaining an open invitation to Mr. Valliant to publish in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies

- The review of PARC at the Autonomist [a fringe site in Rand-land that Mr. Valliant later publicly condemned in the strongest possible terms ("What vile phreaks")] is proof of the book's impact

- A large number of "scholars" at The Atlas Society were persuaded by Mr. Valliant's book to convert to ARIanism

Are the above claims true?

You asked,

Did you read the material from Holly I posted in the post called "What case is that, Neil?" Holly said James didn't want her doing it

How do you know that Holly Valliant was the author of these remarks?

Aren't they identified at Wikipedia as coming from Pelagius1?

Robert Campbell

In essence...

Ellen Stuttle's picture

...this is my surmise as to what went on with the many PARC references and the erratic editing and the shouting in the summary notes:

A headstrong wife who took it upon herself to defend her knight in shining armor, while he was often in a medicated sleep with his stomach condition -- and then, instead of Holly's being "the fall girl," as Robert Campbell described her, James was left holding the bag and not wanting to say much incriminating his wife.

Judging from Ted's comments, Holly and James must have been aware, from comments in the summary notes, of entreaties to join the Talk discussions, but maybe James didn't want Holly joining those, since she tends to speak out sans due deliberation and could almost be counted on to make some rash comments (as she did make when she finally joined the Talk discussions as Pelagius1). There is a particular remark amongst James' posts on this thread which refers to Holly's feeling frustrated about not being able to discuss.

It makes a difference to my evaluation of James Valliant if my view of what was going on is substantially correct or not. If there was, as Neil and Robert think, a deliberate plot, a conspiring to get PARC in everywhere, and James is straight-out lying, that's one situation. If on the other hand, things happened along the lines I think, that's another.

Ellen

PS: Robert, the only additional information I have which couldn't be found by anyone else is confirmation from Linz of how genuinely ill James Valliant is and a detail from a private email sent to WSS which indicates that James didn't realize on May 19th that a topic ban had been instituted.

Did you read the material from Holly I posted in the post called "What case is that, Neil?" Holly said James didn't want her doing it -- and I have the memory of Holly's behavior as "The Magenta Hornet"; she has a mind and determination of her own.

Plus, realize that there is some strong anti-Rand and anti-Objectivism sentiment amongst some of the editors on the threads, as Ted has described. Also that, although you think PARC's acronym should be spelled backward, the Valliants consider the book a needed antidote to the Brandens' portraits of Rand.

Plus notice that there were two styles of edits. Some of the edits even the antis among the editors tended to describe as good and helpful, others as obstructive and too rapid, etc. The two styles could reflect two different people using the same account.

I think a difference between the way I'm reading all the material and the way you are is that you're going into it dead set on hanging James Valliant for previous scores you want to even.

I'm aware that Neil started a different thread. I haven't had time to post there in response to Neil. I was planning to say to you that if you want to discuss with me, then you have to approach me in a different fashion than the rhetorical method and the using me as a cat's paw to further your battles with James Valliant and Linz Perigo.

Epistemological Questions for Ms. Stuttle

Robert Campbell's picture

Ms. Stuttle says

I think that James didn't know details of a lot of what Holly was doing -- and even that there was conflict between them as to her doing it.

How does Ms. Stuttle know any of this?

How could Ms. Stuttle know any of it?

Is Ms. Stuttle drawing on any information that is not available either at this board, or at Wikipedia?

Robert Campbell

The Flaw in Ms. Stuttle's Defense

Robert Campbell's picture

Because Neil Parille's new PARC thread has not been stickied at this site, some of the participants here have not posted on it, and a few may not have read it.

I posted a response to Ellen Stuttle over there that may have some relevance to this discussion.

I won't repeat it at all here, but interested parties may follow this link:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Robert Campbell

the easiest test

Ted Keer's picture

The easiest test to find if a name is already used is to attempt to create an account with it, although this overfishes the commons. "Pelagius" does already exist, and this doesn't surprise me in the least.

the they

Ted Keer's picture

Ellen, the "they" in the comment above refers to you and WSS. Your statements of plain fact and of wikipedia policy have been correct.

As for a list of user names, I don't know. There would be millions.

Holly vs. James

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Ted,

Thanks for your material. It's helpful.

Re:

"Third, the question of which edits were Holly's and which edits were James' is entirely immaterial. Any user of a joint account (which is inherently improper) is equally responsible for all actions of that account. I am quite sure that a former assistant district attorney is familiar with the concept of joint and sereval liability."

The question of whose edits were whose is immaterial from the standpoint of Wikipedia's handling of the accounts, but not from the standpoint of what was going on in that household. I think that James didn't know details of a lot of what Holly was doing -- and even that there was conflict between them as to her doing it.

" Beyond that caveat, and without regard to any interpretations of motive they offer, I fully vouch fully for the accuracy of their comments about the plain facts of this case and their knowledge of wikipedia policy."

I don't understand that comment. Holly, when she finally started talking on the Discussion pages as "Pelagius1," exhibited ignorance of relevant aspects of Wikipedia policy. Are you saying that you "vouch fully" for their lack of knowledge?

 

A detail I've been meaning to bring up -- this seems a good moment, given that you have familiarity with the history of Christianity: the use of "Pelagius1" as a sign-on. At first I thought, yes, that's a choice James would make. I thought the reference was to the Pelagius of the Pelagian heresy. Then I found out via WSS that there was also a Pelagius I, who was a pope and lived about a century later.

So why the "1" in the sign on? Is it because another registered user on Wikipedia already has the user name plain "Pelagius"? Or might it be because Holly looked up Pelagius and got "Pelagius I" and didn't realize that this is a different person from the no-original-sin antagonist of Augustine?

A technical question: Can one find a list of Wikipedia user names?

(Mike Hardy, you're hereby required to answer that if Ted doesn't know. Eye)

Ellen

Blush, re Greg Davis

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"Who is Greg Davis? (This is the first I've noticed that name.)," I wrote to WSS.

I realized as I rushed off to my evening rendezvous that Greg Davis is GregSTER. I knew that. Senior moment.

Ellen

Call me Ted

Ted Keer's picture

Understand that there is no fixed editorial staff at wikipedia. The policy on any article is set by those who are actively editing that article. At any one time at most there are perhaps 12 to 20 regularly editting an article, and at most half a dozen doing so daily. Policy is set by at most half a dozen people, world wide, who self select as experts.

(Also be aware that I and Steve Wolfer (username steve in the excerpt in my previous post) are currently banned from editing Rand-related articles. An editorial dispute went to arbitration. I was charged with canvassing, for encouraging Objectivists in fora such as this to participate in editting. (There was not one actual edit of mine that was shown to be improper, my only guilt was my opposition to admittedly hostile editors.) The arbitrators settled upon a policy of moral equivalence, banning all involved in the dispute.)

One makes oneself an expert on the subject matter not by being familiar with it, but by appointing oneself an expert. One example that should make what goes on clear is the matter of Ayn Rand's influence in popular culture. At one point the article mentioned that Angelina Jolie and Bobb Barr identified themselves as influenced by Ayn Rand. A British academic, who had no prior familiarity with Rand, but who had taken it upon himself to fight against any mention of Rand in wikipedia as a philosopher, and who refused to capitalize Objectivism, (but who also then perversely said Rand could not lay claim to the lower case common noun objectivism) fought to remove mention of Barr and Jolie from the article as "not notable" and "no proof of influence." (Here is his website, to see his hostile bias: http://www.cognitive-edge.com/blogs/dave/2008/11/red_eye_randanistas_recovery_p.php.)
This sort of uniformed, biased, and agenda driven nonsense (US congressman, author and US Presidential candidate, Oscar winner and top world wide female box office draw rumored as star for AS adaptation as not notable?) is typical. Another editor expressed his own hatred and contempt for Rand, said on the now archived talk page that this made him unable to edit the article objectively, and he still actively participates in editing and his actions are given the same weights as anyone else.

Do be aware that I am hostile to what wikipedia would call James' Valliant's "point of view." Further, I believe he has only himself to blame for his troubles there. But there were no proper grounds for banning the use of his work to document a point of view that does exist. In other words, while I think Valliant is wrong, I have no problem with the approprite use of his work to support such properly qualified statements as Whereas Barabar Branden says "X" in regard to subject "Y," James Valliant argues "Z."

Valliant was not removed from wikipedia due to any machinations by Barabara Branden, nor due to actions of anyone at OL. Indeed, most wikipedia editors would see no difference at all between Branden and Valliant. They are both Objectivists, and therefore subject to doubt. Anything they have positive to say about Rand will be seen as self serving by these editors.

Objectivists of all stripes who are knowledgeable about Rand and who are capable of making balanced, factual statements, and who are able to understand and work within wikipedia's guidelines should do so. It is ironic that the out of the vast Objectivist movement, there are not half a dozen people with the ability and commitment to ensure that wikipedia's treatment of Rand and Objectivism is full and fair. Woefully uninformed statements by leading Objectivists calling for help overturning wikipedia policies are self-destructive. Emotional declarations of partisan loyalties to factions in the movement are not needed.

Actually WSS

gregster's picture

You're almost right but I reckon "tired descent" more accurate."Greg's tiresome decent"

Mr. Keer

jeffrey smith's picture

The reason why the wikipedia editors themselves first came to challenge PARC as a source is not because they distrusted its scholarship or its arguments or due to hostility for any faction, but because the author himself is seen as an Objectivist, and hence ipso facto untrustworthy

That is an odious rationale, fit only for a den of ignorance.

By that logic, no Jew should be allowed to edit articles related to Judaism.
By that logic, no Christian should be allowed to edit articles related to Christianity.
By that logic, no Republican or Democrat should be allowed to edit articles related to US politics.
By that logic, the people who know the most on a subject are the ones who are deemed "ipso facto untrustworthy", and therefore should not be allowed to contribute. Ignorance is Knowledge, as they would say in Orwell's Oceania.

I agree that Objectivist

Madeleine's picture

I agree that Objectivist infighting happens too often, is frequently ugly and is often over unimportant minutia to the detriment of the good things that the philosophy offers. This issue is not one of those instances.

If you had read what I read when I researched this you'd know why I view it so seriously. I had no idea previously that within the paedophile community there existed all this self-justification - qualified psychologists, philosophers and experts in child welfare all writing academic articles defending it as being good for children. Extensive publications and websites and support networks existed. Common through all these was this vital distinction (vital to the paedophiles, that is) between 'man boy love' and child rape, the former being good for children the latter being despicable.

I'd always thought, well I guess I'd never thought about it, that people who do these things to children were just twisted scumbags. It never occured to me that they are human like we are and like us they grapple with their own consciences and moral codes and it is important to them that they can look themselves in the mirror and believe that what they do and desire to do is not wrong. When you understand and see this you then see how wrong Unbound was. It wasn't just the expression of some 'out there' ideas it was part of a support network for paedophiles which helped them to justify and rationalise their own self-deception as they harmed real children.

You are right, I am very invested in this. I never set out to be and my original involvement was more accidental than intentional but I went on to make a huge allegation about another person, an allegation that saw that person dragged through the mud and thrown out of my country. I do not take the responsibility for doing this lightly and I believe that if you are going to make such allegations then you must be prepared to defend them on the facts.

Further, through this episode I came to know Linz. I had only ever heard of him previously but we ended up spending many hours on the phone and emailing each other through the research phase. I found him to be a very principled person who shared my deep concerns about not making this allegation lightly either. He has a strong personality and a forthright style and it is no secret he did not like Peron - he openly admitted this - but one thing I am certain of, because it came through clearly in my dealings with him, is that there is no way Linz is the sort of person who would make up an allegation of paedophilia or twist the facts into something they were not. You are simply not correct when you describe Perigo as someone not concerned with morals or as a "temperamental opportunist," he was very concerned with the morals of this situation and the greater good, we spent a lot of time discussing these and agonising about whether to go public with the information or not given its ramifications. Perigo's focus in our conversations was often more on the children harmed and innocent people being publicly tarred than on the impact on Peron and his own issues with him. Perigo is not the nasty person he is accused of being.

Amid the dross, Stuttle and Scherk are largely correct

Ted Keer's picture

It may be of some interest that I (wikipedia user name Kjaer) was the first wikipedia editor to address IPO 160, here is the now archived section from the Dec 2008 Ayn Rand talk page:

Avalanche http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ayn_Rand/Archive_16#Avalanche

After reading thru over half of today's 44 edits by 72.199.110.160, and seeing such innapropriate edits as adding "popular" before Rand's film Love Letters, wrong capitalizations according to wikipedia standards, and most importantly, changes made with the sole effect of making Nathaniel Branden's position weeker, I have returned the article to the last state before that spate of edits. Some of 72.199.110.160's edits have been helpful, especially in adding references. But this method of editting is simply unacceptable. One cannot spend hours reading minor edits to find the few controversial and unacceptible edits in their midst.
I would suggest that our anonymous editorr chose just one section a day and make as few edits as possible at one time, so that their helpfulness can be evaluated. Any strengthening of the "Valliant" POV should not be accompanied by deleting arguments of the "Branden" POV. Kjaer (talk) 04:05, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
My problem with the recent edits (again, far, far too many at once) is that the main point is to introduce a partisan point of view. If we are going to erase the fact that Nathaniel had separated from Barbara (making him look like a three timing monster) and then say that the affair CONTINUED even when he was sleeping with Patrecia, then we have to make clear why Rand knew that there was a problem Branden had stopped sleeping with her! He simply would not reveal to her the reason why, refusing simply to say the affair was over, and submitting to Rand's "counselling". If you want to go there, and I don't, then we are going to go there. I see no point in debating this sordid partisan he-said-she-said matter here. I would prefer that we stick to the plainest facts of what physically happened, and stay away from motivations entirely.
As for the multiple edits, since Idag was happy to take the time to deal with them, I am simply going to move on. But this putting controversial changes within a group of two dozen edits at a time is simply unacceptable. There is a talk page for a reason. look at the history of the war section, and how I made my intended edits clear here long before I did so on the page, and how I made that change in one substantive edit. Future mass edits will be reverted. One cannot make POV edits and use an overwhelming number of changes to get them smuggled in.Kjaer (talk) 03:37, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and let me add, 72.199.110.160 that most of your edits have been unobjectionable, and some indeed quite helpful. Let me recommend again using the talk page, and editting an entire section at once (i.e., don't save page until you've read the entire section) for typos and style, to avoid the avalanches. Thanks. Kjaer (talk) 06:33, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
I would also recommend clicking "Show preview" before you save, as that tends to cut down on the typos and various small issues w/ edits. Idag (talk) 16:13, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Enough, already. Yesterday, after your last spate of edits, Idag and I left your changes in place. I added a very relevant verbatim quote of Nathaniel Branden's response to Rand's allegations. I did not delete one word of your changes. I added qualifications and further information. You not only re-edited the entire section from scratch, again, you also deleted my verfiable quote of Branbden's letter. This is not good faith editting. You could have tagged any "facts" you found questionable. You could have engaged in debate or simply in discussion on the talk page. You have not done so. Your edits are made with comments in the edit summaries that belong on the talk page, not in summaries that are soon burried in the history because of your incredible number of edits - over twenty today. Since you have deleted Branden's verbatim quote - while protesting LOUDLY IN CAPITALS AS IF THAT IS SOMEHOW MORE PERSUASIVE in your edit summarties you want only the facts - I am a going to take you at your word, and revert to the last version that had that quote in full. If you see any "facts" you want cited, then tag them, and they will be cited within 24 hours. Any changes you want to make, I suggest you make here first in good faith. I believe your intention is too protect Rand. I have no problem with that. But whitewashing and deleting embarassing facts is not acceptible. Kjaer (talk) 01:38, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Anon user 72.199.110.160 has received 5 separate messages on his user talk page from User Idag, and has responded to none of them. He also has never entered into discussion on this, or any talk page; this despite being invited to do so in edit summaries. His style of editing is disrespectful to other editors and it is disruptive. The best approach would be a suspension of his editing privileges long enough to get his attention - so that he can learn the proper way to participate in Wikipedia editing. Some people catch on and become valuable editors - some don't. He has to understand the importance of discussing contentious issues on this page before applying it as an edit. And he has to understand the impropriety of making such a large number of edits all at once.--Steve (talk) 06:56, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

A few comments. First, I was unaware of IP 72.199.110.160's identity until late this spring.

Second, It is not possible that that editor was unaware of the need to engage on the discussion pages. That editor was actively engaging in abusive dialog with other editors in the "edit summary" field, and must have read messages to him in the summary field directing him to read and comment on the talk page.

Third, the question of which edits were Holly's and which edits were James' is entirely immaterial. Any user of a joint account (which is inherently improper) is equally responsible for all actions of that account. I am quite sure that a former assistant district attorney is familiar with the concept of joint and sereval liability. Beyond that caveat, and without regard to any interpretations of motive they offer, I fully vouch fully for the accuracy of their comments about the plain facts of this case and their knowledge of wikipedia policy.

Fourth, the true battle here is not between SOLOP and OL or Valliant and the Brandens or any other esoteric factions. The reason why the wikipedia editors themselves first came to challenge PARC as a source is not because they distrusted its scholarship or its arguments or due to hostility for any faction, but because the author himself is seen as an Objectivist, and hence ipso facto untrustworthy. Comments such as "by fire be purged" made by religious wikipedia editors who are hostile to Rand are telling.

Finally, this fiasco does not benefit any faction. It merely exposes the woeful ignorance of people from internet fora proprietors to Leonard Peikoff regarding wikipedia, the number one source for information about Ayn Rand on the web; it makes Objectivists look ever more petty and bizarre to observers; and it amounts to one more bit of evidence that might eventually be used by hostile wikipedia editors to apply to Objectivists the same sanctions which have recently been applied against Scientologists

MadeleineI found your post

sharon's picture

Madeleine

I found your post edifying, and it is something to consider. Still, conflicting testimony abounds on the issue, and I am not terribly interested in the life and career of Mr. Peron. You are apparently much more invested in this than I am. I suppose the actual tenor of my post was to underscore the fact that Mr. Perigo is a temperamental opportunist and isn’t really interested in the moral issues involved whether they concern Mr. Peron or Barbara Branden. In fact, it is just so much more flog fodder for “objectivists” who have childhood id issues to vent.

I have long ago grown tired of that mega sterile, rigid ideological world where the proponents fight over minutia—over things that are smaller in importance than an ameba’s dick during a winter storm. Objectivism suffers the fate that is typical of any ideological movement: rigid adherence to a set of pre-proscribed doctrines in which any stray ass-wipe can appoint himself as the guardian of the ideology and forever lash out at “heretics” should they displease him---a world where factions break-off into other tiny factions. It has become a world where “objectivity” is only spoken about—but where unvarnished subjectivism (mixed with glassy-eyed malice) abounds—in reality.

Whatever the merits of Rand’s philosophy that I personally have retained—tenderly filtered through my own intellectual/emotional prism—I can’t stand the fucking movement or its followers. Is this case, Objectivism is no better than Christianity.

One point and some questions

Ellen Stuttle's picture

First, compliments, WSS. That's a very good write-up. It will be helpful to me as a basis for further discussion.

Second, I'm busy with household things. We have tree-trimmers scheduled to arrive tomorrow, weather permitting. I probably won't have time until tomorrow evening or Thursday to concentrate on some things I'd like to say.

Meanwhile, one point I may have mentioned to you before concerns your picking up of James Valliant's "or worse, Ellen Stuttle". Amusing as that honor is, as you present it, you're doing a bit of "Valliantquoating" yourself, William.Eye

Here is the original sentence, with some context:

The ugly trolls were showing up, like Robert Campbell, and, flattered by their arrival as I was, even the invitations for me to return had dubbed me the voice of "official Objectivism." In a discussion of what Rand stood for, is it appropriate to argue with Neil Parille about PARC -- or worse, Ellen Stuttle about whether Parille's Blog submissions here all concern PARC?

He wasn't saying that Ellen Stuttle is worse than "the ugly trolls"; instead that even worse than being distracted from what he saw as the main point by Neil's intruding to criticize PARC was my correcting him when he made the mistaken statement that all of Neil's Blog submissions have concerned PARC.

 

Next a question of substance:

In your bulleted list you wrote:

That IP160 edits originated in the Valliant household was discussed openly and at length before the one month and six month topic ban was applied

Two questions of substance, actually: Wasn't it a one-week and then a six-month topic ban? Also, did you mean that suspicion that the IP 160 edits originated in the Valliant household was discussed prior to the last two bans in the sequence? There was reticence because of the "outing" policy; it was you on May 19 or 20 -- whichever your entry is UTC-stamped -- who blew the whistle on the IP being that of the Valliant household.

 

Two other questions and a request:

How do you code for a bulleted list?

Who is Greg Davis? (This is the first I've noticed that name.)

Please re-provide the link to your compliation of posts (I know it's been provided somewhere, but I've forgotten where).

Gotta scoot for now -- maybe a bit of time this evening for some thoughts.

Ellen

PS to Mike Hardy: Holly concluded there weren't PMs on Wikipedia. (I didn't know there were; thanks for the info.) She clicked on the User name of Skomorokh, expecting the link to take her to a "send email" screen, which it didn't but instead to the User page.

Grammatical errors are the

Madeleine's picture

Grammatical errors are the least of the mistakes in your response Sharon; I'd be more concerned with your factual errors if I were you.

You want to know the truth about Jim Peron? Click the link. Instead of secondary sources like forums and wikis you can read primary sources like Jim Peron's paedophile publication Unbound and the Locke Foundation Report.

[Warning to New Zealand based readers: if you click on the link to Unbound on the site you will be breaking New Zealand censorship law and will be at risk of serious penalties - 10 year jail terms. However, it is legal for you to peruse the site itself and the Locke Foundation Report, which quotes the relevant parts of Unbound (non-NZ SOLO readers will confirm the quotes are faithfully copied and pasted)]

While I cannot testify to the inner workings of the "Libertairan party"[sic] and the Peron and Perigo fallout, as a former member of the Locke Foundation and being the person who found Unbound and brought it into New Zealand, I can testify to the claims Sharon gets wrong. Proof positive that care needs to be taken before claiming you have accurately presented facts.

First of all Sharon, Peron was "a force to be reckoned with in NZ politics" for his influence within the ACT party, not the Libertarianz Party, though I doubt many people apart from Peron's fans would phrase it that way. (No offence to members of the Libertarianz, but it has never been a party one can truthfully describe as influential or a force, though I do hope that this changes.)

Sharon wrote:

"The plot thickened: Peron was in Europe for a Libertarian convention and at that point a small right-wing Christian organization in NZ contacted the Locke Foundation ..."

This is not accurate, Peron was in New Zealand at this point. He wouldn't have been able to appear on all those TV shows crying for the cameras denying Winston Peter's allegations if he was overseas. He went overseas after the allegtions hit but before the evidence that finally nailed him appeared.

Second, I wouldn't personally describe, then ACT Party Member of Parliament, Deborah Coddington as a "small right-wing Christian organization."

It is also incorrect to say that Deborah contacted us; she was visiting Dunedin, another member of the Locke Foundation set up a meeting with her simply so we could network. Somehow the fact we were members of the Free Students Network came up which prompted her to ask if we knew Peron. We said we did and then she spoke about the rumours around him as if we knew all about them - it was the first we had heard of them. We were shocked by them and were not inclined to believe them despite the fact we did not like Peron, as those sorts of allegations are not the sorts of things you want to believe about anyone. Deborah said the the allegations were very worrying because if true, and her friend Perigo believed there was substance to them, then Peron's close association with the ACT Party could be very damaging to the party. She said that the party leaders, Rodney Hide, was so close to Peron he seemed unable to objectively assess the situation and the PR risk.

We offered to look into it. I told Deborah that if there was a paedophile publication Peron had written we would find it. She smiled and nodded in the way people who don't really believe you but are being polite do - she didn't know us. I forgot about it for a few days, partly because it seemed ridiculous. Peron was a dishonest nasty piece of work but paedophilia? One night I was bored so I began googling; because I was familiar with Peron's deceitful tactics, he had lied about me for months on Free Students Network, it was easy.

You see, Peron would never outright lie (at least then); he would make a lot of noise in one area and earnestly argue his case in another, more a smoke and mirrors kind of deception. If you looked carefully you could see where he didn't want people to focus, the inconvenient truth would be ignored with some other issue focussed on instead, he would include lots of detail and names and facts and write very earnestly and it was stunning to watch intelligent people not even notice how neatly he had sidestepped the issue and turned the focus. When you are the thing being lied about, you notice such things accutely.

Go and google those forums where Peron was first accused (some libertarian forum I forget the name of now - the Locke Report documents it) he speaks about the owners of the San Francisco store and you'll see what I mean. Two owners names are mentioned and Peron and focusses solely on one of them sharing all sorts of memories and details and making all kinds of claims about conversations, the other name he never mentions again despite the copious amounts of writing and interviews he gave on the subject. The mistake the media and every other researcher made was chasing the name he kept happily giving. I chased the other name.

"... digging up papers from decades ago showing how Peron allegedly supported pedophilia in his San Francisco book shop by printing and selling a magazine called "Unbound". He also supposedly held Nambla meetings there as well."

"Decades?" The singular 'decade' is more accurate. "Decades" implies at least two. (If you took your dates from the primary sources you'd be more accurate)

"Peron allegedly supported pedophilia" Allegedly? Read Unbound and then say that. He calls opponents of 'man boy love,' those who deem it as abuse, "hysterics".

As for the "supposed" NAMBLA meetings in his store, Peron admitted to this! Read his interviews and the articles he wrote published in NZ media at the time of the scandal. Further NAMBLA admitted to it to when I wrote to them. Media and Police reports in San Francisco also record it. Unbound records it too.

Finally as for the claims that Perigo played a guilt by association card on Peron over the lowering of sexual consent, again read some primary sources! The Locke Foundation Report provides citations to articles Peron himself wrote arguing for the age of consent to be lowered but not to 14, Peron wanted it lowered to 10! How can Perigo be blamed for what Peron wrote with his own hand?

This issue is not about what nasty prick Perigo can be when he wants to be (you are right, allegations of his nastiness is legendary if the well publicised objectivist scraps are anything to go by - he has never been nasty to me) or whether members of the Libertarianz have ever had some dodgy ideas or who used to be friends with who.

Which side of the paedophile apologist movement you want to stand on Sharon? Peron was a paedophile apologist. I will not call him a paedophile, I do not claim he is still such an apologist as I have seen no evidence for these claims (though reports of NZ's most famous paedophile apologist frequenting Peron's Auckland shop do exist and naked pictures of pre-pubescent boys were found in his Auckland shop too by an employee) but he absolutely once was a paedophile apologist and he once gave shelter, support and encouragement to real paedophiles for a period of years. He used his writing skills to help them justify their behaviour, their real harm of children (lets not forget those that met in his shop and worked for him who were convicted of multiple counts of paedophilia), Peron fed their flawed belief that what they do to children is love not abuse and he has lied about doing this and he slandered and lied about other people who, whatever their other flaws, sought to bring this truth to light.

This is a serious charge. The New Zealand government will not allow Peron back in the country (and they are not the only country). While we may have censorship laws, our country is not a fascist state; people don't get their visa's cancelled in New Zealand because they are Libertarians or they are associated with the ACT Party. Before you defend someone accused of such a serious thing and, of course, before you agree with my conclusions, you should objectively read the evidence. You should realise that this is far bigger than an objectivist scrap amongst strong personalities.

Jesus, William

Brant Gaede's picture

That was long. I didn't like that and I don't like it. I much prefer we all roll around on the floor with our hands on each others' throats.

--Brant

In defence of TheValliants

William Scott Scherk's picture

Ellen Stuttle raises some important issues of fairness and reasoned judgement in her latter remarks about the Valliant sojourn at Wikipedia. She has been one of the few participants here who has dug in, read and analyzed the many postings and contributions to Wikipedia by the Valliant acounts IP160 and Pelagius1. I commend her for taking the time and effort to know the material, and to issue an informed opinion on several points.

If she appears to be a partisan of the Valliants, it is only because she is being careful to afford James and Holly an encompassing benefit of the doubt -- to give them, in their absence, a strong defence. A defender does not see only loathsome, deceptive and immoral motives in their efforts to improve Wiki's coverage of Objectivism, a defender rejects the scenarios of the prosecution, a defender lays out the strongest, most positive "on the other hand" interpretation of events.

Bear in mind that Ellen Stuttle has been the object of James Valliant's contempt and derision. James has in the past lumped her into the pack of wolves named the "ugly trolls" and even put her beyond the pale of Neil Parille on the subject of PARC as "or worse, Ellen Stuttle."

Whether or not Ellen's defence of The Valliants at Wikipedia is justified (or pertinent beyond the very narrow grounds she has laid out) is arguable, and whether or not her opinion should sway the court is also arguable, but I believe her efforts to give them the best possible defence has been made in good faith -- she has indeed bent over backwards to give them both and together the benefit of the doubt.

Which contrasts tellingly with the efforts of James Valliant to condemn both Barbara and Nathaniel Branden.

Which puts in perspective the utter failure of the Valliants to have PARC's prosecution brief become the Wikipedia consensus.

Soul of a Rapist, Soul of a Mismanager: Contrast and Compare

If, as some Valliant reviewers lay out in some detail, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics is a "prosecutorial indictment"¹ or that the author is "out to get a conviction on all counts"² -- we can accept that PARC is first and foremost 'The Case Against the Brandens." Nowhere in the book is a benefit of the doubt granted to those under indictment. The list of charges is vast and no mention is made of any evidence that could exculpate the accused, let alone lead to a balanced view of their crimes against Ayn Rand.

The book is an excoriation, a repetitive, relentless accusation that casts the Brandens as untrustworthy, self-interested, biased, and dedicated to the destruction of Rand and her standing as a philosopher and as a human being.

Valliant's book directly accuses Nathaniel Branden as having "the soul of a rapist" -- "what his crime lacked in violence, it made up for in prolonged psychological torment and deception.³

If and when Ellen Stuttle defends this kind of loopy, kooky material -- that is the time to defenestrate Ellen Stuttle, and to issue her the Perigonian badge of achievment . . .

Doubt, Murder, Pocket-picking . . . and 'Mismanagement.'

Returning to Ellen's restricted brief, consider her evolution of opinion. At one point she wrote to Lindsay, "You were ready and eager to see Barbara behind Wikipedia deliberations. And maybe you still think that James -- who brought his troubles on himself through mismanagement -- was the victim of injustice." She also wrote, "James did not conduct himself properly according to Wikipedia protocol [ . . . ] To have a chance of accomplishing anything worthwhile in producing accuracy in the Objectivism-related entries on Wikipedia, he has to do it by the slow patient route of complying with procedures and terms."

Subsitute 'The Valliants' for 'James' in the above passages, and you get a clearer view of Ellen's views on mismanagement.

Defence of ignorance

The defence brief rests on the most essential kind of basis: who knew what when. Ellen, Robert, Neil, Richard Lawrence and the other Wikipedia Objectivism project editors are knowledgeable about policy. We know these things now:

  • there is a prohibition on sharing accounts
  • Wikipedia articles must reflect consensus of article editors
  • consensus is achieved through discussion on Talk pages
  • 'edit-warring' is prohibited
  • conflicts of interest should be declared
  • abusing process is prohibited -- whether by canvassing, campaigning, or other attempts to influence process and policy
  • a variety of escalating cautions and penalites await abusive editing practices
  • fair warning is made of the cautions and penalties
  • Wikipedia editors are expected to familiarize themselves with policies and procedures
  • Wikipedia editors (besides the Valliants) made good faith attempts to engage the editor IP160
  • Administrative penalties (topic ban) began on April 26 and were posted to the appropriate boards and pages
  • IP160 was cautioned and penalized within the scope of Wikipedia policy; all efforts were made to caution and discuss before penalties were applied
  • That IP160 edits originated in the Valliant household was discussed openly and at length before the one month and six month topic ban was applied
  • IP160 and Pelagius1 are, for Wikipedia purposes, treated as one single account; moreover the appearance of Pelagius1 was seen as a clear case of 'meatpuppetry' -- an attempt to subvert the cautions and penalties placed on IP160

Now, a strong defence brief must implicitly argue that both Valliants were at no earlier time aware of any of the listed items above: neither Valliant was aware until much later in the game, for example, that edits were to be discussed on Talk pages. Neither Valliant was earlier aware that consensus was required or how to achieve it. Neither Valliant was aware of the escalating cautions and penalties applied against the original anonymous account, IP160 -- not at the time they were applied beginning on April 26, in fact not until it was explicitly related to James on these pages.

Is this credible -- that the Valliants were at one time wholly ignorant of the policies and procedures that govern Wikipedia, both in scope and in detail? Were the escalating bans a surprise or even noted when they occured? Was the instantiation of the meatpuppet account Pelagius1 an example of a naive user or users belatedly entering the discussion on Talk pages in good faith?

Perhaps -- and this is the lesson of Ellen's researches and opinions.

If we can critique PARC and its author for failing to give the benefit of the doubt to the vile Brandens, how can we ethically take a scorched-earth prosecutorial line against The Valliants? If we will take James to task for lawyerly exaggeration and tainted prosecution, to cudgel him with demands for fairness, even-handedness, for extending the benefit of the doubt to his targets, Ellen has shown us how to mount that ground -- even if we do not accept the somewhat incredible thesis of naivete.

If anything, there is no one better placed to enter good faith debate with James on the substance of his charges against The Brandens in his indictment -- should James ever return to SOLO and re-enter discussion.

By applying the hard sword of fairness to his claims and the counterclaims against him, she might be a fearsome opponent of the charges contained in his brief . . .

Conflict of Interest

Without naming it as such, James Valliant does accept that his wife had a conflict of interest in adding references and citations to PARC on Wikipedia. He denies having himself a conflict of interest, since he asserts he played no direct part in such references appearing in the Wikipedia articles.

If I was defending James against any and all charges of jiggery-pokery or shenanigans or peekaboo or whatever, this is the line I would take. I would assert that no evidence exists anywhere that he knew what Holly was doing on Wikipedia. I would assert that no incontrovertible evidence can be adduced to prove the authorship of any disputed edit. I would also assert a blanket claim of ignorance of any part of the process by which Wikipedia proceeds -- including topic bans, consensus and cautions, discussions and talk pages and revert rules and so on.

Moreover, I would argue -- even beyond the point of personal incredulity -- that no reasonable surmise of collusion between the Valliants can be supported by solid evidence.

Who shall judge?

There are about a score of lay judges jostling on the bench with regard to the Valliants on Wikipedia. Once such judge is Lindsay Perigo, another is Michael Stuart Kelly, another is Greg Davis. Each has issued a ruling of one sort or another, some based on only the most cursory, third-hand review of the materials at issue, some fully informed by bias, bile, tribal affiliations, personal animosity and level of intellectual development.

The judgements are almost wholly tendentious, angry screeds against personalities, if somewhat informed by previous judgements of their particular schools of jurisprudence. Predictably, Perigo has denounced everyone but himself and Ellen; predictably, MSK has denounced anyone who disagrees with him as a tool of the opposition and fit for canning as dog food.

Do any of these assorted judgements matter? I submit that they do not matter in the least. Most are pre-existing boilerplate, whether Lindsay's tired reheating of previously disgorged material, whether Greg's tiresome decent into scabrous invective . . .

The verdict as written, and its interpretation . . .

The judgements that matter have been issued and followed by the editors of Wikiproject Objectivism and the administrator Ed Johnson. In effect and in reality, the entire issue of PARC is fraught and the environment at Wikipedia has once again been poisoned. With regard to the standing of either of the Valliants as good faith editors and contributors, there are three obstacles in the way of their project;

The first is a topic ban. Neither IP160 (judged to be a shared account) nor Pelagius1 (also judged to be a shared account) may add any edit whatsoever to any article related to objectivism. The second is the finding that PARC is an unreliable source by Wiki standards for any mention other than cites from the Rand journals contained therein. The third obstacle is possibly the largest: the editors of standing at Wikipedia will be triply cautious to accept any reference to PARC, because of the 'mismanagement' of the past several months -- we have the testimony of one of the most Valliant-friendly editors to support this judgement.

The Two Emperors and the Grande Dame

Is it any surprise that the Emperor of Objectivist Living is doing his utmost to cast La Stuttle in with the tribe of his opponent, Emperor Perigo? Is it unusual that the Emperor of SOLO has issued a medal of valour and citation of magnificence to La Stuttle in turn? No, on both counts. Each is using Stuttle as a proxy in their longstanding dispute, and each is wrong in measure. Neither can claim her, and neither clearly understands her motives.

Regardless of whether I agree with the totality of Ellen's brief (I do not), the proxy-fighting is ugly and unnecessary -- though understandable in the context of two implacable opponents who would use any means to demean the erstwhile opponent. Ellen is, for better or worse, fiercely independent of opinion. Where she agrees with MSK in some matter, and where she agrees with Lindsay in some matter or manner, neither should be held as evidence that she belongs heart and soul to either partisan 'team.'

Such mutual-slanging merely reinforces the idea that much of online Objectivish discourse is the realm of hysterical partisans.

Should James Valliant return to discussion at SOLO, as I hope and expect he will, I hope he will extend to Ellen Stuttle the courtesy and respect -- and the respect for her independence due to her -- that he has heretofore refused to extend to any of his interlocutors. It can't be often that the worst of the pack of wolves -- the ugly trolls and usual suspects -- has made a careful, principled defence of his excursions.



WSS

_____________

1. From Chris Sciabarra's review, "Reason, Passion, and History."

2. From Wendy McElroy's review, "PARC: the Cast Against the Brandens."

3. PARC, p 383

4. From an edited compendium of salient posts from this thread offsite; Ellen's "I'd say that it's even" post of June 7.

5. From the same compendium; Ellen's "Re: Matters of Substance"

6. From the same compendium; Richard Lawrence's "Since my name was mentioned"

"PM"s on Wikipedia?

Michael Hardy's picture

Ellen seems to say Wikipedia doesn't have "PM"s, and if that means "private messages", that requires this qualification: you can click on "email this user" and send them an email, without knowing what address it's going to, provided that the user is logged in and has decided to allow others to do that.

Frame it, Prof ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I ought to have it done up in calligraphy and framed.

Frame it with my compliments. It was indeed a close-run thing. I don't know how *any* of you live with yourselves. You are beyond ignoble.

That review was helpful to me

gregster's picture

"Nothing positive can come from cooperating with the dishonest. "Tolerating" the dishonest, in any non-political sense, means endorsing it -- voluntarily giving it the very credibility it does not deserve."

Funny Neil, that's exactly what I thought to myself when I first heard of the offer from Valliant for your visit to the archives being allegedly squashed.

LOW SO LOW

Brant Gaede's picture

Landsay Perigo is so low were he to take one step backwards he'd be in Spain.

I'm having trouble ramping up my insult business. I need to attract outside investors--and hire Lindsay!

--Brant

Campbell Complex Passes Babsomania; Now in the Lead

Robert Campbell's picture

You are *the* most vile liar I have ever encountered, even including O-Lying pin-up Pedo-Peron and his admirers Sewer and Babs. You win the prize even ahead of them.

I ought to have it done up in calligraphy and framed.

Coming from Mr. Perigo, it is indeed an honor.

Robert Campbell

Campbell

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I call you vile because you *are*. You are *the* most vile liar I have ever encountered, even including O-Lying pin-up Pedo-Peron and his admirers Sewer and Babs. You win the prize even ahead of them. You are not fit to be a professor. You are not fit to be a janitor where impressionable young folk are present. You compound your vileness by continuing simply to assert that *I* am a liar. You say I lied about the circumstances of Dialectical Dishonesty's creation. Prove it. Prove I was in on it from the start. I was not. There'd be nothing wrong if I had been, but I wasn't. You say I was—well, the onus of proof is on you.

You say Valliant is on the verge of complete mental collapse, you slime on the underbelly of a maggot. Care to prove that too?

Your m.o. is to throw mud from your own sewer in the hope some of it will stick. It doesn't even make it out of the pond, Prof., so firmly is it attached to you.

Fixing the wording in the JKT quote

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I quoted from memory (#73010) a remark of Joan Kennedy Taylor's describing her attitude about attitudes prevalent in O'ism land following The Split:

"If a pickpocket is being condemned for murder, I'll defend the pickpocket."

Close but not quite. Here's the wording Walker gives (pg. 43):

"[I]f I knew a pickpocket was being framed for murder I would come to his defense, and that was my view of what was going on."

Ellen

Mr. Perigo's Modus Operandi

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo proclaims, downthread:

I do not lie. I did not lie, about this matter or any other. But you keep insisting I did as though it were an established fact. You either genuinely don't grasp this, in which case you're loopy, or you do, in which case you're vile.

Mr. Perigo does lie, frequently.

He did lie, about "Dialectical Dishonesty" and the circumstances of its creation.

I've presented my evidence and my arguments, right here on this board. I see no need to trot them out again. His lying is an established fact.

Mr. Perigo has not sought to establish his 100% truthfulness by any means approximating rational persuasion.

He has asserted it, loudly and repeatedly, in the expectation that everyone in his vicinity will knuckle under.

It hasn't been working. Verbal bullying frequently doesn't. Why should anyone fear being called "loopy" or "vile" by Lindsay Perigo?

Mr. Perigo ought to admit his past lies, and make an honest effort to refrain from future lying.

That's the only way he will gain the respect he thinks he is owed.

Robert Campbell

Durban House Liberal?

Neil Parille's picture

James Valliant or Pelagius1 (I don't recall which) told us that Durban House is "liberal." It looks like Durban House is in fact Objectivist. This is from Amazon's reviews of David (not to be confused with "Sewer") Kelley's Truth and Toleration.

***

20 of 50 people found the following review helpful:
Wide Open Mind, July 21, 2002
By Durban House Publishing (Dallas, TX) - See all my reviews

This review is from: The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand (Paperback)
Kelley endorses a concept of "tolerance" that includes the "toleration" of the comprehensive dishonesty of Nathaniel and Barbara Branden. A "Big-L" Libertarian is almost by definition one who uncritically embraces the Brandens or Rothbard in their dishonest slams on Ayn Rand, just as Kelley has now embraced the Brandens.

Politically, the valid concept is "rights." Morally, the concept of "tolerance" is meaningless. Debating, discussing or working with someone depends on having an honest colleague or rival to do it with, whatever you agree or disagree about. Nothing positive can come from cooperating with the dishonest. "Tolerating" the dishonest, in any non-political sense, means endorsing it -- voluntarily giving it the very credibility it does not deserve. Would Kelley debate flat-earth advocates or those who deny the Holocaust, if he found in a particular case, he wasn't totally sure whether the advocate was evading or not...? Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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***

25 of 47 people found the following review helpful:
Rand is Not for the Morally Squeamish, April 26, 2002
By James Valliant "jsvalliant" (San Diego, California) - See all my reviews

This review is from: The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand (Paperback)
Immoral conduct has something to do with what used to be called "bad character." Rand knew that beneath it all, our habits, emotions, and characteristic attitudes are largely the result of our thinking or failure to think. If Rand was right -- if thinking is a volitional choice -- then, of course, EVERY idea one believes is either honest or dishonest (taking into account the context of available knowledge, of course.) EVERY belief is, therefore, moral or immoral -- no matter how difficult this may be to determine in a particular case. Dishonest thinking is morally bad even BEFORE it is acted on, precisely because it helps shape behavior. ... Rand believed that intellectual dishonesty of this kind is the result of volitional choices and that intellectual dishonesty of this kind is causally related to bad behavior. It is, all by itself, a bad thing. One might even say that the simple-minded confusion between political "tolerance" and moral "tolerance" by smart people is likely to be dishonest. It also shows just how much damage the Popper-Hayek crowd has inflicted on the libertarian capacity to think. Another bad result of bad thinking, hmmm ... Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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Comment (1)

Malice in Blunderland

Richard Goode's picture

Mr. Peron then organized the party and became a force to be reckoned with in NZ politics.

Jim Peron has never been either a member or a supporter of the Libertarianz Party, let alone a party organiser - as you'd know if you'd bothered to search for 'Peron' on the Libertarianz website. Nor has he ever been "a force to be reckoned with in NZ politics".

Mr. Perigo felt snubbed and started supporting all attempts to discredit Mr. Peron.

Linz did the cause of liberty a great service by persisting in his attempts to discredit Peron.

There was a formal movement among Libertarians to get age of sexual consent lowered to 14 or under

There has never been a movement, let alone a formal one, among NZ libertarians to lower the age of sexual consent. Nor will there ever be.

Sharon, you are stupid and malicious.

With friends of freedom like you and Jim Peron, who needs enemies?

Are they ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... on one of their feeding frenzies? Badge of honour, Ellen.

To the cheering squad at OL

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I'll repeat something Joan Kennedy Taylor said about her attitude post-The Split, when Nathaniel Branden was being condemned by many Objectivists as though he were the Devil. (I'm quoting from memory; the quote is in Walker; I haven't time to look it up, have to get to bed.):

"If a pickpocket is being condemned for murder, I'll defend the pickpocket."

That was pretty much my viewpoint too.

The current situation is similar. Whatever people's past grievances against James Valliant, the only thing either of the Valliants is guilty of in the Wikipedia incident is mismanagement.

Furthermore, MSK also failed to understand the Wikipedia meaning of "reliable." When he posted the segment of Wikipedia Talk which Barbara then copied and sent to several recipients as an email (forgetting to say where she'd gotten it), he posted that segment in glee, as if it meant something it didn't mean.

Ellen

Gee

Brant Gaede's picture

I made a post this morning and came back ten or 11 hours later and there are 30 more, most of them off topic.

In 20 years of on line yik and yak this thread has to be flamethrower #1. That's right, I came on line in 1988 and 89 on Petr Beckmann's Fort Freedom. I got into one big and prolonged debate about abortion with another poster.

This thread is expanding faster than the known universe.

SOLOP lives vicariously, through itself.

--Brant

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Magnificent post.

What case indeed?!

Valliant could say, "Good morning" and the O-Liars would say, "Aha! It's a lousy morning. Just goes to show what a liar Valliant is!"

All the while spreading the most filthy real lies themselves. Repulsive reptiles.

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