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: )

Amy

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thanks for the verification.

Campbell has not merely "wondered" whether, but actively maintained for yonks that, Leonard/ARI are embarrassed by PARC and wish to dissociate from it. Now comes this e-mail which makes it clear from the horse's mouth that that ain't so. The Prof has a hard time accepting he was wrong, so questions the authenticity of the e-mail. That, fundamentally, is what this pantomine has been about, though the strangeness of the originating address and of Leonard's cc-ing to Campbell did raise genuine doubts.

BTW, are you really Amy Peikoff? Eye

Linz

A New Outbreak of Reading Disorder?

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Kulak appears to have contracted the reading disorder with which Jim Valliant has long been afflicted.

This is what I recently said downthread, about my doubts concerning the email of May 29:

I was wondering whether Dr. Peikoff still supported the book, given the thorough debunking it has since received, and Mr. Valliant's questionable public conduct in its promotion.

But I was hardly shocked to see a statement of support for the book, or, given that, a complaint to Jimmy Wales.

In other words—I was not suspicious of the email because it voiced support for Mr. Valliant's book. I was suspicious of it for the other reasons that I stated.

What's more, Ms. Peikoff did not ask whether I doubted her verification.

She asked why I thought it was necessary in the first place.

Capisce?

Robert Campbell

PS. If you want to know what I do for a living, all you need to do is visit http://www.robertlcampbell.com

Lessons

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Linz:

"This thread should be a salutary lesson for all, whether they have a horse in the race or not."

I was planning, if the letter turned out to be real, to repost my first post on the subject.

Yes, Linz, a lesson should be learned, to wit:

~~~

Repost

The purportedly Peikoff letter

Submitted by Ellen Stuttle on Tue, 2009-06-02 23:01.

1) It sounds to me as if he indeed wrote it; if it's imitation, I think it's good imitation.

2) He is making the same mistake most everyone else has been making over the meaning of "reliable" in the Wikipedia lexicon. He wrote "reputable," and discussed the issue as if the debate were over the truth or falsity of respective interpretations of Ayn Rand.

What "reliable" means in Wikipediaese is "properly credentialed." No matter how much folks might object to this meaning and/or to Wikipedia's criteria for proper credentialing, the Wikipedia meaning is what it is and the criteria are what they are. In order to counter the Wikipedia ruling, the basis of the ruling has to be addressed -- not an imagined basis which isn't what the dispute was about.

I hope that maybe this whole episode might have served as a lesson in how to maneuver through the ropes at Wikipedia -- should one want to attempt to navigate them. The topic ban on James Valliant (a/k/a IP 160) will expire in six months (somewhat less by now). If James wants to return to trying to get accurate presentation of Objectivism in Wikipedia articles, next time he should try to obey the protocols and to dispute issues in terms of Wikipedia meanings and criteria.

I would be glad to see the Wikipedia presentations improved. Considering the current state of world affairs, combined with the current interest in Atlas Shrugged, combined with the extent to which people look things up on Wikipedia (one of the editors commented that the Objectivism entries were getting a large number of hits by comparison to other philosophy entries), I think it could only be desirable to have the entries accurate.

As it happens, I have a many-years' email friend -- someone I know from the Atlantis lists -- who is well familiar with Wikipedia ins and outs. Should James wish for some pointers upon the lifting of the ban, he might want to ask my friend for advice on "how to go about it."

Ellen

~~~

RC

Kasper's picture

The email has been verified by Amy Peikoff. The book's publishing date is irrelevent when an email just 7 days old confirms Leonard's support.

Are you doubting Amy's verification?

Out of curious interest what professorship do you have?

Huh?

Robert Campbell's picture

I am not sure what planet Mr. Kulak has been vacationing on.

Is it really necessary to point out that Mr. Valliant's book was published in 2005?

Or that the statement of May 29, 2009

"As Ayn Rand’s executor, heir, and longtime personal friend, I will testify in any forum to the accuracy of Mr. Valliant’s book."

is taken from the very email whose authenticity I doubted?

Robert Campbell

PS. I would actually like to see Dr. Peikoff vouching "in any forum" as to the accuracy of Mr. Valliant's opus. To be taken seriously, he would have to defend the book in detail.

Robert

Kasper's picture

Half quote of RC's question: "I was wondering whether Dr. Peikoff still supported the book"?

Leonards answer on May 29th 2009

"As Ayn Rand’s executor, heir, and longtime personal friend, I will testify in any forum to the accuracy of Mr. Valliant’s book."

Why ommit the obvious answer to your question. I somehow don't think he would've changed his mind in the last 7 days.

Reasons for Doubt

Robert Campbell's picture

Dear Ms. Peikoff,

Obviously, Leonard Peikoff supported Jim Valliant's book at some earlier time, or it wouldn't have been published with Ayn Rand's diaries in it.

I was wondering whether Dr. Peikoff still supported the book, given the thorough debunking it has since received, and Mr. Valliant's questionable public conduct in its promotion.

But I was hardly shocked to see a statement of support for the book, or, given that, a complaint to Jimmy Wales.

What made no sense to me at all was why I (and I alone) would be cc'd on that email to Jimmy Wales. I have never received email from Leonard Peikoff before. I was not aware that he even knew who I was. In addition, he did not respond to my request to authenticate the email, made less than 24 hours after it was sent.

Further examination showed some rhetoric that, for one reason or another, didn't seem characteristic, and a "hashed" userid.

Sincerely,

Robert Campbell

I simply

Brant Gaede's picture

don't understand why Mr. Campbell got a Cc otherwise I'd never have doubted it. I didn't at first. Obviously LP supports PARC. He gave JV access to Ayn Rand's diaries so JV could write the book and ARI sells it. I'm glad there isn't a nefarious person out there in Objectivism-land hijacking identities.

This matter is of no further interest to me.

--Brant

Verified

Amy Peikoff's picture

Yes, the e-mail is from Leonard. Can someone explain to me briefly why its authorship was questioned? Just because people doubt he would support PARC? Is that it? Or is there more to it?

No Need for Further Perigonian Drivel

Robert Campbell's picture

It seems that Mr. Perigo has a prepared tirade against "Babs," "O-Liars," persons with "LDS," suitable for every occasion—and for none at all.

Meanwhile, no one who knows Mr. Perigo will believe any his pious disavowals of underhanded methods.

Let's find out whether the Leonard Peikoff email addressed to Jimmy Wales and cc'd to me was for real.

Then we can worry about whodunit and why.

Robert Campbell

It's true

Brant Gaede's picture

there isn't anyone on Linz's "side" who would have forged this letter; no one has the skill. If it's not Leonard's ... This isn't a denigration; I don't have the skill either.

I think it's LP's leaving the small point of interest as to why Campbell got a Cc. If it is his I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have written it unless somebody had asked him to and he wouldn't have sent Campbell a copy unless asked to do that too. I doubt if Leonard would have known who in Wikipedia to send it to or Campbell's email address either.

My guess would be that Holly Valliant made the request as James is so sick. She may have even made some editorial suggestions. If this is true it's all legitimate, above-board activity as far as I'm concerned.

This whole thing is basically trite unless the letter is a forgery. We can't tolerate having major Objectivist figures ripped off that way. I'm no major Objectivist figure, for sure, but I have an almost unique name. I've been locking it up on various major forums. Before the Internet I never imagined wishing my name might be "John Smith."

--Brant

Hoot and a Holler

Jmaurone's picture

What a puppet show. Dance puppets, dance.

Nope!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

If it's fake it could have come from your side only. That's what your side does. You couldn't lie straight in your beds. There's not one person on my side who would steal an identity and forge an e-mail.

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

____

But in this case, according to Ellen, you thought it came from a Linz-supporter trying to make Campbell look foolish, no?

With no shred of evidence. 'Cos there ain't none. 'Cos it ain't so.

____

Upon reading the email and coming to the conclusion that it was not from LP, I asked what the motive might be. This strikes me as the most likely motive.

If it is fake then it came from one side of the OL/SOLO divide or the other. I don't think it came from the Auckland Stamp Club.

And, let's face it, the only sockpuppetry I'm aware of is from one IP160.

-Neil Parille

Neil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Even a hardcore humanity-diminisher like myself assumes that the vast majority of emails are from whom they purport.

But in this case, according to Ellen, you thought it came from a Linz-supporter trying to make Campbell look foolish, no?

With no shred of evidence. 'Cos there ain't none. 'Cos it ain't so.

You asked me privately what proof there was that Leonard approved of PARC. Be honest enough now to acknowledge that you have that proof.

Still, you Brandroids will clutch at straws. Not a skerrick of good faith amongst you. Your mind-substitutes are made up.

As your pin-up, Nathaniel, might say, "Go fuck yourselves."

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

First of all, thanks for unblocking me.

Second.

_____

The speculation about forgery came from the Brandroid, humanity-diminishing camp. That's because that's the way they operate. No one on our side of the argument would even think of such a thing, let alone of doing it himself.

_____

The speculation came from that camp because of: (1) stylistic and content reasons; and (2) the obvious question of why LP would "cc" RC on an email like this.

For example, the letter writer refers to "Rand" whereas LP always say "Ayn Rand," "Miss Rand," or "AR." Or the letter writer's concern for the academic respectability of Wikipedia. There are others as well. I would be very surprised if this is from LP.

Even a hardcore humanity-diminisher like myself assumes that the vast majority of emails are from whom they purport.

-Neil Parille

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I much dislike the thought of anyone from either side of the OL/SOLO animosities resorting to forgery as a weapon.

What you're not facing up to is that no one on the SOLO side would do such a thing; everyone on the O-Lying side would. Especially Jonathan, LDS, and Campbell, LDS, given all the lies they've dispensed already on this site. You call it "spinning"; I call it lying. You, Ellen, will not face up to the perfidy of Babs and her puppets. You ascribe credence to low-lifes like Babs, Campbell, Scherk and Parille, when they are in actual fact filth. On your head be it.

This thread should be a salutary lesson for all, whether they have a horse in the race or not. I am not "crowing"; I just want these anti-Objectivists to confess that's what they are, humanity-diminution and all, and be honest for one second of their lives.

The filth is free to debate here. I'll unblock Parille for this purpose, though not Scherk, who's just an idiot. Bring it on!

Linz, don't crow before dawn.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Nothing has been revealed yet.

Amy said she'd find out; she hasn't yet reported.

I for one hope that the email is genuine. I much dislike the thought of anyone from either side of the OL/SOLO animosities resorting to forgery as a weapon.

However, until and unless we have direct confirmation from Leonard Peikoff that he wrote the letter, there remain excellent grounds for suspecting forgery, from one or the other side of the divide.

Btw, re:

"This was a plot all along amongst me, Amy, Leonard and James to make Campbell look foolish."

No one ever mentioned either Amy or Leonard himself as a possible suspect in a plot. Also, in regard to what Neil suspected -- I'd misunderstood there -- he wasn't suggesting that you and James were behind a forgery but instead that one of your supporters had done the job.

Who would be hard to say, since, imo, only a very few posters on either side have the requisite writing skills.

The implausibility, imo, of one on the SOLO side being able to do the writing -- and of James attempting to forge a letter from Leonard, given that Leonard would be furious -- is what eventually led me, at about 6:00 p.m. yesterday (EDT), to start wondering if folks had the plot backward (shades of Roger Ackroyd) and if someone from the OL side was attempting to make Linz look foolish.

(The suspect I thought of was Jonathan, who does have the writing skill, if he could restrain his impulse for implausible elaboration. He's subsequently denied doing it; I believe the denial.)

Bottom line: Get a definite yes or no from Leonard. (I repeat that I hope the answer is, yes, he wrote it.)

Ellen

Panning out nicely

gregster's picture

No one on our side of the argument would even think of such a thing, let alone of doing it himself.

Good point Linz, again.

Funny ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... how it's gone quiet.

Where are the humanity-diminishers now??!!

Oh, wait. This was a plot all along amongst me, Amy, Leonard and James to make Campbell look foolish.

He needs no help from us in that regard. Neither does any other Brandroid.

The speculation about forgery came from the Brandroid, humanity-diminishing camp. That's because that's the way they operate. No one on our side of the argument would even think of such a thing, let alone of doing it himself. Brandroids specialise in subterranean Chinese whispers, mind-games and character assassination by insinuation (including insinuation-by-selective-anecdote about Ayn Rand: Babs's specialty). Plots and conspiracies are their currency, and they think it's all jolly good fun.

Then there are the de facto Brandroids who know right from wrong but align with the likes of Campbell anyway, out of LDS. There's a strain of that in Philadelphia, apparently.

All very revealing, as always.

Thanks Amy

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... and I've removed the address from Campbell's post.

Brandroids need to get lives.

It reads like a legit e-mail

Amy Peikoff's picture

It reads like a legit e-mail to me, and is consistent with what I know of Leonard's position on this. I'll get verification. Might be good to disable Leonard's e-mail address in that post, even if it is a randomly computer-generated one, just in case, so his e-mail server doesn't get overloaded by spam.

Since my name was mentioned

RL0919's picture

Since my name was mentioned, I'll state that I have posted on Objectivist Living twice that I recall, both times to correct information posted there regarding the Objectivism Reference Center. Responding to a mention of myself or my website is the most common reason for me to on an Objectivism-related forum these days (excepting HPO, where I have a long history and still participate off-and-on).

Regarding Wikipedia, Ellen's descriptions of the situation are essentially accurate. There appears to have been a belief among several Wikipedia editors that PARC was vanity-published, which would make it generally unacceptable as a cited source per WP policy. (James has subsequently denied this, but this belief was well established before he responded to it.) The fact that it was cited frequently in seemingly inappropriate ways did not help. (For example, it was sometimes cited in opposition to the article text. This is highly inappropriate because WP citations are supposed to be support for the article. If a source says that a claim in the text is wrong, then the claim should either be removed or expanded into a discussion of the different opinions on the matter.) Nor did it help that it was being cited by an anonymous editor who made contentious edits while declining to participate in any talk-page discussions. And once someone concluded that the anonymous editor might actually be James Valliant, the furor over WP policies being violated was so great that the book's reputation was thoroughly trashed just by the way things were being handled, regardless of any real merits or demerits it might have.

As it stands, I suspect it will take the passage of some time combined with PARC being cited as a source in additional reputable secondary sources (only a few such citations have been found so far), before PARC will be accepted on Wikipedia as a source for anything other than Rand's journal passages. This is not based on the truth or falsehood of anything in the book (which most WP editors have never read), but on a combination of WP sourcing policies and the negative associations the book now has in the minds of several editors who frequent the relevant pages.

Edit: I guess it would help if I was clear about what "my name" means:

--
Richard Lawrence

Trying

Brant Gaede's picture

to figure out how to speculate in equity markets is easier than trying to figure out what happened here. Prediction: a letter to RC from LP's lawyer demanding information about the email complete with some kind of legal mumbo-jumbo threat, implied or otherwise. That's what lawyers do: threaten. Objectivist big-wigs have done this forever. I'm not saying it's right or wrong per se.

--Brant

falsified hypothesis

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Re my "wondering if the someone [who suggested to MSK that the Peikoff missive might be a prank to fool Robert] was the actual author of the letter and was warning Robert to keep him from being misled":

The someone who sent that private message definitely wasn't the author of the purportedly Peikoff email. (I've been told by the person who the former was.)

EDIT: The person who warned that the letter might be a prank to fool Robert was Neil Parille. He just sent me a note saying I could identify him.

Ellen

Brant (a te-he)

Ellen Stuttle's picture
Link
He and Ellen apparently exchanged a private email on that [...].

Try reading more carefully. Eye (No private email was exchanged; it was right out front on the page what he was thinking.)

E-

Brant/ RC/ Linz/ QUESTION

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Brant:

"Consider that the Cc was sent to Campbell who would be quick to put it up on the Internet but smart enough to then figure out it probably wasn't Kosher."

Plus, less than 2 hours after Robert C. announced (May 30 2009, 11:05 AM CST) on OL that he'd received the email, MSK posted (May 30 2009, 12:50 PM CST) to say that he'd received

Link
[...] a private message giving an idea that sounds more than plausible [-- that] someone trying to support [Linz] is pulling a prank to fool Robert.

I'm wondering if the someone was the actual author of the letter and was warning Robert to keep him from being misled.

 

Robert:

(in response to my "thinking the stunt was malicious"):
"Kinda goes without saying, whoever did it, whichever was the objective."

Point taken. I find the fraud nastier -- assuming it is a fraud -- if there was an elaborate scheme to end up poking fun at Linz and Valliant, using a faked letter from Leonard as the means.

 

Linz:

"But that [my suspicion that 'Linz and Valliant and supporters were the target'] doesn't make sense either. Peikoff ~does~ applaud PARC, and I'm sure both James and I would already have been on record as saying so."

Linz, are you on record ~providing evidence~, documented, written evidence from Leonard Peikoff (beyond, if I recall right, a very early statment shortly after the book was published)?

Here, you would have been presented, apparently, with written evidence and have fallen for the ploy (which, if I'm right in my suspicion, would subsequently have been revealed to have been a set-up).

 

QUESTION, Linz:

Don't you or Holly (you've reported that James is in the hospital) have a direct, personal email address for Leonard Peikoff where you can write and ask him if he indeed did author the email? A direct yes or no from Leonard would at least settle the question of whether the email is authentic.

Ellen

There are three targets

Brant Gaede's picture

Valliant and Peikoff and PARC.

I target them too, but not that way.

Consider that the Cc was sent to Campbell who would be quick to put it up on the Internet but smart enough to then figure out it probably wasn't Kosher. And if it wasn't from Peikoff, Peikoff would eventually spike it one way or another. In the meantime the whole thing gets publicized. Peikoff backs PARC and Valliant and disses Barbara Branden--No! It's not true! No Peikoff support for PARC and Valliant. Peikoff didn't publicly dis BB. The whole thing publicly devalues Peikoff with sophisticated lie telling, now and tomorrow.

There is still the explanation Peikoff did write it and Cc RC for what reason I don't know. Maybe Valliant asked him to. In that case Peikoff looks essentially Internet clueless.

I'm in this discussion from the standpoint of ID protection. The whole Valliant-PARC-Peikoff axis can collapse as far as I'm concerned, but not out of something like this--unless it's legit.

--Brant

Lest we forget

Brant Gaede's picture

1300 Wikipedia Rand/Objectivist edits and PARC injections by--the Valliant household?

--Brant

But ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

My suspicion at this point is that Linz and Valliant and supporters were the target, that the hope was that they would say, See, Peikoff applauds PARC, and be made to look foolish when it came out that they'd been duped. I'm thinking the stunt was malicious.

But that doesn't make sense either. Peikoff does applaud PARC, and I'm sure both James and I would already have been on record as saying so. Why would we feel foolish for saying it again? It's only Prof. Campbell who's touting this batty notion that Peikoff is embarrassed by it. Binswanger and Schwartz didn't approve of it - they don't approve of anything that acknowledges the Brandens' existence, even if to excoriate them - but Peikoff was enthusiastic.

Well

Brant Gaede's picture

No one here that I know of thinks or implies it was Michael. He has great Internet skills, but not mimicking writing skills. And he's doing so much elsewhere he'd not have time for this. While I dislike Peikoff, we can't let this kind of thing go on if we can stop it. It makes me want to walk away from the Internet and not look back. The idea that someone can gloom onto your personal/intellectual/professional/moral identity and corrupt it is sickening.

--Brant

One point of agreement

Robert Campbell's picture

I'm thinking the stunt was malicious.

Kinda goes without saying, whoever did it, whichever was the objective.

Robert Campbell

LOLOLOL

Ellen Stuttle's picture

MSK writes:

Link
But since it looks like there is a speculation (between the lines of course) that I might have done it to make Objectivist Liar Lindsay Perigo and acolytes look foolish, let me take the covers off the insinuation. And even if I was not the target, now there will be those who think so.

It never crossed my mind, and never would have, that MSK did it or that anyone would think that I was thinking of MSK. Remember, I've said from the start that the style sounded as if Leonard wrote it, that it was impeccably well written.

The one thing we can be sure of is that someone or ones wrote it. At this stage we have many reasons to doubt that Leonard was the author. I think that the idea that Valliant or friend/s forged it doesn't make sense; they'd realize that forging a letter from Leonard would get them in his bad books. My suspicion at this point is that Linz and Valliant and supporters were the target, that the hope was that they would say, See, Peikoff applauds PARC, and be made to look foolish when it came out that they'd been duped. I'm thinking the stunt was malicious.

Ellen

Muppet Mouthpiece

Jmaurone's picture

Greg, it's a Muppet. Not quite a sock, not quite a puppet. Kind of like Peikoff, in this case...

And it may as well be speaking for me; that look on his face, "wtf?" Apropos for what this has all turned into, anyway...

I've

Brant Gaede's picture

come up with another name after reviewing this thread. There may indeed also be a collaboration. And it all may go back before James Valliant was taken to task on Wikipedia. I can almost smell a stink. If Peikoff doesn't affirm or deny, it means it's not his. He might say something to an intimate third party affirming it if true who'd in turn tell Linz--or deny it. Might. Absent that it's a forgery and deserves to be considered as such.

Intolerable if so but I'd bet the ranch on a bigger story, also intolerable even if James Valliant was the victim. It's ID theft for a malicious end. Intolerable.

--Brant

L Peikoff

Brant Gaede's picture

While I don't like Leonard Peikoff, I find the idea of someone forging stuff under his name to be intolerable.

--Brant

Schurely not

Ellen Stuttle's picture

unless in collaboration with someone else. He isn't who I mean. But there is something pertaining to him which leads me to suspect that he knows who the author is.

Brant, I didn't say that you said or implied that... Eye There're more people speculating than you.

Ellen

Oh

Brant Gaede's picture

Me too. That didn't take a lot of thought.

--Brant

I didn't say or imply

Brant Gaede's picture

that James, Holly or Casey forged any letter. I suggested that one of them may have asked Peikoff to write it.

Since Robert said he could have done a better job, I'd guess that that excludes him.(?)

I suppose someone could have taken some of Peikoff's writings and used them as a stylistic template.

Nobody is going to admit to this as a forgery.

I'm more inclined now to accept the idea it is a forgery. Not mine. I'm devoting all my reprehensible efforts to bringing down Obama!

--Brant

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm schure I know to whom you allude. Eye

We'll see.

A thought about motive

Ellen Stuttle's picture

People have been assuming that, if the letter is a forgery, the primary target of the hoax is Robert Campbell and the perpetrator is James and/or Holly Valliant and/or Casey Fahy.

This doesn't make sense, however, for a further and stronger reason than doubt as to the ability of any of those three to carry off details of the writing style. Wouldn't all three know that Leonard Peikoff would hit the roof over being forged, and that were they to forge a letter using his signature, they likely wouldn't be forgiven?

I had a thought a couple hours ago, considering that the continued delay in any word from Leonard Peikoff strengthens the now-strong hypothesis that the letter is fake:

The target is Linz and Valliant and his supporters. It's they whom the perpetrator is trying to make look foolish.

I have a strong suspicion as to who done it (if it's fake), someone who I know could manage the writing and also has the internet skills to forge the email address.

Ellen

Click Clack!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

A "claque" is any group of people whom one disdains.

A "clique" is any group of people whom one envies.

Is that you or your sock puppet talking..?

gregster's picture

Joe Smiling

"There are those in the academic world who question the objectivity.."

Those, unbeknownst (?) to the email writer, are weasel words in Wiki-speak. So another clue; the writer is either not au fait with Wiki, or is trying to intimate this.

More claquing

Ellen Stuttle's picture

This is fun. Man, I had a wonderful time in those heady days of identity guessing on Old Atlantis, list of blessed memory.

The sentence from Barbara quoted by Joe in which she uses "claque" adds to my wondering if Winnipegers characteristically say "claque" where the typical American would say "clique." (Robert Campbell happens to be fluent in French, so his frequent use of "claque" doesn't count as "typical American." Eye):

It would not exist without Peikoff and his claque, and he is more and more widely seen as a cultist nut. (BB, in an interview conducted by Linz)

Re the details cited by Robert as weighing against Peikovian authorship -- Would Leonard say he'd talk in a forum?, Doesn't Leonard always write "Ayn Rand"? Would he write "The Brandens"?, Doesn't he despise academia anyway? Would he object to being "worshipful" toward Rand? -- none of those seems to me as strong a counter-indication as does another detail.

The letter says:

I do not pretend to know every detail of the clash between Rand and the Brandens, but I do know firsthand the essential truth of the Valliant book. I leave aside here my own personal observations and discussions on this issue with Rand, because the book itself contains lengthy excerpts from her own personal notes, which completely bear out Valliant’s thesis in her own words.

Now maybe all he means by his "own personal observations and discussions on this issue" is general discussion of especially Nathaniel's fall from grace, but the statement sounds as if he means discussion pertaining in particular to the affair -- the fact of which Leonard didn't learn while AR was alive, thus could hardly have discussed with her.

One thing of which I feel sure concerning the letter's authorship: If Leonard didn't write it, he won't take kindly to someone's having forged it.

Ellen

PS: Brant, yes, Ellen Moore died, on November 11 -- with symbolic appropriateness on America's Veterans' Day -- I think in 2007 (or maybe it was 2006).

Lacquer for claquer...

Jmaurone's picture

"Leonard Peikoff already spoke ill of academia during the early part of his career."

He also spoke disdainfully of online forums in general, and of poser authorities that overtake said boards, so I can't see him getting too worked up about a site like Wikipedia...

Hmm... Part 2

Robert Campbell's picture

The cliquing and claquing is all in good fun... something SOLOP hardly ever offers.

But I mentioned my prior use of the word "claque" (and "claqueur") on this site specifically because I had directed it at certain participants here, who might have been tempted to throw it back. The fact that Barbara Branden has used the same word might have augmented the temptation.

I will say this: If I were going to fake up an email from Leonard Peikoff, I would do a substantially better job than our still-anonymous author was able to pull off.

In the conclusion to the email is still another declaration that doesn't ring true. Right cadence, wrong motif.

There are those in the academic world who question the objectivity of Wikipedia. I hope that your action on this matter will prove that they are wrong.

Leonard Peikoff already spoke ill of academia during the early part of his career. Since his departure from Brooklyn Polytech he's rarely had a single good word to say about American universities. Some can of his ranting be read in OPAR, reminding me of Auguste Comte, of all people. (Comte believed, perhaps correctly, that he had been euchred out a university position through political intrigue. For the rest of his life he spewed intermittently against the "pedantocracy.") Lengthier rants can be heard in the later Peikoff lecture series. Dr. Peikoff consistently presumes that academics are non-objective unless they can prove otherwise. I see no reason why he would pretend differently for the benefit of Jimmy Wales.

Robert Campbell

Claque

Brant Gaede's picture

If it claques like a duck ...

--Brant

Claquity-Claque (Don't talk back)

Jmaurone's picture

Oh, this is fun. Just like CLUE, a regular "whodunnit?" The fate of the world rests on the weight of a word...

http://rebirthofreason.com/Art...

BB: "As for the factionalism, I don't think it important in the long run. It would not exist without Peikoff and his claque, and he is more and more widely seen as a cultist nut. I will cheerfully boast that I do my humble best to spread and justify that view of him. His incessant excommunications of heretics who dare to question a word Ayn Rand ever said have made him ridiculous."

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

Robert Campbell:
"I'm just sorry that you had to endure so much verbal abuse from Mr. Perigo's claque and Ms. Hsieh's claque, though the very abusiveness of it all helped to make your point."

http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sc...
James Valliant quoting Robert Campbell:

"I quit debating Mr. Valliant and his claque back in November, because I'd crunched both of my wrists in an accident and needed all of my resources to recover. But even if I hadn't been faced with an imperative to change my priorities, I had the sense that the debate was well past the point of bringing further returns."

http://www.objectivistliving.c...
Robert Campbell:
"Mr. Valliant and his claque don't give a hoot about the ethics of counseling, so are incapable of recognizing any exposures here."

http://www.objectivistliving.c...
BB: "Robert, I haven't had time to carefully read everything you've posted to Solo,
but I've looked through it all, and also the comments -- and you are doing a
masterful job. You're making Peikoff et al look very bad indeed, as they should
look. The claque attacking every word you say will never know it, because
they'll never let your points penetrate their skulls, but anyone with a grain of
sense will certainly know it."

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...
Robert Campbell:
"More recently, ARI-affiliated individuals, such as Diana Hsieh (who only a few months earlier openly despised SOLOHQ as a “cesspool”) have become active on SOLOP (see http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog...). Ms. Hsieh has brought with her a claque that now includes Mike Mazza, Boaz Simovici, and Fred Weiss."

http://rebirthofreason.com/For...
Robert Campbell: "You'll never hear about it from the ARI claque, because Hicks speaks at TOC gatherings. But I think you'll find it useful nonetheless."

http://solohq.org/Forum/Genera...
Robert Campbell: "The problem I have with Fred Weiss is that he is a claqueur. I don't travel with a claque. Neither do you."

"Mr. Valliant travels with a claque. Ms. Hsieh has acquired a claque, and brought some of it from NoodleFood to SOLOP. Mr. Perigo acquired his own claque during the SOLOHQ days and now maintains what's left of it at SOLOP. There have even been collaborative operations involving multiple claques, like the instant banning of Regi Firehammer from Ms. Hsieh's blog last month."

http://www.objectivistliving.c...
Robert Campbell: "I truly wish Chris Sciabarra had told her to take a hike by that time. Ms. Hsieh was gunning for him. Her nasty blog entry on "Poisoning the Well" (from August 2005) was aimed at him by implication, as members of her ARIan claque were meant to understand, and obviously did."

"So how long has Ms. Hsieh been absent from this forum? Would she ever have spent two minutes on it, without assurances of support of Mr. Perigo and Mr. Valliant, and the regular assistance of the noisy claque that she imported?"

"Now I know that the Perigonian claque is going to greet my linguistic terminology with epithets specially warmed up for the occasion, but under these circumstances it can’t be helped."

"Claque claque claque, claque claque. Claque? Claque!"

Ellen

Brant Gaede's picture

I remember Ellen Moore of course, but am very vague on the rest of it. I believe she has died.

You remind me of her in one way, aside from the first name, in that she constantly set people right about Objectivism while you relate correct information about what went on in the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately she didn't have your brains and was frequently wrong. Trying to have a conversation with her was like trying to talk to a wall. Daniel Ust finally ground her down though that wasn't something she could ever acknowledge except by supporting Wales destroying Atlantis with his policies. Atlantis went out of business and she ironically disappeared. I don't think there ever was anything that has matched Atlantis, not even the subsequent Yahoo Group which is still in business. Jimmy meant well, but had no more idea what he was actually doing there than the bull that wandered into the china shop. He did take his basic attitudes to Wikipedia, of course, but that was his own baby. He hijacked Atlantis.

--Brant

clique and claque

Ellen Stuttle's picture

There's some talk on OL about the use of "claque" rather than "clique" in the putatively Peikovian oeuvre.

Both words are of French origin. The meaning is similar but not the same.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

clique

Etymology: French
Date:
1711
: a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons ; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes

 

claque

Etymology: French, from claquer to clap, of imitative origin
Date:
1848
1 : a group hired to applaud at a performance 2 : a group of sycophants

 

Funny thing is...the word "claque" brings to my mind memories of a certain poster of yore from Old Atlantis, one Ellen Moore -- resident of Winnipeg, contact person for the ARI subsidiary there until she disowned Leonard Peikoff for italicizing "is" (long story -- remember it, Brant?). Ellen Moore always referred to "Barbara's claque." Some of us, amused, decided to accept the designation and we set up a small off-list list which we called "The Claque."

Maybe it's characteristic in Winnipeg to say "claque" whereas Americans would likely say "clique"?

Ellen

PS: Brant, remember the high hilarity of the stretch on Old Atlantis when a number of posters, especially JO but others too, were setting up fake email identities and guessing games were standard fare? Those were the days.

Hmmm...and Jimbo was the one who pulled the plug on our revelries...

RIGHT!

Brant Gaede's picture

Good points, Robert. And if true Leonard Peikoff will soon absolutely disown authorship! Period! So easy. Otherwise those are his words and his composition and his thoughts! Other otherwise he's complete crap and bs delux. You MUST defend yourself against this kind of fraud! Absolutely! Or it's true. He wrote it. If it doesn't soon come out in the contrary wash in a few days, it's all his!

Everything is UP in the air! If LP doesn't care it's in his hair.

--Brant

Hmm...

Robert Campbell's picture

Despite the largely Peikovian style, there are a few reasons, besides the "hashed" userid and the lack of response from Peikoff.com, to doubt the provenance of the letter...

"I will testify in any forum to the accuracy of Mr. Valliant’s book"

Leonard Peikoff hasn't done that. Is he planning to now?

"a writer who would give her personal viewpoint a rational hearing, neither hostile nor worshipful."

Is that the way Leonard Peikoff would put it?

"between Rand and the Brandens"

Doesn't Dr. Peikoff refer, nearly always, to Ayn Rand or even Miss Rand?

Does he refer to "the Brandens"?

Just wondering....

Robert Campbell

Let's get one thing straight Linz,

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm not here because I hate you. I'm not here because I despise you. I'm not here to destroy you; none are true. I dislike you. I take issue with you. Those are that. Call me what names you will; I simply don't care about it any longer. Sans genocidalists, I do not want SOLOP to go zip. Once a month I go to R of R and poke around a little until I soon get bored and leave. I come here every day. That's not so much a complement as this place needs more people, if not better people for they'd do something here worth a damn and the same thing there not there worth a damn albeit the words the same. This place transcends you; you even sometimes can transcend your(evil)self.

--Brant
dislikes Linz. Likes Barbara a lot

If

Brant Gaede's picture

you had seen me before you'd not ask that.

--Brant

So Brant ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... shouldn't it have started working by now? Eye

My therapy

Brant Gaede's picture

with Nathaniel Branden was essentially and mostly in 1976. Once a month about 24 clients would meet with him for a two-day weekend in NYC. I have tapes for every session I had with him, the exception being one which I can mostly recreate in my head. This time was his classic period centering on sentence completion, his most widely used therapeutic technique. He invented the technique, not sentence completion. Both involve altered states of consciousness, but his was highly structured and the state of consciousness through him was extremely highly elevated. If you watch the late 1960s film "Bob and Ted and Carol and Alice"--or something like that--you'll see the major actors in bed using sentence completion but NOT in the way Nathaniel subsequently used it. You'll see the development and use of the technique in first "Breaking Free" and its essential maturation in "The Disowned Self." It got more sophisticated subsequently and his then-wife Devers became ever better at it than he was.

Now I was his ideal client in many ways. Others in his therapy sessions may not have done so well. Maybe what he does now does better by more than then. I cannot evaluate that. It is my intention to make a complete record available--as complete as I can make it--of what I went through with him complete with transcripts and audio--for scholars. First I need to get the tapes onto CDs. Then I need to transcribe them and lastly annotate.

--Brant

Therapy client

Brant Gaede's picture

If you play the role of a therapy client the therapist stops you--if he's an effective therapist--before you get too deep into it for privacy concerns. He does NOT play at being a therapist. That doesn't work for it assumes everything is artificial play-acting. I've seen Nathaniel Branden do this and STOP after a certain point had been reached. No play acting by anyone, but too far was too much, which was understood, so he stopped. In actual therapy sessions he only stopped when the client stopped. If the client wanted to play act or engage in games or didn't want to work, Nathaniel could not proceed. He was helpless. He would tell the client what was happening hoping for surcease, but all power was in the client. Any "therapist" thinking otherwise is an incompetent fool.

--Brant

Well

Brant Gaede's picture

Ellen, I'm pretty sure it's one "l". She wrote a negative review of, I think, "The Throne of Saturn" in The Objectivist. I think I read about the wedding in The New York Times, not The Objectivist. Funny. I stopped reading The Times when my Father died in 1993. He wanted it because you had to read it if only between the lines to know what was going on in the world. So he said, pre-Internet regina. Now I keep waiting for that traitor newspaper to die knowing full well some idiot billionaire like Carlos Slim (Sim?) will come along and rescue it making its stock a bad short. If it was only a vampire we could drive a stake through its heart and hack off its head.

Maybe Leonard wrote the letter and someone else sent it.

--Brant

Okay

Brant Gaede's picture

I assume, then, that Leonard Peikoff is not currently married but is close to a lot of female people, including his daughter.

--Brant

The letter/ gossip

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I agree with Brant that the letter is impeccably well written, and that the skill of the writing plus the amount and apparent intimacy of knowledge of background displayed are reasons to think that Leonard Peikoff authored the letter.

There are some reasons to question though. Among these is the peculiar email address, which does look like the sort of address provided by fake-identity-email services. Another which occurs to me is why didn't Leonard make the letter public if it indeed is by him?

--

Gossip. Brant wrote:

"I believe [Leonard's] very first wife is deceased but after divorce. I think they were married in 1969."

His first wife, Susan Ludel (or Ludell?; I can never remember which), is deceased. She remained friends with Leonard at least for a number of years after the divorce. The first version of Mary Ann Sures' recollections of Rand, which was published in the ARI newsletter, or whatever it was called back then, was told in the form of an interview of Mary Ann by Susan.

I don't think they married as early as 1969. Susan played the role of a therapy client in a mock-therapy session during a course I took with Allan Blumenthal -- that would have been in late '70 or early '71, and best I recall Leonard (who attended that class meeting) and Susan were still in the engaged-to-be-married stage of their relationship then. They weren't married very long.

Does anyone here know when Kira was born?

Ellen

Not quite ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Amy is his third wife. Kira is his and Cynthia's daughter. Cynthia was his second wife.

I and James Valliant are his illegitimate sons from a clandestine affair with his secret lover, his cousin Barbara Branden.

Warning for O-Lying anal-retentives: part of the above is a joke.

Opps!

Brant Gaede's picture

More ignorant than I thought. I believe his very first wife is deceased but after divorce. I think they were married in 1969. Her father was an executive with a famous jewellery concern, Henry Winston. I guess that Amy, born in 1968, would be his second wife and Cynthia his third? He does have a beautiful daughter. I saw a photo of him and her--I think it was her--on a beach in Italy. I'm a little confused about all this. Don't tell me Cynthia is his daughter! Smiling

--Brant

Here's how

Brant Gaede's picture

a forger could write this letter: he would also have to be a superb method actor on a par with Daniel Day Lewis and he'd have to have my knowledge level of Objectivism and the primary personalities. He'd also have to know how to write very well indeed. If me, I'd have to upgrade my language skills too. Then he'd spend weeks if not months becoming Leonard Peikoff. Then he'd write this letter. This would be Academy Award type stuff. Now who in the hell would go to such trouble to write this letter? No one except the real one.

--Brant

Brant ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Amy is Leonard's former wife, not his daughter.

Good Soldier

gregster's picture

You'll be in hot water back on The Other Side now. Smiling

Looks well written to me. Had to look up claque. Only downside the garbled email address. I'm not techno-literate enough to figure that out.

Peikoff

Brant Gaede's picture

I think the letter is from Leonard Peikoff. It would take an expert forger with intimate knowledge of Objectivism personalities and their ins and outs and with great command of the language to do this one. I couldn't do it and I've been observing the whole scene for decades. I couldn't find one slip-up. I suspect Peikoff wrote this at the request of Casey or Holly if not James, who seems to be under the weather. Of the three I'd guess James for I think James has it in him to ask Peikoff to cc to Robert Campbell for whatever reason. I doubt if Peikoff knows Campbell well enough to be offended enough at the idea not to comply. Amy Peikoff might have asked her father to write the letter also. However, I really don't get the Campbell cc unless it was a ploy to get the letter wider play. This last is my only real curiosity about the letter.

--Brant

Looks authentic to me ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

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

Is it possible that the prof doesn't want to believe the e-mail is authentic because it gives the lie to his, the prof's contention hitherto, that he, Peikoff, was embarrassed by PARC?

The purportedly Peikoff letter

Ellen Stuttle's picture

1) It sounds to me as if he indeed wrote it; if it's imitation, I think it's good imitation.

2) He is making the same mistake most everyone else has been making over the meaning of "reliable" in the Wikipedia lexicon. He wrote "reputable," and discussed the issue as if the debate were over the truth or falsity of respective interpretations of Ayn Rand.

What "reliable" means in Wikipediaese is "properly credentialed." No matter how much folks might object to this meaning and/or to Wikipedia's criteria for proper credentialing, the Wikipedia meaning is what it is and the criteria are what they are. In order to counter the Wikipedia ruling, the basis of the ruling has to be addressed -- not an imagined basis which isn't what the dispute was about.

I hope that maybe this whole episode might have served as a lesson in how to maneuver through the ropes at Wikipedia -- should one want to attempt to navigate them. The topic ban on James Valliant (a/k/a IP 160) will expire in six months (somewhat less by now). If James wants to return to trying to get accurate presentation of Objectivism in Wikipedia articles, next time he should try to obey the protocols and to dispute issues in terms of Wikipedia meanings and criteria.

I would be glad to see the Wikipedia presentations improved. Considering the current state of world affairs, combined with the current interest in Atlas Shrugged, combined with the extent to which people look things up on Wikipedia (one of the editors commented that the Objectivism entries were getting a large number of hits by comparison to other philosophy entries), I think it could only be desirable to have the entries accurate.

As it happens, I have a many-years' email friend -- someone I know from the Atlantis lists -- who is well familiar with Wikipedia ins and outs. Should James wish for some pointers upon the lifting of the ban, he might want to ask my friend for advice on "how to go about it."

Ellen

Email Allegedly from Leonard Peikoff

Robert Campbell's picture

I haven't gotten a peep out of the alleged sender, or from leonard@peikoff.com in response to my inquiries.

I am therefore treating the email as bogus, and its sender as having no legitimate expectation of confidentiality.

Here 'tis. Recipients' userids have been deactivated.

Robert Campbell

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

X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.2
X-pair-Authenticated: 75.71.203.159
From: "Leonard Peikoff"
To: jwales AT wikia DOT com
Cc: campber AT CLEMSON DOT EDU
Subject: Wikipedia removing references to "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics"
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 16:13:36 -0600
Thread-Index: AcngqrZXUzffHRDlRESzG5cXwAMqDw==
X-Proofpoint-Virus-Version: vendor=fsecure engine=1.12.7400:2.4.4,1.2.40,4.0.166 definitions=2009-05-29_10:2009-05-27,2009-05-29,2009-05-29 signatures=0
X-Proofpoint-Spam-Details: rule=notspam policy=default score=0 spamscore=0 ipscore=0 phishscore=0 bulkscore=0 adultscore=0 classifier=spam adjust=0 reason=mlx engine=5.0.0-0811170000 definitions=main-0905290178

Dear Mr. Wales,

I learned recently to my astonishment that while books by Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, attacking Ayn Rand and her personal life, enjoy the status of reputable references in Wikipedia, a book disputing their claims and presenting the opposite viewpoint has been removed from your list as non-reputable. I refer to The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics by James Valliant published in May 2005. On its face, this is a policy of egregious injustice on your part.

As Ayn Rand’s executor, heir, and longtime personal friend, I will testify in any forum to the accuracy of Mr. Valliant’s book. I do not pretend to know every detail of the clash between Rand and the Brandens, but I do know firsthand the essential truth of the Valliant book. I leave aside here my own personal observations and discussions on this issue with Rand, because the book itself contains lengthy excerpts from her own personal notes, which completely bear out Valliant’s thesis in her own words. I released these notes only after a 20 year wait, because in Valliant I found at last a writer who would give her personal viewpoint a rational hearing, neither hostile nor worshipful.

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?

There are those in the academic world who question the objectivity of Wikipedia. I hope that your action on this matter will prove that they are wrong.

Sincerely yours,

Leonard Peikoff
Executor, Estate of Ayn Rand

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I repeat that Scherk and Parille didn't show up until after Valliant's topic-banning

Like moths to a flame, eh? Eye

skullduggery - to Linz

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Re "the push to remove [your] Wiki entry": I've thus far seen no evidence of such a "push." Instead, there's been an attempt to cull and combine multiple O'ist-related entries. Yours just happened to be one of them, best I can tell. Entries on many persons connected with O'ism were being questioned.

Obviously you "don't follow Wikepedia" at all. (I hadn't followed any of the Objectivism-related stuff, btw, until the recent material here and on OL about PARC. I got pretty interested by it (a) because it is so Byzantine; and (b) because I found the intricacies relevant to the question of whether or not there's any point in attempting to affect Wikipedia entries re the AGW issue, and how much hassle -- enormous! -- would be involved in an attempt.)

I repeat that Scherk and Parille didn't show up until after Valliant's topic-banning -- which, btw, isn't permanent; it's a six-months' ban.

I do agree that Objectivism is having trouble being honestly represented on Wikipedia. As best I understand, part of the problem predates Valliant's appearance there. Apparently a group of posters connected with a site called "Maverick Philosopher" industriously engaged in an edit war with Ted Keer and Steve Wolfer, with the end result that those two were banned. I don't know the details of the history -- I'm sure it's VERY long.

Here is a link to the current "Maverick Philosopher" site; it's changed hosting service since I last looked at it.

Ellen

"the other Wikipedians" - to Jeffrey

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Jeffrey:

What is completey obscured by Wikipedia procedures is the possibility that any denizen of the Other Location might be one of the other Wikipedians, or whether a member of the Other Location instigated the whole commotion--with or without the prior knowledge of "B. Branden". And it should be noted that Mr. Reading stated that he had not been in contact with anyone affiliated with B. Branden--but it's not really possible for him to know who among those anonymous names and IP addresses was or was not affiliated with B. Branden. Any partisan of B. Branden would probably try to keep the linkage hidden so as to maintain an appearance of impartiality.

If you'd track through the long, complex -- Byzantinely complex -- history, you'd find that "the other Wikipedians" involved, up until William Scott Scherk's and Neil Parille's appearance ~after~ the topic-ban of Valliant, have long, complex histories as Wikipedia editors. A few of them are Objectivists -- click on the user name for identities -- but none of those I've found thus far are participants on any regular basis on "the Other Location." (I think that Richard Lawrence has posted a time or two on OL, but he's far and away from being any regular participant there, and besides was arguing for judicious retainment of some PARC references.)

Ellen

I've finished writing the

Duncan Bayne's picture

I've finished writing the HOWTO; it's here. It's useful reading for anyone who wants to make sure that his emails / posts / messages are verifiable.

It should be compulsory reading for public figures Eye

Perigo

jeffrey smith's picture

There is no need to suspect J Readings of any scheming. A person who came to this site by whatever means, and started wondering who you are, could pop your name into Yahoo search and come up with the Wiki article as the second link. (Your CV is the first link, an interview in Full Context is third, and only then does SOLO appear as links four and five.) Then, if a Wiki editor is truly an editor, he would wonder at least briefly if a Wiki article on Lyndsay Perigo was warranted.
(BTW, is that rather bare IMDB page actually yours :
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm067... )

What is completey obscured by Wikipedia procedures is the possibility that any denizen of the Other Location might be one of the other Wikipedians, or whether a member of the Other Location instigated the whole commotion--with or without the prior knowledge of "B. Branden". And it should be noted that Mr. Reading stated that he had not been in contact with anyone affiliated with B. Branden--but it's not really possible for him to know who among those anonymous names and IP addresses was or was not affiliated with B. Branden. Any partisan of B. Branden would probably try to keep the linkage hidden so as to maintain an appearance of impartiality.

Ah!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The Skanky Prof has "some idea" of who was behind the push to remove my Wiki entry, and, says he, it wasn't BB. Well, if he says so. I don't doubt that he knows who it actually was, if not BB.

Even after Ellen's post, I'm still curious as to why Mr. Readings, having "stumbled across" the entry, saw fit to question its being there. From his post here Mr. Readings had *some* prior acquaintance with O-Lying, albeit by his own account less than cursory. And his opening salvo in that post was certainly partisan. And this just happened to happen while the attempt to haul Valliant off was going on.

I don't follow Wiki at all and half the stuff reproduced here is hieroglyphics to me, about as intelligible as Sciabarra's Polish. I do know that any place where Scherk, Parille and the other humanity-diminishers are lurking, smirking and jerking is always going to be awash in skullduggery and sewage. I don't know if Valliant was abusing the system or not. I assumed from what he posted at the top of this thread that he was just trying to ensure an honest representation of Objectivism as opposed to the hash that he cites. I'm sure even Prof Campbell would agree that the latter is not Objectivism.

Mr. Perigo Needs to Pay Attention

Robert Campbell's picture

I hope Mr. Perigo will pay close attention to Ellen Stuttle's post.

Particularly to point 4, about Jim Valliant's gross and repeated violations of Wikipedian editorial protocol and etiquette.

Robert Campbell

For the record re J. Readings

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Linz says -- comment #71844 -- of Mr. Readings that he

... is the Babs supporter who likened Valliant to David Irving, no? The fact that he's gunning for me as well as James I find very suspicious.

 

Point 1: Mr. Readings was not "gunning for" Linz.

Duncan's description -- comment #71834 -- was inaccurate.

Duncan wrote:

It turns out that someone called J Reading was agitating for your deletion for notability reasons here (to which I've added my own comment).

Instead, J. Readings was inquiring:

Hi Hoary. I respect your opinion, so I would appreciate you taking a look at this very short article that I stumbled upon. Based on the evidence so far provided and Wikipedia's notability criteria, do you consider the subject notable? I'm not sure what to think, so I would like to solicit some more opinions from established and respected members of the community. J Readings (talk) 03:17, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

In response to Duncan's saying:

[....] It is my suspicion that you are attempting to have Perigo's page deleted for personal reasons.

J. Readings replied:

No, it's certainly true that I never heard of Lindsay Perigo before the other week. Like most of these internet discussions, I came across the SOLO website (and by extension the name Lindsay Perigo) after being linked to it by another site which linked to another site which ultimately linked back to Wikipedia with respect to the IP 160 discussion on my colleague EdJohnston's talk page. And yes, it's also true that I made (in retrospect the silly mistake) of bothering to clarify why the IP 160 topic ban was filed on Wikipedia and my role in its filing. Apparently, we live in learn: it is a mistake to participate on those fora (even to make seemingly productive clarifications) for any reason; the general atmosphere generated on that site's thread is not welcoming, let alone professional (I don't know what other word to use in describing it). I hope that clarifies things. J Readings (talk) 06:35, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

If you read through the rest of the linked talk, you'll see that J. Readings was undecided about the issue of Linz's page.

On another thread, somewhat later (here, scroll down), he was making efforts to ~save~ the page about Linz:

Speaking of Slp1, I'm going to ask if she could do me a favor and cross-check my research results on Factiva and the other databases. Hopefully she still has access to them. I want to see if she and I can save this article somehow. J Readings (talk) 21:13, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

 

Point 2: The David Irving comment was misunderstood by editor Lisa, and apparently by Linz as well.

Here (scroll down) is J. Readings on that subject:

Excuse me, Lisa, but I didn't mention Holocaust Denial because I wasn't even thinking of it. Please stop attacking me and accusing me of dishonesty. It won't get you anywhere in this discussion. To clarify once again, I was talking about ~methodology~ and how claiming to use archival documents selectively sometimes gets you into trouble when you seek to overturn the mainstream view. I could have -- and perhaps should have -- used more examples of this type of phenomenon to underline my point about raw archival research without corroboration, but I didn't think it necessary. Also, I'm glad you personally loved Valliant's book. That's fine by me, but it has absolutely no relevance to this discussion or Wikipedia. We are talking about writing an article where the current state of "knowledge" is reinforced by what reliable and independent third-party sources have to say on the matter. I agree with RL0919 when he infers above that we got to this point because of Valliant or IP 160 or whoever decided unilaterally to inject Valliant's book everywhere across Wikipedia in all kinds of strange contexts purporting to establish pure "facts" (versus opinions) about living persons and Ayn Rand, etc. Had IP 160 not attempted this, I suspect that this situation would have gone unnoticed for quite a while. The scrutiny that this case has produced just reinforces the editorial wisdom in not attempting shameless self-promotion in Wikipedia articles. J Readings (talk) 22:59, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

 

Point 3: J. Readings disclaims any connection with Barbara -- and I see no indication of his even having much if any prior knowledge of the Objectivist world and its squabbles.

Here is a link to J. Readings' user page. He lives in Japan; he appears to be a major Wikipedia over-seeing editor.

He says himself -- comment #71647 -- in what he later described (see above) as "the silly mistake" "of bothering to clarify why the IP 160 topic ban was filed on Wikipedia and [his] role in its filing":

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.

 

Point 4: Valliant was the primary cause of his own troubles on Wikipedia.

Take a look at this page -- the "User Talk" page for the IP from which Valliant was posting. He was warned numerous times, temporarily topic-banned several times, entreated repeatedly to join the discussions on the AR talk pages. Long-term, he wouldn't in any case have succeeded at getting the AR articles peppered with references to PARC, given the Wikipedia policies on sources. But he might have had some good effect in making an effort to improve articles about Rand and Objectivism had he been willing to discuss with other editors.

At any rate, espying Barbara Branden as behind J. Readings' activities is silly (although probably my attempt to set the record straight is futile).

Ellen

That's Right!

Brant Gaede's picture

It's "Mr. Gaede" to you sir! Finally, the respect I've always craved albeit from the craven! I'm going right over to Wikipedia and buff you up! Evil

--Brant

Who's Behind What?

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo is bullshitting again.

First of all, it does not appear that Mr. Perigo's Wikipedia entry will be deleted.

Second, I have some idea who was pushing for its removal and Barbara Branden wasn't involved.

As far as Leonard Peikoff, the Ayn Rand Institute, and Mr. Valliant's book are concerned, I have heard that Andrew Bernstein and Leonard Peikoff have both written to Jimmy Wales to complain about PARC being treated as an unreliable source. I have also heard that at least one moderately prominent ARIan does not recommend Mr. Valliant's opus. But all of this is unconfirmed, and I will treat it all as rumor until it is confirmed.

I have also asked for corroboration on the Leonard Peikoff email and have yet to receive any. If I do not receive confirmation soon from peikoff.com, I will treat the piece as a hoax.

Just trying to get my facts straight—not an attitude that I would expect Mr. Perigo to understand.

Robert Campbell

Humanity-diminishers hard at it ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Mr. Gaede's soul-mates are challenging the Wiki entry on me simultaneously with their efforts to get PARC references removed. If this doesn't tell you who's behind it I don't know what does.

Strange how Khalid Campbell has gone silent on the matter of Peikoff/ARI being embarrassed by PARC. He's not usually one to let the facts get in the way of a good smear.

H-D

Brant Gaede's picture

You're a "humanity-diminisher" if you're on the wrong side of Linz. You're a humanity-augmenter if you're on the right side. The fallacy is he ain't Petronius.

--Brant

Linz

gregster's picture

I applaud your influence in our sick country - sick world. This was nothing. There is a bigger picture.

Horse's mouth ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Just received the following from Parille:

Linz,

I'm increasingly proud of the expression [Humanity-Diminisher]. Would you kindly put a trademark after it --

"humanity-diminisher(TM)"

I appreciate his candor, but I think the term is equally applicable to Babs, Nathan, Campbell, Scherk, Jonathan, Goode, Gaede, Michael Sewer Kelly, and all other proud humanity-diminishers. I think they should all go play on the motorway together with Humanity-Diminisher(TM) on their foreheads.

Good God!

Brant Gaede's picture

Duncan: "My Pleasure."

Don't tell me more!

--Brant

My pleasure.

Duncan Bayne's picture

My pleasure.

After reading

Brant Gaede's picture

some of this stuff, I'm less and less impressed by Wikipedia.

If you really know what you're talking about you'd never let little people chew on your text.

I expect the real experts are elsewhere, especially for the original articles.

I have the 1911 edition of the Britannica. My Mother had it rebound over 40 years ago by a blind people cooperative. I asked her to have the supplements done too; she refused. 28 volumes in 14 bindings. Because of the knowledge explosion of the next 100 years you'd have to have 200, 400, who knows how many volumes today of similar quality articles to match the 1911.

--Brant

Mr. Bayne ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thank you for your support on the Wiki site.

Mr. Gregster

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I was too harsh on you. I apologise. I have this tendency to assume everyone knows what I know on these matters and expect them to react accordingly. That's clearly unreasonable.

I have years of experience of these scumbag humanity-diminishers. I sometimes forget not everyone else has. Eye

Mr. Readings ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... is the Babs supporter who likened Valliant to David Irving, no? The fact that he's gunning for me as well as James I find very suspicious.

I don't see how "notability" can stack up as a reason for deleting me. All anyone has to do is go to lindsayperigo.com

Crap Spouting?

Robert Campbell's picture

There is a discussion of deleting the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Perigo here:

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

Robert Campbell

PS. I see that Mr. Bayne has now posted a pointer to the same discussion. What action has been taken is not clear.

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