I met my first Objectivist . . .

William Scott Scherk's picture
Submitted by William Scott Scherk on Sat, 2010-03-27 01:26

. . . in a somewhat 'Rosas' bar in Puerto Vallarta. The only person I have ever met in person who knows where Lindsay Perigo lives.

Apparently Objectivists still sleep with the enemy. This doesn't mean they do not lecture before, during and after The Acts, mind you.

El Primer Mandatario** is problably right. Scherk will not become Objectivist in anyone's lifetime. His odd obsession with Objectivist personalities and culture, however, otra historia.

I am finding, as if behind a screen of indolence, some very very enterprising people, and as I attempt to formulate my objeciónes contra el objetivismo, I think I will start to hunt down real Objectivists, and the o objectivish in my home town.

Somehow a starkly evul proponent of altruismo like me has made an impression on a Hispanophone Objetista. Changes my mind about a few things, and likely means my Opus Will Be Delayed.

Did you all know that Rand is in print in the Spanish World to a Massive Degree?

WSS

____________

These folk have lived with The State for a long long time. Whether it chose you as an exemplar of all the best and then rips your heart out, whether it constrained you during the Banana Wars, whether it chose you as someone to wear Sexy Aztec Leather in a dance show, whether it commands you to drive on the right, smoke not, drink not, flounce not . . . register your cellphone, licence your Escuela Objetista, or otherwise ties you up, everyone faces the same State Vista every day.

All is Helping State on the billboards, but below, on the street, one is a dog with a brain. It seems to me that I only meet objectivish people in action here. Who is enterprising? Who works against the state as a miner works the rockface, who pushes against a heavy atmosphere of corrupt, venal, sleazy and well-'educated' Statists at every turning?

Everybody, it seems.

El Primer Mandatario describes well the function and the hopes of our Principal, El Diablo Perigo. I hereby retire all previous epithets as tired and old. Mandatario is El Boss.

It is okay to have A Boss. As long as he is fair and funny and truly in charge.


Now Bill

Brant Gaede's picture

You have a home on a hill--your hill. In that context Rand is not all that important--not to you or anyone else who wants to be who he is. There are people who do nothing else it would seem but to reread Rand and continually more distance themselves from the reader.

--Brant

Making fun of the good . . .

William Scott Scherk's picture

I'd posted Bill's Morning Makeup Tips Number One, with the remark "Lest ye think I only spoof my betters, here is proof against that thesis:"

More proof:

On reflection . . .

William Scott Scherk's picture

Apology declined -- because you are actually right, Brant, it is time for me to slog through AS again, and Fountainhead, and the many essays in FTNI, TVOS and the Romantic Manifesto. I am no Rand newbie, and if I am going to raise a few paltry objections, then I need to refresh my impressions and turn them into convictions. Not that my objections are not clear and present in my mind -- they are a kind of Objections To Objectivism Standing On One Foot.

What I reacted to, wrongly, Brant, was the tone of chiding. But, why not take a chide from a veteran of the Randian Wars Of Succession, and a veteran of combat in the war against unreason? If I would style myself an ally of reason, then you are my ally, and I need take counsel.

There are some remarks at the other place from you that I wanted to address: "people should be appreciated for what they are and not chastised for what they are not."

Funny that. You would have me be a humanitarian, and yet on this site I am viewed as a humanity-dminisher.

Re: "It's for me."

William Scott Scherk's picture

I appreciate the comment, Greg: "I perfectly understand that it should be for you Bill. Too true. Sincerely good luck with the project, it is quite a challenge you've set yourself, up against one of the all time best minds.

The line you quoted in the subject was "It's for me. " In context, I had said:

Anyhow, I did throw away all the fucking notes, and I vowed to put the piece in under 700 words, and I vowed to be honest and straightforward and simple. Not easy for a lunatic wordsmith like me. It is torture to be have to be brief.

So, I don't give a shit whether Lindsay or Greg or James or whomever likes it or doesn't, or whether they seek to use me in some War On Brandroidery. I don't give a shit. It's for me.

I think I might throw away my more recent notes as well, and just wing it -- or ask some reaction to the three areas I look at . . .

In the words of Bill O'Reilly, "FUCK IT, WE'LL DO IT LIVE!"

"It's for me."

gregster's picture

I perfectly understand that it should be for you Bill. Too true. Sincerely good luck with the project, it is quite a challenge you've set yourself, up against one of the all time best minds.

I apologize

Brant Gaede's picture

Me: "[William] might start by reading a few books written by Ayn Rand. Or re-reading them."

My apologies, William; that was uncalled for. I've not been in the best frame of mind in the last few days--not that I want to make excuses.

--Brant
sweet and sour--too much sour lately

My!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Kasper to Scherk:

clearly state your position rather than slithering in and out of threads with insults and insinuations which amount to absolutely nothing but a legacy of useless talent having been pissed away.

Couldn't have put it more eloquently myself!

William dearest, it was your gratuitous, bad-faith snark that got you booted a million times or so. In the rare outbreak of (apparent) sincerity which Kasper was applauding, I thought you were acknowledging that. Now you appear to be reverting to form. Shame. I was hoping that LURV might have made you less bilious.

No objections to funny around here. In fact someone just paid me the compliment privately of saying my own humour is unmatched within Objectivism, which tickled me pink! Whether it's true or not, I LURV funny. Bad-faith funny isn't really funny though.

In any event, the challenge remains should you choose to take it up. Objections to Objectivism. Did I say it had to be a tome? Don't think so. Might have assumed it was shaping up to be, given the length of time it was taking, that's all. I'd prefer succinct, knowing that making a succinct case will be as much of a challenge for you as making a case at all!! Eye

Bill

Kasper's picture

What a load of self-defensive tripe! Who said anything about having pigeon-holed you? You waste your talent on smart arsery when you could actually contribute something of value. You are a funny guy. Your insults toward me and Lindsay make me laugh out loud because they are so damn funny. If you think I'm some Randroid devoid of humor then you are dead wrong.

Challenge all you want. I challenge you to do it honestly and when serious leave the smart arsery aside. There's a time and place for being genuine and in-genuine. You continually fail to step up and voice your support for what is right, noble and deserving of your support. Lindsay calling you a worm is not misplaced as far is that is concerned.

Stop whining like a little girl, man the fuck up and make a stand for something. Lindsay’s challenge: “My Objections to Objectivism” is a great one for you to gather your thoughts together, articulate your protestations on Objectivism and clearly state your position rather than slithering in and out of threads with insults and insinuations which amount to absolutely nothing but a legacy of useless talent having been pissed away.

Well, William

Brant Gaede's picture

Well, William, it's all very simple, really, where is the Objectivism? I know you are a humanist--at least from your private communication to me; you really care about people: this is an inappropriate and ignorant psychological evaluation?--and suspect that causes a conflict with your understanding of what Objectivism is, but I've found no explication whatsoever of your understanding of Objectivism. I might have missed something and would be glad for a reference. I've tried to find and read everything you've posted here this month, but I don't see any such thing--not a drop. I've also being reading you for a long time now. Same thing. You have "objections" to the philosophy? Object! If it's just objections to many Objectivists then say so and stick to it. All this clever multi-faceted verbiage you come up with is entertaining, but not especially informative. It is true you've come up with Objectivism is a "Cult" for at least some Objectivists including, apparently, me. I've been tuned into the cult stuff for nearly 40 years now and it's old, old, but I've not been aware of being part of it since realizing that.

--Brant

"The Way To Evaluate"

William Scott Scherk's picture

What I most enjoy about your posts, Brant, is when you give insider accounts and comment on events from the early days of the movement.

You will probably agree with me that neither of us is in a good position to deliver psychological or historical evaluations on the other person, so I find you comment baffling and stupid and imbued with the bible-thumper'ss "if only he got jeeziss . . . " Funny, but stupid. I wonder why you bothered writing something that schoolmarmish and trite.

With the Brant Gaede post below we run into the same Type One error I cautioned Kasper about. You simply don't have the information, Brant. Moreover, you haven't, I notice, bothered to assess the immediately proceeding post in any other way but from On High, Where the Wise Old Owls Roost.

It is not even wrong, Brant, what you wrote -- it just doesn't engage in any way whatsoever with what I have written. Too bad. If I wrote in the same elegiac tone of condescension and myopia, it would go like this:

"Brant needs to get out of the Objectivist Cult to achieve his full potential."

The way

Brant Gaede's picture

The way to evaluate what William says is to understand he is a humanitarian who can't find a way to marry humanitarianism or integrate it with Objectivism, whatever his understanding of Objectivism is. He's only found intelligence which is why I think he's here. He just doesn't know how to use it Objectivism-wise. He might start by reading a few books written by Ayn Rand. Or re-reading them.

--Brant

Type one errors

William Scott Scherk's picture

Thanks for the mild words, Kasper (considering how sharp have been a couple of my comments on some of your past posts).

The error is in being sure you have accurately pigeon-holed me. Our judgements are only as useful as they are accurate, as I am sure you believe as an Objectivish person. An inaccurate judgement can then become a travesty, and in cases of moral urgency, tragedy. In intellectual matters or thinking matters, and in informal discussion informed by reason, I am the kind of person who has confidence in his own assessments, and is not afraid to challenge shonky reasoning where I think I find it. That's me in real life, that's me on SOLO, that's me.

I am compelled, then, to rise up and correct what I see as inaccuracies where I see them. Sometimes I use harsh tones and sometimes I use humourous tones, and sometimes I use both at once. My most sincere post on SOLO got me banned in a flash without a lick of humour as you seem to disparage (By The Better Angels of Our Nature).

I reject the dullardly attempts to fit me up for some vague crime against SOLO. If you don't like what I write, act upon that in good faith, respond and correct me in turn, in the spirit of debate. It's a bit laughable to argue as you do that if my posts displease you then they are "insincerity and smart-arsery." So far off the base. The posts that get me banned or yammered at as a pomowanker always contain a very serious text -- whether larded with harsh humour (as in the 'removed by administrator' post Own Goal For The Vicar Of Diddly, Empress of Evul) or the Pollyannaish Sunny Days Ahead For SOLO.

If you don't yet have the means to understand my points and the spirit in which they are made, all of them, then I should advise you that Objectivism doesn't provide supplementary tools beyond the normal kit.

Objectivism doesn't provide any tools to deal with humour as found in humanity's behavioural repertoire. Vile, scathing invective is best delivered with a relish for exposing and ridiculing falsity and repulsive amour propre. I have that relish, and since I write to please myself and to learn, I don't really care what other people think about it when they get all cringey and tut-tuttish.

You know what I mean? If Lindsay can call me at some point, with a straight face, an evul, repellent insect worm scumbag whatever, do you think I give a fuck what you think about my 'insincerity'? Give your head a shake.

That said, I experiment with different tones and tempers and themes. It is no accident that I accepted Lindsay's commission. It was a fair request when it was made: think about and write about Objections, My Objections to Objectivism. Good idea, I thought.

I chortle when Lindsay since refers to this requested article in terms akin to magnum opus. For fuck sake, it's a SOLO post, not PARC. It's a throwaway down the hole of an internet site where a clear majority would either have me fuck off and die or become a pet critic -- declawed and partially decorticated -- like the latter Ellen Stuttle.

Thanks, I have another sincere article coming up. To my fellow chortling fans backstage, you should give yourselves a shake, too. What are you doing on SOLO when the Mexican Wrestling is long gone?

Lest ye think I only spoof my betters, here is proof against that thesis:

WSS

Bill

Kasper's picture

To see all that talent, word-smithing and intelligence wasted on such insincerity and smart-arsery most of the time is truly sad. Here's a toast to more sincere posts in the future (Raising my glass of decadent shiraz).

Thanks to Greg

William Scott Scherk's picture

I was way too shirty in my response to Greg: if I wish to be given a margin of error, or the benefit of the doubt in my scrabblings online, I should extend it to all comers.

He wrote:

I thought William’s piece was OK, quite snearingly funny though atypically impenetrable. I’ve given it a couple more reads. But as usual - which bits to take for real? He contorts facts & language so, yet apparently insists that the reader exert the effort to extract whichever pearls may be hidden.

That's a fair cop. What was the point, in straightforward terms?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The main point was that I met my first Objectivist in the flesh, so to speak, and I really enjoyed the encounter. I realize that, whatever my objections to aspects of Objectivism are, I am familar with the language, concepts and irreducible primaries. I can actually argue against critics of Objectivism who are uniformed or full of shit. In fact, Robercito and I traded stories of really stupid anti-objectivist arguments and stances.

We tangled a bit over emotion, human nature, dichotomies and Objectivist engagement with contemporary neuroscience. We came to a sort of agreement to do some more research, and read each other's materials. Another fair cop was Roberto's notion that I wasn't separating the hard core of Objectivism/Randianism from the practice of some of its followers. I was judging the whole by the behaviour of some of the parts.

The second point, if there was one, concerns the Background Noise of Statism.

I was struck immediately in Puerto Vallarta by the hustle of individual enterprise. I saw a family coming in to town on the bus. It seemed as if everyone in the party was some kind of producer. In this case, what was produced was varieties of cack for the tourist trade. Grandma roped the necklaces, niece added the findings, mama threw the pots, uncle painted them, and the whole group would end up at the flee market, hustling the Jumbo-sized waddlers who trooped off the Floating Tourist Prisons.

What about it? Well, I was aquainted with the byzantine legacy of Spanish administrative procedures and legal formalisms -- now, in 2010, the panoply of State guidance and control is massive. It's all about stamps and signatures and blah blah blah. For example, the flea market is licensed, the individual sellers are licensed, the vending entitiy is licensed, the vendors (in the main market) are constrained by co-operative codicils . . . and so on. Like a fine netting that covers the scope of human action, the State is really at its irksome worst).

And yet, as I rode back out to the Tourist Penitentiary, I saw things like this:

Luxury estates, gated, then . . . Pablo and a donkey in a mango grove, then a cement factory, then another cement factory, then a Tourist Prison, then a build-it-yourself commercial centre, then Mama selling chiclets.

What I gathered from this was that if you and your family or you and your associates don't hustle, you are not going to eat, let alone get ahead in the race for the dollar/peso. And the welter of zoning exclusions, business licenses and permits and other netting . . . well, I saw that everyone was operating under the same weight of constraint. They were all, for better or worse, suited up and in the game. And the game was played by Objectivist rules: what I do on my property is my fucking business; what you do on yours is yours. Let's trade.

So what does that have to do with my perception of Objectivism?

Well, when in Roberto's company, I realized I thought more like him (an avowed Hardcore ARIan-ish Objectivist) than a statist altruist scumbag.

Reason, check. Self-interest, check. Capitalism, check.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Besides all that bumf, I really enjoyed the cultural collectivity. The warmth and grace of the vast majority of Mexicans I met was astounding. Why weren't they bitter and angry and fucked up and hating the tourist Jumbos?

It seemed to me that (although a possible Type One Error) a thousand years of subjugation under one bloodthirsty tyranny (Aztec/Maya/Yadda) or another (the viceroyalty, the Revolutionary State, the Jalisco druglords), that the continuing struggle had not robbed anyone of their ability to be warm, accommodating and generally sweet and helpful to strangers.

My Robercito, for example, was not a Fire-breathing Oddity of the subculture, but a well-read, passionate, and socially-gifted man of great professional accomplishments. Objectivism was his philosophy, but not his obsession. He didn't haunt online pits, or have any Daily Objectivist Activities. He didn't let his objectivism change what I thought was his core personality.

I told him about my agreement with Lindsay Perigo to provide some fodder for SOLO in the form of a considered essay. He said, "Fuck that, Bill. You owe him nothing. What are you doing it for?"

And I said, "hmmmm, for me, to help sharpen my understanding."

And after telling him I brought my notes to PV, he said, "Fuck that. Burn that shit. Start fresh. Don't write a big fucking treatise. Pitch it lower. Go with the flow. It's only a fucking e-list."

Now, considering that Lindsay characterizes my piddling efforts as a 'long-awaited opus,' I could not square the circle. It isn't an opus, was never intended to be. Moreover, the offer to post such an article was not fraught with any particular expectations, as far as I could tell. It would be just Scherk on SOLO.

Anyhow, I did throw away all the fucking notes, and I vowed to put the piece in under 700 words, and I vowed to be honest and straightforward and simple. Not easy for a lunatic wordsmith like me. It is torture to be have to be brief.

So, I don't give a shit whether Lindsay or Greg or James or whomever likes it or doesn't, or whether they seek to use me in some War On Brandroidery. I don't give a shit. It's for me.

Thank you, Greg. I apologize for my over-reaction. The first post was ornate crust on a wee splodge of pie filling. I fell in love with Mexico and I met my first Peruvian Objectivist. Very exciting and energizing. That was the overall point of the ramble.

Whether anyone gives a shit about that or not, doesn't really make me weep into my pillow. The showman in me will rant for any audience, hostile or accomodating, almost anytime.

But -- I am sorry that few grasped the two or three small points and observations. If I had wanted those points to be clearer, I should have written more clearly. Fair cop on that subject, Greg, Lindsay and my other Complete and Utter Non-Fans. You fuckers.

(I enjoyed the crack about DIM!)

WSS

I didn't get there was a point

gregster's picture

After my lighthearted comment about tequila, cocaine and “spaniards being human too,” Mr Scherk saw fit to contact me privately, so to speak:

Como se dice 'pay attention'? Como se dice 'Huh?'?

gregster,

Just another quick read of my outburst, Greg, and you might see I don't have much reason to pay attention to you on list. Since you didn't get the point.

Surprise and get it, Dude.

I thought William’s piece was OK, quite snearingly funny though atypically impenetrable. I’ve given it a couple more reads. But as usual - which bits to take for real? He contorts facts & language so, yet apparently insists that the reader exert the effort to extract whichever pearls may be hidden.
I certainly don’t get the point. I’m OK with this. I commented to give some encouragement to William, that all hadn’t forgotten him. In hindsight, I suppose a smiley face would have done the trick.
Yes, I get that WSS's treatise on Objections to Objectivism is becoming his version of the DIM hypothesis, but it will be merely the dim hypothesis.

Well

Brant Gaede's picture

WSS might start out with Objections to Objectivists and segue over to Objectivism after he masters the first. But I'd imagine he'd get stuck spinning his wheels even over there and not really get up to speed. Lotsa brains, though.

--Brant

Still confused!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

But of course, since Mr. Scherk himself is confused, we too must expect to be confused by his blurtings and burpings. Tequila may be the proximate culprit (I saw its effects on someone once—the poor dear went mad that night and had to stay in bed all the following day. No, it wasn't me—I went only half-mad and was up by noon), but bad philosophy is the real villain: it, and Mr. Scherk's rabid embrace thereof.

The only thing that is clear from his post is that his long-awaited "Objections to Objectivism" will be further delayed. Perhaps because (did I get this bit right?) Scherk got his rocks off with an Objectivist he met in a bar and is smitten? If so, I thoroughly approve, BUT ...

Anyone want to bet with me as to whether the Opus will ever appear?

As I've said all along, the "value," if there is any, in Mr. Scherk's posts lies in their being amusingly pointless and pointlessly amusing. Mr. Scherk mistakes that quality for Grand Swiftian Satire. Now he has been challenged to produce something of substance, and cannot, perhaps he'll have the honesty to admit his error. Especially if LURV impels him.

Breath. My. Holding. Not.

—El Boss, truly in charge.

For the confused...

Ross Elliot's picture

...this link may help.

Steve

Is it the tequila

gregster's picture

or the cocaine? Spaniards are humans too Scherk.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.