Barbara Branden and TOC

William E. Perry's picture
Submitted by William E. Perry on Thu, 2006-04-06 13:50

I think that the invitation of Barbara Branden to speak at The Objectivist Center summer seminar was inappropriate based on her recent conduct. I attempted to stop the invitation based upon judgment of her by the standards of David Kelley in _The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand_. Although my views on judgment are far different than Kelley’s I was attempting to function within the context of the organization and its views.

I did not base this on James Valliant’s analysis in _The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics_, because no one else on the staff had read it in its entirety at that time. I solely based my argument on three aspects of her recent conduct. All of these have been commented upon by others on this site. Perhaps the best summary is that of Casey Fahy here:

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

These are the things I brought to the attention of the TOC staff.

1. James Kilbourne wrote an essay entitled “Drooling Beast” which appeared on SOLOHQ, the predecessor to this site. This was apparently done at Barbara’s behest. Barbara chimed in. They thought that they would be doing an intervention regarding Lindsay Perigo’s alcoholism. They were going to force him to get treatment by outing him on his own website. However, they did this on the basis of limited information. In fact they were wrong. Lindsay Perigo is not an alcoholic. A large number of people who know Lindsay and have seen him on a regular basis responded in his defense. I also knew that their premise was false. I saw Lindsay at the TOC Summer Seminar in Vancouver. I saw him drink in the common room. I walked across the campus with him early in the morning on two occasions, going to the first class of the day. I’ve been around a number of alcoholics. I have prosecuted many of them. He displayed no early-morning symptoms that alcoholics normally display.

This assumption speaks volumes about Barbara Branden’s ability to diagnose alcoholism and raises serious questions about her similar diagnosis of Frank O’Connor. In addition it was an extremely mean-spirited act.

2. Barbara Branden defended Jim Peron in the controversy about his support for the North American Man-Boy Love Association and his immigration to New Zealand. She refused to look at the voluminous evidence, and asserted that she knew Jim Peron well enough to know that he did could not support pedophilia. (There is no allegation that Peron is a pedophile, just that he supports them.)

This position indicates that she refuses to examine the facts before opining on a person’s character. What you do is important in defining who you are.

3. When James Valliant’s book was released Barbara Branden immediately leaped to her own defense. The place she chose to make her stand was very significant. She selected the “typewriter story.” Of all the facts that are questioned by Valliant that are contained in her book, this is one that cannot be true. The facts belie it completely.

This defense by Barbara Branden indicates that she is out of touch with the facts of reality, or that she is consciously lying about them.

David Kelley has stated the following:

A conclusion is certain if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt; the conclusion must integrate all of the available evidence, and the available evidence must rule out the possibility of any other conclusion. (p. 70 _Contested Legacy_.)

Even by that standard it is my position that Barbara Branden is either out of touch with reality, consciously lying about it, or a combination of the two. I have some familiarity with the concept of reasonable doubt. By that standard she is unfit to speak at an Objectivist function.

This issue was not the reason that I left The Objectivist Center. I had already given my notice and ample time for them to find a replacement. But it is symptomatic of my differences with David Kelley’s position about judgment. He and the rest of the TOC staff are unwilling to judge even to the extent that he advocates in his writings. I did not present my argument in precisely this manner, but I did send at least two e-mails advocating this position. They were ignored.

Bill


( categories: )

Ciro,

Casey's picture

Thanks. You should finish PARC and stop venerating parasites who thrive on destroying their host.

Ciro

eg's picture

No he couldn't.

Mr. Valliant, what if BB

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Mr. Valliant, what if BB would say that AR had a birthmark on her left breast, could you prove BB to be a liar?

 

CD

 

PAR

eg's picture

PAR is pretty good.

Casey, you should get a

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Casey, you should get a Nobel Prize for your astuteness. I am serious!  Take it as a compliment.
Ciro D'Agostino

 

 

Ciro D'Agostino

Minor Point, But...

James S. Valliant's picture

Yes, let's review the bidding on the name issue.

Some things Ms. Branden was just clearly wrong about in PAR, like Rand not telling her Russian family about her new name. Also, she had originally cited Fern Brown as her only source for the typewriter story. Ms. Brown says this happened in 1926. Ms. Brown -- as a source -- must be dismissed since there was no such typewriter then in existence.

It was only after I had noted that Mr. Branden, in his memoir, claimed Rand herself as his source for this -- while Ms. Branden needed another source, apparently -- that Ms. Branden suddenly remembered that Rand had once told them both.

Ms. Branden asks us to believe that Ms. Brown's account could not jog her memory when she was writing PAR, but that Mr. Branden somehow did jar her memory, but only after they were challenged about this.

It remains strange that if Rand did tell them this, why Ms. Branden did not cite Rand as her source originally, but rather Ms. Brown. And, still stranger is the fact that Rand told the press something different, as well, both before and after meeting the Brandens.

This suggests that Ms. Branden is now dishonestly coming to the aid of Mr. Branden's credibility when it comes to quoting Rand.

Branden's other quotes from Rand are often just as dubious.

Reply to Robert Campbell

William E. Perry's picture

Robert,

I'm sorry that I didn't make myself clear to you on points 2 and 3. The problem that I have with Barbara Branden about the Jim Peron issue is not what did she know, and when should she have known it. My point is that she supported him based on personal friendship, and at the same time refused to look at the evidence. If she had been willing to examine the evidence, and then argued that Peron's positive traits outweighed the support of pedophilia that would be one thing. But she was unwilling to examine the facts, yet opined on the issue.

My problem with the typewriter story is not that Barbara wrote it in her book thinking it was true. It is a cute story, and not important in and of itself. The problem is that when she was attacked she leaped to her own defense by citing something that cannot be true. If she had admitted that she made a mistake as to this one story she would have far more credibility.

When I've cross-examined defendants I've noticed that the ones who are lying often come back to one thing that simply cannot be true, and cling to it like a security blanket. I have no psychological explanation for that. But I do know that it is an indication that they are out of touch with reality. And I do know that witnesses who do that are not believable on other issues.

Bill

Ciro,

Casey's picture

Rand generally picks up the tab for her professional critics.

I wonder, who the hell is

Ciro D Agostino's picture

I wonder, who the hell is going to pay the bill?

Ciro D'Agostino

Aha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It's just been pointed out to me that Robert's attack on me here is a toned-down version of an exceptionally silly ejaculation by the Chief Cockroach over at Objectivist Lying, where Robert is a prolific poster. Robert, I'm disappointed. I thought you'd spent hours trawling through the archives looking for examples of my Vesuvian rage, conscientious researcher that you are (actually, any time you're genuinely curious, just ask, & I'll point you to Linz' Greatest Hits). Instead I see you're just parroting. I feel badly let down. Feel like exploding, even. Yikes! Is this something the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship could nurture me through?

Yours angrily/desperately

Linz

Humour?

Peter Cresswell's picture

"I had no idea you had such a finely honed sense of humour."

I think that's what he must have been developing at those Unitarian Universalist Fellowship meetings.

Mr. Campbell,

Casey's picture

You state that you do not know the details about Mr. Peron but go ahead and accuse Linz of irrational anger anyway, then prescribe therapy.

On the typewriter myth, you admit that Rand's veracity in recounting her past has proven unimpeachable (despite baseless efforts to impeach her) yet you gloss over the fact that Barbara Branden claimed she stated something that could not have been true no matter how out of character for Rand this was, and despite the fact that Rand contradicted the story in print before and after meeting the Brandens and despite the fact that Barbara changed her story after PARC to claim that she heard this from Rand herself and not just from Rand's second cousin -- a pattern of convenient unverifiable recollection that is well established as a BRANDEN tactic in PARC.

Are you a drug addict? Your posts have a tendency to deny reality, to ignore what has been said, to lash out with name-calling and ad hominem, to invent ellaborate rationalizations for this behavior, and to make conclusions utterly at variance with the facts and common sense. While this is not evidence per se of drug addiction, and while I am not a clinical psychologist or a drug treatment councilor myself, perhaps a program specializing in dealing with such mental dysfunction would provide you with some valuable assistance and help you come out of the dark place in which your soul has found itself mired. It may lift the pall that has fallen over you and give you a renewed hope for a happy life. (How does THAT feel? I just thought you might benefit from wearing that moccasin on the other foot and walking around in it.)

Robert ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What I have noticed, from participating on SOLOHQ for a couple of stretches, reading its archives, and now participating on SOLOPassion, is that Mr. Perigo shows a pattern of lashing out in anger at various other people. These outbursts appear excessive to me. They are definitely not all proofs of passionate moral commitment. I think that Mr. Perigo genuinely would benefit from some kind of therapy, such as an anger management program. I realize that he distrusts "touchy-feely" clinical and counseling psychology, but I also think that if he got over this distrust he might get some goodness from what they have to offer.

ROFL! I had no idea you had such a finely honed sense of humour.

Linz

My thoughts on Bill Perry's three charges

Robert Campbell's picture

Bill,

Here are my thoughts concerning the 3 charges that you've made.

1. I agree that James Kilbourne had insufficient evidence for his claim that Lindsay Perigo was an alcoholic.  If he'd had sufficient evidence, I must assume he would have produced it in his "Drooling Beast" essay.  I also question why Mr. Kilbourne went the route of submitting such an essay for publication on SOLOHQ, instead of reaching out privately.

I think James Kilbourne and Barbara Branden (who endorsed his essay after it appeared on SOLOHQ) were wrong and should apologize to Mr. Perigo for writing and endorsing it, respectively.

I do not know Mr. Perigo personally and have no way to gauge his drinking habits myself.  I am also not a clinical psychologist and possess no special knowledge of alcoholism.

What I have noticed, from participating on SOLOHQ for a couple of stretches, reading its archives, and now participating on SOLOPassion, is that Mr. Perigo shows a pattern of lashing out in anger at various other people.  These outbursts appear excessive to me.  They are definitely not all proofs of passionate moral commitment.  I think that Mr. Perigo genuinely would benefit from some kind of therapy, such as an anger management program.  I realize that he distrusts "touchy-feely" clinical and counseling psychology, but I also think that if he got over this distrust he might get some goodness from what they have to offer.

2. I have read some of the SOLOHQ material on the Jim Peron controversy, but have not acquired detailed knowledge of the case.  So I can't comment on what Barbara Branden should have known and when she should have known it.  It is my understanding, though, that whether Mr. Peron wrote in support of pedophilia is not the only issue; there is also a question whether the response in New Zealand was proportionate to the offense.  (And no, I don't take pedophilia lightly; a while ago I voted to ask an admitted pedophile and NAMBLA member who was awaiting trial, and made inappropriate remarks to a gay 17-year-old in our congregation, to leave our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.)

3. The story about Ayn Rand borrowing the "Rand" from a Remington-Rand typewriter was accepted by most scholars until the late 1990s (which includes those affiliated with ARI).  The only real question, to me, is whether Rand herself told the story, or just her relative who was a young girl in 1926.  I really would like to know whether Rand told the story (for so far Rand's recollections of her early life have turned out trustworthy, when they could be checked).  In the absence of evidence that Rand didn't tell the story, however, I see no reason to impeach Barbara Branden's credibility on this issue.

So while I think your concerns are legitimate, I don't think you have proven that Ms. Branden is either dishonest or out of it.  On the basis of what you've laid out here, I wouldn't have supported you on whether she should be invited to speak at a TOC event, and I see no problem at the present time with her being scheduled to speak at the Summer Seminar in July.

As I said, though, there are things I don't know, especially about the Peron controversy. You're welcome to show me how I have gone wrong here.

Robert Campbell

over stated

eg's picture

My using "superman" was wrong and not fair to AR or a legit criticism of her ideal man.

Did it?

eg's picture

Did it make you think? I'll reply substantively tomorrow, cold sober. I'm always ready to be ashamed of myself if it involves something I wrote as opposed to otherwise did. If you could see all my posts, maybe you could see a patterm of sorts. Unfortunately, on this forum, it is next to impossible, even for the author, to go back to all his posts for review and reconsideration. I don't know you, but I suspect I will.

--Brant

'Rational Man' - Part Deux

Rowlf's picture

Brant:

~~ You quote "Only a rational man is capable of deceit." Robby the Robot in "The Invisible Man (1957) --- Hey, I loved the movie too, but, he really said that (hadn't seen it since...uh...'58)?

~~ Anyhoo, if accepted as true, then, ergo, an 'error' message from my car about my oil never gives me a false message. R-i-g-h-t. --- Robby definitely needs maintenance-checks if not re-programming since he's been brought back from Altaira-4 in '56 (guess that Id monster blew his circuits).

LLAP
J:D

P.S: Go to sleep.

Supey's (and Wonder Woman's?) 'feet-of-clay'

Rowlf's picture

Brant:

~~ A Bruce Wayne who can become Batman is a...

a) kid (whatever 'age') who can grow up.

b) druggie/shopper/etc who can quit for more worthwhile goals.

c) Keating who can be a Roark.

d) Me, as I was 10 yrs ago, can become who I am now.

e) You, as you are, who can....(fill in your blank).

~~ There's no 'life-fallacy' about superman-vs-'simple humanity'; THAT's a fallacy. What one was, if one's changed (spare me leopard-spot stories), is irrelevent to what one IS...apart from dealing with consequences from one's past; even then, one deals with them as one was...or...as one now is.

~~ Sober up a bit before your next 'best inebrietated' post, pretty please.

~~ I usually like your posts, Brant. This one is...dislikable.

NTL...

LLAP
J:D

Rational man

eg's picture

"Only a rational man is capable of deceit." Robby the Robot in "The Invisible Man" (1957). Ergo, Nathaniel Branden, if we forget the sexism(?), is a rational being. (Was a rational being?)

--Bant Smiling

Also

eg's picture

To properly understand the work of AR we must know the dominant collectivist intellectual dominance she threw herself against in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. She had to be an intransigent individualist concerned with fact and value, not "tolerance." Jesus, how can we be tolerant of the "Red Decade?"

--Brant
sobering up .0001%

A drunken comment--slightly drunken, I can still type

eg's picture

The basic fallacy of the life and work of Ayn Rand is superman as opposed to simple humanity. She refused that, but I don't. True heroes are first simply human and work off that base. So did AR, even if she was loath to acknowledge that.

--Brant
the best inebrietated poster ever!

Ah,

Casey's picture

On my old website. That gives me a chuckle. Of course, they missed all of Rand's stuff then.

How they knew that

William E. Perry's picture

Hi Casey,

Some of the people who worked there had read all or part of the web version of the first part.

Bill

Hi Bill,

Casey's picture

Look forward to your comments, but I can't help but wonder how they can reach a judgement about Valliant's method of argument without having read the book.

More of a non-comment

William E. Perry's picture

Diana,

To my knowledge no one at TOC had read PARC at the time I left. I will comment on this when I write a SOLO blog entry discussing James Valliant's method of argument in PARC. They dismiss it for reasons related to what I will discuss there. I really don't want to comment publicly about why they want to have the Brandens at their events, because one portion of it involves something that I know in confidence. I will say that it is at least a short-run net benefit to TOC. I do think that more people attend when Nathaniel or Barbara is present, than the number who won't. I did some analysis about that even before I went to work there. Of course I went to my first TOC event in part because Nathaniel was speaking. And that is the first time I met you!

I will be writing something else about meeting Nathaniel Branden then here shortly.

Bill

Sins

DianaHsieh's picture

Jennifer wrote: "Incidentally, Diana, you are not permitted to show a sense of humor, and you have made me laugh out loud twice within 24 hours. I am notifying ARI immediately of this transgression, for which you will be sentenced appropriately."

Oh no, we are sure to be flogged for the Transgression of Laughter! No... we shall not fear punishment. The will of our brothers must be done. It is right, for we have disobeyed the Council of ARI Dogma.

Eye

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Reading PARC

DianaHsieh's picture

Bill,

You wrote, "I did not base this on James Valliant’s analysis in _The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics_, because no one else on the staff had read it in its entirety at that time."

Might you be able to tell us more about the attitude towards PARC at TOC? Such as:

* To your knowledge, has anyone at TOC read it in its entirety? Why did they refuse to read it? Were their stated reasons genuine, in your view, or just rationalizations?

* Didn't the TOC leadership think, given that both Nathaniel and Barbara Branden speak at TOC events, that the questions about their honesty and credibility raised by PARC should be answered rather than evaded? Certainly, NB and BB's talks at the upcoming Summer Seminar, particularly the joint discussion of Objectivist community, would give them ample opportunity to distort the facts about their involvement with Ayn Rand! Wasn't that of concern? Or are they closed to evidence that NB and BB are dishonest people?

* Why is it that TOC is so committed to involving the Brandens in the Objectivist movement -- even though that's cost them support over the years? Did you hear of or from people distancing themselves from TOC after reading PARC? What was the reaction to that?

You might not wish to answer some of these questions in public. If not, I understand. But I'd be interested to hear whatever you might wish to say.

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Unacceptable.

Prima Donna's picture

Incidentally, Diana, you are not permitted to show a sense of humor, and you have made me laugh out loud twice within 24 hours. I am notifying ARI immediately of this transgression, for which you will be sentenced appropriately.


-- "Good God!! I thought that was the end. SOLO was out. My DSL was down to 2 mbps and I had a really nasty itch I couldn't reach." Ross Elliot

An old article

William E. Perry's picture

Thanks Jennifer. Diana the reference is to an article I wrote on the old site. http://solohq.solopassion.com/...

Bill

Damn!

DianaHsieh's picture

I should have added... What do you want to do "Kill Bill"?!?

(Okay, now I've gone too far...)

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Damn!

Prima Donna's picture

Forgot!! They catch! Shocked

No Capes!

DianaHsieh's picture

Jennifer, didn't you see _The Incredibles_?!?

NO CAPES!

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Get the man a cape.

Prima Donna's picture

Bill, who is the superhero now? Smiling

Thank you

William E. Perry's picture

Thanks to Peter and Brant for the kind words. I still owe Peter an "s" from before, but decided not to spell his last name with three of them to make it up.

Bill

Bravo!

Peter Cresswell's picture

Bravo Bill for your clear-sightedness and integrity, and my apologies for my hasty judgement earlier. I see now it was misdirected, if not misguided.

Ciro, the answers to your

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Ciro, the answers to your attempts to justify Brandbourne's numbingly mean-spirited, outright vile behaviour were contained in my article This Boy's Not For Turning:

NO! Linz, I am trying to understand! I don't know James, and in addition to that, I don't think he likes Italians, once he wrote about that Italians are cheap and much inferior to French people!

You see:-)

Ciro D'Agostino

Hmmmm

JoeM's picture

Who says they don't?

Why is it so hard to believe that Barbara can't have done something seriously wrong without forgoing heroism, but when Rand is slandered, Barbara is a hero for revealing the truth. Heroes do exist, Ciro. Rand is mine.

But the truth of the matter

Ciro D Agostino's picture

But the truth of the matter is that when Barbara was confronted with her own faults, such as the Peron business, and called on to defend a biography, she showed her true character.

Joe, I usually don't cry, but post like these are painful and able to bring tears to my eyes.

Do you want to know why? because I have always tought that heroes really existed!

I hope you are wrong!

Ciro D'Agostino

Again ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I salute Bill for this post, and for the actions it describes. I had no idea the episodes involving me personally figured so large in his decisions. Given the way so many who should know better turned a blind eye to the ramifications of those episodes, I am more impressed than ever by Bill's integrity.

Ciro, the answers to your attempts to justify Brandbourne's numbingly mean-spirited, outright vile behaviour were contained in my article This Boy's Not For Turning:

http://solohq.solopassion.com/...

I'm sure you know that, but there's the link if you truly need to refresh your memory.

Why a person like Barbara

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Why a person like Barbara would want to protect a man who supported publications devoted to pedophilia? Where did she stated that she supports such things,Casey?

Ciro D'Agostino

Ciro, I recommend a story

JoeM's picture

Ciro, I recommend a story for you that may explain such a mentality: "Think Twice." I sympathize with you to a point; who wants to believe that Barbara, such a sweet old lady, could be corrupt? It's like finding out your granma is a mobster. But the truth of the matter is that when Barbara was confronted with her own faults, such as the Peron business, and called on to defend a biography, she showed her true character.

Publishing Kilbourne's article...

Casey's picture

...served a valuable purpose. It exposed tactics that were underhanded and self-serving (self-serving in that they were meant to aquit Barbara of what Linz had objected to -- her defense of a man who supported publications devoted to pedophilia -- by claiming that his denunciation was the result of alcoholic irresponsibility). It was an ad hominem attack dressed up as generosity and love but whose purpose was to distract from the very disturbing statements Barbara had made in regards to Peron. Ciro, believe what you will.

Can a sane person like

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Can a sane person like James, wake up one day, and out of the blue become so evil?

Ciro D'Agostino

 Holly, why then, James

Ciro D Agostino's picture

 Holly, why then, James would say something like this, even though, Linz never said anything against him?

Ciro D'Agostino

You assume that their

Ciro D Agostino's picture

You assume that their "concern" in the first place was honest or responsible.

That's what I thought, Holly.

Ciro D'Agostino

With Friends Like These...

Holly Valliant's picture

Haven't we been through all of this a dozen times?

That would have looked good, Ciro: "Linz censors Kilbourne's concerns." No, his "love."

Oh, yeah, the rumors would've flown then, putting Linz in the position of having to just let the rumors fester -- or be the one to first go public -- with a denial -- or to explain why he censored such "love." JK submitted a publication to the world, not a private message to Linz. Once he submitted it, HE had to expect that it COULD have been published. JK did everything he needed to do in order to publish this.

So, the victim here is to blame because he did not prevent JK making an ass of himself -- at the expense of his own reputation?

A friend doesn't "go public" with an "intervention" in any case. JK and BB have an odd way of expressing their affection.

More importantly, what was ever the basis in reality for their "concern" anyway? You assume that their "concern" in the first place was honest or responsible.

Yeah, real pals.

James Kilbourne wrote an

Ciro D Agostino's picture

James Kilbourne wrote an essay entitled “Drooling Beast” which appeared on SOLOHQ, the predecessor to this site.

 

Why then, Mr. Perigo allowed James Kilbourne to publish such essay.  If Mr. Perigo is not an alcoholic why he lets someone  mud his name, and do nothing about it. I also thought that in order for Mr. Perigo to accept such malignant blow from J K, there was something else, other than friendship, between them. In addition to that, if JK was wrong or misinformed about Mr. Perigo's drinking problem, why Mr. Perigo never talked in private with him about the drooling beast essay?

If James is guilty, what that has to do with Barbara and what she wrote about Frank's drinking problem?  Barbara thought that Mr. Perigo really had a drinking problem because he allowed to  publish JK's essay.

CD

What breach

Kenny's picture

There was no suggestion of a breach of integrity. It was my integrity that was questioned. I let it go this time but never again.

Teasing

DianaHsieh's picture

Kenny, you may not have meant any ill toward Greg. In fact, I'm happy to hear that -- and I think better of you for it.

However, I think that you ought to re-consider the wisdom of suggesting, without factual basis, a breach of integrity in a stranger. That's not teasing -- teasing presupposes mutual familiarity and goodwill. It's insult, whether intended or not.

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Tucson

eg's picture

Bill,
Good post!
Welcome back to Tucson.

--Brant

Greg

Kenny's picture

Thanks for answering my teasing question. There was no intention to hunt, as Joe put it. I missed the link and will look at the article.

It is amazing how many organisations continue to send out publications to those who stop paying subscriptions.

There was no ad hominem attack - that is not my style. I may ask provocative questions to test out reactions. That may be a bit "naughty" but not malicious. That's my Caledonian humour for you.

I will put up a personal photograph when I can find a suitable one. All my digital ones are too formal. In the meantime, I thought that cartoon was a funny temporary alternative.

Tell Diana that "small fry" sends his best wishes. I am even more intolerant than she is.

Duh!

DianaHsieh's picture

I forgot that the cover and the article has all been posted online. How much more lame!

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Those Bastards!

Greg Perkins's picture

Hey, Kenny -- love your work on Comedy Central, though I wonder now and then if the writers really like your character.

The announcement of the magazine, the cover image, and the lame feature article I panned are all available at TOC's site as linked-to from my Noodlefood posting, so I don't understand why I MUST be a paying subscriber. But I was (note the past tense) and they indeed mailed me a copy of the issue -- each one I receive is unexpected as I have no idea when my subscription should run out (I haven't bothered to order them to cease and desist).

No worries, the bad karma will burn off soon enough.

Standards

DianaHsieh's picture

I have seen quite a boatload of gross misrepresentations from people like Bill Nevin and Robert Campbell. The attempts to paint me as a crazed dogmatist who will only read, discuss, and praise work and people associated with ARI is beyond ridicuous. (If that were the case, I certainly wouldn't be posting on SoloPassion!) Kenny is a small fry in comparison, but his ad hominem attack upon Greg is typical: attack the person rather than address the arguments.

Of course, I do have standards. I won't debate whether the mass murder of humanity would be a positive good, as Regi Firehammer and his minons would like. (See this exchange.) If anyone wishes to call me a dogmatist on that score, I'll wear the badge proudly!

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

The hunters

JoeM's picture

I've noticed quite a few comments like Kenny's that seem to be setting up traps trying to trip up people like Diana and expose them as dogmatic personas...seems to be a shameful tactic coming from those who are supposed to be in favor of a tolerant exchange of ideas in a non-judgemental manner...

Subscription

DianaHsieh's picture

Kenny, I'm glad to see you making accusing Greg of immorality without even knowing the facts. Your "shoot first, ask questions later" approach is very responsible.

In fact, Greg's subscription might not have expired yet, since he only publicly renounced TOC in September 2005. Or, more likely, TOC is probably just continuing to send him issues. They sent me issues until August 2005, even though I broke with them in February 2004. And they only stopped after I publicly poked fun at them for it. Other people, long disassociated with TOC, have found themselves suddenly receiving issues for random periods of time.

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Greg Perkins - Sanctioning TOC??

Kenny's picture

On Diana's blog is Greg Perkins review of Ed Hudgin's article on the Danish cartoons (in the current edition of TOC's New Individualist). He must be a paying subscriber to the New Individualist as that edition is not available on the TOC website. Does this subscription constitute sanctioning TOC?

Tolerance in Action

DianaHsieh's picture

Thank you for posting that, Bill. I think it's important for people to see that TOC is engaged in outright evasion about the blatant immorality of the Brandens in the name of preserving "openness" and "tolerance."

Here's what I wrote about the matter on NoodleFood:

    The past 24 hours have offered us two fantastic examples of TOC's seemingly schizophrenic approach to moral judgment of tolerating everything but genuine Objectivists.

    First, former TOC staff member Bill Perry just posted his report on TOC's outright refusal to judge Barbara Branden morally unworthy to speak at an Objectivist seminar, despite three very obvious and very public examples of her evading and distorting the obvious facts. Bill, although in disagreement with David Kelley's view of moral judgment, urged the leadership of TOC to apply its own standards of judgment to Barbara Branden. They would not do so. Yet her upcoming talks at their Summer Seminar on Objectivist rage and Objectivist community will certainly give her ample opportunity to promulgate even more lies.

    Second, the Editor-in-Chief of TOC's magazine Robert Bidinotto harshly condemned an unknown person in the comments of his blog as "fundamentalist jihadist" for withdrawing his praise for the cover of The New Individualist. The commenter (Brad Williams) did so after reading Ed Hudgins' "cognitive disaster" of an article and noting the association with "that abomination of an institution, TOC." According to Robert Bidinotto, that makes Brad the moral equivalent of a mass-murdering religious fanatic.

    TOC's approach to moral judgment is not a contradictory hash, but a consistent policy. Like the multiculturalsts who demand tolerance above all else, The Objectivist Center is willing to tolerate almost any immorality, no matter how blatant, except the supposed sin of intolerance. The people guilty of that transgression are to be condemned in the harshest of terms, as Brad Williams was. After all, such intolerance is the only obstacle to TOC's dream of a community in which "honest individuals in an open and tolerant environment discuss and debate ideas" such that "the truth does win out in the end." Of course, since the judgment of a given person as dishonest would send a damp chill through that warm and fuzzy dream, any inconvenient evidence of dishonesty will be steadfastly ignored and denied, as in the case of Barbara Branden.

    In short, as is becoming ever more blatant in action, TOC's basic policy is that the only immorality worthy of condemnation is a refusal to sanction The Objectivist Center.

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Kelley's statement is divorced from action

mcohen's picture

Thank you for your post! It demonstrates clearly that Kelley did not intend his statement in "The Contested Legacy" to be acted upon.

One thing that bothered me about "The Contested Legacy" (or its previous title "Truth & Toleration") was the lack of concrete examples of cases where it is possible to pass moral judgement on a person and act accordingly. Kelley concedes that a conclusion can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, i.e. "integrate all of the available evidence" and "rule out the possibility of any other conclusion" - but he does not provide a concrete example for such a case, and how one should act to implement it. A good example would be the case of Rearden in "Atlas Shrugged," who was exceedingly tolerant toward his family and gave his mother, brother and wife the benefit of the doubt until the evidence against them was beyond a reasonable doubt. Rearden walked out of his family and did not give a damn about them any more. There is no similar example in "The Contested Legacy," and Kelley's statement remains an abstraction divorced from action. No wonder that when you attempted to implement this statement and act on it, your e-mails were not answered.

-- Michelle

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