Fractious Factions, Unsteady Coalitions

Robert Campbell's picture
Submitted by Robert Campbell on Mon, 2006-04-24 03:02

Since the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies has changed very little during the time that Mr. Valliant has been subscribing to it, and the attitude toward JARS over at the Ayn Rand Institute hasn't even budged glacially, I'm going to suggest a different reason for Mr. Valliant's recent decision not to submit an article to JARS.

I think his choice not to seek publication in JARS is one of many aftershocks from James Kilbourne's ill-advised essay “Drooling Beast,” which appeared on SOLOHQ on July 31, 2005 (see http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Kilbourne/Drooling_Beast.shtml). As presumably everyone here knows, Kilbourne interpreted Lindsay Perigo's frequent public outbursts of anger as symptoms of alcoholism. In order to test loyalties and rally support around him, Mr. Perigo decided to make the charge of alcoholism public, by publishing the essay on SOLOHQ instead of rejecting it. Shortly after the essay appeared, Barbara Branden praised it on SOLOHQ.

Before that time, opinions were divided on SOLOHQ regarding Mr. Valliant's book (which had been published in February 2005, and much discussed from then on). Mr. Perigo, pre-Drooling Beast, was inclined to be skeptical of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics.

Once Mr. Kilbourne's essay appeared, and Barbara Branden praised it, the tectonic plates commenced their shifting. Mr. Kilbourne and Ms. Branden were quickly off SOLOHQ, and Mr. Perigo proceeded to denounce Ms. Branden in what we might, at the least, call varied and colorful terms.

By November, Mr. Perigo was praising Mr. Valliant's book, and commissioning an article for the Free Radical (“The Silence of Ayn Rand's Critics”) from Mr. Valliant's collaborator, Casey Fahy.

After SOLOHQ fractionated at the end of November, the Perigo-Valliant alliance continued to consolidate on the new SOLOPassion. At this point, issuing public denunciations of “the Brandens” morning, noon, and night, and blaming every conceivable ill of the Objectivist movement on them, appear to be morally mandatory from Mr. Perigo's standpoint; he has taken to calling those who do not share his particular sense of obligation “Brandroids.”

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/2006/03/posting-on-solopassion.html). Ms. Hsieh has brought with her a claque that now includes Mike Mazza, Boaz Simovici, and Fred Weiss. Tom Rowland, who, just a few months ago, compared debating me on SOLOHQ to debating Bertram Scudder on the proposition that Rearden Metal is a lethal product of greed, suddenly finds the environment free of moral contagion. No doubt others are being recruited as we speak.

Joe Maurone's Jungian Objectivism site was once targeted by Ms. Hsieh as the handiwork of a “false friend of Objectivism”  (http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2004/09/jungian-objectivism.html). His initial reaction to “Drooling Beast” was to defend it. Now Mr. Maurone has undergone a noisy public conversion to orthodoxy that includes disowning his published article in JARS. (Shortening one's vita seems to be part of the required spiritual delousing. In the midst of her conversion, in April 2004, Ms. Hsieh apparently repudiated her entire publications section—two book chapters and a journal article—though subsequently she has reowned one book chapter, and the article. None of these items had appeared in JARS, but in the process she also decided that she would never publish there.)

In addition, Mr. Valliant claims not to be promoting the Ayn Rand Institute, but he has yet to find fault with a single decision made by its leadership. And the ARI leadership does not think favorably of publication in JARS, whatever Mr. Valliant wishes to assure us.

(If Mr. Valliant were truly independent of ARI's leadership, wouldn't he be taking his message to libertarian groups, as per Kenny's suggestion a while back? Surely from Mr. Valliant's standpoint, libertarians badly need disabusing of the false and regrettable portrait of Ayn Rand perpetrated by “the Brandens.” Or could it be that Mr. Valliant is still pondering the example that was made of David Kelley, once upon a time, for committing “the sanction of libertarianism”?)

So over the past 9 months, a political realignment has brought together Mr. Perigo, Mr. Valliant, such born-again ARIans as Ms. Hsieh, and other converts to orthodoxy like Mr. Maurone.

Ms. Hsieh and Mr. Maurone have sworn off JARS and all of its iniquitous works; Mr. Valliant will certainly have an easier time with the principals of ARI if he does so. And JARS is not the kind of publication that is going to embark on a coordinated campaign against Barbara Branden; academic journals don't generally get involved in that kind of thing. (Any more than JARS is going to embark on a coordinated campaign against the Ayn Rand Institute—or against Mr. Perigo's message board.)

Ergo, high time for Mr. Valliant to jettison his plans for publication in JARS.

The trouble for Mr. Perigo, Mr. Valliant, Ms. Hsieh, Mr. Maurone, et al., is that alliances based on a single shared hatred are unstable. There is little convergence of interests among these four, except that they all detest Barbara Branden.

Ms. Hsieh, for instance, fervently supports ARI's present-day strategy of placing Ph.D.'s in philosophy departments. Mr. Maurone follows Leonard Peikoff's mid-1970s line of discouraging Objectivists from going into academia; in justification, he quotes Ron Merrill's book The Ideas of Ayn Rand, which Ms. Hsieh has held up as an exemplar of bad Rand scholarship in two blog entries since her conversion to ARIanism (see, for instance, http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog...).

Mr. Perigo may be pulling closer to the Ayn Rand Institute, but it remains highly improbable, in light of his history with ARI, that Drs. Peikoff, Binswanger, and Brook will lower the drawbridge. (They're known for holding onto their grudges over yonder, and they don't have much of a sense of humor about being called the “Anal-Retentive Institute.”) If you look at the rigorous (and apparently not yet completed) course of spiritual delousing that Ms. Hsieh has had to go through to gain credibility with the leadership at ARI, you can just imagine what will be required of Mr. Perigo. I find it even more improbable that Mr. Perigo would want to walk into the castle if they lowered the drawbridge.

But if Mr. Perigo fails to align himself with ARI in due time, he will lose the support of Ms. Hsieh and her claque, and most likely of Mr. Valliant.

While it holds together, though, there are coordinated strategic decisions to be made.

Regi Firehammer and his site, The Autonomist, were amongst the earliest to promote Mr. Valliant's opus. A blurb from the The Autonomist appears on the dust jacket, and the site ran a highly favorable review of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics all the way back in March 2005 (http://theautonomist.com/autonomist/articles5/vindar.html).

Mr. Firehammer, however, is a continuing champion of Ayn Rand's sexual psychology and an unrepentant homophobe, which understandably makes him persona non grata with Mr. Perigo. So what to do when Mr. Firehammer showed up unannounced on Ms. Hsieh's blog on April 6 of this year (http://www.dianahsieh.com/cgi-bin/blog/comments/view.pl?entry=114350811947135693)? Ms. Hsieh has become notorious for banning the ARI-unaffiliated from commenting on NoodleFood, but her eviction of Mr. Firehammer and at least two of his associates (one of whom, Cass Hewitt, had written the glowing review of Mr. Valliant's book!) seems to have been accomplished in record time. And instantly commending her action was... none other than Mr. Valliant. Chiming right in were... Mr. Maurone, Mr. Mazza, Mr. Fahy, and Mr. Simovici. Yet Mr. Firehammer's comment had been deleted so quickly that most NoodleFooders wouldn't have had time to discover what the fuss was about.

What a way to thank Mr. Firehammer for his past support. (I'm not sure he's figured out yet what hit him; his reaction is on view at http://usabig.com/wowbbforums/view_topic.php?id=627&forum_id=6.)

Eventually, Mr. Valliant will begin to find Mr. Perigo more of a burden than a blessing. Or Mr. Perigo will launch into a tirade against Mr. Valliant over some issue great or petty. Or... who knows?

All I can say is, it would not be wise for Mr. Valliant to make any sizable investment that presupposes the durability of this kind of coalition.

When it's all blown up and blown over, JARS will still be here. ARI will still be here. Neither, I suspect, will have changed its spots. Despite Ms. Hsieh's incessant exultations over its imminent downfall, I also expect TOC will still be here. Most important, Ayn Rand's writings will still be here—and in comparison with the least among them, Mr. Valliant's political maneuvers will look petty, faint, and ridiculous.

Robert Campbell

PS. The ARI supporters who specialize in pit-bulling the heretics (whether the dissenters are at TOC, involved with JARS, or institutionally unaffiliated) should keep in mind that those in the ARI orbit who offer them behind-the-scenes encouragement—for instance, the highly opinionated but publicity-avoidant Greg Salmieri (see, e.g.,http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2004/08/rumor-and-supposition.html)—may value them a good deal less than they imagine. Indeed, they may be seen as expendable. Even so highly valued an asset as Mr. Valliant can be cut loose, if his book proves embarrassing to ARI in the future.


( categories: )

Alrighty Then

Boaz the Boor's picture

I guess I took the "customary wisdom and graciousness" bit as overtly sarcastic, which would imply you thought I was rather the opposite of those things. I like your wit, too, even if I don't always enjoy the way you spend it.

I do think I'm reading RC correctly, but there's little I can do but point to specific language and say "Hah!" and "Double Hah!" and start wringing your neck.

Hostility to the Person

wsscherk's picture

No, sir, I bear zero hostility to your person. A bad or weak argument does not compute a bad or weak person . . . not in my eyes. I am sorry if you felt personal offence. Not my aim, not my goal.

I like reading your well-written, 'high-toned' rants. It annoys me that your arguments are occasionally diffuse or evade the questions that concern me. But Big deal.

If you don't read deeply where I do, no prob. If you accept unwarranted critiques without fussing about accuracy or context, duly noted. I won't bother engaging you again if this is what I can expect.

WSS

Nice

Boaz the Boor's picture

If you thought I wasn't really trying to communicate with you, Scott, you were right. I was doing what I took you to be doing -- playfully throwing my weight around with sheer verbiage. Your hostility to my person is noted, and thanks for correcting my spelling.

You are, of course, free to believe whatever you like about what Mr. Campbell said and what he didn't say.

It is so unseemly to spank a Senior

wsscherk's picture

Boaz, you lurch into German to answer my plain statement. You contradict my statement with: "No you didn't."

Good communication (which you seem to be implying is beyond me) requires an attempt at comprehension. If the guy at the doughnut shop says, "That's two high-blood-pressure specials and whipped cream. Anything else, gramps?" and you hear "Mumble mumble Blood mumble mumble mumble," you will find out that you are either suddenly handicapped or disdainful of the young pup's rhetorical query (or some other something that provides the Excluded Middle, like, "WTF? Yes yes yes. You friggin' deaf, sonny?"). We could not accuse you of being fully engaged in the encounter at hand.

See what I am saying, Boaz? I wrote, "No context. Please give some next time." You heard "mumble mumble mumble mumble" and then wrote NEIN. Um . . . not much I can say back, Mr Melman. All our contemporaries would perceive is two hulking dreadnoughts lobbing NEIN and JA back and forth until eternity.

With regard to the last interpretation of my remarks ("Mumble mumble mumble mmm mexican wrestling mumble mumble") well -- let's lay out the splendid thing and give it some loving kindness:

"Now what say you about my other points? Eh? MMMM???? Yeah, that's right. That's what I thought."

We are not able to get at your thoughts there, Boaz, without your help. Your point about outing is wrong. Outing can be a false outing. Outing can match identity correctly. The Outingness of something is in the action. Mr Smith is Mr Xtreme. Mr Smith is a gay prostitute posing as a Press Corpsman. Mr Smith is Mysterious Stranger. It can become news because of its inherent scandalous, accusatory nature. That's what outing is.

It can be a mistaken, an unnecessary, a vengeful ("Mr Smith, my ex-husband, is a Satanist/Secret TOC Reader") and a hurried and wrong outing, but an outing is an outing and Mr Campbell explicitly named Greg Palmieri as Mysterious Stranger. After 24 hours of the appellation having been put, no one pertinent denies it (as any reasonable man would likely do, were it not he). La Mertz will not deny it. Thus, it sticks. Sorry to expand at boring length, mumble mumble Mr Melman.

As to your 'MMMM????' -- I am taking a wild guess here:

"Similarly, the fact that Mike agrees with Greg on X does not imply Mike learned X from Greg. Or that Greg is behind Mike's comments. Mike doesn't know Greg - end of story. These are patent non-sequitors."

Yes, Non sequitur means Does Not Follow. It doesn't follow. You have provided non sequitur. Correct. The factoid does not give weight to a charge that a Mysterious Stranger was "behind" Mazza, as if a Svengali guiding his stricken princess toward the gloryhole of reason.

Which may be your takehome from Campbell's contentions, but is in error. Campbell did not put forward that fallacious argument, you did. He simply noted behaviour, as have I. Mike overreacted, miscited and was generally sloppy and off-base in his riposte. No big deal. There won't even be a scab if we leave it be for a while . . .

I will leave you to wrap up the exchange with your customary wisdom and graciousness, Boaz. Noted your tone and thesis, discarded the bumf.

WSS

'He shouldn't have used a word like "encourage"'

wsscherk's picture

Mike, brother, I boil it down: Campbell didn't say of you what you said he did, upon inspection.

You paraphrased poorly, and it left a distorted impression of the other fellow's remarks. And you refuse to take correction. Yikes.

It is plain you were uplifted, even exalted by reading Salmieri's admitted and hidden arguments. You cited him with enthusiasm, you enjoyed that he had opened the door to full-on assault on the character of El Diablo Chibarra. Yes, he encouraged a certain bombastic rectitude and deeply personal insult (while hiding behind a pseudonym). You took the bait, buddy. You became what you don't want to be . . . a follower and a yes-man.

[look what you do with the statement preceding my comment. Mike, you have excerpted out the full phrase. This doesn't help your argument, it renders it weak and less-warranted, based upon exaggerated premises]

To recap: there is nothing wrong with Salmieri encouraging other proto-objectivists to tilt at the windmills he has identified. And there is nothing wrong with you accepting intellectual guidance from him or any other congenial writer, especially when his goals mirror our own and he gives us hope that our voice will one day be as grand and evocative. Not all of us are capable of sustained creative thought . . . and we must rely upon the good work of previous actors.

You should think more about the way the tide turns on events like this in the real world, Mike, I do believe. Another SOLO member pointed out that the obvious motivation for Salmieri not fessing up to his exaggerated and mean-spirited remarks is that it is professionally 'unseemly.'

Not evul, not immoral, not the worst crime -- not any crime at all. He's smart enough to realize that the most egregious insults against El Diablo would only make him slightly dirty, should his real-world colleagues ever learn of them. Not fire him, or destroy his career or throw him from a cliff or drown him in the millpond called Non-O.

You, brother Mike, should stand down a bit, maybe? You aren't engaging with the line of argument, but with a shadow play.

I won't return to this thread. I don't mean my corrections to be a bare-ass spanking, but a note to be considered. Can I garner some wisdom and insight from you? Can you gain some from my side of the aisle? I hope you can see the teeny weeny little bit of sense in what I say here. If not, as with my private note to you, I think you throw away an opportunity to communicate more honestly and to convince your readers that you are what you say you are.

Regardless of your choices, best wishes to you -- you are at the start of an exciting, exhilarating, sometimes frightening adventure. If you can, give weight to and examine critiques that go against your grain. Don't fling all criticism from you as unclean and evul, as you would a poisonous spider crawling up your neck.

Yes, he stings -- but it is prophylactic, a good poison, and helps innoculate against fallacy and recklessness, makes our future arguments tighter and more effective.

WSS

Campbell's observation may be slightly exaggerated, and he may use a certain bland tone while forcefully drilling your cavities, but once in a while, he gets ya in the chair, man. Why don't you just admit you flubbed your takedown and get back on your skates?

Disagreeable Asshole

Fred Weiss's picture

Oh, and as for your kind offer to "keep being a disagreeable asshole to you", you haven't been that for sometime now. Oh, maybe from time to time. But if you want to keep at it just for old times sake, feel free.

Chris

Fred Weiss's picture

"The very fact of someone's contributing to JARS would just go to show that they aren't a very knowledgeable Rand scholar after all, since if they're knowledgeable, they'll see the reason for not contributing there."

I've said to you before and I'll say it again, you don't need me or anyone else to help you figure this stuff out. You do a pretty good job all by yourself and have for several years now.

As for George Reisman being a knowledgeable Rand scholar, if he is I wasn't aware of it. Do you know something I don't? He's a brilliant economist, certainly. But Rand scholar? I don't think so.

And anyway as you brilliantly pointed out above, if he were a knowledgeable Rand scholar he wouldn't publish in JARS. So therefore he couldn't be a Rand scholar. When you're right, you're right, Chris.

Context! Speak for yourself,

Mike_M's picture

Context! Speak for yourself, Scott. In that thread, RC just finished explaining that, acording to RC, Greg had been instrumental in Diana's move to ARI. RC pointed out that Greg did this behind the scenes, and then writes that "Mr. Salmieri has been strongly encouraging" me. How did Greg encourage me? If RC meant nothing more than those few blog comments, he shouldn't have used a word like "encourage," which implies communication.

Senator Poo-Poo Head

Boaz the Boor's picture

(Not too oblique a reference, I hope.)

"With regard to Mazza and the new 'no context is okay' rule you would seem to promulgate . . . uh, no thanks. I had to hunt the quote down to see if Mike had properly paraphrased Robert Campbell. He had not."

Nein, mein jungen liedermeister....I am afraid that it is you who are mistaken. About a great...many..things.

(We'll have to agree to disagree.)

Now what say you about my other points? Eh? MMMM???? Yeah, that's right. That's what I thought.

JARS

Chris Cathcart's picture

Fred:

Chris, I don't know if it applies to your article since I haven't read it.

Well, either way, it's an example of "what passes for Rand scholarship" in the pages of JARS. If it's good, then not everything in the journal is trash.

If it's a good article that would be even worse, since then you would be undeservedly elevating an otherwise trashy venue - and it will always be a trashy venue until knowledgeable Ayn Rand scholars write for it. And they never will.

That's great, Fred, but it just kinda begs the whole question, now dunnit.

Is George Reisman ("the asshole") a knowledgeable Rand scholar, BTW?

Oh, wait -- I get it. The very fact of someone's contributing to JARS would just go to show that they aren't a very knowledgeable Rand scholar after all, since if they're knowledgeable, they'll see the reason for not contributing there.

Doesn't exactly beg the question, but it is nicely shielded from refutation.

Now, if I would just get over my lingering deficiencies, I'll be knowledgeable enough a Rand scholar to see your point without any troubles.

In the meantime, I'll be perfectly happy and willing to keep being a disagreeable asshole to you. Sticking out tongue

Senator Non-Sequitor

wsscherk's picture

Yes, Boaz, you got the point that there is an open secret. Thanks.

With regard to Mazza and the new 'no context is okay' rule you would seem to promulgate . . . uh, no thanks. I had to hunt the quote down to see if Mike had properly paraphrased Robert Campbell. He had not.

Which was the point of my note. Do Mike's heros do this kind of thing? Do you like it too, Boaz?

As to 'Anyone who didn't know what this is about would continue not knowing what its about,' that was a very Larry Budd Melman moment, sir.

So, to your cavalier dismissal of 'them as don't git it,' in favour of 'them as needs ta know' and your non-engagement with Mike's off-base paraphrase, you imply it jest don't matter. Then why is you still pickin' that scab, sir? And whis is you not answerin' the question: why does Greg not answer? why does Greg not deny he is the man behind the mask?

And Chris sayin' you an asshole. What next? : )

WSS

Chris, I don't know if it

Fred Weiss's picture

Chris, I don't know if it applies to your article since I haven't read it. If it's a good article that would be even worse, since then you would be undeservedly elevating an otherwise trashy venue - and it will always be a trashy venue until knowledgeable Ayn Rand scholars write for it. And they never will.

I wasn't aware of the fact

Mike_M's picture

I wasn't aware of the fact that I was quoting Salmieri at the time. And like Boaz pointed out, the fact that I quoted GS one time doesn't mean he's telling me to post here, or that he is the source of my beef with CS's work. Like I said, I've never communicated with him. I'd be surprised if he even knows my name.

WSS

Boaz the Boor's picture

I think it's clear that many have been following that thread on OL, and anyone who knew what Mike was talking about would know who Robert Campbell was and where said Campbell makes his abode. Linking to said abode would be oddly redundant. (Anyone who didn't know what this is about would continue not knowing what its about, with or without the link -- frankly, all the better for them.)

If Robert has somehow "outed" GS, you'll have to link to some other post, namely one where he actually proves something. There are many people who would have agreed with most if not all of what both Mysterious Stranger *and* GS said. There are at least half a dozen people who could easily have written something like what MS said. As for why he chose to remain anonymous, I suspect if you were hard pressed you could probably come up with a handful of plausible, non-sinister reasons.

Similarly, the fact that Mike agrees with Greg on X does not imply Mike learned X from Greg. Or that Greg is behind Mike's comments. Mike doesn't know Greg - end of story. These are patent non-sequitors.

Fred writes:I fully agree

Chris Cathcart's picture

Fred writes:
I fully agree with his summary, "It is imperative that Objectivists entirely repudiate this breed of "Ayn Rand Studies" and those who practice it...In a time where Objectivism is just starting to be a force in the culture and to be taken seriously in academia there are few worse fates possible for it than to be confused with this sort of rubbish."

I will also add that this also applies to what passes for "Ayn Rand scholarship" in JARS (The Journal of Ayn Rand Sludge).

I take it that this characterization applies to my own forthcoming sludgy contribution to that journal as well.

Ya asshole. Eye(?)

William, thank you for

Fred Weiss's picture

William, thank you for providing this link to GS's comments on Noodlefood concerning Sciabarra's "dialectics" and his excellent explanation of why it has nothing whatever to do with Objectivism

http://snipurl.com/qnn6

I fully agree with his summary, "It is imperative that Objectivists entirely repudiate this breed of "Ayn Rand Studies" and those who practice it...In a time where Objectivism is just starting to be a force in the culture and to be taken seriously in academia there are few worse fates possible for it than to be confused with this sort of rubbish."

I will also add that this also applies to what passes for "Ayn Rand scholarship" in JARS (The Journal of Ayn Rand Sludge).

"Sciabarra, your puppet master"

wsscherk's picture

Robert Campbell says, after outing Greg Salmieri as the 'Mysterious Stranger' whom Chris Sciabarra spanked lightly in Noodlefood comments (RC post entitled "Mr. Mazza and Mr. Salmieri):

"For some background on Mike Mazza's antipathy to Chris
Sciabarra's work, and his reliance on Greg Salmieri as a
source, see link & link]"

Now, correct me if I am wrong, brother. He gives you a plug and says you use Salmieri, um, heavily. He posts three hyperlinks to your own intellectual production. He touts you in full context.

Is this not correct, even if tabu, even though quite evul to point this out? After all, you did write the rather telling Blog gush as follows:

"I am in complete agreement with the comments made by
GS/gs/GCS, particularly the comment made on August 8,
2005 at 19:49:37 mdt. I found that one to be very
insightful. My own comments on all of this ‘Rand as
dialectician’ stuff are as follows: What’s the point?"

So, Brother Mazza, what is he saying that is not true and/or notable for those who don't watch O-ist tag team wrestling all day every day?

This Greg Salmieri, Mysterious Stranger or not (see notes here, in a post called ""The Ranchers and the Farmers Should Be Friends") is the fellow who says this about Kelly,

"The problem with Kelley is not that he fails to be as
consistent as an intellectual (as opposed to normal
person) needs to be (as bringing in (2) above implies),
but that he's a dishonest subjectivist,"

and this about Sciabarra:

"When Whittaker Chambers claimed that Ayn Rand was a
fascist bent on sending people to the gas chamber, he
did her less of an injustice than did Chris Sciabarra in
calling her a "dialectician" bent on "transcending
formal dualism." It is imperative that Objectivists
entirely repudiate this breed of "Ayn Rand Studies" and
those who practice it, as we repudiate Chambers, his
shameful article, and the National Review. In a time
where Objectivism is just starting to be a force in the
culture and to be taken seriously in academia there are
few worse fates possible for it than to be confused with
this sort of rubbish."

-- which I understand to be your takehome, Brother. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

While the author of another popular SOLO item wrote with conviction:

""Since I know and respect the "Mysterious Stranger,"
including his/her good reasons for remaining anonymous,
I really didn't want to get into the middle of anything
so personal, nor reveal his/her identity.""

I get another takehome:

"I won't tell you who is saying this about you, for
reasons only known to me, and I can't defend you in
public, since you are my former friend and he is an
anonymous commenter/Mr Big on my blog whose identity I
intend to protect. How's that make you feeeeel, Chris?"

. . . and then the part that sometimes oops we forget, that the Evul El Chibarra apologized and retracted.

Which brings me back to the point -- that like the Moderator in various threads you seems to lack the time or skill to reference your quotations or objects of scorn. This is not worthy of a scholar, just like Mysterious Stranger's invective was unworthy of a scholar, which is why he is afraid to own up -- for the damage it still could do to his reputation.

Have you asked yourself or El Extranjero Misterioso an objective question: why can he not reveal his identity? What is the verboten thing here? -- a nice apology and retraction of his more inflammatory characterizations?

Mike, my brother on the road to O-ist Ur, look at the rock-solid heroes of your own life and your own family and your own circle of ever-friends: who is it that you admire? who is it that you emulate in word, deed, thought and heart?

In other words, Mike -- is we always being the best man we can be?

It start to get like picking scabs, eve'ybody. Maybe stop while we still young and pretty.

WSS

Mike -

Boaz the Boor's picture

Defending yourself from these accusations only incriminates you further. What matters is that your views resemble those of someone by the name of Greg Salmieri and another by the name of Diana Hsieh; since the true is the whole, and since what is true of a group is always true of its parts, it follows that you were getting your talking points from Greg (therefore ARI, therefore Peikoff) just as it follows that both of us were part of a "coordinated banning" of Regi Firehammer. I, for one, look forward to future instances of professor Campbell's forays into "the art of context-keeping."

Sorry to bring this thread

Mike_M's picture

Sorry to bring this thread back up, but I didn't know where to put this. Apparently, someone has given Robert Campbell the impression that Greg Salmieri is giving me orders. Well someone gave him that impression or he just made it up out of thin air.

What is clear is that Mr. Salmieri has been strongly encouraging junior ARIans, such as Diana Hsieh and Mike Mazza, to campaign against Chris Sciabarra--while trying to keep his own name out of the campaigns.

Elsewhere, someone pointed out that conspiracy theories are a sign of a bankrupt intellectual movement. Since this little hypothesis isn't true, and Campbell has no evidence of the part about me, I think this falls safely into the "conspiracy" category.

I've never met GS, or talked to him, or corresponded with him. All I know about the guy is that he writes really good posts on HBL and has given a few talks at OCON. Actually, if the other things RC said on OL are true, RC knows him better than I. So Campbell, if you want to criticize me or whatever, fine. But do you really have to make up rumors? Why don't you leave that to Sciabarra, your puppet master. He's much better at it, anyway.

Paper Tigers

Fred Weiss's picture

"Paper tigers are in abundance on the internet."

But only one that can read. Smiling

http://www.papertig.com/

Jason I agree. The content

John M Newnham's picture

Jason I agree. The content is painful to read because it consists mainly of smears against Lindsay, worship of the Brandens, and anti-objectivist, pseudo-intellectual rantings. There is more regard for the warm and fuzzies and less for the truth. Members of Solopassion are characterized as mediocre non-producers by a man whose claims to have been famous are most fishy. Now, it may be that he was, and that all mention of him has "disappeared", who knows. Paper tigers are in abundance on the internet.

John

Waita minute, Chris!!!! Are

Chris Cathcart's picture

Waita minute, Chris!!!! Are you saying that the choice is NOT between:

(1) Everything said on OL on every thread is totally evil, ill-intentioned, and false -and-
(2) Everything said on SOLOPASSION on every thread is totally evil, ill-intentioned, and false?

How could that possibly be? If you don't choose one of those two *eminently reasonable and well-considered* propositions, aren't you a weaselly fence-sitting pussy appeaser who is deathly afraid he won't be liked by someone and doesn't want to make anyone angry? And by his limpdick spineless failure to choose between the two alternatives is not a real man?

I don't have to make a decision about how to answer that, do I? Please don't make me decide.

objectivistliving.com

Jason Quintana's picture

Who are these elephants? Smiling In all seriousness, I don't think anyone would suggest that ALL objectivistliving.com users are immoral scum who lie in practically every post. In fact, I would only list one member (MSK) in this catagory based upon my own context and experiences with the regulars there. A few others, including Robert Campbell and Rich Engle have also made a very poor impression on me. Several others are excellent members of SOLO and I'm glad to have them here. But it is certainly difficult for me to see why anyone would want to join the website when MSK is the OWNER AND LEAD USER.

- Jason

Elephants

Landon Erp's picture

It's a choice you can put off (I tried) but it's not one you can avoid. The actual propositions you list obviously aren't true in either case. But to be honest it's like keeping a joint membership in your local branch of the Black Panther Party and the KKK.

If you do it either place is going to be saying and doing things which frustrate you endlessly and there are some big elephants sitting around that you can only ignore for so long.

---Landon

It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

Make a Choice, Damn You

PhilipC's picture

> do we need to accept that one side of a dispute and not the other is a total lying dirtbag of a human being?

Waita minute, Chris!!!! Are you saying that the choice is NOT between:

(1) Everything said on OL on every thread is totally evil, ill-intentioned, and false -and-
(2) Everything said on SOLOPASSION on every thread is totally evil, ill-intentioned, and false?

How could that possibly be? If you don't choose one of those two *eminently reasonable and well-considered* propositions, aren't you a weaselly fence-sitting pussy appeaser who is deathly afraid he won't be liked by someone and doesn't want to make anyone angry? And by his limpdick spineless failure to choose between the two alternatives is not a real man?

If I may...

Chris Cathcart's picture

If I may wax gutlessly and spinelessly neutral for the moment, do we need to accept that one side of a dispute and not the other is a total lying dirtbag of a human being? More likely, aren't both side of a dispute usually just not able to get along -- that for whatever reasons or causes they don't see eye-to-eye, that sort of thing?

I'd recommend a harmonious reconciliation via expressions of mutual apprecation of lesbo vids, but even that might not work in this instance. Sad

(That's the problem with the f Smiling cking radical Muslims we're up against -- they can't or won't grasp the basis for enjoying lesbo vids!)

Oh Groan!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Someone has kindly pointed out to me that the ObjectivistLying site continues to live up to its name. Crazed Cockroach Kelly is now claiming he was banned from here because he hosts Barbara Branden on ObjectivistLying (the perfect place for her). The reason Kelly was banned was very transparent and wholly self-wrought:

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

The reason Kelly was banned is that he had shown himself beyond reasonable doubt to be, in John Newnham's words, a "cane toad."

Now, one is used to Kelly's lies. They're all it ever peddles. To see Kat join in is sad. She now claims she too was banned from here. In fact, she resigned. Twice:

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

and

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

The reason I say "Oh, Groan!" is that I resent spending time setting records straight in response to lies. I would make this request of those who bother visiting Cockroach Corner—assume it's lies, especially if it's about me, & bother me with something only if it's really bad. Thanks. Smiling

Linz

Linz

Kenny's picture

What a shirt! SOLO Sartorial KASS!

Cat in the Hat

JoeM's picture

Since I'm only a recent "noisy public conversion to orthodoxy", I don't feel worthy yet for the Renaissance hat. I'll start with the fez and work towards it. Maybe Stoli will crown me himself!

And I only converted because they said I'd get a free toaster. I'm still waiting...

(Re: Campbell's insinuations: I have to say, for the record, that I am not a member of ARI, or any other organization, for that matter. But after years of "noisily" badmouting ARI, Piekoff, and Rand/Objectivism, while "noisily" celebrating the Brandens, based on the accounts of the Brandens, I think it's only fair that I set the record straight. That has less to do with orthodoxy and more with justice. Campbell and JARS have no problem with people noisily proclaiming anything critical of Rand...that's called "academic discourse."

So Robert, expect it to only get noisier from here.

New Renaissance Hat

DianaHsieh's picture

No no! We must wear the New Renaissance Hat! (As I said in my blog post about it: "I've always said that Objectivists need some funky hierarchy of hats to really establish themselves as a cult. I've just never said it seriously.")

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

"1) Neither I nor SOLO is in

JoeM's picture

"1) Neither I nor SOLO is in a coalition, steady or unsteady, with anyone."

Damn, no Illuminati meetings? Maybe we should start a SOLO FREEMASONS group.

I just wanna wear a fez....

Sprung!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

SOLO's espionage camera does not lie, even about me. I cannot deny it. It's the Linz-Lenny show from now on. (He keeps insisting that it's Lenny-Linz, but he's OK after I've slapped him about a bit.)

Seriously though folks, it's probably opportune, in light of Mr. Campbell's fevered fantasies, to iterate or reiterate a few points:

1) Neither I nor SOLO is in a coalition, steady or unsteady, with anyone.

2) What SOLO stands for is spelled out in the Credo.

3) In line with "Say what you mean & mean what you say" & the commitment to sincerity & integrity & the eschewing of mind-games, my personal agreement or disagreement with a position is unaffected by who holds it. Thus, for instance, I agree with Mr. Valliant re the matters he deals with in PARC, but I disagree with his defence of certain ARI policies & actions. I agree with Diana about the uselessness of TOC while not sharing her enthusiastic, wholehearted endorsement of ARI or her analysis of David Kelley's philosophical flaws. Whether I fall out with these guys over something in future will be over to them, since my policy is to deal with anyone who demonstrates good faith, as they both do.

4) Lately, on this very site, the ARIans have been coming out of their cloisters while TOCians have been erecting cloisters. In the skirmishes that have occurred between them prior to the TOCians' seemingly total retreat, the ARIans have clearly creamed the TOCians. I have remarked that this is so, from which it might have been inferred that I'm keen for ARI to lower the drawbridge to which Mr. Campbell refers & to walk across it. Not so. I'm impressed by the intelligence & vivacity of the ARIan young 'uns here, but remember all too well the awful, anal-retentive snottiness of some of the seniors who stalk the organisation still. While any vestige of that remains in their culture I won't go near it, though I'm only too willing to enjoy the comradeship, for as long as they're allowed to offer it, of individual ARIans who in no way embody that culture. In short, SOLO is not about to become a sub-set of ARI in the way RoR is a sub-set of TOC. (The ARI, of course, is not soliciting SOLO & doesn't need to, though it should take on board its spirit; TOC, by contrast, has embraced RoR & needs all the help it can get from anyone right now.)

5) TOC's woes are self-inflicted. For a long time they were merely ineffectual; now they are immoral as well. Their behaviour post-PARC has been deplorable. Guilty awareness of that fact probably accounts for their going into hiding, in flagrant retreat from the commitment to open debate that marked their founding. It's been left to JARSians like Mr. Campbell to defend them ... or rather, attack ARI, Rand & the author of PARC (& even me for good measure). But the JARSians are a slightly different breed again. They openly disavow the label "Objectivist." Some call themselves "post-Randians," whatever that means. Their stock-in-trade is ambivalence, ambiguity, verbosity, "Polish," the quest for respectability within academia. They are, or at least they consider themselves, "scholars" rather than polemicists or crusaders. Even TOC pays lip-service to KASS & the need for some crusading zeal (well, every third Tuesday at least). It also has yet to abandon the label "Objectivist," though one might expect a proposal to do so to emerge quite soon from one of TOC's navel-gazing binges.

6) Through this maze it behoves all men & women of integrity to carry aloft the torch of reason, passionately, unbeholden to sect, faction, guru, or anyone's judgement but their own. If they do that, regardless of their current alignments or non-alignment, they will be in a good place.

7) SOLO's good! Smiling

He looks so...

Prima Donna's picture

...mild-mannered. Smiling


-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

WOW! Is that really Linz?

JoeM's picture

WOW! Is that really Linz?

Unholy alliance exposed

JulianP's picture

Mr Campbell,

You speculate re the likelihood of ARI 'lowering the drawbridge' for Linz. This photo, taken by our own inhouse SOLO investigative unit, suggests the process is already underway.

The Two LPs
The Two LPs

Linz, you cad, how could you?!

Eye
Julian

James

eg's picture

Submit a poem and see what happens.

--Brant

Deleted

Mick Russell's picture

Deleted

This IS JARS

James S. Valliant's picture

Gee, once a hate-filled bigot, always a hate-filled bigot, eh?

Now, folks, bear in mind, this man is ONE-THIRD of the editorial staff at "The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies," something which pretends to "invite" ARI scholars!!

(I'll bet they even think that their "invitation" is actually sincere!)

Chris's Pit Bull

Fred Weiss's picture

Chris, you complain that you are "without a pit-bull to harangue me about the errors of my ways".

You're mistaken. You do have one.

Yourself.

Anyway, "enfant terrible" that you are, you've never been shy about waving red flags at people, even inciting riots, so you hardly need help from anyone here about how to do it.

I'm a heretic; who wants to be my pit-bull?

Chris Cathcart's picture

In the listed category of heretics, put me in with "involved with JARS." Yes, the very same JARS which has Robert Campbell (noted non-ARI-supporter) as editor, and who is at this very moment receiving sympathetic needling by yours truly. Being a heretic, I am at present without a pit-bull to harangue me about the errors of my ways. Maybe I'm officially considered beyond hope, that I've mis-integrated Objectivist principles, that I reject Objectivism, or that I am consciously betraying Oist principles. Anyway, I'm not one of the Accepted People, and I feel left out and hurt by that. And here I was, thinking I was just trying to get some ideas out there in applicable published form. But no, there are much bigger issues than that involved here, I guess. Would someone, hopefully in official good standing with the orthodoxy, please be so kind as to pit-bull me over these issues? Thanks much!

Robert Campbell is gone

eg's picture

Which is what he said on OL, at least as far as articles are concerned. Maybe he'll post some more comments. It was pretty obvious he didn't intend to stay around. Boy, he could find and cite almost anything!

--Brant

having read through the whole posting now...

Chris Cathcart's picture

Oh brother. Robert, what's the point of all this? Aside from getting the run-down on the present state of the factions and mini-factions and how they're all hanging by a slender thread (heh heh), this just seems unnecessary and over-the-top. As Chris S. says, you certainly speak for yourself and not for JARS, which, being a journal, is above stuff like this silly faction-baiting. You seem better when you're onto issues of substance rather than shootin' the shizzit over factions and whatnot. It is entertaining, though -- reads like it could be a scoop on all the shifting and untenable alliances over the past year in a professional wrestling organization (complete with the Vince McMahon-like string-puller), as if the Oist movement were just like that. Okay, so it's somewhat like that. Eye

Just how much more will Diana have to atone for past sins to be officially borg-assimilated with ARI? Stay tuned for the next installment folks! Smiling

deleted

eg's picture

duplicate post deleted

my faction

Chris Cathcart's picture

I have a faction that no one is allowed to join. Membership is exclusive and the faction's secrets are kept tight within. My faction repudiates any efforts by others to speak on its behalf.

That faction is me.

outbursts and alkies

Chris Cathcart's picture

It's well-known on HPO that I'm a fan of fine beer. Some of my opponents there, in open HPO fashion, take to attributing my "outbursts" of ["anger"/flaming/verbiage/whatever] to being drunk or being an "alky." In some contexts that could be a charge worth one's attention if one senses a potential damage to one's reputation; there, I do as any normal and reasonable reader would do: not take it seriously.

HPO is sort of its own world in the Oist online scene, I must say. Lesbians and newsbabes are specifically declared on-topic there. (By whom, you may ask? Well, don't ask. They just are.) No substantive moderation, no requirements of politeness. Abusive nicknames can abound. Some of us love it.

And I would have gotten away with it., too...

Casey's picture

If it wasn't for you meddling kids!

ARI, Robert, ARI

eg's picture

I support ARI conditionally. I might even send them a donation now. I support TOC not at all. I once got TOC's magazine for a year or two years ago but I dropped it out of boredom.

I have a tremendous personal debt to Nathaniel Branden, but we were never more than friendly. I wish him well and happiness in his marriage next month and the rest of his life, but I could never meet with him again. While I have serious issues with Leonard Peikoff past and present I could meet with him, quite aside from his interest and perspective.

I am not a tolerationist, but I don't know as much as Objectivism purports to know, so if I am an Objectivist it's with a small "o". To avoid confusion I'm not calling myself an "objectivist," however. I'm not a "post-Randian" either. When it comes to Objectivism I agree with its metaphysics and epistemology as much as anyone. I agree with the Objectivist ethics in its basic formulation, but the politics only to the extent that it represents an ideal we should strive for and move toward feeling our way as we go. Fast now, slow later.

So, Robert, does this make me a "Randroid"? Does it sound like I should be afraid of losing or not getting ARI sanction and support or of not belonging to the ARI community? Well, PARC did save me from my delusions, so it'll never be small in my personal history.

--Brant

A thought

Lanza Morio's picture

"We never had to take them seriously, did we?"

I wondered ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... who that was jerking my limbs. Greg Who?

And is he cute?!

The Legion of Doom

JoeM's picture

"The trouble for Mr. Perigo, Mr. Valliant, Ms. Hsieh, Mr. Maurone, et al., is that alliances based on a single shared hatred are unstable. There is little convergence of interests among these four, except that they all detest Barbara Branden."

Curses! Our plan has been discovered! Foiled again! Quickly, back to the Hall of Doom!

HAHAHA

Mike_M's picture

I just read this again. Apparently Campbell thinks Greg Salmieri is some kind of puppet master pulling everyone's strings. Really, I couldn't make this shit up if I wanted to. Look out! It's Greg behind the bushes with the remote control! He's making us all go after poor Mr. Campbell. Is that Leonard Peikoff up in the trees!? Look out, Rob! Harry Binswanger is right behind you! Is that mean ol' John Ridpath hidin' under the bed spookin' the kids?

Hahaha thanks for the laugh.

Don't let your pen run away with you, Robert...

Boaz the Boor's picture

A string of fantasies and crude ad hominem won't magically transform into an argument, no matter how well you write. But at least you've managed to be entertaining.

Robert

eg's picture

I guess you have shot your wad.

--Brant

Who doubts that Robert

Glenn I Heppard's picture

Who doubts that Robert Campbell is college educated?

This is one of the more

Mike_M's picture

This is one of the more hilarious public breakdowns I've witnessed. Lay off the weed, man. That shit makes you paranoid.

Amazing Shit

DianaHsieh's picture

Robert, you are full of the most unbelievable crap. You've given The Protocols of the Elders of Zion a real run for its money with this post.

I recommend that you ask Chris Sciabarra why Jim Valliant won't publish in JARS. He knows the truth -- and it's nothin' remotely like your speculations.

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

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