Questions for Diana

PhilipC's picture
Submitted by PhilipC on Thu, 2006-04-27 19:25

This thread is for questions about the charges and claims Diana has made over a long period of time about the Objectivist Movement and the people in it more broadly. Its purpose is to focus on claims and evidence and avoid side issues (not get sidetracked into personal attacks or old grievances on other matters between posters, as already has happened on the 'dialectical dishonesty' thread).

[From the Solopassion posting rules: When posting, remember the “Three Gs”—good faith, good will and good humour...In dealing with non- or anti-Objectivists, remember the objective is to persuade rather than intimidate, bully or disgust.]


( categories: )

That was in the other thread

Boaz the Boor's picture

(Dialectical Dishonesty)

I think both definitions of dishonesty would apply to what she thought he was accusing her of ((a) not willing to address the issues he was presenting - not really interested in the truth - (b) making up an excuse for why she wasn't going to reply). Anyway, you could see why she thought that's what he meant, though there was room for doubt.

Either way, saying that she was capable of misconstruing intentions in one case isn't relevant to whether her conclusions about CMS' intentions are true. She's presented evidence, and it's up to the reader to judge whether her conclusion follows.

Phil, I remember saying

Mike_M's picture

Phil,

I remember saying something about the difference between the common common understanding, which basically equates dishonesty with lying, and the Objectivist understanding. Dishonesty is fundamentally about going out of focus, also known as evasion. So, for example, if I refer to someone as dishonest to my non-Objectivist friends, they interpret me as saying the person is a liar unless I explain myself further. Lying (the bad kind) has its roots in evasion, though someone can be dishonest without actually telling a lie.

I couldn't find a post about this in this thread. I'll look for what I said, though. If you find it before me point it out so I can refresh myself as to what I said and to what I was replying.

I assume Mike will explain

PhilipC's picture

I assume Mike will explain what kind of dishonesty he's using when he gives his example.

Does evasion

Landon Erp's picture

Does evasion count?

---Landon

Inking is sexy.

http://www.angelfire.com/comics/wickedlakes

Mike Mazza, You said a few

PhilipC's picture

Mike Mazza,

You said a few days ago that Diana was indicting Chris in whole or in part for *a different kind of dishonesty* than the average man would understand, dishonesty under a purely Objectivist defnition.

Can you tell me what very specific action or statement of Chris she is indicting him for under that altered definition?

(I don't have your exact post on this, but that seemed to be your essential point.)

James,Thanks for the

LWHALL's picture

James,

Thanks for the clarification.

L W

Don't bother him, Boaz...

Casey's picture

He's thinking!

Buy your own crayons. I'm

PhilipC's picture

Buy your own crayons. I'm not your mother.

Let's have it, then.

Boaz the Boor's picture

Oh, and you promised us crayons, too. Pretty please. Let's have them.

> I am in need of further

PhilipC's picture

> I am in need of further instruction on this point, Phil....You've already refuted everything else, so I'll just stand back and watch the master at work...Poor Phil. Boo fucking hoo.

Thanks, Boaz and Casey (and Joe), I do appreciate that.

A little proper respect is always in order.

OK, Phil,

Casey's picture

If the description was meant to convey what actually happened, it failed miserably. No one would ever get from that acknowledgement that Peikoff dashed off a curt reply email, and that was it. A description which did convey that would not have made for a very credible "acknowledgement," however.

But fire away. You've already refuted everything else, so I'll just stand back and watch the master at work.

> The description of

PhilipC's picture

> The description of Peikoff's involvement is certainly hinky.

Not necessarily. I'll try to comment on that in a long post later.

Answer

James S. Valliant's picture

LW,

LaMont was Peikoff's friendly and efficient secretary at the time. Peikoff is heir and executor of the Estate of Ayn Rand.

A question in general

LWHALL's picture

According to the post by Joe M somewhere further down the page the exact wording used in the aknowledgement was "...Leonard Peikoff, Diane LeMont, and the Estate of Ayn Rand for timely correspondence on several issues of historical and legal significance to the current project."

Since I am not as familiar with ARI and objectivist circles in general as most of you are, when he lists Peikoff, LeMont, and the Estate of AR is this to be taken as different parts of the same source?

L W

So much for disdaining "foodfights"

Boaz the Boor's picture

See, I'd much rather get food thrown directly at my face. I guess we're all supposed to read the other forums to keep track of the insults. But since I'm too retarded to read through the Peikoff summary of evidence re moral judgement that Phil quoted (which I take it was supposed to shine light back into our caves somehow), I'm far less likely to be able to navigate through multiple forums, now, aren't I? This isn't really fair now, is it?

I am in need of further instruction on this point, Phil. Please direct me to your insulting remarks on other websites next time, pretty please, preferably with a link, since I've regressed to the point, now, where I can only point to something with a mouse.

Refute this.

JoeM's picture

"The frustrating part is they just keep repeating stuff even after I've refuted it."

Poor Phil. Boo fucking hoo. Screwed himself with his very first question on this thread.

All of you are refuted.... at RoR

Marnee's picture

For anyone still interested, Phil has claimed over at RoR that the SOLO posters keep repeating points that he's "refuted."

Ha. Funny then that Phil, who claims to have done a thorough analysis, misses the point that DIANA had already made: Peikoff DID NOT provide "timely correspondence" on "several issues" of "significance." Yet we are all to believe Phil when he says that Sciabarra is guilty of nothing more than over-acknowledgement. No actual proof provided. But this is just par for Phil's course of "refutations."

To date Phil has yet to provide a thorough and well-integrated analysis, despite his promises. However, he has provided some un-funny satire, a summarization, assertions and diversions. Is this what is meant by "refuted?"

Boaz,

Casey's picture

The description of Peikoff's involvement is certainly hinky. It seems he was employing some extremely cute linguistic tricks to describe a curt email response in the way that he did and, yes, implying things that were not true about that interaction. It's anyone's guess if he was goofing on Peikoff or trying to get some credit where it was not due by giving credit that was neither wanted nor warranted by Peikoff's actions.

Quibble

Boaz the Boor's picture

"In acknowledging the above parties, I do not mean to suggest their implicit or explicit endorsement of any of the ideas herein expressed. "

(A) There's the acknowledgement in itself, versus what it's acknowledging the party for;

(B) It's possible not to endorse the ideas but still have enough interest to contribute to the project, for whatever reason. This is what he seemed to be suggesting about Peikoff.

Why make the disclaimer after having lied about the Peikoff "correspondence"? It certainly doesn't explain away the nature of that specific acknowledgement. Your guess is as good as mine.

Or the one just two posts

Fred Weiss's picture

Or the one just two posts below Casey's where I do the same.

And I'll sit back and watch Phil make an Ass of himself

JoeM's picture

Phil, look at the post immediately below yours where Casey addresses the issue.

Casey -

Boaz the Boor's picture

"He certainly put the best spin on these acknowledgements..."

"It's not too big a deal taken alone, but it demonstrates standards and practices that give some pause, and combined with the behind-the-back slurs..."

The way he characterizes the Peikoff letter isn't spin - it's invention. You can't "spin" what isn't there to begin with. What were the several issues of historical and legal significance? Assuming that Peikoff only wrote the short, dismissive letter that Diana describes, the acknowledgement includes a bold-faced lie or two, probably intended to produce a non-trivial effect. Otherwise what would be the point? Maybe he was just having fun at Peikoff's expense, and was willing to convey a false (and self-serving) impression while doing it. That's still dishonest. There are many ways he could have thanked Peikoff that would have been benignly gratuitous, non-sensical, etc, if he wanted to.

Someone else with a copy of

PhilipC's picture

Someone else with a copy of the book has just pointed out on RoR that Chris says in the Acknowledgments (which Joe and everyone else on this list who has the book was conspicuously silent about):

"In acknowledging the above parties, I do not mean to suggest their implicit or explicit endorsement of any of the ideas herein expressed. "

Not every ack. section says this (I can testify having just read a dozen of them for this thread). Pretty stupid for a guy who wants you to believe that just because he mentions someone it constitutes "endorsement", "sanction", or "support" to say EXACTLY THE FUCKING OPPOSITE.

Now, I'll just sit back and watch Joe, Casey, Peter, Fred, and anyone else find an ingenious way to "tap dance " out of this one. Here's one way:

"I have mental telepathy and as an unswerving and unmoved opponent of Chris I will not allow him to win on a single point. So, despite what he -said- in clear English, what he -really- meant is....."

Sad

He explicitly says no endorsement

Casey's picture

But the cooperation as he describes it implies a form of sanction.

He certainly put the best spin on these acknowledgements (for him) despite what those acknowledged may have wanted. He's not the first scholar to do this, of course. But it defeats the purpose of "thanking" if the recipient is displeased with being associated or potentially perceived to be associated with the work. Which seems to be the case. Considering the particular importance in Objectivism of getting it right, it is not surprising that association with various interpretations of Rand would be objectionable. It's not just a question of politely accepting and being pleased to receive a "thank you" from someone.

It's not too big a deal taken alone, but it demonstrates standards and practices that give some pause, and combined with the behind-the-back slurs...

Nature of the acknowledgement

Boaz the Boor's picture

Sciabarra thanked Peikoff for "timely correspondence on several issues of historical and legal significance to this project."

(Read: "there was more than one ("terse") reply from Peikoff, who was interested enough in what I was doing to provide me with valuable information. My work has benefited from his cooperation.")

Now, it's true enough that the acknowledgement could have been sarcastic -- his inside-joke way of flipping off the Estate of Ayn Rand. And yes, if you carefully parse out the sentence and put it back together again, ad infinitum, you'll find a different meaning -- not one anyone who's just browsing through will ever absorb. (Of course, no one here will ever be accused of merely browsing through the acknowledgements section. We all have our microscopes in hand, from the get-go).

To the public, he nonetheless implies two significant things contrary to fact (assuming LP isn't lying): Peikoff found the project at least somewhat worthwhile; Peikoff wrote more than one reply letter - he participated in "timely correspondence". That is actually what I (and apparently many others) inferred when I first read it.

To be clear, Sciabarra is

Fred Weiss's picture

To be clear, Sciabarra is not necessarily suggesting *endorsement* from Objectivist sources. In fact he explictly says otherwise.

What he is suggesting is *respectability*, i.e. that though we don't "agree with" his work, nonetheless we accord it some respect as a worthy exercise in scholarship and thus willingly offered him assistance.

The dishonesty resides in him knowing full well that we regard his work not with mere disagreement but with *total contempt*. I therefore think his acknowledgements were done with *malice*, knowing full well it would piss us off.

When I say "we" in this context I only include myself because he chose to acknowledge me. But what I am mainly referring to are Objectivist scholars whose views of Sciabarra are clearly reflected in GS's comments on Noodlefood, Ridpath's brief comments in TIA, James Lennox's review of TRR, and now Diana's statement.

I wonder if the correct

JoeM's picture

I wonder if the correct question is if Peikoff would have wanted to be acknowledged by Sciabarra.

Not sure what you're referring to...

Casey's picture

If you're directing your post to me. I was referring to the misleading nature of the cited acknowledgements in Chris's book.

I did not say these acknowledgements were dishonest, but the fact that Chris is quite capable of writing clearly enough to avoid the impression that those he acknowledged specifically contributed to his project, that is a logical inference. It would have been easier to make the truth very clear than to construct sentences that concealed it -- but at the same time the acknowledgements would have lost their value as implied endorsements of his project. So there's a motive, as well, since the shading of these acknowledgments goes in the direction that is favorable to Chris. Maybe it was an accident, but all of the ambiguous acknowledgements cut Chris's way and none cut against his way, so it does not appear to be accidental or a simple matter of sloppy writing.

Again, the whole POINT of acknowledging sources is gratitude. Gratitude requires the sensitivity to avoid using the same source in a way that displeases the source and benefits oneself. It's a basic responsibility of acknowledgements.

Let me throw in a little

LWHALL's picture

Let me throw in a little more along this line; now you are saying it is misleading, yet to prove dishonesty there would have to be an intent to deceive behind it and in keeping that in mind I have the following question:

I have read Diana's original post about 1.5 times aqnd every subsequent post on this thread. Now I by no means am trying to say that I remember every thing which has been said, but earlier Peter made the statement in response to Phil stating "You've offered the point several times, and the point you're trying to make is clear enough, but you haven't yet made it, and nor do I think you can make it since it's clearly at odds with the point Chris himself was hoping readers to draw from his acknowledgements."

My question is was there some type of direct proof from Chris' statements or E-mails presented as evidence of the assertion made by Peter of it being 'clearly at odds' and I disremember it, or is this still inferences drawn from what Diana and others have stated as being in relation to other acts commited by him (Chris)?

And I'll add one more thing...

Casey's picture

It is very important, for the very sake of those you wish to thank and acknowledge, to represent them accurately. If they have not specifically endorsed or contributed to your work, it is your responsibility to make that crystal clear -- otherwise such an acknowledgement smacks more of exploitation than gratitude. That is, if one's intentions are really to THANK the party being acknowledged and not to derive some value from their perceived endorsement.

It would be misleading...

Casey's picture

To acknowledge something that is not a special contribution to your project as though it is a special contribution to your project imparts a kind of specific endorsement on the part of the contributor.

Now if it were a book in praise of public works and utilities, then there would be an interesting and cute aspect to thanking public utilities for assistance in the creation of the book, but beyond that it makes it seem as though some conscious contribution to the project deserves acknowledgement where there was, in fact, none.

The strictly honest way to go about an "effusive" acknowledgement such as this would be to say "I would like to thank the Department of Water and Power for making available to the public water and power, without which this project would have been impossible." Or, "I would like to thank the Ayn Rand Institute for making available to the public hundreds of hours of taped material, which have been enormously important to this project." There is no doubt in this kind of obvious phrasing. The other phrasing is murky and suggestive of something else going on.

And somehow

LWHALL's picture

this would make you dishonest if you chose to use it in acknowledgements for a book?

I would like to thank the Department of Water and Power for making available water and, especially, power for the current project of typing this post. Without DWP's prompt service and excellent assistance in keeping track of the amount of power and water that was required for this project, my entire effort would not have been possible.

I would like to thank...

Casey's picture

...the Department of Water and Power for making available water and, especially, power for the current project of typing this post. Without DWP's prompt service and excellent assistance in keeping track of the amount of power and water that was required for this project, my entire effort would not have been possible.

"I hate this book, but then

Fred Weiss's picture

"I hate this book, but then I despise modern academia and those so-called Objectivists, the traitors among us, who seek to appease them." - Robert White

I love Robert White, which is definitely sub-optimal and unfortunate because I am not even gay.

"...it's clearly at odds

Fred Weiss's picture

"...it's clearly at odds with the point Chris himself was hoping readers to draw from his acknowledgements." - Peter

Exactly. I would have had no objection, Phil, if he had thanked his newsboy - or for that matter his cleaning lady and dry cleaner. It might even have been amusing.

"Polish Writ Large,

Fred Weiss's picture

"Polish Writ Large, macro-affectation. If that's what it takes to get Rand into academia, then Rand is better off out of academia." - Linz

Exactly.

No, you haven't

Peter Cresswell's picture

"I HAVE NOW MADE THIS POINT SEVERAL TIMES AND IN SEVERAL WAYS."

You've offered the point several times, and the point you're trying to make is clear enough, but you haven't yet made it, and nor do I think you can make it since it's clearly at odds with the point Chris himself was hoping readers to draw from his acknowledgements.

The 'Feminist Interpretations' Debate

Peter Cresswell's picture

"I was never bothered by 'Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand,' since that's exactly what he called it. Had he called it Objectivist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, that would have been another matter. As it was, 'The Free Radical' published, issue after issue, an extremely lively debate based on a withering review by Robert White."

I was reminded of that series recently, especially given Diana's contribution to the tome and the questions of scholarship she's recently raised.

Herewith for those interested is Robert's withering review that started it all: Ayn Rand: Feminist? Argh! It begins thus:

The academicisation — or destruction — of Ayn Rand is taking place again. This time in the form of a collection of essays, the 'Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand,' edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra. By the standards of modern academia this is a brilliant book. It is — to paraphrase John Ridpath (reviewing Sciabarra's 'Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical') — preposterous in its theses, destructive in its purpose, and tortuously numbing in its content. Modern academics will love it! I hate this book, but then I despise modern academia and those so-called Objectivists, the traitors among us, who seek to appease them.

Sciabarra responded. And the debate continued over half-a-dozen issues -- most of the responses can be found here. My favourite is Robert's acerbic comments on the very idea behind the book, as summarised by Chris:

'Feminist Interpretations' is making Ayn Rand's work into "some unrecognisable monstrosity." He attacks the Institute for Objectivist Studies for its "tolerance" of such "nonsense," and rejects 'Feminist Interpretations' for the same reasons he'd reject Homosexualist, Paraplegist, or Leatherclad-Biker-Babe-ist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. Instead of 'subtly altering the context' [as Chris seeks to], he "want[s] to take a sledgehammer to it. . . . We are fighting a war. Not a metaphorical war," says White, "a literal war -- only our tools of combat are syllogisms, not bullets. Objectivism, as Dr. Kelley once observed -- but seems, unfortunately, to have forgotten -- is a fighting creed."

Not much to disagree with there, really. Smiling

Sorry, Phil,

Casey's picture

I assumed you were making a relevant point in rebuttal to the charge that Chris made misleading acknowledgments. Apparently, you focused on a side issue that is irrelevant to that charge.

Fred ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You write:

The point is all the supposed help he got *even from those who didn't agree with him*, suggesting that those people (such as myself) though disagreeing with him, still regarded what he was doing as reputable philosophy (rather than the total garbage it is).

I think of Chris as not a philosopher but a reporter of the philosophies of others. Getting him to take a stand on anything (except against the Iraq war) is diabolically difficult (he even refers to this himself in Total Freedom) but I've always thought of him as a drawer-together of others' views rather than a crusader for his own (whatever they are). Crusading (as opposed to touting), at least in public, is just not his thing. Dialectics? Well, I read RR years ago, & my reaction, as a childhood Marxist, was one of being intrigued rather than affronted. I could see the ... er, synergy, on a superficial level at least ... between "the unity of opposites" & Rand's dichotomy-busting ... I think I just stored it away as "interesting" rather than a frontal (or rectal) assault on Objectivism. And I was pleased to see him raise the issue therein of Rand & homosexuality. That's what prompted me, actually, to suggest the homonograph to him, years later.

I was never bothered by Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, since that's exactly what he called it. Had he called it Objectivist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, that would have been another matter. As it was, The Free Radical published, issue after issue, an extremely lively debate based on a withering review by Robert White. Sciabarra & White went back & forth & a number of other luminaries leapt into the fray. I was told it surpassed the Horror File for entertainment value, for being the feature to which readers turned first.

When Robert & I learned that Total Freedom was in the works, he wickedly cackled that he already had the title for his review: Total Crap. If my memory serves me correctly, he wrote a more charitable review in the end, but I must say, when I delve into TF now myself, I think something matching the original proposed title would have been justified. It's Polish Writ Large, macro-affectation. If that's what it takes to get Rand into academia, then Rand is better off out of academia.

Chris says categorically nowadays that he's not an Objectivist. It's good that he does. I'd be fascinated, especially in light of recent events, to see him put out his actual credo.

Once again, even shorter:1.

PhilipC's picture

Once again, even shorter:

1. Chris's statement does not imply 'special assistance' - it implies no more than the words state that he bought and leased tapes from X, not that X did that because they agreed with him.

2. My list of acknowledgments shows that authors tend to over-acknowledge both friends and enemies. And once you grasp that, you can grasp point 1.

I HAVE NOW MADE THIS POINT SEVERAL TIMES AND IN SEVERAL WAYS.

Casey, I'm not going to do

PhilipC's picture

Casey, I'm not going to do another round of 'stalinism' for you if you guys are being deliberately obtuse...so i'll summarize and spell it out for you in two REAL SIMPLE NOW points:

i) Nothing in his statement acknowledging where he bought and leased books and tapes implies "special assistance" and READERS WOULD NOT think so from that wording.
ii) The point of my list was not to include special assistance. They were to answer ANOTHER POINT. Were you unable to read my words describing why I selected those examples (which is the commonality with Chris)?

Here they are again: "Here are some other examples of trivial, not necessary (or unclear) acknowledgments"

And once again, in case you are still missing it: "the tradition of thanking anyone short of the paperboy and any place you had visited or had contact with....If you are a scholarly author trying to break into wider acceptance you tend to follow the scholarly traditions of effusive and overdone acknowledgements and prefaces."

Your examples don't say what you want them to say

Casey's picture

Let's go through all of them:

.history of ancient philosophy, willhelm windelband - my colleagues a and b for much valuable assistance, c and d whose generous and untiring aid in discussion of the whole I shall ever remember

(These acknowledgements are nothing like the acknowledgements in question that Chris made. Why are you using them as evidence here?)

.one thousand years of philosophy, romharre - one of the world's great university libraries

(This example makes it clear that he is not thanking anyone or institution for anything more than making available to all "one thousand years of philosophy" -- again, it is in no way similar to the acknowledgements in question that Chris made. Why are you using this example as evidence here?)

.reason and analysis, brand blanshard - exhilarating evenings with the a club, munificent award from b enabled me to work abroad, cooperative department chairman c, i have been happy in my publishers allowing the book to be published simultaneously in two countries

(Again, these examples have no resemblance to the acknowledgements in question that Chris made. WHY ARE YOU CITING THEM AS EVIDENCE HERE?)

.other books:
-my wife lived through all the preliminary stages
-mastery of the art of setting deadlines
-my wife, she's a rock
-patient publishers
-x introduced me to this programming language long ago
-this illustrious press with its long history

(Again, Phil!! These examples are all apples to Chris's oranges. Why are you citing them as examples for your case?)

The fact is, after perusing your books, you found NO EXAMPLES of acknowledgments that implied special assistance where there was none. I'm frankly amazed that you thought any of these examples made your point! If you can't even see what people are pointing out, which is clear from the examples you chose, then you lack the requisite understanding to engage intelligently in a rebuttal of what is being pointed out. Unless you're just dishonestly dumping verbiage on this thread to bury points you have no good answer for.

Hong, thanks for the good

PhilipC's picture

Hong, thanks for the good laugh.

Sometimes humor makes the point better than my logical dissections! Smiling

Fred, I didn't get that

PhilipC's picture

Fred, I didn't get that suggestion nor I think would the bulk of the book-reading human race. I've never gotten that out of many books I've read in which authors cite even their bitter intellectual adversaries. There is simply no indication of sanction or support or even substantiality in that.

As I just demonstrated, authors mention everyone they had any contact with or got the slightest and silliest information from ...footnoting is egregious for this. Anyone with any common sense knows that of the range of people one touches on in one's research many will not necessarily agree with what the author wrote, will find it wrong-headed, bad work, etc. Therefore NO ONE ASSUMES the person mentioned who helped, even if the help was enormous, agrees with anything. It's to the point that sometimes authors even leave out the obligatory "mistakes are mine alone" "others are not responsible" "these are my conclusions alone" because...

wait for it...

EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS THAT.

Ah, Phil, your examples of

Hong's picture

Ah, Phil, your examples of acknowledgement reminded of an Oscar winner who thanked Amazon rain forest for providing 2/3 (or whatever number) of xygen in the earths' atmosphere so that she could breath!

On the academic side though, it is not much better. We just had a couple of students successfully defended their Ph.D. thesis. What an occasion for thanking people, perhaps very similar to when one just about to publish a monograph.

One newly minted Ph.D. thanked his wife for support, and his baby girl for not making more troubles than she already has. Another thanked Almighty Lord for, hmm, I don't even remember what.

Surely these people are all dishornest! ;-o 

You're still missing the

Fred Weiss's picture

You're still missing the point, Phil. The issue isn't the acknowledgements, per se. It's what he is attempting to convey by them. It's the same category as the gratuitious footnotes which we previously discussed.

Do you also think he needed to give me an acknowledgement for the great service I provided in giving him the phone number of a publisher, something he could have gotten very, very easily any number of other ways.

The point is all the supposed help he got *even from those who didn't agree with him*, suggesting that those people (such as myself) though disagreeing with him, still regarded what he was doing as reputable philosophy (rather than the total garbage it is).

A medical note

Utility Belt's picture

It would certainly be nice to see more activity on the non-internecine threads, but I've no grizzle with the popularity of the latter. As I've said many times now, there's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on, & our civilisation-saving philosophy will be the stronger for it. It's healthy.

It's healthy in the sense that a fever is healthy because it helps the body to fight off infection - but fevers have a nasty habit of becoming problems of their own, sometimes fatal ones. Anyone got any asprin?

> hundreds of hours of audio

PhilipC's picture

> hundreds of hours of audio and video lectures by Ayn Rand and other Objectivists

Point: This was research done for the book he needs to mention...and then he has to say -where- he did it because that's the style of prefatory material. And the traditional style is to say "thank you x" rather than "I got this material at x".

Here are some other examples of trivial, not necessary (or unclear) acknowledgments from the bookshelf behind me (it took me about twenty minutes of just pulling books within easy reach to read through a dozen prefaces/acknowledgments, so I hardly had to scour hundreds of books). These are -typical- of acknowledgements or preface sections in three of the first four books I looked at:

.history of ancient philosophy, willhelm windelband - my colleagues a and b for much valuable assistance, c and d whose generous and untiring aid in discussion of the whole I shall ever remember
.one thousand years of philosophy, romharre - one of the world's great university libraries
.reason and analysis, brand blanshard - exhilarating evenings with the a club, munificent award from b enabled me to work abroad, cooperative department chairman c, i have been happy in my publishers allowing the book to be published simultaneously in two countries

.other books:
-my wife lived through all the preliminary stages
-mastery of the art of setting deadlines
-my wife, she's a rock
-patient publishers
-x introduced me to this programming language long ago
-this illustrious press with its long history

Look in the dictionary and you'll find that the tradition of thanking anyone short of the paperboy and any place you had visited or had contact with would be categorized under "effusive" not "dishonest", and that no dictionary lists the latter two words as synonymous. If you are a scholarly author trying to break into wider acceptance you tend to follow the scholarly traditions of effusive and overdone acknowledgements and prefaces.

"Why the hell would he

JoeM's picture

"Why the hell would he acknowledge a frigging book service?"

I dunno, why would Chris acknowledge "the folks at Robert's One-Hour Photo" (a real acknowledge from RR)? Eye

Not psychotic, Phil. Just

Fred Weiss's picture

Not psychotic, Phil. Just dishonest.

Why the hell would he acknowledge a frigging book service?

"I'd like to thank the Book-of-the-Month Club for all the lovely books they offer every month", etc. etc.

And just as you are doing with everything else about Sciabarra, you are entirely missing the clear pattern here as well - the pattern in his acknowledgements of suggesting a degree of support and sanction which was non-existent.

Anyone who reads about a

PhilipC's picture

Anyone who reads about a book service and "lectures on x" would have to be nuts to form the conclusion that they are not businesses trying to make a profit and would sell to anyone less than anyone who would want to buy them. And Chris would have to be psychotic to expect them to draw such a conclusion from his wording.

Phil, I'm curious what

Fred Weiss's picture

Phil, I'm curious what exactly you guessed. Did you guess that Sciabarra chose to acknowledge ARI, Second Renaissance,etc. for offering tapes, etc to give the inappropriate suggestion that these were made specially available to him, though he had to purchase or lease them, but leaving out the simple fact that *anyone* could similarly obtain them.

Thanks, Joe. I guessed it

PhilipC's picture

Thanks, Joe. I guessed it might be something along those lines.

AYN RAND RUSSIAN RADICAL

JoeM's picture

AYN RAND RUSSIAN RADICAL Third Printing:

Acknowledgements:

"My acknowledgements also to the Ayn Rand Institute, Lectures on Objectivism, and Second Renaissance Books for giving me the opportunity to purchase and lease materials, including hundreds of hours of audio and video lectures by Ayn Rand and other Objectivists, and to Leonard Peikoff, Diane LeMont, and the Estate of Ayn Rand for timely correspondence on several issues of historical and legal significance to the current project."

Does Anyone Have a Copy of the Russian Radical Handy?

PhilipC's picture

Diana quotes Chris, "thanking "Leonard Peikoff... and the Estate of Ayn Rand for timely correspondence on several issues of historical and legal significance to the current project" in the acknowledgements of The Russian Radical (xi).

I'm looking for the exact quote. Can anyone tell me what is in the ellipsis and if there is any other mention of Peikoff or the Estate or ARI! in the acknowledgments?

It would certainly be nice

Chris Cathcart's picture

It would certainly be nice to see more activity on the non-internecine threads, but I've no grizzle with the popularity of the latter. As I've said many times now, there's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on, & our civilisation-saving philosophy will be the stronger for it. It's healthy.

If there were a thread exclusively for the discussion of lezbos, the number of posts may not be all that high, seeing as lezbos really don't generate any disagreement. Doesn't mean the interest in the subject would be at all low, however.

Smears and Character Assassinations

Holly Valliant's picture

Since PARC's release, Bidinotto of TOC, Campbell of JARS, and other allies of the Brandens, have engaged in "character assassination" and smears against the man of highest integrity I have ever known -- my wonderful husband. They had no evidence -- of any kind. Where was the "civility" and "toleration" crowd when HE was being called a "parasite," etc.?

Oh yeah, they were leading the charge.

Where were your "questions," then, Phil?

Jesus, Phil!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Your hypocrisy astounds me (well, it doesn't, actually). You write:

... that doesn't mean a dispute over justice is merely a 'bickering'. My purpose is to rebut unjustified attacks on someone's character, not in the hopes of participating in endless such threads or in having time to answer every response.

PARC (have you read it, btw?) defends Ayn Rand's character against what we can now identify as unjustified attacks by the Brandens. When debate raged about this on the old SOLOHQ, it was not I who called it "bickering" (it may not have been you, either). Whoever did, along with scores of others, has his SOLOHQ posts (not to mention articles) now appearing under a different banner without his consent and in many cases against his wishes—an act of fraud to which you, Phil Coates, with your professed concern about justice, are an accomplice.

When debate on PARC continues to rage, you take the side of the Brandens, but hide the fact under a pile of "can't we all just get along?" vomit—your partisanship becomes fully apparent only when, in an act of nauseating sycophancy, you beg Barbara Branden, Smearer-in-Chief, to remain your friend even though she's asked you to stop this thread and you want to continue it. How is the pursuit of justice compatible with such subservience to such a smearer, Phil?

Now, you call it justice when you defend another of Smearer-in-Chief's poodles, Sciabarra, against "unjustified attacks." Well, that's interesting. I thought the purpose of this thread was to ascertain whether the "attacks" were "justified" or not. Seems you'd already made your mind up on that score, Phil. Wotta surprise! And I note you've chosen to ignore that straight-up evidence of Sciabarra's lying that I presented earlier. Or are we to believe you too are a devotee of "Brooklyn colloquialism"?

Rand is not here to defend herself against the Brandens. Sciabarra & you are here to defend the Brandens; the Brandens & you are here to defend Sciabarra. How cosy. Forgive me if I set some store by the solid defence of Rand put up by Valliant.

Justice? You? Gimme a break. And please preface any response by indicating with which part of which tongue out of which face you'll be speaking.

Linz

Telegraphing--Dropping Qualifications and Extra Words

PhilipC's picture

> Why assume that Michelle wasn't referring to actual friendships? I don't think it was your intention, but your response to her could easily be interpreted as...condescending.

Boaz, I quoted her and then said "often" in Oist circles.... I neglected to add or dropped a valid qualification like "I don't know if this is true in Michelle's case, but often". I did remember to use "often"...although sometimes I or others forget to but would have intended it.

It occurs to me that this is one danger in debates about people's posts or even more so selected or extreme emails: If they are like me they not only use metaphor or loose speech but drop necessary qualifications all the time like "this doesn't always apply" or "well, he acts like that at least even if he isn't really a goddamned X". It's shorter and easier and the writing flows better. Besides if someone misunderstands they can just ask you.

And, no, being a Ph.D. doesn't make you immune from this.

> cannot say pro-TOC

PhilipC's picture

> cannot say pro-TOC because in 1989 it was IOS, and recently it became TOC-TAS. Kelley is the constant behind the changing titles.

Michelle, I'm trying not to respond on every issue on this thread, so let me just say that i) if an organzization changes its name one always uses the current name, ii) a person or leader is not the only or central constant unless it's a cult of personality. Just as pro-Rand or "Randian" is not the name you would use when referring to a certain philosophical orientation.

> the man who started this

PhilipC's picture

> the man who started this thread [likes] to bitch about how awful it is that internecine bickerings get so much air-play

Linz, I believe it is. But that doesn't mean a dispute over justice is merely a 'bickering'. My purpose is to rebut unjustified attacks on someone's character, not in the hopes of participating in endless such threads or in having time to answer every response.

Losing Friends

Boaz the Boor's picture

Phil, I was talking about cases of genuine, long-standing friendships sundered over these things, not conference-buddies. The main problem I have in these cases is not that I think ideological differences are irrelevant, but that disagreement on fairly complex issues would ever be sufficient to force a friendship to dissolve. I think it's insane.

P.S.

Why assume that Michelle wasn't referring to actual friendships? I don't think it was your intention, but your response to her could easily be interpreted as...condescending.

Some folds indeed

JoeM's picture

"Some folk (including the man who started this thread!) like to bitch about how awful it is that internecine bickerings get so much air-play—as they eagerly devour or contribute to the latest instalment!"

It's amazing how much play it's getting at O'Living, even on threads not pertaining to this. They've been proclaiming for a month now that they have so many better things to do....but they certainly don't mind milking it themselves.

Dan,

mcohen's picture

Thanks for the wake-up call. I should also pursue more important intellectuals issues than linguistic pedantries.

Non-Internecine Stuff

Dan Edge's picture

It so happens that a large portion of the Sciabarra discussion has been going on while I've been in the processing of getting settled here in New Jersey, into a new home sans internet access.  However, I doubt I would be much more active on SOLO lately if I had high-speed access 24/7.  I do believe the issue is important to some degree, especially as an instance of applied moral judgment, but not to the exclusion of other equally important intellectual pursuits.

--Dan Edge

Re: IOS->TOC->TOC-TAS

mcohen's picture

if you are going to say pro-ARI say pro-TOC;

I cannot say pro-TOC because in 1989 it was IOS, and recently it became TOC-TAS. Kelley is the constant behind the changing titles.

Interesting ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... if I'm not mistaken, this is the first thread here to exceed 400 comments. And with over 10,000 reads it's clearly one of the most popular threads here right now. Some folk (including the man who started this thread!) like to bitch about how awful it is that internecine bickerings get so much air-play—as they eagerly devour or contribute to the latest instalment! Diana's Sciabarra expose has attracted over 13,400 reads & some 350 comments to date. Compare these stats to those for the non-internecine stuff: Romantic Manifesto, for instance: 393 reads, 18 comments; Reisman's latest, 47 reads, no comments.

It would certainly be nice to see more activity on the non-internecine threads, but I've no grizzle with the popularity of the latter. As I've said many times now, there's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on, & our civilisation-saving philosophy will be the stronger for it. It's healthy.

Linz

Also, while Phil announces

Fred Weiss's picture

Also, while Phil announces here that he will be our guardian of the proper use of the English language, I wonder if his insistence on precision also pertains to the use of metaphors (which he has been vigorously raising as his defense of Sciabarra).

What therefore is the PRECISE use of "Stalinism"?

Phrustrated Phil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Since you're dejected at having wasted HALF A FUCKING DAY on this, and since, let me say again, your tiddly posts are immeasurably superior to your sober ones, I have a win-win proposition for you. I should first explain that in NZ, "pissed," which in America means "angry," means "drunk as a skunk." My proposal is this: whereas for most of us it's advisable not to post when pissed (NZ), in your case I recommend posting only when pissed, thereby edifying both yourself and us in minimal time. (If the time you spend pissed is more than minimal, of course, there are certain mentors of yours I shall be obliged to inform.)

Smiling

Linz

Precision in Language Shapes Thought

PhilipC's picture

> I experienced pressure from both pro-ARI and pro-Kelley friends to stop sitting on the fence and abandon the "evil ones." And over the last year I lost some pro-Kelley friends who could not accept my U-turn back to ARI. [Michelle]

This may seem like a quibble but words are important and shape your view and retention of events (I always try to be ultra-precise and ultra-anal even when it annoys the horses). Re "friends" and "pressure":

Friend is a term of quite limited applicability. Often the word "friend" gets used far too loosely, especially in Oist circles, for people we only see during a summer conference or have some positive but highly limited or purely intellectual/ideological/academic or online discussion group exchanges with - even though this process may stretch across many years (and never really hung out with, did things with, got to know, had intimate conversations with). While a handful of them would qualify, in general they don't really know us or we them. A more precise description in most cases would be "intellectual colleagues" or "acquaintances" or "friendly allies". Most people who "know" each other in Oist circles don't seem to actually know each other. They have not spent a lot of time in each other's company. And the word "pressure", what does that mean exactly? Is it pressure when someone suggests reasons, argues with you about dealing with 'the other side' of an intellectual dispute?

Personal Note: I have never lost AN ACTUAL FRIEND over these sorts of differences. I have never lost a real friend over these ideological disputes because a real friend doesn't base friendship on them. The way I would put my experience (and that of at least a lot of others) in Michelle's statement in the above case is a far less dramatic rephrasing:

"I heard heated arguments from both pro-ARI and pro-TOC colleagues...and lost some anti-TOC acquaintances."

No great loss. No big deal.

-----
(A very minor additional semantic matter: Michelle, if you are going to say pro-ARI say pro-TOC; if you are going to say pro-Kelley, focusing on the documents that caused the break, you would say pro-Peikoff. The former pair is not only parallel in structure but better because it's not about personalities or a cult of personality.)

(in Bob Barker voice): MICK,

JoeM's picture

(in Bob Barker voice): MICK, TELL PHIL WHAT HE'S WON!!!!

So he won because you said so, or because he achieved some kind of goal? What was the game being played? I certainly don't regard it as a game, and I thought he was asking Diana questions. And if he's wasted a fucking day of his precious time, how is that a win for him?

Kind of hard to believe he "won" when he goes to other websites asking for help...

Re: Campus Clubs

mcohen's picture

Boaz wrote on Sat, 2006-05-20 01:01:

I hate hearing about Objectivists who lost friendships over the Kelley affair.

It was indeed a common practice in the 1990's, but it was a two-way-street. I experienced pressure from both pro-ARI and pro-Kelley friends to stop sitting on the fence and abandon the "evil ones." And over the last year I lost some pro-Kelley friends who could not accept my U-turn back to ARI.

Valuable Time

Mick Russell's picture

Phil,

"I just realized I have just spent HALF THE FUCKING DAY on this."

Why are you wasting your time with these unreasonable people? Don't you know there are more important things to do? Look under your bed man! Those "False Objectivists" are everywhere.

You are an admirable man Phil. It's over, you WON.

Stalinist practice

AdamReed's picture

I've been busy - and now I find dozens of posts on Sciabarra's use of the term "Stalinism." I'm still busy, but the reference is obvious to anyone familiar with Soviet history.

Stalin was a big fan of photographs, and of airbrushing. Whenever Stalin visited an orchestra, or a town, or a university, a picture was taken of Stalin with the local VIPs. These pictures were a staple of the Greater Soviet Encyclopedia. When Stalin ordered the "liquidation" of someone who had been photographed with him in one of those pictures, that person would be killed - and then airbrushed out of the official group photograph. If one subscribed to the GSE, each volume came with a package of replacement pages for previous volumes, many of them with airbrushed versions of those photos. My father learned of the deaths of several of his Soviet medical scientist friends by finding that they had been airbrushed out of official photographs in the Encyclopedia. In case of those who had their own entries, they were removed and the preceding articles lengthened to fill the space.

It would be difficult, for anyone familiar with that practice, not to be reminded of it when ARI published Q&A tapes with Branden's questions voiced over. When Sciabarra mentioned "Stalinism" in connection with that incident, all it meant was that he got the joke. I thought it was funny, in a macabre sort of way, and I still think it was. And now Phil wasted half a day because some people have - and others lack - a sense of graveyard humor...

NEWS FLASH: Scurrilous Smear Outed

PhilipC's picture

Phil's Confidential Email:

"Harry Binswanger is a Puritan and Peter Schwartz's Hat is on too Tight."

Jim V or Fred or Mike or Diana in a ten million word rebuttal:

"What a filthy smear by enemies of Objectivism, comparing him to an evil person like that. Harry never said everyone should belong to the Church of England. He is not a religious extremist. And he doesn't believe in sexual repression. So he's not one in the ordinary or central and essential meaning of the term. And everyone knows metaphors, let alone hyperbole must be used in the central and literal meaning of the word. And Peter hasn't worn a hat since his conversion from orthodox Judaism. Another vile and scurrilous lie, which fill knows is not true and utters merely because he wants to damage the spread of Objectivism. Of course everyone knows he's been engaged in a whispering campaign since HB kicked him off the volleyball team in 1979...."

(okay, who's an alcohol LOL lol LOL ick. hic? ...)

Phil, If you say "Mary is a

Mike_M's picture

Phil,

If you say "Mary is a pig," you are using a different concept than 'animal pig'. The metaphor in this sense shines light on Mary, since a pig (animal) is generally thought of as dirty or unattractive. "Stalinist" literally means using rights violations to protect ones group. So, metaphorically, would it mean using underhanded or immoral tactics to silence opposition? If I were to grant this, you still haven't established this as a valid metaphor because ARI has done nothing immoral. ARI also doesn't do anything to people once they leave ARI. So I fail to see how "Stalinism" illuminates the issue through metaphor without also smearing. And on top of all this, some metaphor can be grossly irresponsible. As an example that might hit closer to home, one could say (using the metaphor defense) that Whittaker Chambers only meant his gas chamber comment as a metaphor. Of course, I don't think the use of the term "Stalinist" necessarily means that one is dishonest, just careless (although dishonesty could remain an explanation). But the case against CS is not one of enumerating isolated boo boos he made; Diana's case explains all of this questionable behavior as a whole.

I just realized I have just

PhilipC's picture

I just realized I have just spent HALF THE FUCKING DAY on this.

By the way, when Linz used

PhilipC's picture

By the way, when Linz used the word "Stalinists" to apply to ARI just this week and has done so MANY times before IN THE SAME SENSE CHRIS INTENDED....

Was Linz engaging in a "vicious smear"?
Did you or anyone else accuse him of **dishonesty**?
Or view him that way?
If not, what's the difference?

Sigh

Boaz the Boor's picture

If Diana's problem with Chris was that he used "Stalinist" in reference to ARI, all of this might be relevant. Yes, that's clearly hyperbolic and not dishonest. Neither is it necessarily dishonest for him to call her a "dogmatist," not in itself. That isn't the charge. This is old territory.

Actually, Phil, you do have

Fred Weiss's picture

Actually, Phil, you do have one central case (if I understand you correctly) - which should lend itself to a "nuclear refutation" if it were correct.

Your position is that everything or virtually everything Sciabarra is being accused of can reasonably and credibly be explained by simple overreaction, getting a bit carried away rather than a serious moral lapse.

Even aside from the corroborating *public* evidence over the years for much of this, Diana's whole point has been that it is all just way too much to explain away as you are trying to do. Look, I appreciate that you and others are trying to defend a friend and/or someone you have admired. But you aren't doing a very good job of it. Also, I appreciate that you've been willing to actually carefully read what she has written (some of the O-Llies refuse to even do that, e.g Bidinotto) but you haven't yet made much of a dent in her case.

You also have the problem of the corroborating evidence of Linz and Joe (neither of whom as far as I can see have any particular ax to grind in this issue).

Guys maybe one or two more,

PhilipC's picture

Guys maybe one or two more, but I'm winding down on the stalinism sub-debate..I'm nearly about out of gas and have said as much as I have right now.

> are willing to take this on, but dammit stop whining about it. [Fred]

....I sometimes cut the cheese with my wine....

And...

James S. Valliant's picture

Any Stalin metaphor is a smear-job without VERY solid evidence of real evil.

Phil

James S. Valliant's picture

He said this about Diana and Andy, not Schwartz.

Metaphor - noun - a figure of speech

PhilipC's picture

Metaphor

noun

a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity

Phil

James S. Valliant's picture

Yes, you remind me, too, of the old days, when Holly and Casey were taking on practically everybody at SOLOHQ...

In any event, speaking loosely? Sloppily? Misinformed? An editor at "The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies"? Who has conceded the real problem JARS faces with the absence of scholars associated with that "Ayn Rand Institute"? And who has his own "history" with ARI?

Responsibility kicks in when this is the context, and "sloppy" or "misinformed" won't excuse it. This stuff, as Chris knows, goes back to Whittaker Chambers' chambers.

My pleas to Chris fell on deaf ears when his fellow editor at JARS was insulting those associated with ARI with related, public smears.

But I'm not saying he's

PhilipC's picture

But I'm not saying he's getting carried away or one time ranting on this particular point. I think he's observed or read of Schwartz don't address the libertarians and campus clubs losing support if they sanction/associate, etc. The term "Stalinists" is metaphorical or hyperbolic for this, but it's not dishonest because he has seen or been told things which cause him to use the term.

(delete duplicated post)

Fred Weiss's picture

(delete duplicated post)

Campus Clubs

Boaz the Boor's picture

Mike - excellent points.

ARI doesn't forbid its sponsored clubs any and all engagements with ideological opponents -- that much is certain. I had several libertarians attend meetings (some of them were quite fun to debate) when I ran the club at Berkeley. I know that my club wasn't the exception. But there's a difference between engagement and promotion. There's also a crucial difference between purging "heretics" and removing organizational support for them.
Obviously, people need time to grow intellectually, change their minds a few dozen times and make some erstwhile friends (and enemies), most of whom should remain in one's orbit; being an Objectivist isn't defined by arbitrary adherence to a credo. I hate hearing about Objectivists who lost friendships over the Kelley affair.

If a friend of mine became a Buddhist, it would be wrong for me to abandon our friendship simply on that basis; but it would also be wrong for me to help him build his temple. The problem is that ARI is accused of doing the former when what it has done, at least in the cases I know of, conformed to the latter.

Phil - what did you hear regarding ARI's club policy in the past?

That might be, Phil, if it

Fred Weiss's picture

That might be, Phil, if it were one isolated instance and clearly in a context when he was perhaps getting carried away. But none of this is new to Sciabarra. He's been saying essentially the same thing *publicly* for years.

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