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  1. Strictlylogical, “Momentum of his own evasions” may well describe what happened with Barney but it hardly excuses him. Evasion in itself is, to use your word, blameworthy. You point out that there can be differing levels of complicity. One indication of Barney’s level is that while he managed the COS “missions” in Los Angeles and San Diego, Hubbard’s protege, David Miscavige, managed the ones in San Francisco. “Mission” management was not a low level job within the COS. Furthermore, how could Barney not know what was going on? He managed his COS “missions” for nine years. Only if he had been a low-grade moron could he have been unaware of what he was doing. Add in the fact that he was ousted from his high position rather than leaving the COS of his own initiative, it is absurd to claim “maybe he was a victim.” Rand once said: “Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent.” Barney doesn’t deserve one bit of pity. What of the people he defrauded by managing a significant part of the COS apparatus? Where is the concern for them, the true victims? We cannot be sure Barney’s work at the “Church of Scientology” wasn’t innocent? Yet all one has to do is point out the history above. He was a grown man. He was not a zombie or puppet. Only by a perverse intellectual contortion can one avoid holding Barney responsible for his past actions and evasions. What of the Barney of today? To go from a honcho of the COS racket to honest businessman is quite a switch in character. If it ever occurred it must have taken time and soul searching, not to mention restitution. Yet what does he tell the NYT reporter? He feels (he leads her to believe he feels) “some embarrassment” about “dabbling briefly” in Scientology. He’s still in evasion mode. No unearned guilt for our Barney!
  2. Strictlylogical, Thank you for a thoughtful post. We more or less agree. I will take issue with one point and add one “could have.” First the additional “could have.” Some people read Rand’s novels and – despite her crystal clarity – confuse her selfishness with a justification for lording it over other people. Over the years I’ve seen several articles by journalists who interviewed people like that. In each case the journalist went along with the person’s misunderstanding of Rand, that is, the journalist presented a jerk as someone who understood and acted on Rand’s philosophy, making Rand look bad. It’s possible Barney is such a lord of the manor person, that he thinks Rand’s selfishness means he can walk over anyone with moral impunity, that he is innocent, perpetually innocent. If this is true then he isn’t pulling a fast one so much as fooling himself. Instead of conscious deception of others his is an unconcious deception of himself; he fools himself into thinking he’s honest, honest by Objectvist standards. I think this “could have” is the most probable. There is one correction I would make. “[Barney] ... is not (or even perhaps never was) a con artist.” Surely the parenthetical remark is mistaken. Barney was running Scientology “missions” starting in 1969 or 1970, by the early 1970s he was running five (four in Los Angeles, one in San Diego), and he was kicked out in 1979. In 1979 he would have been 38 years old give or take a year, no spring chicken. He probably began innocently enough (Melbourne in the 1960s) but by the time he was running missions he had turned into a con man. Read any exposé of Scientology to see what an extraordinarily crooked operation it is – today and even more so in L. Ron Hubbard’s time. There is no way, absolutely none at all, that Barney was not a conscious, well-aware actor in the “Church of Scientology” racket. Given that he was a con man then makes it all the more probable that he is a con man now – only in a different business, and with the grotesque twist that he thinks he can justify what he does by parroting Ayn Rand about selfishness and unearned guilt. Keep in mind that Iago, rubbing his hands with glee at his own iniquity, is strictly a work of Shakespeare’s imagination. In real life evil is always self-righteous. You cannot tell the heroes from the villains by the emotional noises they make.
  3. 9th Dr., Barney just gets better and better. Not only is he admirable for overcoming his Scientology past (which gives him a certain background he can draw on, LOL), he’s comparable to Gail Wynand of The Fountainhead! It’s ridiculous. I’ll let the facts already adumbrated speak for themselves because it looks like nothing more I can say will convince OOers that Barney and his millions ought to be shown the door. However I want to correct an economic fallacy in Ninth Doctor’s last post. “If Government weren't involved ... there would be a private alternative.” – as if to say the government wasn’t responsible for Barney’s outsized profit, that the existence of government grants and government backed loans did not put money in his pocket hugely over and above what money he could have gotten if only private banks had been available. The grants part is obvious – banks don’t give money away – but what about government loans? The effect of government loans differs from that of bank loans in several ways: (1) The government makes it possible for a non-creditworthy person to obtain a loan. (2) The government subsidizes much of the interest. (3) The government guarantees the loan, meaning it pays the bill if the person defaults on the loan. In each case the result is more students in Barney’s schools and extra money in his pockets. Government subsidy to buyers of a product increases the cost of that product, enriching its purveyors and impoverishing those not “connected.” This is elementary Economics and no more well illustrated than in the absurdly inflated cost of college today. Barney goes whole hog regarding admission to his schools (this quote of Barney is from Patricia Cohen’s NYT article): “We don’t select the best. We take who comes there and do the best we can.” Later, regarding dropouts and debtors: “I’m really sad about that, but I’m not guilty. We do everything to help them graduate.” Then he compares his Denver school’s on-time graduation rate of 34 percent with the local community college’s of 10 percent. I don’t believe it. In a community college many, probably most, students take courses “a la carte” – look at such schools’ advertising – and aren’t working toward a degree. Now quoting Ms. Cohen: “What Mr. Barney said he refused to accept was guilt that was not deserved. In the Rand worldview, that would be ‘unearned guilt’ and akin to a sin. A rich man should not feel guilt for hard-earned wealth, he said ...” So despite it all Barney has a high opinion of himself. Now here he is on Dr. Hurd’s website telling how virtuous he is: He goes onto say that he gave millions in bonuses to executives for growing his schools even though he didn’t have to. You’ll find the whole fulsome thing in Dr. Hurd’s article “The Massively Underappreciated Virtue of Egoism in Business” (October 4, 2015).
  4. dream_weaver, I’m not trying to “crucify” Barney (Jesus Christ!) any more than I’m “obsessed” with him. This thread is about Barney, not me, and the arguments don’t depend on who’s making them. About Barney’s excommunication from the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard told mission staff he’d been skimming COS funds. Even if LRH falsely accused Barney the salient point is that Barney did not leave the COS voluntarily. While busily roping in suckers for “Auditing” so they could become “Clear” – price $6,000 (they don’t call it Church of $ for nothing) – he was suddenly expelled. You haven’t addressed the two sections of the Complaint I pointed out. For example you ignored the allegation that upper management of Barney’s schools knowingly misrepresented teachers’ qualifications, including (this is in the Complaint but not the summary) teachers in medical fields. Or was that just “trying to adhere to the ‘letter of the law’” too? If the Complaint is true then you tendentiously call skirting the law “trying to adhere to the ‘letter of the law’.” Others would call it fraud and greed for the unearned. This is a fellow Objectivist? Hello Ninth Doctor? What do you say about all this?
  5. dream_weaver, You ask “If Barney's schools received over $660 million from the federal government, where does the fraudulence lie?” The fraud lies in how Barney obtained the .66 billion. It’s explained in the Brooks-Wride-U.S. Complaint against Barney. I’ll copy part of the Idaho District Court’s summary of that Complaint at the end of this post. You characterize my interest in Barney as “obsession.” Though this thread is about Barney not me, if you want to know why I am interested in Barney ... I’m interested in the spread of Objectivism. Objectivists – at least those in the Rand Institute orbit – are associating Objectivism with a man (1) who was a top manager for about nine years in a racket calling itself the Church of Scientology, leaving only because he was thrown out around the age of 38, (2) who now lies about it, (3) who got rich – several hundreds of millions of dollars rich – from receiving government funds obtained – if the Complaint allegations hold up in court – by fraud, (4) who lectures us on Objectivist Ethics. His for-profit schools’ profit margin was extraordinarily high; most of the .66 billion went into his pocket. The virtue of selfishness? In practice he gives a meaning to “selfishness” that Objectivists have been fighting since day one. The following is from the Idaho District Court’s summary of the Complaint against Barney et al:
  6. 9th Dr., I assume the New York Times reporter, Patricia Cohen, knows her job. I assume she actually did see and talk to Barney, that her quotes are faithful and not made up, that her paraphrases are accurate, that the photos are of Barney and not some impersonator. If she provided a transcript of the interview would you suggest that it might not be authentic? My point is that at some point we have to trust Patricia Cohen. Why not begin with her being an honest, competent reporter who has given us a faithful account of an actual interview? There’s a distinction between “Cohen infers” and “Barney implies” to be sure. In effect Cohen said (not quoting anybody) “Barney implied that he dabbled briefly in COS,” yet she can in truth say only “I inferred from what Barney said that he dabbled briefly in COS.” This infer-imply distinction goes for anything any reporter anywhere can say about any interview. You’re splitting hairs like a criminal lawyer, with Barney as your defendant and Cohen as witness for the prosecution. Not much speculation is necessary about Barney’s motive for saying to Cohen, in so many words, that he only dabbled briefly in COS. He lied probably because his true COS history makes him look bad. He told Cohen that in the 1970s he was investing in real estate. Yet throughout the 1970s he was running COS missions. It looks like the money he earned in real estate enabled him to invest in for-profit colleges. Did he get the money to invest in real estate from running COS missions? An investigative reporter ought to look into it. If true that’s another connection between his COS past and his current business. The foundation for criticizing Barney’s character consists of two slabs. One slab is his COS past, the other is his subsequent for-profit college career. About the second, from 2002 to 2013 Barney’s schools received over $660,000,000 from the federal government. The Complaint against Barney (see my previous posts) alleges that this money was obtained fraudulently – the sections “Factual Allegations” & “Claims for Relief” go into detail. The alleged fraud includes common law fraud as well as violating federal regulations most of which are reasonable (if we take for granted federal involvement in the first place).
  7. dream_weaver, Apparently the NYT reporter took Barney at his word. She didn’t verify his statement about the extent of his involvement in Scientology, obviously. Craig Biddle wrote a critical review of the NYT article. He doesn’t address Barney’s Scientology past; perhaps, like the reporter, he’s unaware of it. In any case his focus was on the lawsuit involving Barney’s schools. I’m sympathetic to any objections to government regulation but if a person is going to accept government money government oversight is what it comes with. Biddle fails to address the other claims against Barney that have nothing to do with the government, described in the Wride-Brooks-First-Amended-Complaint (my previous post has a URL to a copy of it). It could be argued that these claims have a connection to Barney’s COS past. Assuming the claims are true then in some respects he was running his schools like he ran his missions of yesteryear. I read Biddle’s TOS article and the NYT article a week ago. Just because the articles are 11 months old doesn’t make them disappear or make them uninteresting. Your objection to “He [Barney] is not someone we want going about calling himself an Objectivist.” is of course valid. I made the mistake of assuming we were of like mind on this subject. If you have no problem with Barney calling himself an Objectivist I can’t say you do. I do claim, however, that associating with Barney is no way to promote Objectivism.
  8. 9th Dr., Barney led the NYT reporter to believe that he had only dabbled briefly in Scientology. Is it true? What is wanting in your reply is an investigation into Barney’s actual involvement in Scientology. An Internet search (carl barney scientology) turns up a lot of material. dream_weaver mentioned the Ex Scientology Message Board. There you learn that Barney was studying Scientology long before he moved to California. On the website Operation Clambake (an anti-Scientology website) you learn that in the 1970s he owned – as franchises – several Scientology “missions” in California. Furthermore he didn’t leave voluntarily; Hubbard threw him out in 1979. Barney would have been about 38 years old. So when Barney led the NYT reporter to believe he only dabbled briefly in Scientology he wasn’t minimizing his association with the Church of Scientology, he was telling a whopper of a lie. Searching on “carl barney” without “scientology” turns up this lawsuit initiated by two former Barney school employees: www.republicreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Wride-Brooks-First-Amended-Complaint.pdf It doesn’t seem to have been – what’s the word? – adjudicated yet. The meat of it is section VI “Factual Allegations” and section VII “Claims for Relief.” If true then even setting aside Barney’s Church of Scientology past he’s not someone we want going about calling himself an Objectivist.
  9. dream_weaver, You must be into gardening, LOL. There is a plant called “Barney,” named after a 19th century botanist. It’s a variety of chili pepper (capsicum). Googling ... who is carl barney ... doesn’t show any vegetation.
  10. 9th Dr, Your example of the reformed fundamentalist Christian makes sense but the reformation of a Scientologist is another matter. Unlike Christianity, Scientology is a conscious fraud. L. Ron Hubbard may have been a crackpot but he knew what he was doing, and so do David Miscavige and the rest of the Church of Scientology executives. There is little analogy between Christianity and Scientology. Though Christianity must be criticized there is much good in it. Historically, despite its crimes it helped forge Western Civilization. Scientology is a zero in every way, it has produced nothing and never will. A parishioner or even a priest might well be innocent and capable of reformation. A “reverend” in the Church of Scientology is a crook and can be reformed only inversely to his crookedness. So we should ask: Was Carl Barney a mere student of Scientology who quickly dropped out, or did he climb to an executive position in the Church? If the latter, how long did he stay? Why did he leave? In short, is he victim or perpetrator? The reformation of a former COS executive would be a major undertaking. And afterwards he wouldn’t go about denying what he had been. Barney told the NYT reporter he had dabbled briefly in Scientology. Do an Internet search on “who is carl barney” without the quotes and see if “dabbled” or “briefly” correctly describe the COS phase of his career.
  11. dream_weaver, Is OP a reference to Peikoff’s book The Ominous Parallels? If so, do you recall what he said about Dianetics or Scientology? It’s been many years since I read the complete OP.
  12. The article “The Times Smiles and Sneers at Carl Barney, Ayn Rand, and Private Colleges” from last year’s The Objective Standard reviews the then recent New York Times article “An Ayn Rand Acolyte Selling Students a Self-Made Dream” (there’s a link to it in the TOS article). The NYT article says that Carl Barney “admits with some embarrassment” of “dabbling briefly ... in Scientology.” Anyone know about this? Do you think it matters?
  13. ARI Watch has a devastating article of the same title: Ayn Rand on Immigration.
  14. I gather the answer to my question is, No. You favor Hillary because of her position on the particular issue of immigration, but that isn’t enough for you to vote for her. So is there anyone who agrees with Binswanger? I agree with most of calzonie’s post above. Even assuming that Trump is unpredictable, it’s crazy to prefer the unpredictable over the predictably abysmal. In order for that not to be self-contradictory nonsense, there would have to be a chance that Trump is much more abysmal than Hillary. The links in Craig24’s post above (“Fear and Loathing” etc.) argue that Trump is predictably pretty good, and they make more sense than Binswanger.
  15. I think open immigration describes her position pretty well. She pays lip-service to “getting control of our borders” but look at her voting record. The “reform” and “control” turn out to mean let them in. Anyway, whatever we call it – open, or mostly open, or a lot open – if I understand your post you will vote for Hillary because you like her position on immigration. Is that correct?