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Social Ostracism

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A post that is currently being forwarded to objectivists asks people to vote for Kerry because the cheif justice's recent illness creates an "emergency".

The post says we should "Apply the appropriate degree of social ostracism to those who appear to be taking a dishonest position." (a.k.a. a pro-Bush position).

It is appropriate to socially ostracise people who disagree with one?

I'm sure the author would clarify that one would only ostracise if the position is "dishonest". Hmm!

I have this vision of Dagny surrounded by the key residents of Atlantis when she decides that she is going back to the outside world. Sounds like people like this author would want to ostracise her for her dishonest position too.

Ofcourse, on a completely different note: consider how short sighted the author is that he did not take the age and health of the justices into consideration, and was only motivated to do so when one was actually admitted to hospital. So, does one write a will when one is on one's deathbed?

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A post that is currently being forwarded to objectivists asks people to vote for Kerry because the cheif justice's recent illness creates an "emergency".

The post says we should "Apply the appropriate degree of social ostracism to those who appear to be taking a dishonest position." (a.k.a. a pro-Bush position).

It is appropriate to socially ostracise people who disagree with one?

The email I received was sent by Adrian Apollo through Jack Crawford's "THEON" list, and, it said "Apply social ostracism to those who support Bush." I immediately wrote to Mr. Crawford and told him that such a comment is truly beyond the pale, and, not wanting to be subject to such obnoxious tripe, I asked to be immediately removed from his list. This "social ostracism" is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard from a supposed Objectivist (with an emphasis on the "supposed").

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The email I received was sent by Adrian Apollo through Jack Crawford's "THEON" list, and, it said "Apply social ostracism to those who support Bush." I immediately wrote to Mr. Crawford and told him that such a comment is truly beyond the pale, and, not wanting to be subject to such obnoxious tripe, I asked to be immediately removed from his list.  This "social ostracism" is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard from a supposed Objectivist (with an emphasis on the "supposed").

Who the hell is Jack Crawford? This is pathetic.

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A post that is currently being forwarded to objectivists asks people to vote for Kerry because the cheif justice's recent illness creates an "emergency".

I know who Objectivists are -- individuals who agree with Ayn Rand's philosophy.

What do you mean by "objectivists"?

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What do you mean by "objectivists"?

I apologise for an inexact use of the term "objectivists". I think the poster wanted people to forward it to anyone sympathetic with Objectivist positions and perhaps to anyone else who might be convinced to vote his way. I would be happy to post it to this forum, but I think some moderators might object. If you'd like a copy by email, write to me at felicityFendi (this is @hotmail.com), and I'll send it on.

I think a broader topic deserves attention: How does one know when another person is being intellectually dishonest?

You run the Portland Group of Objectivists, so I am curious. Have you ever hads to ask a person to leave the group because of intellectual dishonesty?

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You run the Portland Group of Objectivists, so I am curious. Have you ever hads to ask a person to leave the group because of intellectual dishonesty?

I have been the coordinator of the Portland Area Objectivists (which is evolving into a Seattle-Portland Objectivist network) throughout its 10 year life.

I do not understand what you mean by intellectual dishonesty. The essence of dishonesty is refusing to face facts. So, does "intellectual dishonesty" mean refusing to face the facts on which intellectual (philosophical) disputes are based -- as opposed to legal, commercial or interpersonal disputes?

If the answer is yes, then I can say that our network has not expelled anyone for intellectual dishonesty. We did expell one person for plain, basic dishonesty. Years had passed since his admittance before the dishonesty became evident.

The reason that intellectual dishonesty has not been an issue, so far, is because we are very cautious about admitting individuals. We have turned away (or turned off) more individuals than we have admitted to our network. With standards that high, there is little chance of needing to exclude someone later.

For our standards, see: http://www.aristotleadventure.com/pao/

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I would think intellectual dishonesty would be things like the use of ad hominem attacks, appeals to authority, emotional appeals, ignoring other people's valid points against one, etc.

It is appropriate to socially ostracise people who disagree with one?

It depends what the disagreement is. If I met someone who believed that Hitler was the greatest leader in history I would certainly refuse to socialize with them. But ostracizing someone for supporting Bush is absurd.

edit: I'm not sure a President Kerry would nominate a better replacement Justice than President Bush would. Kerry would almost certainly nominate a liberal "interpreter." Bush might nominate a conservative (bad) or a strict constructionist (good).

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Burges,

Interviewing people seems like a good idea.

Can you tell something more about how these interviews are carried out? For instance I wonder what things you pay attention to beyond the person's answers to the introductory questions on your site.

/CW

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Burges,

Interviewing people seems like a good idea.

Can you tell something more about how these interviews are carried out? For instance I wonder what things you pay attention to beyond the person's answers to the introductory questions on your site.

The interviews are informal and have two stages. One stage (not necessarily the first in time) is finding out whether the candidate shares our philosophical and related values, as described on the website. We usually handle this through email, now.

A second stage, conducted informally and in person (perhaps at dinner) is seeing whether the candidate has appropriate personal behavior. A candidate who claims to fully support Objectivism but doesn't bathe and has grotesque table manners isn't someone I want to associate with. Further, because conversation at our dinner meetings is our means of enjoying like-minded company, I look for personality problems -- such as persistent bitterness or animosity -- that would make socializing unpleasant.

At either stage, one thing to look for is integrity. Does the candidate integrate Objectivism into his life? Of course, the process of integration can take a long time, but if the person is young or new to Objectivism and indicates he is in the process of living up to its standards, he would be welcome.

Our group has a wide range of differences in some respects -- such as age, life style, sexual orientation, financial resources, occupation, personality, preferred forms of recreation, tastes in literature, and level of interest in philosophy -- but those things don't matter much for our purpose, which is to enjoy the company of philosophically like-minded people.

A group's purpose is its most important essential characteristic. If you know what essential means, you can see why.

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Who the hell is Jack Crawford?  This is pathetic.

Mr. Crawford is a long-time Objectivist who had always seemed to be a fairly reasonable and gentle soul. I am told now by others that after my note to Mr. Crawford, objecting to this absurdity and asking to be removed from the list, that a "revised version" of the post was sent out because "the wrong version was sent before." Evidently this "version" of the post, which qualifies "social ostracism" to be applied only "to those who appear to be taking a dishonest position," rather than the original of applying "social ostracism to those who support Bush." Thank God for little favors. :yarr:

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I do not understand what you mean by intellectual dishonesty. The essence of dishonesty is refusing to face facts. So, does "intellectual dishonesty" mean refusing to face the facts on which intellectual (philosophical) disputes are based -- as opposed to legal, commercial or interpersonal disputes?

Yes. Thank you for defining it better than I can. Since many people are "compartmentalized", they may be dishonest in some areas but pretty honest in others. So, someone may not steal money, may not cheat on her spouse, and yet evade a lot of facts in some other area.

The author of the "social ostracism" post spoke of dishonesty. He wasn't referring to theft or cheating, but to holding dishonest ideas. Assuming that some people evade facts when drawing conclusions about ethics, politics, etc. -- how do I identify this? How do I identify that they are evading facts? What is the measure? Is the degree to which their conclusions differ from mine a measure of their dishonesty? or, is it merely a measure of their ignorance?

For instance, many people have read a couple of Ayn Rand books and still disagree with Ayn Rand. There many even be more such people than people who have read the books and mostly agree with Ayn Rand. Are most of the people who disagree after reading Rand dishonest? After all, how can they claim ignorance?

I do not know the answers. That is why I was curious if you had ever had to expel someone from an Objectivist group because they were "intellkectually dishonest" [not just dishonesty in the sense that they were stealing your study-guides:)]. That way I could have one concrete example as a starting point.

One poster gave an example of a Hitler-admirer. I think admirers of mass-murderers are clearly dishonest. Unfortunately, most people I encounter from day to day are admirers of less extreme ideas. At what point do I judge them to be dishonest.

Having ponder this issue for a day, I have concluded the "social ostracism" suggestiong was not the aspect that really irritated me. I am more than happy to socially (or unsocially) ostracise someone who is dishonest, in any way. However, how do I dare apply the term to someone who disagrees with me about whether Bush or Kerry is a slower-acting poison.

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Adrian is circulating petitions via Objectivist mailing lists.

Therefore, I assume he is an active Objectivist.

Therefore, I assume that he knows that Dr. Binswanger and Dr. Peikoff take different sides on the vote for president.

Therefore, I assume he knows this is an issue where the dishonest can disagree.

Therefore, I assume that in calling for people to look for dishonesty in this issue he is evading the fact.

I conclude that he is probably the dishonest one.

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The author of the "social ostracism" post spoke of dishonesty. He wasn't referring to theft or cheating,  but to holding dishonest ideas. Assuming that some people  evade facts when drawing conclusions about ethics, politics, etc.  -- how do I identify this?

How do I identify that they are evading facts? What is the measure? Is the degree to which their conclusions differ from mine a measure of their dishonesty? or, is it merely a measure of their ignorance?

Well, since the original post asked to ""Apply social ostracism to those who support Bush," and the new "version" of the post called for social ostracism for "those who appear to be taking a dishonest position," one might simply take this to imply that "those who appear to be taking a dishonest position" are just "those who support Bush." So, in regard to your question the "measure of their dishonesty" seems to be the degree that others differ from the position taken by the author of the post. And, considering the emotional hyperbole of the original post, I am not at all surprised. :angry:

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Adrian is circulating petitions via Objectivist mailing lists.

Therefore, I assume he is an active Objectivist.

Therefore, I assume that he knows that Dr. Binswanger and Dr. Peikoff take different sides on the vote for president.

Therefore, I assume he knows this is an issue where the dishonest can disagree.

Therefore, I assume that in calling for people to look for dishonesty in this issue he is evading the fact.

I conclude that he is probably the dishonest one.

First, are you saying that -- based on one fact and four assumptions -- a particular person is dishonest, that is, is an evader?

Second, when you said "... the dishonest can disagree," did you mean to say "... the honest can disagree"?

Third, when you say (in the last "Therefore") "evading the fact," what fact are you referring to?

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Assuming that some people  evade facts when drawing conclusions about ethics, politics, etc.  -- how do I identify this? How do I identify that they are evading facts? What is the measure? Is the degree to which their conclusions differ from mine a measure of their dishonesty? or, is it merely a measure of their ignorance?

Here is my short answer. Identifying evasion is sometimes very difficult and sometimes identifying a person as a whole as dishonest may take a long time.

You must be sure that the other person is aware of a certain fact and has the background to integrate that fact into his overall knowledge. If a ditch-digger asks a physicist about shoring up the walls of a ditch, and if the physicist replies in terminology and formulae unknown to the ditch-digger, then the ditch-digger isn't being dishonest if he ignores the "advice" and proceeds to experiment with shoring, on his own.

There is no measure of evasion, if you are referring to a single act. Evasion is either-or. I suppose you can say that some people are more evaders than others because the former evade in more compartments of their lives. You could "measure" by counting the number of compartments. But why hang around that long?

Disagreement as such is not proof of evasion. Nor is ignorance. An honest person would ask questions and try to understand what you are saying, assuming the issue is worthwhile to him.

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Interestingly enough-I just now read this post and must say that I know Jackson Crawford in person.

I did not get the email-but then again I am not subscribed to his list. However, I can tell you that it has caused quite a stir here in the "Objectivist" circle at the local University (which is actually a blend of TOCers, CATOers, Libertarians, and a few 'ARI' people).

If you are still having problems Mr. Speicher, I would be more than happy to speak with him and get you removed.

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...

The post says we should "Apply the appropriate degree of social ostracism to those who appear to be taking a dishonest position." (a.k.a. a pro-Bush position).

...

One point should not pass without criticism: The phrase "social ostracism" is a ludicrous redundancy.

Ostracism means social exclusion, that is, excluding someone from society. The word ostracism itself comes from a Greek word, ostrakon, which means, among other things, a potsherd, that is, a piece of a shattered clay pot.

Greek voters, in the Athenian democratic era, scratched their vote -- for or against exclusion of a particular person -- on a potsherd and added it to the pile in the "ballot box." In Greek, ostrakidzo means to banish by potsherds.

I found the use of the phrase "social ostracism" to be as comic as the remainder of the post I received (via e-osg) from an entity calling himself "Adrian Apollo." There are initially plausible arguments for voting for Senator Kerry, but the threat of "social ostracism" did nothing to buttress those arguments.

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I think there might be some mistake. Jackson Crawford is anti-Kerry and pro-Bush.

His website says it all: http://horrorunheeded.motime.com/

Jack Crawford, I believe, is the name of the person who sent the email out.

I would like to get this clarified. When I heard this I was quite confused...it didn't seem like the Jackson that I knew.

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I would like to get this clarified.  When I heard this I was quite confused...it didn't seem like the Jackson that I knew.

Well, here is his penultimate blog post in full [all emphases added]:

]Tuesday, 26 October 2004

Disengagement

A crucial step in the insanity has been made: Israel's Knesset approves disengagement from Gaza (the Jerusalem Post). The vote, as reported in the article, was 67 in favor of disengagement and 45 opposed, with 7 abstentions.

This is a sad day in modern history, indeed. How a Prime Minister regarded by most as a "hawk" can propose and so adamantly go through with a plan for forcibly evacuating something like 8,000 Israeli settlers and destroying their homes and synagogues baffles me. Is this move really supposed to discourage terrorism? To make it easier to fight? How, when the enemy sees only retreat, and hopeful looks cast at "world opinion" by a country which is despised simply for being self-assertive and Jewish? How, when the enemy cares not what casualties it endures, but only aims to make the death toll of the innocent as high as possible? How, when the rights of the innocent to their own property are being violated, "compensatory packages" be damned? How, when Gaza is about to become what the enemy wants it and, eventually, all the world to be - devoid of Jews?

Well-known Minister-Without-Portfolio Uzi Landau of Likud has been fired for voting against the disengagement plan, as have two other officials. Benjamin Netanyahu voted in favor, but will resign (along with three others) within fourteen days if the plan is not put to the people in a referendum. "We cannot support this initiative without it being taken to the people in a referendum," said Bibi, and I consider his move a politically-savvy one. By voting with the head of Likud for the plan, he's keeping himself in the government and in the party, but his threat is one which I believe he will carry out, for he has shown himself to be a man of integrity. I think that he's throwing his political weight around (although I could be biased in saying that, as Bibi is a hero of mine), something which I suppose Landau couldn't as well do, and I hope that he manages to get this issue put to the Israeli people.

I voted (early) for Bush because I am optimistic about the sense of life of the American people. I support Netanyahu's call for referendum because I am optimistic about the sense of life of the Israeli people.

For the sake of us all, let's hope that I'm right on both counts. America and Israel need each other - and the truest allies are those whose survival depends on each other.

Posted by: Corvvs at October 26, 2004 16:58 | link | comments

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