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McGroarty

What's the deal with the Kelley Objectivists?

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The above is called psychological projection.

What I said is that Kelley is (obviously) an Objectivist.

So in one word--"obviously--you attempt to refute several very well-known and very correct articles on why Kelley is not an Objectivist. Even if you disagree with these writings, your intent here could only be one of insult to those who do agree with them. Why else would you flatly sweep aside everything that has been written on the subject with one single word, as if nothing has been said on the matter?

To continue your rant, the above (i.e., your post) is called philosophical evasion.

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Actually I do not think Kelley deserves to call himself an Objectivist, for the reasons given in "Fact and Value." But the reasons are not that easy to understand. In that essay LP even says that a mass Objectivist movement may be premature!

As for dealing with libertarians (or anyone else) I agree with James Adkins. I just talk to people and find out if they are willing to discuss issues rationally. I don't make blanket assumptions about people based on the label they adopt, which may not mean to them what it means to Objectivists. With people like bible-thumpers and marxists it takes very little time before I give up, so it's not that big a loss.

Again, most of the libertarians I meet are not hippies, anarchists, or drug addicts. They are mostly classical liberals, following a political philosophy that existed before AR came along. This movement is not blatantly irrational; it just lacks a proper philosophical base.

Thoyd Loki brought up a good point in another thread (http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=1848&st=0):

"Point being that I don't think it readily apparent a dishonesty for someone to be a libertarian, and there are several mediating factors that a person could have."

Betsy agreed:

"So true!

The easiest way to separate the honest ones from the trolls is to present facts and reasons and see what happens. Some do a 180. Some think it over and come back a month later convinced. Some get defensive. Some retreat into more bizarre positions. Some resort to ad hominems. You see what someone does when presented with the facts and act accordinly."

Thoyd again:

"Age is one of those mediating factors.

Not having come across the Objectivist arguments against Libertarianism.

Being new to the whole thing no matter what the age."

Betsy:

"Definitely. That's why I grant anyone under 30 or anyone into Objectivism less than two years a "Learner's Permit.""

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People keep saying that, but take his quote and change it to this:

and it wouldn't have been met with an insult.

Why?

Why not just engage them and find out whether they are irrational or not and then treat them accordingly? People are individuals and will vary in knowledge and outlook. Why write them off because of an issue they may know absolutely nothing about, either because of a lack of knowledge, or an honest error and a lack of someone to point it out and explain it to them?

Many experienced and knowledgeable Objectivists seem to forget that what may seem like an obvious error to them is not so obvious to the less knowledgeable. A lot of these issues are fairly complex and failure to immediately agree on some point does not make a person an evil irrational monster. Unfortunately some experienced and knowledgeable Objectivists do not see this, and resort to insults instead of rational arguments. That is why I no longer bother responding to such people.

I should add that these comments to not apply to Kelley. He does have the experience and knowledge to know that a Marxist professor is not someone who has anything valuable to offer Objectivists.

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There are many things which I will never see: that up is down, black is white, 5 is 7, true is false, good is evil, etc. Perhaps I should just take it all on faith from Stephen Speicher.

I would not recommend doing so, but considering the approach you have taken, and the attitude you have expressed, I would not be at all surprised to find faith to be a strong component for you.

The limitless extremism on display above is wholly irrational and devoid of any hint of factuality. It deliberately, militantly, religiously lacks all nuance, subtilty, context, and truth.
Here we agree. This description very nicely characterizes what you wrote above.

Why not just say "Kelley broke with Objectivism" in 1975

Well, in 1975 he had just received his PhD and began teaching at Vassar. He mostly just wrote for The Freeman and had not yet formed his own approach to Objectivism, so to say that he broke with the philosophy then would be just silly. Didn't you know that?

-- or when he was in the womb?
Aw, you are such a kidder.

Why not just say each and every sentence he ever wrote is a complete and total act of ignorance and depravity, as well as utter, obvious, self-evident repudiation of all of Rand? Why not just say Kelley stands against all of reason and all of truth and all of human decency? Why not just say he completely and totally embraces all of Plato, all of Kant, all of Marx, and all of Satan himself in each and every philosophical, psychological, professional, social, personal, and sexual aspect whatsoever?    :)

I would not say all that because it would not be true. However, what I actually did say is factually true, namely that Kelley did break with Objectivism before A Question of Sanction. Some people who knew Kelley firsthand recognized Kelley's lack of adherence to Objectivist principles prior to publication of that document, while it took that document to convince some others of Kelley's break with Objectivist principles. And it took other actions on Kelley's part to eventually convince the remaining Objectivists of the schism between his approach and the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Of course, there are others, mostly pseudo-Objectivists who will never really grasp the philosophy of Objectivism, who will never identify the facts for what they are, and instead they spew their vitriol on forums where they are not welcome because the forum is dedicated to the actual philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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The above is called psychological projection.

If you or Stephen choose to evade or lie about this that's your problem.

So you disapprove of other people telling you your opinions, but you don't mind implying that others are evading?

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What I said is that Kelley is (obviously) an Objectivist. If you or Stephen choose to evade or lie about this that's your problem.

Actually, our problem is you. You are a staunch supporter of Kelley, and this is a forum which acknowledges the validity of the Ayn Rand Institute. So, why do you come here? Personally, I would not lower myself to join a forum which sanctions Kelley and the TOC, and I would have absolutely no interest in discussing any issue with them. But you come here and stick your tongue out at us, demean us as well as the people we admire. I mean, think about it: What sort of mentality would choose to go to what they considered to be a den of iniquity, in order to tell the people there how bad they are? One obvious mentality that makes a career of doing that is the religious zealot. There are other mentalities like that, all equally bad. Why don't you just leave us alone to plod through our supposed ignorance -- to just "evade and lie" to our heart's content -- and instead go and seek value with those who think like you do? We do not seek you out. We do not want you. Why do you come to us? Do you know how to spell S-A-N-C-T-I-O-N?

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Again, most of the libertarians I meet are not hippies, anarchists, or drug addicts. They are mostly classical liberals, following a political philosophy that existed before AR came along.

I would rather have a thousand hippies than one Sciabarra. The Libertarian party, and the overwhelming number of its members, are much worse than they were when Ayn Rand first condemned them many decades ago.

This movement is not blatantly irrational; it just lacks a proper philosophical base.

You do not grasp their irrationality because you do not grasp a proper philosophical base. Your attempt to appeal to Betsy's benevolent attitude is just a misguided attempt to lend credence to your otherwise befuddled approach. As I said before, there is a big difference between how to properly treat the Libertarian party, its platform, and its adherents -- with condemnation -- as opposed to the occasional youngster who in all innocence wanders into the libertarian den -- with benevolence. That you cannot grasp the difference is why you want to "reach out to them," just like David Kelley and his followers do, rather than refuse to sanction them.

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Many experienced and knowledgeable Objectivists seem to forget that what may seem like an obvious error to them is not so obvious to the less knowledgeable. A lot of these issues are fairly complex and failure to immediately agree on some point does not make a person an evil irrational monster.

And some less experienced and less knowledgeable people who do not grasp Objectivism sacrifice the good for their inability to condemn the evil irrational monster for what he is.

Unfortunately some experienced and knowledgeable Objectivists do not see this, and resort to insults instead of rational arguments. That is why I no longer bother responding to such people.

And unfortunately some less experienced and less knowledgeable people who do not grasp Objectivism treat rational arguments pointing out their own contradictions, as if they were insults. That is why they refuse to defend their contradictions any longer.

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What I said is that Kelley is (obviously) an Objectivist. If you or Stephen choose to evade or lie about this that's your problem.

This is better addressed without so so much excitement. I don't see Kelley as an Objectivist, but I am eager to be convinced.

BigDaddy, do you agree that Objectivism as presented by Miss Raynd and professor Peikoff is presented as a logically consistent whole?

If so, do you agree that accepting Objectivism means accepting the framework that necessarily constructs the entire Objectivist philosophy?

If the answer to either is no, then why?

You can answer this in only two ways: You can show an error in Miss Rand's or professor Peikoff's logic by constructing support for Kelley's view that Objectivism is flawed from the same axioms Rand and Peikoff accepted. Alternately, you can introduce an axiom that Miss Rand or professor Peikoff overlooked or remove one you believe she erroneously included. If we can agree to accept that change, we can get busy trying to derive Kelley's objectivism.

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It is mentally painful to have to be a flyswatter, but since I that Mr. Speicher has the stomach to do it, so will I.

If, for example, one were to go to the TOC home page, and see that they have a heading called "objectivist links" and if you click on it, on of the options is www.nathanielbranden.net and you go to it and see the heading on the bottom for "Ayn Rand and Objectivism" and click on it, you will then see some articles tp choose from. "We're All Libertarians Now" is a particularly good example of Branden's approach. IF ANYONE ON EARTH IS A "SOCIAL METAPHYSICIAN," HE IS. The following is a direct quote:"In any event, today libertarianism is part of our language and is commonly understood to mean the advocacy of minimal government. Ayn Rand is commonly referred to as "a libertarian philosopher." Folks, we are all libertarians now. Might as well get used to it."

He is actually serious. The thrust of the piece is, if a big enough group of people see libertarianism as compatible or even synonymous w/Objectivism, then it is TRUE. If you read the article, it shows that even in the 50s, Brandens primary concern was having a popular movement, adding adherents left and right, without concern for their actual views. They all want to mask this foolishness as "tolerance" now.

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Big Man McG writes:

... I don't see Kelley as an Objectivist, but I am eager to be convinced.

BigDaddy, do you agree that Objectivism as presented by Miss Raynd and professor Peikoff  is presented as a logically consistent whole?

If so, do you agree that accepting Objectivism means accepting the framework that necessarily constructs the entire Objectivist philosophy?

If the answer to either is no, then why?...

My approach here may be more simplistic and common sensical than is to your taste. I agree with your general characterizations of Objectivism but Kelley seems to fall well within them.

(1) For me, 99% of humanity is ignorant of Rand and Objectivism. 99% of the rest is highly indifferent or hostile. Rand, Branden, Peikoff, Kelley, etc. seem to reside inside that tiny isolated minority which isn't. All seem overwhelmingly influenced by Randianism -- even to the point of radical personal revolution. For me (and probably all outside observers and unbiased analysts) this makes them all Objectivsts....And let's not forget that hilariously unfair and extremist quote from Robert Tracinski which started this whole brouhaha!

(2) Another issue is that of the philosophical alternatives. The rest of the planet -- to the extent that they truly have philosophies at all -- seems to mainly consist of monotheists and socialists and altruists. All four thinkers above reject these three summarily and for almost exactly the same reasons. So again, one could logically conclude they have a great commonality of belief i.e. the same philosophy. Especially when you consider how much the Objectivist and non-Objectivist believers hate, revile, and reject each other.

(3) Whenever doctrinaire marxist college students argue deep into the night over esoteric points of doctrine regarding trotskyite vs. socialist labor vs. orthodox marxism vs. eucumenical communism vs. marxist-leninism vs. maoism etc. it is understood by all that, deep down, these guys actually share a philosophy. This is so even though any two might well loathe each other personally and claim that the other is a total incompetent, fraud, traitor, enemy, and verily worse than Satan himself. Still, everyone of decent intellectual honesty gets that both are marxists.

(4) Saying that someone somewhere somehow has conclusively overwhelmingly proven that someone else is wrong in their beliefs is very unconvincing to me. I call this the Appeal to Obscure Authority. The person with the wild claim is liberated from actually making his argument and stating his reasons. Many a moslem fanatic looks earnestly into the camera and says that slaughtering Western multitudes is good based on the authority of Iman Abu A-hole or some such. Then he confidently and beguilingly appeals to us to read the proper highly boring paper. I don't buy this.

(5) I find 'Fact and Value' unpersuasive. So too 'To Whom It May Concern.' :blink:

(6) If Kelley et al are so wrong then it should be easy to state the reasons in quick, clear, emphatic, undeniable form. There isn't any need to take tiny segments of isolated sentences and torture them into strange meanings. It should be easy to find paragraph after paragraph of writing from Kelley which is obviously untrue and evil, and which blatantly contradicts similar paragraphs by Rand.

(7) And more.

Well, then! This is my basic approach and thinking on the subject, McG. I don't claim it's perfect. But it has to be better than appeals to faith, appeals to authority, intellectual intimidation, personal bullying, ad hominem attacks, name calling, moralizing, psychologizing, abuse, gross disrespect, rank incivility, and the like.

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To me, it is clear that Kelley, in his published writings,for a long time, was able to HIDE what eventually came out in "A Question of Sanction"

- that he regarded tolerance as a virtue in the cognitive realm. That's why it WOULD be difficult to immediately dash off a list of fallacies that he wrote. But Objectivism has a history of people hiding their true natures for a while, so why is this case suprising?

He never was particularly a great thinker, and just to prove I am not Monday - morning quarterbacking, I will also say that some of the people still attached to ARI are not particularly brilliant. But at least they are not departing from Objectivism and still calling it objectivism. Kelley did and does. Branden did and does. Many others do. And I CAN quote text from any of THEIR writings that show a fundamental departure from Objectivism.

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Well, then! This is my basic approach and thinking on the subject, McG. I don't claim it's perfect. But it has to be better than appeals to faith, appeals to authority, intellectual intimidation, personal bullying, ad hominem attacks, name calling, moralizing, psychologizing, abuse, gross disrespect, rank incivility, and the like.
You left out one type of invalid argumentation: evasion by talking about everything except the subject, then concluding with the statement that you find "Fact and Value" "unpersuasive" without having offered a single word on its content.

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If, for example, one were to go to the TOC home page, and see that they have a heading called "objectivist links" and if you click on it, on of the options is www.nathanielbranden.net and you go to it and see the heading on the bottom for "Ayn Rand and Objectivism" and click on it, you will then see some articles tp choose from.  "We're All Libertarians Now" is a particularly good example of Branden's approach.  IF ANYONE ON EARTH IS A "SOCIAL METAPHYSICIAN," HE IS. The following is a direct quote:"In any event, today libertarianism is part of our language and is commonly understood to mean the advocacy of minimal government. Ayn Rand is commonly referred to as "a libertarian philosopher." Folks, we are all libertarians now. Might as well get used to it."

Thank you very much for posting this. I periodically get updates on the lunacy of the Branden/Kelley/Libertarian front, but this Branden piece eluded me. It is truly funny and ironic how supporters of these characters frequently claim that we make up things about them, yet their own printed words far surpass anything we could even have imagined. The approach and attitude expressed by GodlessCapitalist in earlier posts is fleshed out beautifully by Branden here. He obliterates the fundamental distinctions between the libertarian and the Objectivist approach, and embraces them all in a wonderfully warm act of comraderie. Like they say, with friends like these ...

And I do particularly love the note Branden ended on, his quote from the Talmud for which he sappily mourns the possibility of having been a "way to break through" to Ayn Rand (Yikes!) on libertarianism. Branden says: "A hero is one who knows how to make a friend out of an enemy." What he leaves out is that the way he befriended his enemy was to sacrifice and disown truth, fact, and value.

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My approach here may be more simplistic and common sensical than is to your taste.

An appeal to what you feel is common sense is a problem, however.

I'm going to assume you agree with these points. Please tell me if you don't:

1. There is only one reality. Existence doesn't change from person to person.

2. The purpose of Objectivism is to derive an accurate understanding of existence.

3. When objectively deriving information, 1 and 2 don't allow the possibility of different results between us. Since we share the same existence, there can be only one correct representation.

Now, the non-Kelley Objectivism is fully derived from only a few uncontestable facts about consciousness and existence. There isn't a single element of a subjective hunch or an appeal to popular common sense. Any appeal to common sense or pragmatism in a modification of Objectivism would represent the first element of that kind.

Why is this so important?

This is important because Objectivism, when objectively derived as it stands, leaves no room for conflict among facts. It is an accurate reflection of existence as it is. This is its entire value.

When you introduce a personal valuation as fact without having methodically derived it from other facts, you allow for conflict. If you go on your gut, your evalutation of what you believe is potentially different from mine, is it not? There is no guarantee at all that every person will share your common sense belief. Therefore, to use this valuation to modify Objectivism is to destroy Objectivism's ability to produce a single outcome. This necessarily means that Objectivism itself has been destroyed, if we agreed to its purpose as providing a single true analysis of reality.

If you understand and agree to all of the above, then we can't agree to modify Objectivism without taking the time to objectively derive facts. I understand that it is tedious, but this is why Objectivists enjoy an advantage over lazy minds, isn't it?

Most of your points are subjective. There is one that stands out as thoughtful but problematic, however. When you talk about the different kinds of communists debating who is correct, and whether they are all still communists in the end, they do share one factor: They all have errors in their thinking. Do you agree? This means conflict isn't important, because there are an infinite number of potential falsehoods for every truth.

It's possible to debate back and forth with two viewpoints and assign them equal merit and put them under the same classification if they are both incorrect. I might argue that granite rocks are the best magnet, and you might argue that granite pebbles are the better attractor. We are both wrong, though others might still call us both Busted Granite Magnetists because of all the assumptions we share. Here, we are defined by common error.

On the other hand, when we debate back and forth with two viewpoints, can we assign them equal merit if one viewpoint is true and the other is different?

If you argue that square pegs best fit square holes, can I be correct if I contradict you by holding the circle peg square hole position? We might agree that pegs go in holes, that the peg doesn't go in sideways, that pegs can't be carved from balloons, and a million other things. Only one position can be correct when we're dealing with a complete set of truths however. This is true no matter how much I'd like my round peg square hole philosophy to be included in Peggingist beliefs. Common sense says if you hit it hard enough...

Similarly if Objectivism is a means for deriving reality, there can't be two Objectivisms that differ on true reality, can there be? Only one can be Objectivism. On the other hand, if Errorism was a philosophy designed to produce errors, we could have an infinite number of different systems all producing different outputs, all called Errorism.

I've tried to be very basic, honest, and civil. Please let me know if you see a problem in anything I have so far said.

If you would like me to point you at a couple books that would be useful in learning to derive your own fully objective position on Kelley, I can point to where to begin. You might find you learn something, or you might find a way to prove us all wrong.

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Thank you very much for posting this.

You're welcome. Now and then its suits me just fine to go over there and look around. There is almost always something too good (bad) to pass up. I am more and more convinced that they don't even believe themselves anymore. Branden has been all fluff, Sciaberra is unintelligible, and the bulk of the rest are apologizers.

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Branden has been all fluff, Sciaberra is unintelligible, and the bulk of the rest are apologizers.

Did you notice our friend, BigDaddySexMachine, over on the Drugs and Objectivism thread in the Basic Questions forum, identifying himself as a hedonist and a drug user? In his immortal words, "life is rather empty without them." And this mental garbage is what lectures us here as to why Kelley is such an Objectivist and what is wrong with the ARI and its supporters. :) Every one of these characters wants to have their Objectivism, and eat it too. It's like "Why can't I be an Objectivist, but be a hedonist too?" They all want to appropriate the value of Objectivism, but keep their own little private sphere of irrationality which contradicts the philosophy that Ayn Rand gave value to. Really pathetic. We need someone here to take charge and sweep away the vermin who demean Ayn Rand, Objectivism, ARI, and its supporters.

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. We need someone here to take charge and sweep away the vermin who demean Ayn Rand, Objectivism, ARI, and its supporters.

Yeah but they'd just keep coming back under different names.

From my experience on all of the "Objectivist" boards in the last couple of years, it seems like this one is the best.

In my estimation, for every hard-thinking, real Objectivist, there are probably 3 or 4 pretenders. And if the pretenders aren't openly obnoxious it isn't so bad. It is the few at the top (branden's, etc.) that really make me ill. They had about 13 years to make their case against her while she was alive. They didn't. She was very capable in debate. They didn't test her then. But look at them now. Vermin is the right word.

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Yeah but they'd just keep coming back under different names.

Then just sweep them away again when they reveal themselves. Demeaning Ayn Rand, Objectivism, ARI, and its supporters should not be permitted here.

From my experience on all of the "Objectivist" boards in the last couple of years, it seems like this one is the best.

That is why I have stayed here as long as I have. But, nevertheless, the board can be made better by burying these obnoxious clowns as soon as they show their heads. I do not mean people who just disagree, but people who promote Kelley, Libertarianism, and the like, or who bash Miss Rand, Objectivism, or ARI, should never be permitted to stay here.

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Yeah but they'd just keep coming back under different names.

Then just sweep them away again when they reveal themselves. Demeaning Ayn Rand, Objectivism, ARI, and its supporters should not be permitted here.

That is why I have stayed here as long as I have. But, nevertheless, the board can be made better by burying these obnoxious clowns as soon as they show their heads. I do not mean people who just disagree, but people who promote Kelley, Libertarianism, and the like, or who bash Miss Rand, Objectivism, or ARI, should never be permitted to stay here.

I agree, but the moderators here do work free of charge. More work for them would be tough. But you're right.

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... people who promote Kelley, Libertarianism, and the like, or who bash Miss Rand, Objectivism, or ARI, should never be permitted to stay here.

Thank you. Good point.

Back when Kelley was first causing a stir with his aberrations, I asked his followers this question:

"What if I formed an institute and called it the David Kelley Institute, saying it was for spreading his philosophy, and I used it to preach intolerance? Would Kelly object? ... If yes, why is HE claiming a right he DENIES to Ayn Rand?"

I never received an answer.

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I agree, but the moderators here do work free of charge. More work for them would be tough. But you're right.

I would be happy to start taking up a collection for them in order to make it more worthwhile. I bet a lot of people would contribute to get a strong sheriff to come to town. :D

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Thank you.  Good point.

Back when Kelley was first causing a stir with his aberrations, I asked his followers this question: 

"What if I formed an institute and called it the David Kelley Institute, saying it was for spreading his philosophy, and I used it to preach intolerance?  Would Kelly object? ...  If yes, why is HE claiming a right he DENIES to Ayn Rand?"

I never received an answer.

Good question! But nowadays I bet you would receive a lot of answers, though none of them would be any good. :D

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I would be happy to start taking up a collection for them in order to make it more worthwhile. I bet a lot of people would contribute to get a strong sheriff to come to town.

I would contribute. In fact, I wonder if charging for participation here would also help keep some of the vermin out.

Beyond that is the fact that a strong sheriff can't be effective in the longterm unless the town has clear, concise, complete rules for behavior -- specifying the good (by purpose, not by particular action) and the bad (by principle, but also by a list of particular unacceptable behaviors).

With specific rules in place, deleting vermin who violate the rules becomes much less time consuming for the moderators. Besides, the presence of such rules tends to exclude the vermin in the first place.

Our local group http://www.aristotleadventure.com/pao/ takes this approach of specifying what we want and what we don't want. The results have been good.

A further suggestion: Require all participants to identify themselves by their real names and not hide behind pseudonyms.

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I find the attacks on me by stephen_speicher rather sad. I actually agree with much of what he says about libertarianism. If he would bother to try to understand what I am saying and have a rational discussion with me perhaps he would see that and be able to persuade me all the way over to his position. These are not easy issues, and the correct positions are not as obvious as some people seem to think. But unfortunately he prefers personal attacks to rational argument. I think this one of the main reasons why the Objectivist movement has not been as successful as it could have been.

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