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MisterSwig

Cato Institute Libertarian To Run TOC

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David Kelley announced today his plans to move TOC to Washington, DC, and make Ed Hudgins the new executive director of the Center. Kelley will stay aboard as the "chief intellectual officer."

You may know that Hudgins is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank.

I think this move speaks volumes about the continued downward spiral of TOC. For one thing, it is a fairly clear example of what happens when you mix food (Objectivism) with poison (Libertarianism). The poison takes over and paralyzes your system. How long before TOC is fully consumed by the libertarian swamp?

Incidentally, does anyone know whether Hudgins is even an atheist? He received his PhD from the Catholic University of America, and some of his op-eds are strangely soft on Christianity. I wonder.

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Hudgins worked at the religious/conservative Heritage Foundation before CATO.

If you look at TOC's "tax returns"(990s) they almost went bankrupt in 2002. They couldn't even pay their AMEX card on time. Since then they have been raising money just to get above water. They were even using money raised in fund raising to pay for part of the the summer event. So if you contributed to TOC since 2002, you've funded other peoples vacations.

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Incidentally, does anyone know whether Hudgins is even an atheist? He received his PhD from the Catholic University of America, and some of his op-eds are strangely soft on Christianity. I wonder.

I wondered that too after reading his op-ed "The human spirit of Christmas."

Diana Hsieh gave that as an example in her "A public statement on the Objectivist Center" www.dianahsieh.com/toc/statement.html

[it]"repeatedly appeals to Christian ideas in such a way that a person unfamiliar with Objectivism would never guess that the philosophy is atheistic, let alone that it wholly rejects the Christian moral ideal. The basic approach to ideas in the op-ed is not only misleading and condescending, but also contrary to the Objectivist rejection of appeasement.

Also on her blog: www.dianahsieh.com/blog

"Ed Hudgins' op-eds are a paradigm case of bad publicity for Objectivism: they are tepid, weak, confused, contrary to Objectivist principles, appeasing, and so on. People reading them unfamiliar with Objectivism would come away with a totally wrong idea of the philosophy-- thanks to its supposed defenders at TOC.

TOC is not merely ineffective in its work to spread Objectivism, but actively destructive. They are all about bad publicity for the philosophy."

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I wondered that too after reading his op-ed "The human spirit of Christmas."

Diana Hsieh gave that as an example in her "A public statement on the Objectivist Center"    www.dianahsieh.com/toc/statement.html

I would be interested in knowing if this lady might be accept at ARI as a speaker on the area of TOC or something similar? Or, how it works is that once you have affliated with an organisation like TOC you can't join ARI and vice versa. I have to admit my ignorance here because I live in Australia, thereby the ARI/TOC debate/issue, if there really is a debate/issue that is :D, isn't really dealt with here. The only time that ARI and TOC comes up in discussion I have with people is when a anti-Objectivist is hostile towards the philosophy, thereby using the issue as a weapon against Objectivism. So if anybody can explain some of the 'inner workings' here I would appreciate it.

Ash :lol:

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I would be interested in knowing if this lady might be accept at ARI as a speaker on the area of TOC or something similar?

I cannot speak for ARI, but it is my impression that ARI would not want to have "a speaker on the area of TOC." To do so would be to dignify that organization beyond its actual worth, to elevate it to a level beyond which it deserves. ARI is in the business of promoting Objectivism, not swatting its enemies. Anyway, that is my view.

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I cannot speak for ARI, but it is my impression that ARI would not want to have "a speaker on the area of TOC." To do so would be to dignify that organization beyond its actual worth, to elevate it to a level beyond which it deserves. ARI is in the business of promoting Objectivism, not swatting its enemies. Anyway, that is my view.

Thanks Stephen for your view, which is what I am after since alot of you would have more experience with the ARI organisation than I. When I wrote a rough draft of this post I didn't include "as a speaker on the area of TOC or something similar?". This part was included, later, to give an example of something she might be able to a talk on. The main point was could she be accepted at ARI organisation, to promote Objectivism, at all due to her past association with TOC.

Ash :D

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The main point was could she be accepted at ARI organisation, to promote Objectivism, at all due to her past association with TOC.

Well, again, I cannot speak for ARI, but, in general, it is honest and just to judge people not simply by the previous mistakes they made, but also by who and what they are now. There are, of course, things that people are capable of doing that are unforgivable, but personally I would not treat previous association with the TOC, in and by itself, in that way. I would be rather suspicious of someone who was intimately involved for some time with that organization and its prime members -- and it would take a lot more than just hearing a condemnation made of the TOC, even for the right reasons, before I could gain trust in the intellectual honesty and integrity of such a person -- but past involvement with the TOC would not preclude me being open to evidence of substantial change.

And, I would imagine that for ARI their standards in this regard would have to be even higher than what I have expressed here. What might be acceptable on a private basis may not be sufficient when you are charged with the awesome public responsibility of protecting and promoting the good name and philosophy of Ayn Rand. But, yet again, I speak here for myself, not ARI, so if this is an issue of great concern to you, you can write directly to ARI and pose your question to them.

Edit: I should add that while it is nice to see Mrs. Hseih break with the TOC, that in itself does not necessarily imply that she must then be an Objectivist in the full sense that the word must apply to a spokesperson for the ARI. I do not know enough about her to judge either way, but there are people who associate themselves with Objectivism and denounce both the TOC and ARI. I do not mean to imply that Mrs. Hsieh is such a person, but only that condemnation of an anti-Objectivist organization such as the TOC is not a guarantee of positive and proper support for Objectivism.

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I wonder why the Objectivist Center didn't announce Hudgins as a speaker at this event????

On August 13/14th the Atlas Economic Research Foundation held the "Communicating the Ideal of Liberty" which had Hudgins as a panel member.

www.atlasusa.org

The keynote speaker was Foster Friess: "putting a human face on economic liberalism."

<"In our society, I think we too often see the disease of envy," he said. "We have to get rid of this disease in America if we want to get ahead.

People with an excess of money should use their money to be a steward for God, he said. Friess said the fact that he is a successful businessman who is a Christian helps him to realize he is a channel to bring God's help to the needy people of the world.

"I'm excited to make money to help other people," he said. "It's not my money but the Lord's money."

Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints were a major reason the [Atlas] held workshops in Salt Lake City>

The keynote speech on day two? "The culture and religious foundations of Private Property".

<> is from the Deseret Morning News for 8-15-2004

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I wonder why the Objectivist Center didn't announce Hudgins as a speaker at this event????

On August 13/14th the Atlas Economic Research Foundation held the "Communicating the Ideal of Liberty" which had Hudgins as a panel member.

The October issue of TOC's Navigator magazine reported on this event at:

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/center/ne...-atlas-conf.asp

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Those who wonder about Diana Hsieh's position regarding Peikoff and OPAR may be interested in a relatively recent entry on her blog (May 2, 2003):

http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2003_04_27_weekly.html

-- Michelle Fram Cohen

For the record, I am a dischanted supporter of TOC who realized she was "financing other people's vacations." But I will not try to rewrite my history.

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Your right Sparrow, I missed it at logbook.

But that makes it 10X worse.

First TOC white washes the religious nature of the whole event. [see post above]Then it uses phases like "true individualists are not slaves to irrational whims" and

"Hudgins talk met with positive reactions...exhibiting the wide appeal of Objectivist principles."

What speech questioned "Christian morals" as irrational whims? Who made the case for Objectivist principles?

Read Hudgins statements here:

www.atlasusa.org/reports/event/04_slc2_Hudgins.php

It reads like a George W Bush speech. You wouldn't know Objectivism was atheistic.

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...

First TOC white washes the religious nature of the whole event. [see post above]Then it uses phases like "true individualists are not slaves to irrational whims" and

"Hudgins talk met with positive reactions...exhibiting the wide appeal of Objectivist principles."

...

It reads like a George W Bush speech. You wouldn't know Objectivism was atheistic.

More importantly, it takes the objectivity out of Objectivism! I skimmed Hudgins' speech, and there's no explanation of why the Objectivist base of ethics is any more rational, true or objective than any other foundation. IOW, he presents Objectivism as just another item on a buffet from which one can select any philosophy one wishes, with none better than the others.

You don't have to show deficiences in other theories of ethics every time one takes on a discussion of ethics, but in that context, you have to at least indicate why your theory is better than another.

I've had no respect for TOC for a long time, but this is just ridiculous. These guys are like the conservatives of Objectivism: they claim to uphold an ideology, but at every opportunity, they sell out their principles in order to be more acceptable.

Well, screw the masses. If they want to worship fairy tales or old trees, cows or dirt, that's their problem. I ain't no Christian and I ain't interested in saving their souls.

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Well, again, I cannot speak for ARI, but, in general, it is honest and just to judge people not simply by the previous mistakes they made, but also by who and what they are now. There are, of course, things that people are capable of doing that are unforgivable, but personally I would not treat previous association with the TOC, in and by itself, in that way. I would be rather suspicious of someone who was intimately involved for some time with that organization and its prime members -- and it would take a lot more than just hearing a condemnation made of the TOC, even for the right reasons, before I could gain trust in the intellectual honesty and integrity of such a person -- but past involvement with the TOC would not preclude me being open to evidence of substantial change.  

I do not mean to imply that Mrs. Hsieh is such a person, but only that condemnation of an anti-Objectivist organization such as the TOC is not a guarantee of positive and proper support for Objectivism.

Again thanks for that insight Stephen. I was wondering what dealings you've had with the ARI? The reason I ask this question is just so I can make a judgement about your post. Whether you have had specific dealings with ARI or more general. Note: I have taken your statement about not speaking for ARI into account.

I should add that while it is nice to see Mrs. Hseih break with the TOC, that in itself does not necessarily imply that she must then be an Objectivist in the full sense that the word must apply to a spokesperson for the ARI. I do not know enough about her to judge either way, but there are people who associate themselves with Objectivism and denounce both the TOC and ARI.

Also, I should like to distance myself from Mrs Hseih and her works, since I have had no dealings with her myself. As for the part about association and to clarify my position, I am in full agreement with Ayn's philosophy, but I don't consider my self apart of either organisation. The main reason for this is that I live Australia, though I do support ARI via donations while I don't donate to TOC, thereby I am at a serious disadvantage of trying to make sound judgement on the issue of TOC and ARI. Hence I have left this issue as arbitrary.

Lastly Steven, could you explain or clarify your following statement "condemnation of an anti-Objectivist organization such as the TOC" a little further? TOC, as far as I know they support the philosophy Objectivism [Click here ] though I would agree they are inconsistent with it, thereby how can they be an anti-Objectivist organisation.

regards

Ash :thumbsup:

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Again thanks for that insight Stephen.  I was wondering what dealings you've had with the ARI? The reason I ask this question is just so I can make a judgement about your post. Whether you have had specific dealings with ARI or more general.  Note: I have taken your statement about not speaking for ARI into account.

For many years even before the Institute was formed, I have known, respected, and admired many of the founders and associates of ARI. Other than that, I attend conferences, lectures, and other events sponsored or supported by the ARI, and receive the usual mailings and updates of information.

Lastly Steven, could you explain or clarify your following statement "condemnation of an anti-Objectivist organization such as the TOC" a little further? TOC, as far as I know they support the philosophy Objectivism [Click here ] though I would agree they are inconsistent with it, thereby how can they be an anti-Objectivist organisation.

The gravest threat to Objectivism is by those who destroy it from within. Having policies that are inconsistent with Objectivism, while simultaneously representing itself as a spokesman for Objectivism, is as anti-Objectivist as an organization can get. Have you read Leonard Peikoff's Fact and Value?

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Rearden,

A good indication is the fact that the only TOC event commemorating Rand's Centennial is a half-day forum of brief presentations, none of which by an Objectivist scholar (unless one counts Kelley). None of the presentations is about Rand's life or her novels.

See http://www.objectivistcenter.org/events/co...ences-ar100.asp

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Since Diana Hsieh included a link from her Blog to my post #11 on this thread, I would like to add this comment: Those who still support TOC cannot be condemned for being in the stage in which Mrs. Hsieh was for a long time, until relatively recently. It takes some people longer to see the light.

Edited by Sparrow

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Since Diana Hsieh included a link from her Blog to my post #11 on this thread, I would like to add this comment: Those who still support TOC cannot be condemned for being in the stage in which Mrs. Hsieh was for a long time, until relatively recently. It takes some people longer to see the light.

I don't agree. I condemned Mrs. Hsieh and other TOC supporters while they were damaging the cause of Objectivism, because that's objectively what they were doing. It's good to see that Mrs. Hsieh has stopped supporting at least some enemies of Objectivism, and stopped retarding her own intellectual progress. But that hardly retroactively absolves her of past actions, and certainly does not make current TOC supporters less guilty of their continuing immoralities.

The relevant section of "Fact and Value" is this:

"Nor, when such youngsters drop out, do they say to the world belligerently: "Don't dare to judge me for my past, because my error was honest." On the contrary—and here I speak from my own personal experience of honest errors that I committed as a teenager—the best among these young people are contrite; they recognize the aid and comfort, inadvertent though it be, which they have been giving to error and evil, and they seek to make amends for it. They expect those who know of their past creeds and allegiances to regard them with suspicion; they know that it is their own responsibility to demonstrate objectively and across time that they have changed..."

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I condemned Mrs. Hsieh and other TOC supporters while they were damaging the cause of Objectivism, because that's objectively what they were doing. It's good to see that Mrs. Hsieh has stopped supporting at least some enemies of Objectivism, and stopped retarding her own intellectual progress. But that hardly retroactively absolves her of past actions, and certainly does not make current TOC supporters less guilty of their continuing immoralities.

The relevant section of "Fact and Value" is this:

"Nor, when such youngsters drop out, do they say to the world belligerently: "Don't dare to judge me for my past, because my error was honest." On the contrary—and here I speak from my own personal experience of honest errors that I committed as a teenager—the best among these young people are contrite; they recognize the aid and comfort, inadvertent though it be, which they have been giving to error and evil, and they seek to make amends for it. They expect those who know of their past creeds and allegiances to regard them with suspicion; they know that it is their own responsibility to demonstrate objectively and across time that they have changed..."

I fear that Adam's comments may give a false impression of me. I'm particularly disturbed by the implication that I've adopted anything like the attitude of "Don't dare to judge me for my past, because my error was honest." And I'm also baffled by the implication that I've continued to support any enemies of Objectivism. I hope that I am misreading Adam's remarks in some fashion, as I don't think that my record warrants such judgments.

Those interested in that record should look here: http://www.dianahsieh.com/misc/toc.html. As always, I am more than willing to answer any further questions on these matters (preferably in e-mail), so long as the inquiry is reasonably polite. (Really though, I have no wish whatsoever to debate my moral status with anyone. I can provide relevant facts, but to do more would be inappropriate.) I certainly encourage people to examine the particular facts of my history -- and judge accordingly.

(For the record, that quote from F&V concerns young people who have accepted inherently dishonest ideas. Kelley's views, although egregiously wrong, do not qualify. Nonetheless, the same considerations apply to any serious and longstanding philosophic error such as mine.)

Diana Hsieh

NoodleFood

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For the record, my profile provides my name, Andrew

My response was to Sparrow's assertion that Diana Hsieh's improvement means that TOC supporters cannot ever be morally judged.

Because I don't know Mrs. Hsieh's case very well, I did not want to suggest that I knew with certainty that Mrs. Hsieh had ceased to support all the people whom I consider to be Objectivism's enemies (this list includes, Kelley, Branden, and Sciabarra, and various other lesser folks). As far as I've seen, however, Mrs. Hsieh has acted appropriately for the past year or so, and I do believe she was indeed young when she fell in with the wrong crowd, which is a mitigating factor in my mind. So in fact, I believe she has acted (as far as I've seen) in accordance with the path Dr. Peikoff thought that a moral person who discovered their error would follow.

It is Sparrow who I believe is suggesting the incorrect attitude, to say that all TOC folks can never be judged, because some day they may discover their errors. That is where I was directing my criticism.

Edited by A.West

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It is Sparrow who I believe is suggesting the incorrect attitude, to say that all TOC folks can never be judged, because some day they may discover their errors. That is where I was directing my criticism.
Thank you for the clarification, Andrew. (And sorry about getting your name wrong! I saw "A West" and automatically thought "Adam"!)

From what I've seen, TOC has become much more obviously corrupt over time. People who might not have seen the real-life implications of the philosophic ideas advocated in AQOS and T&T upon first reading many years ago now have the benefit of overwhelming concrete evidence of those implications. Those who nonetheless continue to actively support TOC morally and financially cannot be said to have been duped by Kelley's fancy arguments. They are getting precisely the sort of not-even-remotely Objectivist organization they want -- and deserve.

To put a less fine point on it: If soon-to-be Executive-Director Ed Hudgins' <A HREF="http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2005/01/appeasement-center.html">disgustingly altruistic Christmas op-ed</A> wasn't enough to convince someone that the organization ought to be rejected and condemned, then nothing will.

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It is Sparrow who I believe is suggesting the incorrect attitude, to say that all TOC folks can never be judged, because some day they may discover their errors. That is where I was directing my criticism.

Andrew --

I agree with you that this is the incorrect attitude. There should be objective standards for evaluating the degree of a person's involvement with an organization and the reason for his support. My point is that those who supported TOC in the past may want to consider that current supporters are committing the same errors they did, and that condemning them is not very constructive.

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Actually, I think Mrs. Hsieh realizes this point, since she acknowledged her gratitude to Shawn Klein on her 1/9/2005 blog entry, in spite of his work for TOC. :)

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I've known a handful of people in my life who got active with TOC. From my personal experiences, their support for TOC was not caused by "errors" or ignorance. They evaded evidence presented to them that TOC was destructive to Objectivism. Some seemed to spend more time studying the Brandens' attacks on Rand than on studying Objectivism. The philsophy was a floating concept to them anyway. Most of them, were recreational drug users, and rationalized away any indication that the impairment of reason was inconsistent with Objectivism. My personal experience with most TOC supporters has been that they wanted to talk about Ayn Rand without really understanding her philosophy, without practicing it, and without having their ideas or actions being judged by "buzzkills" like me.

To me, the TOC has only one virtue- it draws people like these away from actual Objectivist events and activities, preserving their quality.

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