Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
HandyHandle

Carl Barney and NYT article

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

10 minutes ago, HandyHandle said:

You haven’t addressed the two sections of the Complaint I pointed out.

True. I've no interest in making a research project out of this. At the same time, absent such an undertaking, what has been presented thus far misses what I initially observed in the NYT's article as well as the my observation about what the general focus of TOS's followup addresses.

The fact that you've only recently discovered the articles is only incidental. From what I've read thus far between yourself and Craig Biddle, the TOS has more moxie, and I consider it to be more saliently put. If that makes me more tendentious, then so be it. It is my mind that has to consider what are the relevant facts, and part of that consideration sometimes takes into consideration (rightly or wrongly) the manner in which they are presented.

As Paul Harvey was fond of saying: "Good day!".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

Hello Ninth Doctor? What do you say about all this?

 

I'm worn out on the topic.  But since you're calling me out by name: let's assume Barney made a nice pile out of Scientology (which, point conceded, is a scam).  He got booted out, who cares why, though probably for being too successful, thus becoming a threat to other "intellectual heirs".  He discovered Objectivism, and attended Rand's final public appearance, when she excoriated the Universities.  He goes home and watches the Fountainhead movie, and finds himself (sitting on his ill-gotten pile) identifying with Wynand when he calls his earnings from the Banner the "financial fertilizer" to build a great building with Roark.  Putting two and two together, he launches into private colleges for his next venture. 

And someone else can fill in the rest.  That student loans aren't exactly money from the Government, they are how the customers get the money to pay.  Many will be happy afterwards, plenty won't.  If Government weren't involved (via guarantees, special tax treatment, and a special exemption from bankruptcy discharge) there would be a private alternative.  That's been crowded out, that's just the way these things work.  And the Government is going to stick it's nose in eventually, eventually having arrived within the last few years.  But I meant to wrap up about 5 sentences ago.

My verdict: not convinced.  Maybe he is a bad guy, but on this evidence I'm voting for acquittal. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

Quote

As to compensating employees: Justice in business, as you know, is crucial – one of its highest virtues and values. I joyfully practice justice in my company. My executives and staff do so many great things every day for the company and indirectly for me, and I’m so appreciative of it that I’m as generous as I can be with them. For instance, I buy all my staff and executives thoughtful Christmas gifts along with a ‘handwritten’ letter of appreciation and thanks – this is a joyous practice of justice.

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).
 

 

Edited by HandyHandle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2017 at 9:56 PM, HandyHandle said:

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.

Aside from the solitary In the news reference, there is the TOS article and Dr. Hurd piece graciously contributed by his self-appointed adjudicator for additional consideration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a chance Mr. Blarney was and is a con artist who can play the part necessary to defraud others of their money while blinded by the optimism and evasions that go with faith or a zealous dream.

He could have, after his experience with Scientology, latched onto Objectivism, thinking incorrectly that it is also a kind of cult with a niche market ripe for his predation.

He could have embarked on a mission to bilk the naivety of the O masses, studied in earnest all Rand wrote and said, and while internally unmoved, clothed himself in the raiment of a man of rational self-interest, with the ideas and virtues of a true Objectivist.

He could have...

He also could have, as 9th doctor points out, actually become an Objectivist, and is not (or even perhaps never was) a con artist.

 

All we can go on for now is perception and evidence.  It is not likely anything outside of a full investigation would be able to decide this.  However, a potential school attendee or Objectivist organization might still want to better assess the "risk" that they are dealing with a fraud.

Here is where probability, i.e. "it's possible" comes into the picture. 

Suggestions

1:  Look for evidence of Mr. Barney is like now by looking at what he says, his comments on Rand, his statements about himself and others.  Does he actually understand Objectivism?  Does what he outwardly profess indicate correct knowledge and Objectivist values?  Look at what Mr. Blarney has recently (since "becoming" Objectivist) done.  How does he run his schools, what are his dealing with others?  Do all the actions of the man show he is an honest Objectivist?  How "much" does he talk the talk and walk the walk...

2: Consider and weigh the evidence to assess a rough likelihood that Barney is reformed )or innocent) on the one hand or that he is in fact pulling a fast one on us all.

3. From that risk assessment decide what to do, go or don't go to his school, alert ARI and TOS or remain silent, or simply turn your mind and effort to things more immediate to your life.  Your choice of action of course is context dependent.

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/13/2017 at 4:56 AM, HandyHandle said:

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.

If you're being honest about your motives, sure you could. You could prove it, and establish some credibility, by answering what I asked you a few days ago: who are you, what political/religious organizations are you associated with, how did you become interested in Mr. Barney, etc.?

Because right now, you have the credibility of an anonymous accuser with a hidden grudge: in other words, none whatsoever. I (and I'm sure anyone else with half a brain) would never let an anonymous smear arriving through the Internet cause me to question my friends' or business associates' honesty or character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, HandyHandle said:

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.

Justify with whom?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HH

My reason for suspending judgement was only that I don't know how the Scientology hierarchy of fraud works.  It could be assumed that fraud and/or deception occurs even within the organization.  So that different levels of naïveté complicity and perpetration exists.  He attained a certain level ... what that really means in terms of blameworthiness is not clear to me without the facts.  He may have himself still been a victim slowly sliding towards being a perpetrator on the momentum of his own evasions at the time... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strictlylogical,

Quote

[Barney] may have himself still been a victim slowly sliding towards being a perpetrator on the momentum of his own evasions at the time.

“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!

 

Edited by HandyHandle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2017 at 9:56 PM, HandyHandle said:

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. 

It’s an alternate narrative, and it’s probably exactly the way Barney thinks of it.  And it fits the facts very well.  BTW, the "certain background" line had to do with the ex-fundamentalist Christian I wrote of.  Today being Easter, and myself having been raised Catholic...at least I know why leg of lamb is on special at the the supermarket. Barney?  I imagine he still (after all these years) could transform two Campbell's soup cans into an E-Meter, if the need ever arose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2017 at 9:56 PM, HandyHandle said:

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.

Government meddling exists in higher education.  No doubt about it.  Barney didn’t make it that way.  So we have to ask: should an Objectivist refuse to get involved in an endeavor where Government’s tentacles are present?  Don’t become a physician, since Medicare (or Obamacare etc.) is certainly going to be your paymaster?  How about banking?  Or maybe it’s ok to delve into it, but don’t be too successful (like Barney) or else you’re going to become the target of this:

646835838144e657d0e231f244a38ccdb1e654e3

That would be like eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, which as everyone with a "certain background" knows, St. Paul said one shouldn't do. 

BTW, I am curious how you know that Barney would be less successful under a different system.  You’ve perhaps run a simulation in an alternate universe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×