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Gabriel

Objectivism vs. Tolerationalists

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Hi! I'd like to gather links and matterials on the ARI vs. OC schism. I want to further document myself on the issue.

If you have such matterials, and link, please post them here. Thanks a lot!

I think this episode in Objectivist history is very important, and, paradoxally, little discussed. What's you take on it? With who do you side?

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I fully support Leonard Peikoff and ARI and fully reject the "tolerationists." (Thanks for not calling them a different camp of Objectivism because they are CERTAINLY not Objectivists)

This essay of Peikoff sums up ARI's position on the subject:

http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/f-v.html

You can read the fundamentals of Kelley's and TOC's position here (these people make me sick):

http://objectivistcenter.org/articles/dkel...sted-legacy.asp

http://objectivistcenter.org/articles/dkel...sted-legacy.asp

It is little discussed by those people who support ARI because very little needs to be said about it concerning who is right and who is wrong in my opinion.

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Thanks for those links.

As far as the truth of it is concerned, it's all clear to me. The "tolerationists" are NOT objectivists, since Ayn Rand's view on this is clearly expressed in VoS (the article about acting rational in irational societies - one ought to pass moral judgement).

At this point, the problem is are they right, and was Ayn Rand wrong?

This entire debate seems a big floating abstraction to me, since the issue of tolerating libertarians is only part of this. In context, Dr. Peikoff's view is correct. We oughtn't associate with them. Regaring other contexts, I can't tell at this point.

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I think the case for Dr. Peikoff and ARI being correct extends much further than merely the issue of libertarians. It seems to me that Kelley, and all of his followers, have originally mistaken Objectivism for intrinsicism and have now rebelled against it by converting to subjectivism.

There are two main allegations that Kelley charges Peikoff and ARI with: that they are intrinsicists and the claim by Peikoff and ARI that Objectivism is a closed system is a bad thing.

Kelley mistakes the idea of a closed system for a religious-like dogma which can not be thought about through reason but rather only accepted. Any reading of his essays on the subject and Peikoff's is enough of an illustration to demonstrate this.

The main charge pittoned against Kelley is that he separates fact from value, cause from effect, and essentially becomes a subjectivist. Peikoff's Fact and Value clearly demonstrates this as well.

My question is, can any legal action be taken against the members of The Objectvism Center for using Rand's name and the title of Objectivism? I would think that there could be considering that Peikoff is Rand's legal heir to the rights of using Objectivism. If that ability to take legal action does exist, should ARI take legal action against groups like TOC? I think so. What do you think?

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IANAL, but I don't think such a trial will benefit anyone. I don't think that ARI wants, and need, that kind of bad publicity.

As far as I know, "Ayn Rand" and "Objectivism" aren't trademarks, nor could they be. That can be trademarked/copyrighted, is, namely the books, speeches, audio tapes, and so forth.

The situation isn't helped by dr. Branden's involvement with TOC. Since "The Nathaniel Branden Institute" was a precursor of ARI, things could get messy. I respect dr. Branden as a self-esteem psichologist, although he did some willful errors, which I won't discuss here.

I think we need to separate Ayn Rand's split with the Brandens, from Kelley's split. Trying to roll them both into a single issue isn't helping. I'm not ready to publish a coherent point/article about the Rand/Branden split, but as far as I can tell, from researching it, it's less about philosophy and more about the social/historic context.

Nevertheless, I think ARI should have a separate page/mini-site dedicated to this issue, to enlighted beginners, before they get to google over TOC.

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I think that you guys may be giving TOC and David Kelley more concern than they deserve. From what I have read, when the split first happened there was a big deal made about it, "A place for homeless Objectivists" they called TOC. That was a little over ten years ago and they have lost all of the momentum of the origional break. Now they have fractured and there is another organization http://www.solohq.com that is against both ARI and TOC. They seem to be focusing around Chris Matthew Sciabarra and his stuff. As for TOC, they are having funding problems, read about that at here and here. According to the man from TOC, they are having problems because of the "economic situation." This is BS becuase ARI and all the ARI supporting organizations are receiving more money than ever. If you want to know what people who are of the TOC mindset, read some old posts from here. Most of those people behave like children (name calling, lying, etc.).

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The Objectivist Center's policy of "toleration" has brought us such great works as Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. I hardly think anything more needs to be said on the matter.

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Guest DonGalt

Actually, a correct characterization of the split is the seperation of the "Randoids" -- that is people who worship Ayn Rand-- from the Objectivists-- that is, people who follow the philosophy Ayn Rand described.

I do not understand how someone can read a book like Atlas Shrugged, or any of Rand's works, and then engage in such irrational mysticism as is required by Peikoff--- a man who refuses to provide rational argument, and says, in essense- "I am the intellectual heir, thou shalt follow me!"

I think a very illustrative precurser to this split was the split between Rand and Rothbard.

Rothbard was the founder of the modern Libertarian movement, and he and Rand were good friends for a while.

Eventually, though, Rand violated Galts pledge by demanding that Rothbard force his wife to give up her faith. When Rothbard chose to tolerate his wifes indivduality (as much as he disagreed with it) Rand split off in a huf and declared "Libertarianism is diametrically opposed to objectivism".

But the fact of the matter is that it is not. you CANNOT Be an objectivist without also being a Libertarian. This is an objective fact of reality, based on the definitions of the words.

Yet some people follow what Rand said, rather than her philosophy, and its appropriate they call tehir organization the Ayn Rand Institute, rather than the Objectivist Institute.

You cannot be an objectivist-- according to Rands definition of it-- and demand others live their lives to suit your whims. Thus, you cannot demand that others renounce their friendships with people you don't like. I cannot think of a more anti-individualist position than that.

And yet, when people talk about Objectivism as a cult, this is what they are talking about. The Moonies and the Scientologists demand this kind of loyalty-- renouncing friends--- and so does the ARI.

TOC does not.

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This is a perfect example of what I was talking about. First DonGalt makes some ignorant comments about Randroids (please provide me with some evidence of any "Rand worship" because I would love to know what you are talking about) and then begins to talk about how Peikoff is some kind of mystic(?). I really want to know if Don has ever read anything Peikoff has written. Even if Peikoff were entirely wrong, he still has made actual arguments to defend his position and his case is certainly not "I'm the heir, obey me." He then goes on to talk about a series of events that didn't happen as if that would make ARI and Peikoff look bad. If you wanted to have a reasoned argument about the issue that would be one thing, but what did you hope to accomplish by showing up and making false accusations? And who is demanding that people give up their friendships if you become an Objectivist? I am an Objectivist and all of my friends are not, on top of that I don't even know anyone who is anything close to an Objectivist. When I applied to the OAC no one asked me to break off relationships with non-Objectivists. Where did you get all of this information? All of the things you are saying happen don't and never did. It is because of pissed-off rationalists who lie and make baseless assertions about Rand and Objectivism that people think Objectivism is a cult. Either start arguing like a civilized human being or get out, no one cares about your nonsense.

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Guest DonGalt

This is becoming quite the standard response for you guys.

I post facts that show your position to be foolish, so you call me a liar, and tell me to get out.

Seems that you cannot handle rational discussion. That is unfortunate.

The fact is, the split with ARI came because Piekoff could not handle Kelly speaking to a group of libertarians.

ARI types on this board are unanimously anti-libertarian, despite the fact that by definition every objectivist is a libertarian.

And, of course, you toe the line and demand that I leave as well-- too bad you're not piekoff or you could have me excommunicated.

That is the schism for you in a nutshell. ARI demands agreement, or you have to leave. TOC invites rational discussion.

I may get kicked off of this forum, but if I do, that is because the members here are unable to handle hearing things they disagree with. Lord knows none of you have come up with a counter argument yet. (Which is unfortunate.) Keep this up and you may get your wish-- no counter arguments, and ther's no point in me hanging out.

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Guest DonGalt

I just went to the references given earlier supposedly showing the delicne of the TOC.

All of them were pointles.s Ok, they are a non-profit attempting to raise funds. So does ARI, though ARI has the unearned gift of the royalties of Rands work to live off of.

And there is another organization SOLO, which, contrary to what was said, does not seem ot be anti-TOC.

Hell, by the same argument you could point to this website and claim that the ARI is splitting into factions with this website breaking off, etc. etc. etc.

This is what passes for argument here?

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Guest Marshall
The Objectivist Center's policy of "toleration" has brought us such great works as Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand.  I hardly think anything more needs to be said on the matter.

Have you read this?

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Guest Grantsinmypants

Who cares about the whos, wheres, whys, whens, and hows of the various schisms within the Objectivism movement? (oh right, those that think that a certain affiliation instead of thinking objectivly causes one to think objectivly) They are interesting historical trivia, but they clutter the issue.

I agree with the assessment that if you're an Objectivist, you're necessarily a Libertarian. (I capitalize "Objectivist" and "Libertarian" not because they are ideologies known only by certain people, but because they are people that know certain ideologies). But I also know that if you're a Libertarian, you're not necessarily an Objectivist.

The basic question that needs to be asked to solve the strife between the luddites and the pioneers is: How do non-Objectivists become Objectivists without exposure to Objectivism?

Grant Williams

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The only "facts" DonGalt presented are these:

Rothbard was the founder of the modern Libertarian movement, and he and Rand were good friends for a while.

Eventually, though, Rand violated Galts pledge by demanding that Rothbard force his wife to give up her faith. When Rothbard chose to tolerate his wifes indivduality (as much as he disagreed with it) Rand split off in a huf and declared "Libertarianism is diametrically opposed to objectivism".

That story is 100% totaly false. Here's the scoop on Rothbard

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Guest True Objectivist(tm)
The only "facts" DonGalt presented are these:

That story is 100% totaly false. Here's the scoop on Rothbard

Here's how this entire conversation looks to an outside person (such as myself).

Ex:

A person writes a "scientific" book on bears. In it, all of the sources he quotes are other books he wrote. So of course everything he says can be substantiated just like he wants to, because he links them to biased materials.

It is just like GeoCities back in the mid '90s. If you wanted to prove to some feeble minded foe that Chupacabras existed, you'd register a bunch of GeoCities sites and have them all quote each other.

That's where independent 3rd-party peer-review journals come in. The link regarding Rothbard, however "accurate" the author believes his information is, is publishing it through a "biased" resource.

Additionally, all the author does is attempt to smear Mr. Rothbard (who I do not worship and adore) -- ad hominem, just like Ilana Mercer did to Sheldon Richman a month ago.

Are there any other resources regarding Rothbard/Rand/Libertarianism that you have access to that do in fact cite the "plagiarism" as mentioned in the link you published?

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I didn't link to the article to prove that Rothbard was a plagiarist. I have no idea if he was. Maybe he wasn't, I don't really care. But I do care about the "Rand told Rothbard to dump his wife" accusation because it makes Rand look like a jackass and it is a lie, a lie which DonGalt repeatedly cited.

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Guest marshmallowcreme
Who cares about the whos, wheres, whys, whens, and hows of the various schisms within the Objectivism movement?    (oh right, those that think that a certain affiliation instead of thinking objectivly causes one to think objectivly)  They are interesting historical trivia, but they clutter the issue.

I agree with the assessment that if you're an Objectivist, you're necessarily a Libertarian.  (I capitalize "Objectivist" and "Libertarian" not because they are ideologies known only by certain people, but because they are people that know certain ideologies).  But I also know that if you're a Libertarian, you're not necessarily an Objectivist.

The basic question that needs to be asked to solve the strife between the luddites and the pioneers is: How do non-Objectivists become Objectivists without exposure to Objectivism?

Grant Williams

How does one think objectively?

I'm really not quite sure what the details of the process are. So maybe I'll consult with people that are more experienced and more knowledgeable on the subject so that they can help me understand how to do that.

Now, all I have to do is figure out whom I should listen to.

And it seems to me that you don't even know what the strife is about.

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Since someone already linked to something on my Objectivism Reference Center website (Jim Peron's essay criticizing Murray Rothbard), I might as well mention that I have two pages of links relevant to this discussion:

These are both part of my section on criticisms of Objectivism.

Also, I should note that the Peron article previously mentioned is a "reprint" from the Laissez-Faire City Times, a libertarian webzine that to my knowledge has no specific bias for either side of that particular conflict. That doesn't mean Peron's claims are unbiased (clearly not) or all completely accurate, but I wanted to clarify in case any wrong impressions were being formed about the source of that material.

--

Richard Lawrence

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The basic question that needs to be asked to solve the strife between the luddites and the pioneers is: How do non-Objectivists become Objectivists without exposure to Objectivism?

Grant Williams

I think this is a key point. There are a lot of people out there who are fairly rational but have not been exposed to Objectivism. If we reach out to them there is a chance to "bring them into the fold." How can you fault someone for not being an Objectivist if they have never studied the philosophy? Is everyone expected to reinvent it themselves?

Now on the other hand if someone does study Objectivism and explicitly rejects it then it is counterproductive to deal with them further.

PS YoungWilliams? I didn't know you were in here. Mike Wevrick

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I think this is a key point. There are a lot of people out there who are fairly rational but have not been exposed to Objectivism. If we reach out to them there is a chance to "bring them into the fold." How can you fault someone for not being an Objectivist if they have never studied the philosophy? Is everyone expected to reinvent it themselves?

Now on the other hand if someone does study Objectivism and explicitly rejects it then it is counterproductive to deal with them further.

I don't think anyone "faults" others for not being an Objectivist if they have never studied the philosophy. But there are certain ideas that are anti-life by their very nature, and people who hold those ideas should certainly be judged accordingly, whether they've ever studied Objectivism or not.

Also, to say that ARI's "non-toleration" policy stops them from exposing others to the philosophy is pretty silly. That's what they do, that's all they do, and they are better than anyone else at it.

As for those who do study Objectivism and then explicitly reject it, well, that would presumably include all those anarchists, libertarians, and moral agnostics who claim to be Objectivists (but disagree fundamentally with the philosophy).

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The rhetoric of Kelley and his supporters all too closely fits an ominous pattern: the pattern followed by the Soviet spies, punks, terrorist sympathizers, Democrats, and assorted other fifth-column elements who have been using Americans' love of freedom and respect for rights--to destroy freedom and rights.

The fifth columnists know they cannot win by openly attacking the concept of rights. So instead they appeal to our respect for rights to protect their own anti-rights activities. "Doesn't freedom for America mean freedom for me?" they ask whenever they are criticized for being enemies of freedom. "They stifle dissent!" "They trample our rights to free speech!" are their boilerplate responses whenever somebody condemns their immoral ideas as immoral. "Liberal" and "progressive" they call themselves, but all they seek is the liberty of criminals and the progress of destruction. And they claim "tolerance," including a tolerance for evil, as an important American virtue, although it is perfectly antithetical to all that America stands for.

Kelley is to Objectivism and reason what these traitors are to America and freedom. The traitors appeal to our sense of rights and turn it against America. Kelley appeals to our commitment to independent, rational thought--and turns it against Objectivism. "Doesn't independent thought mean thought independent from the ARI?" he asks when the ARI criticizes him for undermining the independence of Objectivism by mixing it with other ideas. "They stifle dissent!" "Peikoff acts like a despot!" he screams when Objectivists reject his irrational ideas as irrational. "Objectivist" he calls himself, but his favorite activity seems to be the defamation of Objectivists. And he claims "tolerance," including a tolerance for evil, as an important Objectivist virtue, although it is perfectly antithetical to all that Objectivism stands for.

The enemies of capitalism have been infiltrating American institutions on a mass scale, distorting and perverting their ideas. Why wouldn't they try to do that with the number one proponent of capitalism--the Ayn Rand Institute? From what I have read about him so far, Kelley seems to fit the pattern perfectly. Applause to dr. Peikoff for booting him.

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Guest Godless Capitalist
:D A little rhetoric can be fun I guess, but do you really feel it is fair to label all Democrats as traitors? This kind of thing makes it hard for many people to take some Objectivists seriously.

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I think CF's point was simply that the democratic party generally follows a certain similar pattern as those other groups, not that every individual member of the democratic party is a "traitor." And I think it's a pretty accurate general analysis, for which several concrete examples could easily be given.

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A little rhetoric can be fun I guess, but do you really feel it is fair to label all Democrats as traitors?

I certainly don't think Thomas Jefferson was a traitor. :) But too many people in today's Democratic Party are. This is yet another example of an institution that started out as a devoted guardian of individual rights--and ended up as a socialist cesspool. A good portion of the damage was done by Stalin's hirelings starting from the 1920s, but many "just another Joe" Americans who were never paid a penny by the Soviet Union were also part of the problem. Given that we have free will, some of us will choose to do the right thing--and be rational and successful--but others will choose the wrong path and devote their lives to destroying the success of others.

This is not being paranoid, just acknowledging an inevitable consequence of free will. Being born in America will not automatically make you a real American (just like being born in Russia does not automatically make you a "real Russian," witness the example of Ayn Rand).

This kind of thing makes it hard for many people to take some Objectivists seriously.

Hmm, I guess it was a good tactic on my part to make my first post before introducing myself. ;) I am relatively new to Objectivism and have not studied it enough yet to make up my mind on whether I should identify with it completely. So I'm certainly not a fanatical, servile follower of dr. Peikoff's; in fact, I don't intend to become a fanatical, servile follower of anyone at all. But I like to call a spade a spade.

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GC

A traitor is "one who violates his allegiance and betrays his country; one guilty of treason; one who, in breach of trust, delivers his country to an enemy, or yields up any fort or place intrusted to his defense, or surrenders an army or body of troops to the enemy, unless when vanquished; also, one who takes arms and levies war against his country; or one who aids an enemy in conquering his country."

America is the country of rights, reason, and reality. Its enemies are therefore those reject such principles. Its enemies are those who accept and further subjugation, mysticism, and subjectivism. Democrats embrace these concepts and pursue these ends SPECIFICALLY and EXPLICITLY (though they are NOT alone in doing so). Therefore, if one identifies oneself AS a Democrat, one explicitly ADMITS to being a TRAITOR to the concepts upon which America properly stands. One ADMITS not only to BETRAYING those American principles - but in fact one admits to seeking the DESTRUCTION of those principles (by whatever means) and to seeking their replacement with those OPPOSING concepts instead.

Those ARE, *by definition*, the actions of a traitor. The Democrat violates his allegience to American principles. He betrays those principles for the sake of opposing principles. He attempts to deliver Americans into the hands of the enemy which is subjectivism, mysticism, and dictatorship. And he levies war against those American principles and aids the enemies of those principles in an attempt to conquer and eliminate them.

THAT is the reality of their actions. It is YOUR problem (and theirs) if you do NOT want to take such realities "seriously".

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