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Is it just to boycott the friends of your enemy?

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I do not necessarily agree with her views about the FORUM, but I think that her request as such was not unjust. Neither would I, in fact, disagree with Mrs Speicher’s similar request that her members avoid Ms. Hsieh’s blog.

What is the basis of this statement? I never made a request that FORUM members avoid NoodleFood and never would do such a thing. I prefer that they DO see exactly what she has to say and how she says it so that they can judge her accurately.

I also have absolutely no objection to FORUM members posting on Diana's blog. In fact, I might be posting comments to NoodleFood right now, and recommending that members of THE FORUM do so, if Diana hadn't forbidden us to post there.

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I don't agree that such a decision can be perfectly moral, no matter what the situation. If someone terminates their association with another person, or group of people, then it can be either moral or immoral, depending on whether the action taken is in their self-interest. It is perfectly possible to terminate a friendship or acquaintance with someone for the wrong reasons, and if you lose the value they had to offer then you might very well be hurting yourself.

A good point. Peter Keating abandoning Katie comes to mind.

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Well, I agree that if you assume that someone is acting rationally the morality of it remains out of the issue. I'm not sure if that is generally a valid assumption to make, though. Perhaps in this case it is, but as a general rule for dealing with these situations (which I think was the orginal aim of the topic) it is less useful.

That's true. One can always call into question the basis for such a decision. However, we need data about the specific situation, because it is so contextual. Black Diamond wants to speak in general principles only, so how do we proceed? I'm following his lead.

If you don't have data to assume that this is a valid statement for this case, I don't have any either, but I'm going to go by Diana's record, which is that of a conscientious intellectually honest person who has proven so time and time again, and that the assumption that she is being rational is a pretty good one.

Edited by KendallJ
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I don't agree that such a decision can be perfectly moral, no matter what the situation. If someone terminates their association with another person, or group of people, then it can be either moral or immoral, depending on whether the action taken is in their self-interest. It is perfectly possible to terminate a friendship or acquaintance with someone for the wrong reasons, and if you lose the value they had to offer then you might very well be hurting yourself.

Just a point of clarification. This is incorrect. The litmus test for morality is not whether the action is in their self-interest or not. It is whether they consciously violate something they know to be immoral, or whether they evade.

"Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality. An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience. But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought.

(Mod's note: Split thread about judging other people.)

Edited by softwareNerd
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What is the basis of this statement? I never made a request that FORUM members avoid NoodleFood and never would do such a thing.

I'm sorry, I should have been more clear with that sentence. [i said "neither would I disagree with ...", and not "neither do I" in order to indicate that this event (of Mrs Speicher making a similar boycott) had not actually happened. But perhaps I should have made that much more explicit in the rest of the sentence, especially given the nature of the subject.]

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Except we're talking about enemies and threats, here. Certainly in the concept of justice proportionality is a valid concept.

But you're the one making the case about threats and enemies. Proportionality is completely invalid once you start discussing someones right to check a threat to them.

In my example to you (of a little girl trying to steal a pencil from you), that girl is a threat to you. Do you believe that you can take ANY action to "check" that threat without consideration to proportionality? My point is that you can act justly or unjustly even in your "proactive" steps of diffusing a threat.

This is the issue. In order to make any sort of case that Diana is being immoral, one has to assert that she isn't acting according to her values. But you've blocked yourself off from doing that. Do you have evidence that she is acting irrationally?

Just to be clear, I haven't said that (see my first post). What I was opposing is your suggestion that it is obvious that she is being moral just because people should be free to do with their time whatever they want to do with it.

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This issue seems to get murky for me when it is unclear how much the individual is empowering your enemy.

Yes this measurement is the difficult part.

In this case it has been decided to reject any person who simply posts, based on sometimes only a crumb of support that person may give (for example, a Happy Birthday post). Compare that to the amount of value, perhaps not yet recognized, one is eliminating from their life via this decision. I personally consider that a mistake in measurment.

I will sooner grow another arm before I would succomb to this type of ultimatum over a personal feud. It is not because I agree with the other side but it is because it was the virtue of independence that draw me to Objectivistm in a first place (although not the only reason).

To insist that one must severe otherwise rewarding friendships over disagreements in political views is to insist that one must choose between philosophy and life. Life is an end in itself and philosophy should help man achieve that end so one should never have to choose between a good philosophy and a good life.

Very true.

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As for the supposed ultimatum that was mentioned by one poster above, there has been none. Diana made a request - yes, it was harsh but IMO it was well-deserved - but there was no ultimatum. An ultimatum is when you tell someone, "If you do such and such, I will respond by doing so and so." Diana has not done that. Given her lack of participation with or communication with those on The Forum, her decision is easy to understand - this is simply a case of choosing personal integrity over lesser values. For those who participate in The Forum and gain value from it, their decision to value The Forum more highly than participation in NoodleFood is certainly understandable as well.

No amount of argument or speculation will result in a consensus on whether it is moral for Diana or anyone else to boycott Betsy's forum, or whether such "boycotting" is moral in any other case apart from hypothetical situations with little application to reality except as thought exercises. One would probably have to know the full facts of the case and the full context of the situation, including personal interactions with those involved (some of whom have not specifically been named and whom some of you undoubtedly do not know) that have, in some cases, spanned years. If you don't personally know the people involved or have information of people involved from those you value highly, these types of discussions will only result in the situation of tit for tat and who believes who that has been going on for nearly a year now. The issue of who is personally honest will not be resolved here or on any other Objectivist internet venue - aside from speculation that only one party is moral, both are moral, or both are immoral.

Beyond the issue of who is moral in this particular case - I would like to add there are much deeper differences behind this "boycott" than simply alleged personal attacks, alleged attacks or deliberate disrepect and misrepresentation of O'ist intellectuals on The Forum, and alleged unfair moderation. At the base of all of these three allegations are fairly striking differences in what each of the "two camps" views as fundamental to Objectivism. What role other capable individuals besides Ayn Rand have in more explicitly developing or clarifying certain aspects of the philosophy (e.g. epistemology, psychology, etc.)? Which is primary - rationality or independence? What role does philosophy have in determining culture? This cannot be resolved for any individual without a serious study of the Objectivist corpus.

However, a careful reading of the Peikoff election thread, Response to Charges Against hte Forum as well as other and related posts at The Forum, in addition to Diana's post "Who is a (Non-Final) Authority in Philosophy?, and her "Why I'm Voting for Democrats" post, should illustrate to the perceptive observer, who has a firm grasp of Objectivist principles, why such serious disagreements are going on and have gone on that appear to be personal. This is NOT simply about misunderstandings due to the heated nature of how arguments can get over the internet or about personal honesty, although there may be aspects of those.

DarkWaters said in one of the first posts here, "I believe it is an oversimplification of the issue to say that their "feud" was just about "a disagreement about ideas"." I don't believe this is an oversimplification at all. I would say it is, to a very large extent, the basic problem.

(Mod's note: See split thread for a discussion whether this was an ultimatum, nature of an ultimatum, etc. - sN)

Edited by softwareNerd
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DarkWaters said in one of the first posts here, "I believe it is an oversimplification of the issue to say that their "feud" was just about "a disagreement about ideas"." I don't believe this is an oversimplification at all. I would say it is, to a very large extent, the basic problem.

No, I did not. You are referring to a post by Blackdiamond. I assume this was an honest mistake. :)

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DarkWaters said in one of the first posts here, "I believe it is an oversimplification of the issue to say that their "feud" was just about "a disagreement about ideas"." I don't believe this is an oversimplification at all. I would say it is, to a very large extent, the basic problem.

Yeah, I was indeed the one who said that and not Dark Waters (please observe that, although we're both basically "dark", I'm a diamond and he's an ape! B) )

But I still stand by what I said: to characterise the "feud" that way is an oversimplification (and therefore a potential straw man in an argument). That may be the root of the difference, but it is not just about that. The feud itself came from what was said (action) concerning those differences in ideas. Thus, for example, one might correctly say that the war between America and Japan in Second World War was rooted in a difference in ideas, but it would be an oversimplification to say it was JUST about that (which would lead someone to attack the straw man by saying "why would they bomb Japan just over a difference of ideas? That was unjust!"). The war came from the actions - or the way those differences were expressed. And it's the reason why America need not go to war with every Muslim nation, but specifically with nations like Iran.

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