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Weird online TOS article

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17 hours ago, Dupin said:

Now that Peikoff is retired he is not paying attention to what is happening in the very organization he founded.

It took Peikoff to push out McCaskey, which he would have done quietly, had McCaskey not insisted on publishing the email to Arline Mann. Perhaps he pushed out Barney behind the scenes. Of course that's pure speculation. But I'm not buying the official excuse for Barney's departure. I think he was reluctantly nudged out.

Edited by MisterSwig

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4 hours ago, Dupin said:

MisterSwig,

There’s something you might not know about.  Leonard Peikoff recently celebrated his 86th birthday, and look where:
https://CarlBarney.com/2019/10/21/leonard-peikoffs-86th-birthday-celebration/
(By the way, at least one of the statues you see in the video is by Richard Minns.)

Thanks. Unfortunately I don't follow Barney's blog. They look pretty chummy together.

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MisterSwig,

I suspect – don’t know – that Barney organized this get-together to give the impresstion that Peikoff believes in him, that is, believes his story about the Church of Scientology being a benevolent enterprise when he ran five missions for nine years, and that Peikoff believes he runs his colleges honestly now.

It looks like either Peikoff does believe these things or he isn’t paying attention.  He has some excuse today for not paying attention because he’s quite up in years but he had no excuse 14 years ago when he allowed Barney on ARI’s board of directors.  That was four years before Peikoff had McCaskey thrown out.

 

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12 hours ago, Dupin said:

He has some excuse today for not paying attention because he’s quite up in years but he had no excuse 14 years ago when he allowed Barney on ARI’s board of directors. 

Why should we expect Peikoff to know fourteen years ago what you only revealed to us a couple years ago? Most people don't conduct journalistic investigations into their friends' histories or business practices.

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Andrew Bernstein, long on the Objectivist scene and these days a contributing editor of Craig Biddle’s The Objective Standard, posted
"A Tribute to Carl Barney"
on his personal blog.  A friend of Bernstein, who hates the Church of Scientology, tried to get him to take it down, to no avail.  If you search on the three B’s:
... Biddle Bernstein Barney
using Google you’ll find a recent review of Bernstein’s tribute.  (Bing and DuckDuckGo don’t have it indexed.)

 

 

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10 hours ago, Dupin said:

Andrew Bernstein, long on the Objectivist scene and these days a contributing editor of Craig Biddle’s The Objective Standard, posted
"A Tribute to Carl Barney"

Bernstein makes an astute identification in this blog:

One uplifting principle of the Objectivist ethics is that it is more important to reward the good than it is to punish the bad. That which promotes life is vastly more important than that which harms it.

One of my favorite presentations by Bernstein, a precursor to The Capitalist Manifesto, was the no longer available set of talks on The Robber Barons. The historians managed to turn a group of value producers into villeins by  failing to integrate the relevant factors.

Edited by dream_weaver

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3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Bernstein makes an astute identification in this blog:

One uplifting principle of the Objectivist ethics is that it is more important to reward the good than it is to punish the bad. That which promotes life is vastly more important than that which harms it.

It sounds like rationalistic, context-dropping nonsense to me. I'd like to know where Rand presents this so-called "principle of Objectivist ethics."

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Was Atlas Shrugged written to glorify the train wreck in the tunnel or the destruction brought about by project X, and how the passengers or physical and mental mystics of muscle and their supporters deserved the identified outcome Ayn Rand had identified and written for them? 

Also, it is expressed indirectly in Galt's speech:

Evil, not value, is an absence and a negation, evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us.

and that does need to be considered in conjunction with:

that to withhold your contempt from men's vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement

Is an objective example to be better set by being obsessed with pursuing values, or to be perceived as being obsessed with dis-value?

 

Edited by dream_weaver

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If evil extorts values from the good, then punishing evil is rewarding the good. It is helping restore what rightfully belongs to the good. It is justice.

Edited by MisterSwig

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dream_weaver,

Thanks for bringing that paragraph to my attention.  I thought it was perverse when I read it before but didn’t analyze it in detail.

Bernstein spends the bulk of his essay arguing  1. When Barney was involved in (the Church of) Scientology it was a beneficial organization and movement, and 2. Barney’s college’s are beneficial too.

But Bernstein seems uncomfortable with this because he ends by saying, in effect, none of it matters.  In the following, ask yourself what was bad, what harmed life – and why does Bernstein refer to it in those negative terms?

“... it is more important to reward the good than it is to punish the bad. That which promotes life is vastly more important than that which harms it.”

In other words:  Maybe Barney is a liar and a crook, but look at the millions he’s given to ARI, TOS, etc. spreading goodness everywhere.  (Including Biddle’s and Bernstein’s pockets.)

Bernard Madoff and Jeffrey Epstein gave millions to charity so at the end of the day they were good men?  If the charity had been ARI or TOS?

Apparently Bernstein’s position is this:  When judging a man and his career we are to turn a blind eye to evil and see only good (he considers ARI and TOS good).  According to him this is an “uplifting principle of the Objectivist ethics.”  As MisterSwig pointed out, it is no such thing.  The quote from Galt’s speech provided by dream-weaver supports that it is not:

“... to withhold your contempt from men's vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement.”

Rather like the pithy line attributed to Aristotle: “Justice consists in loving and hating aright.”

Bernstein not only withholds his contempt from Barney’s vices, past and present, he denies the vices exist.  More than that, he turns them into virtues!  He loves Barney, through and through.  His essay is one monumental act of injustice.

Denouncing evil is the counterpart of praising good; they are two sides of the same coin of moral currency.  In MisterSwig’s terms, punishing evil is part of rewarding the good and vice versa.

Edited by Dupin

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22 hours ago, Dupin said:

Bernstein spends the bulk of his essay arguing  1. When Barney was involved in (the Church of) Scientology it was a beneficial organization and movement

Are you aware of Chris Shelton's videos?

In that four-part series with his mom, they discuss her time at Barney's mission in Pasadena and Scientology in general. A particularly interesting bit begins around 11:20 in the first part linked above. She has good things to say about Barney's mission, and some negative things about the Orgs. Apparently Barney had a falling out with someone named Diana over money from the missions not flowing to the Orgs, and he might have been "declared" a "suppressive person." I haven't watched all the videos yet, but it sounds like she has some firsthand knowledge of the events having worked on Barney's staff as a course supervisor. She really liked him, referring to him and L. Ron Hubbard as "icons of Scientology" at 14:30.

Edited by MisterSwig

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In part two Mary Shelton recalls that Barney was floating the idea of offering financing to students who wanted to take Scientology courses, and that this wouldn't have been acceptable in the Church. That's at 25:00.

 

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Biddle should do a better job fact-checking what Barney's been feeding him.

1512161011_Screenshot_2020-03-13-19-47-052.png.a3fb9126c3ce2f71cb68f9c5bb431015.png

1226433325_Screenshot_2020-03-13-19-42-012.thumb.png.d14cce20192d2548e9d805491585c229.png

It wasn't until the '70s that Hubbard developed the cross? Hold on. Here's the cover of Ability #147 from March 1963.

1008283540_Screenshot_2020-03-13-19-24-553.thumb.png.4bea8f0f714b63f3636060e437a130e4.png

And, yes, that was the official Scientology publication in America.

Hubbard didn't assert the existence of God? Hold on. Here we have the official Scientology creed from the same issue in '63.

394223706_Screenshot_2020-03-13-19-26-072.thumb.png.eac354e9650377b8d8b828874f415443.png

Yep, there's God being asserted.

It's really not hard to fact-check these things. I literally asked Google: "When did Scientology start using the cross?"

Try it!

She says that they started prominently displaying the cross in 1969 after some bad press. And if you dig deeper you will discover, like I did, that it was prominently displayed to Hubbard's followers much earlier than that. While the old man would no doubt assert the existence of pink elephants if he could make a buck off doing so, it is simply a fact that Scientology presented itself as theistic.

Given that Biddle has so easily accepted Barney's misrepresentations of reality, it's a wonder anyone takes him seriously as a publisher of serious articles on philosophy. I certainly would not want him as my editor.

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On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2020 at 7:05 PM, Dupin said:

“... it is more important to reward the good than it is to punish the bad. That which promotes life is vastly more important than that which harms it.”

Let's analyze the last statement in this quote.

In the previous sentence, rewarding "good" and punishing "bad" are broad enough to refer to people and behavior and their effects... this slides into the statement which is directed to the contrast between "that which" promotes life and "that which" harms it... which clearly shifts the focus from moral judgment of any particular person's character, away from motivations or morality of their actions, to the effects their actions have on others or the world.

 

You observed:

 

On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2020 at 7:05 PM, Dupin said:

In other words:  Maybe Barney is a liar and a crook, but look at the millions he’s given to ARI, TOS, etc. spreading goodness everywhere.  (Including Biddle’s and Bernstein’s pockets.)

 

I doubt Bernstein would agree that this was what he meant, but you are correct in identifying that the focus of the last sentence is on the effect of specific actions by the actor.  In essence, it highlights specifically the importance of the effects of specific actions based on whether they promote life or not.

Note that Bernstein is not claiming that effects on third parties, as such, are here labeled "morally good" or "morally bad". Bernstein, is careful:  "that which promotes life" is simply "more important" than "that which harms it".

 

After identifying that Bernstein statement is focused on the effects and not the man you go back and point out:

On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2020 at 7:05 PM, Dupin said:

Bernard Madoff and Jeffrey Epstein gave millions to charity so at the end of the day they were good men?  If the charity had been ARI or TOS?

The answer clearly is "no", people who behave in ways which are immoral, i.e. fail to live up to the standard of rational self-interest, are not "good".  And certainly isolated random good actions do not make a man "good", although they may be indications of it.

But your focus on the man, the morality of their actions, the effects on their own lives, this is not the same as the focus of the last statement ... which you yourself observe.

 

BUT more interesting is what would constitute a moral analysis and assessment of the current situation?

 

A man contributes money and support for and to ARI, TOS, various Objectivist organizations and funds Objectivist projects through his foundation.  We all realize, that day to day, a man does many things, but insofar as he does this, is he being moral?

Moral judgment of these actions must take into account the all the likely consequences of that action to the actor's life.  With respect to any charity one must ask is he giving more money than he can afford?  If not, does supporting ARI or TOS and Objectivism represent possible future values or disvalues to his own flourishing?  Do the actions, of ARI and TOS, the videos, conferences, books, scholarships etc. working to spreading Objectivism, all act to promote the man's life or not?

If those actions, according to the standard of rational selfishness, are chosen and lead to the man's flourishing, they are moral.

 

So much for whether the man is working for his own life or shooting himself in the foot...

 

What about the "importance" of the effects": are the contribution of money and support for and to ARI, TOS, and various Objectivist organizations, and Objectivist projects, "life promoting"?

That clearly depends upon whether the philosophy of Objectivism is life promoting or not. 

 

You be the judge.

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Just so it is clear, Strictly’s first “Dupin said” quote-box contains a quote of Bernstein, or to be precise, of me quoting Bernstein.

Bernstein says that rewarding good is more important than punishing evil.  Very well, but this remark is part of Bernstein’s reply to the claim that Barney is a liar and a crook.  He made ii after saying that Barney’s donations to ARI and TOS etc. had greatly benefited Obectivism.  It sounds like even Bernstein thought he hadn’t adequately addressed the claim that Barney is a liar and a crook, otherwise what was the point of saying it is unimportant compared to Barney’s donations?

That is why I said Bernstein’s position amounted to:  Maybe Barney is a liar and a crook, but look at the millions he’s given to ARI, TOS, etc. spreading goodness everywhere.  (And I noted that Biddle and Bernstein received some of Barney’s money.)   I was being sarcastic about spreading goodness.

Strictly asks:  “.... what would constitute a moral analysis and assessment of the current situation?”  As if to say I hadn't done it yet.  But is lying moral?  Is working the government welfare racket à la Barney moral?

Strictly considers the case where a man gives money to ARI and TOS, and asks if this is moral.   Mostly not.   The villainy of ARI and TOS should be apparent.   For example, since we were speaking of Bernstein, not long ago TOS published an article of his that praised Nat Turner to the skies.  Yes, that Nat Turner.

Strictly says that in order to judge whether giving to ARI / TOS is right or wrong we must ask, among other questions: “Do the actions, of ARI and TOS, the videos, conferences, books, scholarships etc. working to spreading Objectivism, all act to promote the man's life or not?”  This is a loaded question.  The load, the false premise, is that they are working to spread Objectivism.  By and large they are not.

Strictly asks if supporting ARI / TOS promotes life.  Again, by and large it doesn’t.  Besides “Valedictorians of Yesteryear” – an article on ARIwatch that analyzes Bernstein’s bizarre Nat Turner essay – read “Who Is Richard Minns?” (both easily found using a search engine), then talk about ARI / TOS promoting life!

Strictly’s own answer to “Does supporting ARI / TOS promote life?” is this master statement:  “That clearly depends upon whether the philosophy of Objectivism is life promoting or not.”  He confidently takes it for granted that ARI / TOS promote the philosophy of Objectivism when to a very large extent they do not.

 

Edited by Dupin

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I rather enjoyed the article How Teaching Benefits Teachers1 written by Arie Vilner and posted April 24,  2020.

The New Ideal added Seeing Through Misinformation About the Pandemic, and while it may not be earth shattering to those of us steeped in developing our own understanding, it demonstrates content being developed on ARI's behest, and made available for much less of a cost than the materials available late 1970's and significantly beyond (which those earlier materials have also been reduced in price.).

Are you planning anything new over at the Anonymously-Redacted-Identity Watch Tower, perhaps on the evils of an art gallery and commissions directed to artists for deals made in smoke filled back rooms?

1 Article, while available at time of this post, may be moved behind a paywall.

Edited by dream_weaver

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