JohnRgt

Debating First Principles: Freedom: From Whom and from What?

9 posts in this topic

It's hard to see what a legitimate purpose of such a 'debate' is supposed to be when one of the participants is an Ellsworth Toohey who refused to discuss the topic and spent his time misrepresenting his victims. Harry Binswanger let a lot go by unchallenged and there didn't seem to be anyone there who could benefit from his explanations on some topics -- certainly not the goon squads who were there to cheer for unsupported collectivist bromides.

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It's hard to see what a legitimate purpose of such a 'debate' is supposed to be when one of the participants is an Ellsworth Toohey who refused to discuss the topic and spent his time misrepresenting his victims. Harry Binswanger let a lot go by unchallenged and there didn't seem to be anyone there who could benefit from his explanations on some topics -- certainly not the goon squads who were there to cheer for unsupported collectivist bromides.

As someone who was sitting in the audience at Skirball Hall for this event, and who found his initial disappointment morphing to anger by the end of the evening, I find that I am in agreement with your spot-on assessment. I respect Dr. Binswanger and certainly agree with the arguments he posited during this supposed "debate". But Dr. Barber effectively rendered those arguments as quite beside the point. It was clear to me from the beginning of his opening statement (which Dr. Binswanger should have interrupted as off-topic but didn't) that, having nothing to say on the topic of Freedom which he so clearly rejects, Dr. Barber's sole goal was to muddy the waters by making the audience in Skirball Hall view Ayn Rand, Objectivism and, ultimately, Dr. Binswanger himself as at best weak, ineffectual and irrelevant to what he views as the important issues of the day. In my view, by allowing this to go on and on and on (and, yes, he did eventually make polite note of it -- though even that came too late in my estimation), Dr. Binswanger played right into Barber's little charade.

I'm sorry to say it but, as an acquaintance commented: Dr. Barber got Dr. Binswanger's number and ran with it.

I hope this video (which I cannot bring myself to view) will serve as a good illustration to Objectivist intellectuals of how NOT to proceed in events of this nature -- and with adversaries of this type -- in the future.

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As someone who was sitting in the audience at Skirball Hall for this event, and who found his initial disappointment morphing to anger by the end of the evening, I find that I am in agreement with your spot-on assessment...

Were you at the earlier events in the series? If so, were they any better?

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The first of the three scheduled Demos debates can be found her.. It's far more civil, which made it possible for YB to make great points. (An audience member even said that YB changed his mind about States rights.)

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It's hard to see what a legitimate purpose of such a 'debate' is supposed to be when one of the participants is an Ellsworth Toohey who refused to discuss the topic and spent his time misrepresenting his victims. Harry Binswanger let a lot go by unchallenged and there didn't seem to be anyone there who could benefit from his explanations on some topics -- certainly not the goon squads who were there to cheer for unsupported collectivist bromides.

As someone who was sitting in the audience at Skirball Hall for this event, and who found his initial disappointment morphing to anger by the end of the evening, I find that I am in agreement with your spot-on assessment. I respect Dr. Binswanger and certainly agree with the arguments he posited during this supposed "debate". But Dr. Barber effectively rendered those arguments as quite beside the point. It was clear to me from the beginning of his opening statement (which Dr. Binswanger should have interrupted as off-topic but didn't) that, having nothing to say on the topic of Freedom which he so clearly rejects, Dr. Barber's sole goal was to muddy the waters by making the audience in Skirball Hall view Ayn Rand, Objectivism and, ultimately, Dr. Binswanger himself as at best weak, ineffectual and irrelevant to what he views as the important issues of the day. In my view, by allowing this to go on and on and on (and, yes, he did eventually make polite note of it -- though even that came too late in my estimation), Dr. Binswanger played right into Barber's little charade.

I'm sorry to say it but, as an acquaintance commented: Dr. Barber got Dr. Binswanger's number and ran with it.

I hope this video (which I cannot bring myself to view) will serve as a good illustration to Objectivist intellectuals of how NOT to proceed in events of this nature -- and with adversaries of this type -- in the future.

And if I might add, this is why one should never under-estimate their enemies nor give them any avenues of escape. It does not matter whether the enemy has a gun or a sharp tongue they must be dealt with in the same manner, destroy them and their ideas in a relentless manner.

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It's hard to see what a legitimate purpose of such a 'debate' is supposed to be when one of the participants is an Ellsworth Toohey who refused to discuss the topic and spent his time misrepresenting his victims.

It shows thinking people what such leftists goons are and, in Harry's presentation, that there is an alternative point of view.

Harry Binswanger let a lot go by unchallenged and there didn't seem to be anyone there who could benefit from his explanations on some topics -- certainly not the goon squads who were there to cheer for unsupported collectivist bromides.

There were quite a few Objectivists in the audience who were inspired by Harry and might have picked up some new and useful facts and arguments from him. In addition, the debate was videoed and will be posted to the ARI website where anyone interested can find it.

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As someone who was sitting in the audience at Skirball Hall for this event, and who found his initial disappointment morphing to anger by the end of the evening, I find that I am in agreement with your spot-on assessment...

Were you at the earlier events in the series? If so, were they any better?

I was at the first of the three debates in the series featuring Yaron Brook and Miles Rappaport and will be at the third one on May 2. That first debate was a quite rewarding experience, not least of which because Mr. Rappaport, while skirting it intellectually, kept essentially to the topic at hand and did not use the occasion to launch instead a full frontal assault on Objectivism. In addition, Mr. Rappaport seemed genuinely to respect Dr. Brook and was, on that occasion at least, much less the professional Leftist circus performer than Dr. Barber proved to be in the second debate. Finally, and perhaps most important, I found that Dr. Brook's big, open, charismatic presence and personality projected into the hall in a way that the more sedate and professorial Dr. Binswanger did not. This seemed to have had a positive effect on everyone in the room, even those who may have tended toward Miles Rappaport's positions. It is precisely because of this last point that I can't help but think that the disreputable Dr. Barber would never have gotten away with his little dog and pony show in the second debate had Dr. Brook been his opponent.

In writing the above, I realize that most of it tends to the matter of style as opposed to substance. While the objective should always be to synchronize perfectly substance with style, I know from my own limited experience in the area of public performance that, depending upon the context, HOW one says something can oftentimes have a more immediate if not a greater impact on an audience than WHAT one actually says.

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