Vespasiano

Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

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In what I believe to be the first explicit endorsement by an Objectivist intellectual thus far, Robert Bidinotto endorsed the McCain/Palin ticket in his blog journal space today. His argument is a fascinating read and, although I still plan to abstain this November, one that might compel me to vote for this ticket in the unlikely event the Obama/Biden team gains ground over the next months. I say "unlikely" because I am convinced Americans will see and reject the Democrat ticket for what it is: an unadulturated and explicit promise of a thoroughly anti-American paternalistic Socialism.

On individualist philosophical grounds, then, we are left with the choice of supporting either a profoundly flawed representative of America's founding premises, or of supporting a candidate whose philosophy and every policy proposal are profoundly at odds with those premises. For me, that is no choice at all. (I leave aside the Libertarian candidacy of Bob Barr, who has zero chance of being elected; the only meaningful choice is between McCain and Obama.)

John McCain loves America and has its best interests at heart, even when his "heart" leads him to mistaken conclusions. I have no doubt that if persuaded that his ideas are contrary to America's best interests, he would abandon them without hesitation. But can anyone say that about a candidate whose long-time minister damns America and whose long-time Chicago political associate bombed its institutions?

Read the whole thing here.

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In what I believe to be the first explicit endorsement by an Objectivist intellectual...

Ugh, I wouldn't go as far as to call an explicitly anti-ARI, pro-TOC individual an "Objectivist intellectual".

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In what I believe to be the first explicit endorsement by an Objectivist intellectual...

Ugh, I wouldn't go as far as to call an explicitly anti-ARI, pro-TOC individual an "Objectivist intellectual".

Perhaps; however, I don't know the particulars of Bidinotto's associations and/or affiliations. Irrespective of these, his assessment mirrors my own in this matter.

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In what I believe to be the first explicit endorsement by an Objectivist intellectual thus far, Robert Bidinotto endorsed the McCain/Palin ticket in his blog journal space today. His argument is a fascinating read and, although I still plan to abstain this November, one that might compel me to vote for this ticket in the unlikely event the Obama/Biden team gains ground over the next months. I say "unlikely" because I am convinced Americans will see and reject the Democrat ticket for what it is: an unadulturated and explicit promise of a thoroughly anti-American paternalistic Socialism.

Interesting piece, but I'm not convinced. I'm not sure how Bidinotto thinks that most religious conservatives are individualists. Jesus was a Communist in all but name, and creationists are a whim-worshipping threat to scientific advancement. Palin exaggerates her accomplishments, and Bidinotto fails to point out all the pork that she fought for her state, including the infamous bridge to nowhere.

As usual, the Economist has a decent, albeit typical centrist, view of things:

http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstate...ory_id=12066224

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Perhaps; however, I don't know the particulars of Bidinotto's associations and/or affiliations.

I do and, among those pseudo-Objectivists out to exploit Ayn Rand and her ideas, I regard Bidinotto as one of the worst. Based on what I have seen him do in the past, I don't trust him a bit.

Because of that, I was very tempted to delete this whole thread but decided, instead, to leave it as a means of publicly expressing my personal evaluation of Bidinotto.

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Perhaps; however, I don't know the particulars of Bidinotto's associations and/or affiliations.

I do and, among those pseudo-Objectivists out to exploit Ayn Rand and her ideas, I regard Bidinotto as one of the worst. Based on what I have seen him do in the past, I don't trust him a bit.

Because of that, I was very tempted to delete this whole thread but decided, instead, to leave it as a means of publicly expressing my personal evaluation of Bidinotto.

Thanks, Betsy. As with so much else, I trust your evaluation and will certainly look into this fellow a bit more.

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Regardless of what you think of Bidinotto, he makes an excellent argument in the referenced post.

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As others have pointed out, Bidinotto is NOT an Objectivist!

Vespasiano, you should be FAR more careful than that, in ascertaining someone's position or ascribing such a philosophical virtue to him. There's a whole ugly GRAB-BAG of inconsistent people out there--including Libertarians, anarchists, and Lillian Rearden types who drool with hatred of Ayn Rand. They might borrow a point or two from Objectivism, from time to time, but that does not make them an Objectivist!

Objectivism is a system of philosophy, not an accretion of random positions. Nothing but accepting that philosophy--and living by it--can make you an Objectivist.

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As others have pointed out, Bidinotto is NOT an Objectivist!

Vespasiano, you should be FAR more careful than that, in ascertaining someone's position or ascribing such a philosophical virtue to him. There's a whole ugly GRAB-BAG of inconsistent people out there--including Libertarians, anarchists, and Lillian Rearden types who drool with hatred of Ayn Rand. They might borrow a point or two from Objectivism, from time to time, but that does not make them an Objectivist!

Objectivism is a system of philosophy, not an accretion of random positions. Nothing but accepting that philosophy--and living by it--can make you an Objectivist.

Ignore the words "In what I believe to be the first explicit endorsement by an Objectivist intellectual thus far," and re-read Vespasiano's post. Considering Bidinotto solely as a non-Objectivist philosopher writing about how he is approaching the 2008 election, does his argument make sense? Or, perhaps, a step further, what if Leonard Peikoff or Harry Binswanger had written an identical post? Would you agree with it, and does it present a compelling case for McCain? Ultimately, that's the important thing, right? After all, a lot of posters here listen to conservatives and others whose philosophies are inconsistent with Objectivism.

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Ignore the words "In what I believe to be the first explicit endorsement by an Objectivist intellectual thus far," and re-read Vespasiano's post. Considering Bidinotto solely as a non-Objectivist philosopher writing about how he is approaching the 2008 election, does his argument make sense? Or, perhaps, a step further, what if Leonard Peikoff or Harry Binswanger had written an identical post? Would you agree with it, and does it present a compelling case for McCain? Ultimately, that's the important thing, right? After all, a lot of posters here listen to conservatives and others whose philosophies are inconsistent with Objectivism.

Well said.

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As others have pointed out, Bidinotto is NOT an Objectivist!

Vespasiano, you should be FAR more careful than that, in ascertaining someone's position or ascribing such a philosophical virtue to him. There's a whole ugly GRAB-BAG of inconsistent people out there--including Libertarians, anarchists, and Lillian Rearden types who drool with hatred of Ayn Rand. They might borrow a point or two from Objectivism, from time to time, but that does not make them an Objectivist!

Objectivism is a system of philosophy, not an accretion of random positions. Nothing but accepting that philosophy--and living by it--can make you an Objectivist.

Indeed, there are many charlatans in the world. Bidinotto aside, the mere fact that an individual includes "Objectivist" next to his name or is recognized as such is not sufficient reason to ascribe "philosophical virtue" to him or to his positions on any issue.

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In what I believe to be the first explicit endorsement by an Objectivist intellectual...

Ugh, I wouldn't go as far as to call an explicitly anti-ARI, pro-TOC individual an "Objectivist intellectual".

Perhaps; however, I don't know the particulars of Bidinotto's associations and/or affiliations.

I do and, among those pseudo-Objectivists out to exploit Ayn Rand and her ideas, I regard Bidinotto as one of the worst. Based on what I have seen him do in the past, I don't trust him a bit.

Because of that, I was very tempted to delete this whole thread but decided, instead, to leave it as a means of publicly expressing my personal evaluation of Bidinotto.

I don't think it would be appropriate to delete an entire thread because of a personal evaluation of someone who is the subject of the discussion.

Robert Bidinotto is an intellectual of great integrity who has been profoundly influenced by Ayn Rand whether one agrees with all his ideas and affiliations or not. He is not "exploiting" Objectivism in any way other than his honest beliefs and understanding with a concommitant desire to advocate it.

This has nothing to do with what Bill called the "whole ugly GRAB-BAG of inconsistent people out there--including Libertarians, anarchists, and Lillian Rearden types who drool with hatred of Ayn Rand" and who "might borrow a point or two from Objectivism, from time to time".

Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand as she formulated it, but it is also an intellectual and social movement -- as it had better be if it is ever going to get anywhere. Such movements of individuals spread through the culture are not and never will be under any central organizational control. As ideas spread in different forms they must be dealt with as what they are by whoever expresses them, for good or bad or some mixture. There is no other way to do it. I agree with ARI's policy of attempting to remain true to Ayn Rand's own formulations, which TOC does not, but as long as one recognizes who stands for what it does mean that someone else's approach is necessarily "charlatan".

As for Bidinotto's recent article on the election, he made no claim to speak for Ayn Rand or her philosophy or ARI. He made his own arguments in terms we can all understand; it echoes many of the same themes already presented here on the Forum and I agree with Vespiano's reaction to it.

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Robert Bidinotto is an intellectual of great integrity who has been profoundly influenced by Ayn Rand whether one agrees with all his ideas and affiliations or not. He is not "exploiting" Objectivism in any way other than his honest beliefs and understanding with a concommitant desire to advocate it.

The problem is he was/is a Kelleyite and I don't really think there is any excuse for that unless you are new to the philosophy. The Kelley organization started out innocuously, but over the long haul they produced some very bad and harmful work which had little relationship to Objectivism, but was put under the banner of Objectivism. A couple of examples are that they hired rationalistic non-Objectivists to talk on Objectivism, and they accepted Nathaniel Branden into their organization.

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It's interesting that Bidinotto, an alleged Objectivist, could say something like:

John McCain loves America and has its best interests at heart, even when his "heart" leads him to mistaken conclusions. I have no doubt that if persuaded that his ideas are contrary to America's best interests, he would abandon them without hesitation.
That is a Collectivist statement and it's at the root of a mistake that many make when they talk about "Patriotism." What is the nature of the country that he "loves"? What does he love? What is the difference between an American, McCain, loving his country and a Russian, Putin, loving his country? The location? Absent the guarantees of the Constitution, the original understanding of the sovereignty of the individual over the State, patriotism is blind nationalism. "My country right or wrong" results in dictatorship, not freedom. The reason why this country is worth defending is its guarantee of property and individual rights. That those freedoms have been eroded is a tragedy in progress and we work to stop it by presenting an uncompromising challenge in the realm of ideas, not in political gamesmanship. Bidinotto is not an Objectivist because he says so, not when he can endorse a contradiction. For all his hedging and equivocating, that statement demonstrates it. I have great doubt that, "if persuaded that his ideas are contrary to America's best interests, he would abandon them without hesitation." He cannot be persuaded. This is faith, that is what guides him. If he abandoned his sense of self in horrible times, he had years to regain it. He talks about his hell-raising and claims it was over after his "awakening" in that cell. Well, the hell-raising(*) wasn't over, but his self-examination and analysis apparently was.

I don't plan on voting, at this point, but I'm edging toward McCain/Palin because there's at least a shred of hope there that he will not make the destruction of America as a free nation his priority, as is the case with Obama. Obama is a declared, explicit enemy of individual rights, Capitalism, and every other positive aspect of our culture. He is even -- if only for expediency, perhaps -- a religionist; of a very toxic variety. How can I put even a tiny stamp of approval on an avowed monster? But McCain is only 2nd because of that virtuoso competitor in the Awfulness Sweepstakes. And Palin, for all the criticism here, has demonstrated an understanding of business and may be a voice of reason in that limited sense, an area McCain is bad, but not irretrievably committed to destruction.

Ok, so I'm guilty of the audacity of hope :huh: (maybe the futility. What a sucky choice)

(*) I can't find the original source for these allegations, so I accept that they are only allegations, to be verified or discarded. If discredited, I apologize to Mr. McCain.

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Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand as she formulated it, but it is also an intellectual and social movement -- as it had better be if it is ever going to get anywhere. Such movements of individuals spread through the culture are not and never will be under any central organizational control. As ideas spread in different forms they must be dealt with as what they are by whoever expresses them, for good or bad or some mixture. There is no other way to do it. I agree with ARI's policy of attempting to remain true to Ayn Rand's own formulations, which TOC does not, but as long as one recognizes who stands for what it does mean that someone else's approach is necessarily "charlatan".

<applauds>

It really is interesting to observe how increasingly critical people become of others, the closer those others are to one's viewpoint. I've certainly done it. It is almost like the attraction curve of two protons: far away, little repulsion, extremely close, huge attraction, but get slightly away from "extremely close" and you have a HUGE repulsive force! I think a big part of it is not wanting to see one's own views misrepresented, distorted, or misapplied.

In the scientific community people disagree with each other all the time, including (often!) on very basic fundamentals of their discipline or of important unsolved issues. Yet most people are able to remain civil, and to continue to engage in intellectual discussion and debate. For example, a professor 'A' I know happens to personally dislike and strongly disagrees with another professor 'B', but he still invited 'B' to a conference he organized. No one was under the impression A was "sanctioning" B, because no one agrees that simply letting or inviting others to a conference is in any way a statement of agreement. 'A' simply has the respect and civility to believe that in an open debate of ideas, people will be intelligent and independent enough to make up their own minds on things. And perhaps more importantly, he also knows that while he may disagree with B on some important matters, B also has some good thoughts on others.

This "in-crowd/out-crowd" mentality must ultimately create a cult-like atmosphere, which I frankly have seen lots of evidence in support over the years.

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Robert Bidinotto is an intellectual of great integrity who has been profoundly influenced by Ayn Rand whether one agrees with all his ideas and affiliations or not. He is not "exploiting" Objectivism in any way other than his honest beliefs and understanding with a concommitant desire to advocate it.

I strongly disagree.

During the Kelley split, he mailed out -- anonymously -- a slimy "dear fellow Objectivist" letter filled with lies, distortions, and innuendos attacking Leonard Peikoff, Peter Schwartz, and others. I recognized Bidinotto's style from other similar dubious writings I had seen from him previously, but it was several years before he owned up to that letter's authorship. At times when I have publicly differed with other Objectivists about such things as election strategy, etc., I have received unctuous emails from Bidinotto offering his "support" and unjustly trashing those with whom I disagreed in, what I suspect, was an attempt to gain my support of him.

I not only don't trust him, but I think he is trying to exploit Objectivism and anybody he can. That's why I am glad, and consider it just, that he is allied with Kelley. That's the kind of friend he deserves and can exploit -- for whatever that is worth. If I were Kelley, with Bidinotto around, I would be watching my back. :huh:

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I was very tempted to delete this whole thread but decided, instead, to leave it as a means of publicly expressing my personal evaluation of Bidinotto.

Which is perfect because now I know, and I'm sure everyone else in this thread.

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Long ago I attended an invited talk by Bidinotto at a university "Objectivist" club meeting. This was before I was aware of the Kelley split or anything about him. That one talk was a huge turn-off and enough in itself for me to really dislike him. As I recall he made ongoing unwarranted jibes at Leonard Peikoff and ARI; I seem to recall some promotion of some smear work by N. Branden as well; and his statement that he would "without hesistation, shoot through a hostage to kill the hostage-taker" seemed simply a callous and stupid disregard for a proper hierarchy of values. Overall he struck me as cynical and not at all a serious intellectual.

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Long ago I attended an invited talk by Bidinotto at a university "Objectivist" club meeting. This was before I was aware of the Kelley split or anything about him. That one talk was a huge turn-off and enough in itself for me to really dislike him. As I recall he made ongoing unwarranted jibes at Leonard Peikoff and ARI; I seem to recall some promotion of some smear work by N. Branden as well; and his statement that he would "without hesistation, shoot through a hostage to kill the hostage-taker" seemed simply a callous and stupid disregard for a proper hierarchy of values. Overall he struck me as cynical and not at all a serious intellectual.

I don't know anything about the "unwarrented jibes" at ARI, etc. but have otherwise seen more than enough of such personal trashing, hearsay, and smears from different quarters on both sides. I stay away from such personal feuding, which I want nothing to do with whether or not it is a public display. The objective record is clear enough to distinguish between the value of ARI versus TOC and I leave it at that.

Leaving aside whatever feuding people got carried away with, Robert Bidinotto is serious and professional, especially in his writing, with an influential career in main stream journalism (such as the old Readers Digest), and I don't think he likes the Brandens. The statement you roughly remember about hostages sounds like something Leonard Peikoff himself said (I don't remember where, maybe on his old radio program), but in a very specific context: the "hostage taker" is threatening you -- as in the classic hypothetical scenario described in which a hostage is strapped to the font of a tank on the attack. Is that what you meant? That situation is related to the right of self defense (withoug callous glee) despite 'civilian casualities', which has been discussed elsewhere on the Forum. I have never heard of anyone advocating killing a hostage just to get at the person for taking the hostage :huh: .

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That situation is related to the right of self defense (withoug callous glee) despite 'civilian casualities', which has been discussed elsewhere on the Forum. I have never heard of anyone advocating killing a hostage just to get at the person for taking the hostage :huh: .

I myself have advocated ignoring "civilian casualties" when it comes to retaliating against an enemy country, but that is primarily because there is no real way to just kill the large number of bad guys intermingled with putative innocents (and also when the "civilians" support a dictatorship they are not innocent either). That is very different than a localized instance of a bad guy taking an innocent person hostage, where there are easily differentiable targets, and the hostage may have nothing at all to do with the hijacker. As I remember the context (though this was some years ago), he did not state that the hijacker was shooting at you, he was simply stating that his primary interest would be to kill the hijackers regardless, which is why it stuck with me.

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That situation is related to the right of self defense (withoug callous glee) despite 'civilian casualities', which has been discussed elsewhere on the Forum. I have never heard of anyone advocating killing a hostage just to get at the person for taking the hostage :huh: .

I myself have advocated ignoring "civilian casualties" when it comes to retaliating against an enemy country, but that is primarily because there is no real way to just kill the large number of bad guys intermingled with putative innocents (and also when the "civilians" support a dictatorship they are not innocent either). That is very different than a localized instance of a bad guy taking an innocent person hostage, where there are easily differentiable targets, and the hostage may have nothing at all to do with the hijacker. As I remember the context (though this was some years ago), he did not state that the hijacker was shooting at you, he was simply stating that his primary interest would be to kill the hijackers regardless, which is why it stuck with me.

There are also innocent civilians trapped in a warring country who do not support the dictator. How does that differ in principle from an innocent hostage losing his life because you have no other way to defend yourself with him unavoidably in the way ("strapped to the tank")? In neither case is harming the innocent bystander something you want to do or do with indifference, but you do have the right to defend yourself. What happens to the hostage (just like the civilians in a war) is the fault of the aggressor, not you, even though you don't like what happens to the hostage. Most people err on the side of sacrificing on behalf of the hostage. I find it hard to believe that anyone would callously advocate wiping out a hostage when there are other means to get his captor as a "differentiable target".

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It really is interesting to observe how increasingly critical people become of others, the closer those others are to one's viewpoint. I've certainly done it. It is almost like the attraction curve of two protons: far away, little repulsion, extremely close, huge attraction, but get slightly away from "extremely close" and you have a HUGE repulsive force! I think a big part of it is not wanting to see one's own views misrepresented, distorted, or misapplied.

Recalling any of your many HPO battles with Jimbo Wales (among others), perhaps?

No one, not Peikoff, Schwartz, Bidinotto, or Kelley can claim to be adhering 100% to Ayn Rand's philosophy because no one else has her identity or life experiences. We can each try to understand what someone else's philosophy is, and can debate over which of the aforementioned people understands Rand's philosophy best or most closely adheres to it, but that's a bit different. I think Peikoff is a good source for those wanting to understand what Rand's philosophy was. Whether that makes him the most suited to say how it should be applied to today's ethical situations is a different question (one beyond the scope of this thread).

I think your observation holds true not just for Objectivism, but for lots of other scenarios as well. Consider the bitter fighting between denominations of Christianity, for instance. Political infighting, too, most often is about petty matters rather than serious policy differences. it would be interesting to explore why this is the case.

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No one, not Peikoff, Schwartz, Bidinotto, or Kelley can claim to be adhering 100% to Ayn Rand's philosophy because no one else has her identity or life experiences.

So what? A person doesn't have to share Ayn Rand's identical concrete experiences to agree with and apply the principles of her philosophy 100%.

That is, if they are capable and willing to think in principles. :huh:

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QUOTE(Betsy Speicher @ Sep 6 2008, 05:58 PM)

I not only don't trust him, but I think he is trying to exploit Objectivism and anybody he can.

I have two purposes here, both off topic so I understand if it is removed.

1. I have read the HELP section on "Quoting Posts" and want to see if I get it right this time.

2. In the late 1980's an acquaintance I considered as one who was "trying to exploit Objectivism and anybody he [could]", brought Bidinotto over to my house to see my Art work. In regard to my work I recall being being vexed over his art values. He did point out his favorite. I understand that the artist's personal favorite of his own work can be overestimated. (See Rachmaninoff's favorite: his "The Bells".) However that may be, Bidinotto's preference was what I considered to be the least of my works.

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No one, not Peikoff, Schwartz, Bidinotto, or Kelley can claim to be adhering 100% to Ayn Rand's philosophy because no one else has her identity or life experiences.

What the?

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