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Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

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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.

A person's favorite "can be overestimated" by whom, precisely?#@!!! Certainly not you?#@!! First of all I happen to view Rachmaninoff's "The Bells" as a truly beautiful composition and not because Rachmaninoff viewed it as his best work. Secondly, what I and others happen to think about a composer's work is and MUST ultimately be utterly irrelevant to that composer in assessing the merits of his own personal creation. If others like or don't like it . . . so what? It is, after all, HIS work and not theirs. The composer who thinks otherwise should take up another profession.

Furthermore, the fact that Bidinotto or anyone else happened to prefer a work you consider less than your best may point to a certain questionable taste on his or their part. It may even reveal a lack of knowledge and/or understanding of your work. But it most certainly does not show the he or they are "trying to exploit Objectivism and anybody he [could]," nor does it have anything to do with whether he IS or IS NOT an Objectivist or whether Objectivism is a valid philosophical system.

As a musician myself, I simply do not put much stock in what Miss Rand had to say about music, not that she had much to say about it anyway. While I have nothing but the greatest respect for her statements regarding aesthetics generally, I've always judged her comments specific to music to reflect a decided lack of knowledge: she simply didn't know the field. This did not make her a "charlatan"; nor did it invalidate her philosophy and ideas.

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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?

What I mean is that they they are following their own philosophies. It could be that Leonard Peikoff's philosophy is 99% like Ayn Rand's. However, I doubt very seriously that two people can come to the same philosophical conclusions on absolutely everything. Certainly they will differ at times as to the application of the philosophy.

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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?

What I mean is that they they are following their own philosophies. It could be that Leonard Peikoff's philosophy is 99% like Ayn Rand's. However, I doubt very seriously that two people can come to the same philosophical conclusions on absolutely everything. Certainly they will differ at times as to the application of the philosophy.

From your statement is seems you misunderstand what philosophical fundamentals are. People can live according to the same philosophical fundamentals, such as the fundamentals of Objectivism, and still come to different conclusions. This does not mean they are living according to different philosophies, just that they have come to different conclusions of which one or both of them could be wrong.

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As a musician myself, I simply do not put much stock in what Miss Rand had to say about music, not that she had much to say about it anyway. While I have nothing but the greatest respect for her statements regarding aesthetics generally, I've always judged her comments specific to music to reflect a decided lack of knowledge: she simply didn't know the field. This did not make her a "charlatan"; nor did it invalidate her philosophy and ideas.

Which of her comments specific to music would you say reflect a decided lack of knowledge?

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As a musician myself, I simply do not put much stock in what Miss Rand had to say about music, not that she had much to say about it anyway. While I have nothing but the greatest respect for her statements regarding aesthetics generally, I've always judged her comments specific to music to reflect a decided lack of knowledge: she simply didn't know the field. This did not make her a "charlatan"; nor did it invalidate her philosophy and ideas.

Which of her comments specific to music would you say reflect a decided lack of knowledge?

I can but won't answer that question here, not least of which because it is beside the point of my objections to one of the implications in Mac's comment, which objection is: that it does not necessarily follow that an individual's assessment of an art work either (1) speaks to that person's character or (2) invalidates that person's philosophical ideas and/or system.

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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.

Betsy, I would have been ok with your decision to delete the thread. One of the things that I never liked about these types of discussions, especially when they're in public, written form, is how they give too much credit to the bad guys. To someone who has just read Ayn Rand's books but didn't know anything about anybody else, it might appear that the people who are taking hard-line stances against individuals are being irrational by dismissing someone for "personal" reasons. It just feeds the myth about Objectivists being mean, judgemental people and sets up the "nice" people -- i.e. the enemies of Objectivism -- as the alternative. It takes a lot of work to break through that and find the truth, and it's work that most aren't going to do (nor should they want to...).

Of course, deleting the thread probably wouldn't end the discussion, but it would have been one less link and fewer visitors to that site. :huh:

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Betsy, I would have been ok with your decision to delete the thread. One of the things that I never liked about these types of discussions, especially when they're in public, written form, is how they give too much credit to the bad guys. To someone who has just read Ayn Rand's books but didn't know anything about anybody else, it might appear that the people who are taking hard-line stances against individuals are being irrational by dismissing someone for "personal" reasons. It just feeds the myth about Objectivists being mean, judgemental people and sets up the "nice" people -- i.e. the enemies of Objectivism -- as the alternative. It takes a lot of work to break through that and find the truth, and it's work that most aren't going to do (nor should they want to...).

I, for one, would have reacted very badly if this thread was deleted. The original post was perfectly reasonable. The responses have, mostly, had nothing to do with the original post. The only candidates for deletion would be some of the responses.

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The original post was perfectly reasonable.

I think that's in question, mostly surrounding Bidinotto being identified as an "Objectivist intellectual." To those that know even just a little bit about Bidinotto, that assertion is like someone stating that up is down. It's not fun to argue that point and I'm not going to even try here, so I'll just leave it at this: There's a reason that some rational Objectivists recoil when they see his name tied to Objectivism.

Deleting the thread might seem like overkill, but I bet it would have be done with a suggestion to remove anything that would promote the man (including the link) and resubmit. Arguing his blog post is one thing; stating that he's an Objectivist intellectual is another.

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The original post was perfectly reasonable.

I think that's in question, mostly surrounding Bidinotto being identified as an "Objectivist intellectual." To those that know even just a little bit about Bidinotto, that assertion is like someone stating that up is down. It's not fun to argue that point and I'm not going to even try here, so I'll just leave it at this: There's a reason that some rational Objectivists recoil when they see his name tied to Objectivism.

Deleting the thread might seem like overkill, but I bet it would have be done with a suggestion to remove anything that would promote the man (including the link) and resubmit. Arguing his blog post is one thing; stating that he's an Objectivist intellectual is another.

I don't know if he calls himself an Objectivist intellectual or even cares. He is not and does not call himself and ARI intellectual and is not affiliated with ARI, which is not a requirement. He is an Objectivist intellectual in the sense that he is deeply and explicitly influenced by Ayn Rand's ideas and as a professional journalist he is an intellectual.

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The question is whether he's an Objectivist intellectual, in that he understands and accepts Ayn Rand's philosophy. That is what's being challenged here. No one doubts that he's an intellectual, perhaps influenced by AR as have been many people throughout the last 50 years without it making them Objectivists or any kind of spokesmen for the philosophy.

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The question is whether he's an Objectivist intellectual, in that he understands and accepts Ayn Rand's philosophy. That is what's being challenged here. No one doubts that he's an intellectual, perhaps influenced by AR as have been many people throughout the last 50 years without it making them Objectivists or any kind of spokesmen for the philosophy.

I know Robert personally. I have just reviewed the Ayn Rand Lexicon on the term Objectivism and can unequivocally state that Robert understands and accepts Ayn Rand's philosophy.

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The question is whether he's an Objectivist intellectual, in that he understands and accepts Ayn Rand's philosophy. That is what's being challenged here. No one doubts that he's an intellectual, perhaps influenced by AR as have been many people throughout the last 50 years without it making them Objectivists or any kind of spokesmen for the philosophy.

What makes someone a "spokesman" for Ayn Rand's philosophy? There is no such thing. Robert Bidinotto is very knowledgeable of Ayn Rand's thought expecially in the realm of social and political analysis.

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What makes someone a "spokesman" for Ayn Rand's philosophy?

They are speaking for Objectivism when they claim that their conclusions represent the ideas of Ayn Rand and her philosophy.

There is no such thing.
There are some people who claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas including Dr. Peikoff and ARI as well as David Kelley and his associates including Bidinotto. Some who make such claims, in fact, represent something else, and threaten the understanding and acceptance of Objectivism as a result.

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There are some people who claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas including Dr. Peikoff and ARI as well as David Kelley and his associates including Bidinotto.

Where do Kelley and Bidinotto claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas? I've never seen them do this.

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Where do Kelley and Bidinotto claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas? I've never seen them do this.

When you claim that you're an Objectivist intellectual, you claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas.

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There are some people who claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas including Dr. Peikoff and ARI as well as David Kelley and his associates including Bidinotto.

Where do Kelley and Bidinotto claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas? I've never seen them do this.

There are no "spokesmen" for Ayn Rand. There is no such thing as a spokesman for a person who is no longer living and no such thing as an "official" Objectivist. There are only degrees of expertise and competence in scholarship on someone else's ideas. Any intellectual who writes about Ayn Rand's ideas, whether or not he agrees with them, can claim in some sense to "represent" them when he describes them. TOC has some publications that claim to do this as scholarship, generally not very well or not offering anything much of value beyond Ayn Rand's own superior formulations, from what I have seen. Robert Bidinotto's own commentaries, such as the one linked to at the beginning of this thread, are written as his own reporting and analysis and not as as "Objectivist", let alone as speaking for Ayn Rand. They are contemporary cultural and political analysis just as Rob Tracinski does, not expositions of philosophy. These people are "Objectivist intellectuals" to the extent they understand and correctly apply the ideas in their fields of expertise, not "spokesmen". You have to read and evaluate them for yourself; identifying them as in some sense "Objectivist" gives you an indication of potential interest and value from an expected framework based on reputation.

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When you claim that you're an Objectivist intellectual, you claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas.

That doesn't follow. An Objectivist Intellectual is an Intellectual who advocates Objectivism. Any professional philosopher (or similar profession) who advocates Objectivism would be an Objectivist Intellectual. Leonard Peikoff can rightly claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas. No one else that I can think of can.

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When you claim that you're an Objectivist intellectual, you claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas.

That doesn't follow. An Objectivist Intellectual is an Intellectual who advocates Objectivism. Any professional philosopher (or similar profession) who advocates Objectivism would be an Objectivist Intellectual. Leonard Peikoff can rightly claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas. No one else that I can think of can.

Leonard Peikoff is not the only philosopher who advocates Objectivism.

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Leonard Peikoff is not the only philosopher who advocates Objectivism.

But he's the only one who can correctly claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas. She named him her Intellectual Heir.

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Leonard Peikoff is not the only philosopher who advocates Objectivism.

But he's the only one who can correctly claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas. She named him her Intellectual Heir.

That does not rule out anyone else from "correctly" presenting her ideas, nor does it guarantee that Leonard Peikoff will always be correct, especially in applying them to new situations or attempts to expand on them. The symbolic term "Intellectual Heir" specifying the person she wanted to carry on her battle was not a biological inheritance of her brain. No one is her "spokesman". Leonard Peikoff remains the person with the most knowledge of her system of ideas through his experience of countless hours of questioning her and discussions with her over decades. That is the source of his unusual expertise, but it does not mean that no one else can "correctly claim to represent", i.e., explain, her ideas.

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That does not rule out anyone else from "correctly" presenting her ideas, nor does it guarantee that Leonard Peikoff will always be correct

Agreed. I was responding to some previous posts that objected to the term "Objectivist Intellectual" as implying that the person represents Ayn Rand's ideas. If I went to a talk by an unknown person who was billed as an "Objectivist Intellectual" I would not assume that that person had the sanction of Ayn Rand or ARI. I would just assume that the person was an advocate of Objectivism. Of course, that person could be a bad or incorrect advocate. Only an analysis of their work would determine that.

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Agreed. I was responding to some previous posts that objected to the term "Objectivist Intellectual" as implying that the person represents Ayn Rand's ideas. If I went to a talk by an unknown person who was billed as an "Objectivist Intellectual" I would not assume that that person had the sanction of Ayn Rand or ARI. I would just assume that the person was an advocate of Objectivism. Of course, that person could be a bad or incorrect advocate. Only an analysis of their work would determine that.

I think it's reasonable to say that an "Objectivist Intellectual" is someone who understands Objectivism, rather than someone who simply advocates it. After all, are they advocating Objectivism if they are misrepresenting it?

(I am not familiar with Robert Bidinotto's work, so I am not referring to him in particular.)

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There are some people who claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas including Dr. Peikoff and ARI as well as David Kelley and his associates including Bidinotto.

Where do Kelley and Bidinotto claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas? I've never seen them do this.

Kelley's Atlas Society's home page begins by declaring

TAS: The Center for Objectivism

We are the most respected independent source of information about Objectivism -- the philosophy defined by Ayn Rand, the renowned author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

In this TOC press release it says:

The Objectivist Center is a national not-for-profit think tank promoting the values of reason, individualism, freedom and achievement in American culture. Its scholars are experts on Ayn Rand’s thought and influence ...

There is also currently a news item on their home page that says:

Report from the U.S. House of Representatives on Energy & Morality

Dr. Edward Hudgins reports on the extraordinary day he spent in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, sitting in among members of Congress debating energy policy and the Objectivist ideas he contributed. [Emphasis mine]

Bidinotto is the Editor of The New Individualist and the publication's stated mission is

Our advocacy and outreach efforts seek to present the principles of Objectivism to individuals worldwide, and to offer those principles as a rational and moral alternative in the marketplace of philosophical ideas. [Emphasis mine.]

I wouldn't object to them doing any of the above, if that was what they were really doing. Unfortunately, they are providing information about, promoting, advocating, contributing, and presenting something other than Ayn Rand's philosophy.

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Betsy,

Read more closely. Kelley claims to be disseminating information about Objectivism, while also being expert on the philosophy. I don't know enough about Kelley to answer the second, but it does appear that he is disseminating information about Objectivism to the extent that he promotes her books. I can be an expert on Christianity and disseminate information about it without being a Christian.

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Kelley's Atlas Society's home page begins by declaring

*snip*

dictionary.com defines "represent" (in the context I assumed it was used) as:

* to stand or act in the place of, as a substitute, proxy, or agent does

* to speak and act for by delegated authority

* to act for or in behalf of

None of the quotes you show imply that Kelley et al represent Ayn Rand. Each quote only implies an expert knowledge in Objectivism. Robert Bidinotto, David Kelley and Ed Hudgins all claim to be Objectivists and to adhere to the principles of Objectivism as defined by Ayn Rand. That they may come to incorrect conclusions is a different argument.

Unfortunately, they are providing information about, promoting, advocating, contributing, and presenting something other than Ayn Rand's philosophy.

I don't think that's a fair statement. You could say that they are presenting an incorrect presentation of Ayn Rand's philosophy. But, barring any contrary evidence, I believe they attempt to present her philosophy as they understand it.

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