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Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

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You can misrepresent Objectivism by stating that it's something other than Ayn Rand's philosophy, which is what that group has done. When they say that they're experts in Objectivism, they're actually referring to an "open" type of Objectivism that's a combination of Ayn Rand's ideas and their ideas.

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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.

I.e. an Intellectual who advocates Ayn Rand's ideas.

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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.

I.e. an Intellectual who advocates Ayn Rand's ideas.

Advocating ideas is not the same thing as representing the originator of the ideas. As I posted above, to "represent" is to make a claim of being a spokesperson, etc.

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You can misrepresent Objectivism by stating that it's something other than Ayn Rand's philosophy, which is what that group has done.

Not true. Where do they say that?

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Advocating ideas is not the same thing as representing the originator of the ideas. As I posted above, to "represent" is to make a claim of being a spokesperson, etc.

Look, I don't even know why we're talking about this. The TOC controversy is settled, and they lost. You cannot make a distinction between a person calling himself an Objectivist, and between representing that philosophy. Lots of people are influenced by all sorts of philosophies, and that doesn't make them "-ists" of that philosophy. The "-ist" is a designation, a description, for a person who accepts the philosophy completely. Then, when you make a philosophical statement you are implicitly adding that this statement is completely consistent with the "-ist" you are trying to be. Now I don't know Bidinotto personally, but the TOC group in general likes to call themselves Objectivists, but refuse to accept any kind of consistency with it, or within it. They just take pieces they really like, and not pay so much attention to those that they don't. That is fine if they call themselves simply intellectuals, but if they call themselves Objectivist intellectuals that is dishonesty.

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Look, I don't even know why we're talking about this. The TOC controversy is settled, and they lost.

It may be settled for you, but not for me. A simple thread about a posting of interest got sidetracked over whether someone can refer to someone else as an Objectivist Intellectual. Clearly, it's not so settled.

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You can misrepresent Objectivism by stating that it's something other than Ayn Rand's philosophy, which is what that group has done.

Not true. Where do they say that?

From Robert James Bidinotto, "The Anatomy of Cooperation," as printed on the Atlas Society's website:

To achieve greater harmony within the movement—and to grant Objectivism greater credibility in the marketplace of ideas—will require two vital steps.

First, Objectivism will have to come to mean that open system of rational individualist philosophical principles described by Will Thomas and David Kelley; and agreement will have to be based on its essentials, not on every comma Rand struck on her Remington Rand typewriter.

And this is just the first quote I found when I googled the subject. If you look, you'll find many other speeches, essays, and statements that show what TAS, TOC, Bidinotto, and the like stood for.

But hey, I made an assertion about them, and I think it's perfectly fine for you to ask me to prove what I say. If you want to say "Not true" to what I say, though, I'd want to know what facts make you think otherwise. Especially when given quotes like the one above. They're very clear about what they stand for.

And it's not just the old "open" v. "closed" issue that makes me want to avoid that group whenever possible. They don't just misrepresent Objectivism, they also misrepresent Ayn Rand. And there's even more on top of that, but again, I don't want to get into a long debate about this. If the issue is not settled for you, you can look it up. And if you don't want to look it up, that's fine too.... but my advice to you is to not take their side until you have seen all the facts.

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Look, I don't even know why we're talking about this. The TOC controversy is settled, and they lost.

It may be settled for you, but not for me. A simple thread about a posting of interest got sidetracked over whether someone can refer to someone else as an Objectivist Intellectual. Clearly, it's not so settled.

With all due respect jordanz (and KPO'M) it seems that as long as you state you have been around Objectivism that you still have not come to a conclusion on the controversy leads me to ask what is keeping you from that conclusion. At the begining of my study of Objectivism I looked up all I could from many different places that made many different claims and had many contradictions between them. So, I attempted and did come to a conclusion as quickly as possible so that I could move forward. A person cannot stand with one leg on either sides of the rode and not expect to get run down. I would advise taking that look into the controversy and see who is correct and then defend that stance. And obviously there is a difference as they did not split and walk away because they agreed on the subject.

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First, Objectivism will have to come to mean that open system of rational individualist philosophical principles described by Will Thomas and David Kelley; and agreement will have to be based on its essentials, not on every comma Rand struck on her Remington Rand typewriter.

Thank you for this. I don't agree with Bidinotto's statement. I'll ask him about it. In other contexts, I've never heard him saying anything similar.

They don't just misrepresent Objectivism, they also misrepresent Ayn Rand. And there's even more on top of that, but again, I don't want to get into a long debate about this. If the issue is not settled for you, you can look it up.

I have looked into it. I don't believe (in general) they misrepresent Objectivism or Ayn Rand. As part of this thread, I spent some time on both the ARI and TAS website and couldn't find anything of significance on TAS to convince me in the negative.

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With all due respect jordanz (and KPO'M) it seems that as long as you state you have been around Objectivism that you still have not come to a conclusion on the controversy leads me to ask what is keeping you from that conclusion.

I have come to conclusions:

* ARI and TAS are not mutually exclusive

* The principals at ARI and TAS all agree with and advocate Objectivism as it's defined here: http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/objectivism.html

* The differences between ARI and TAS have to do with certain conclusions derived from the principals' understanding of Objectivism

* People who like ARI and those who like TAS must not view each other as evil

* Both groups are brethren

* Rational people can come to different conclusions on some of the arcane technical issues that ARI and TAS disagree on

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Robert Bidinotto has asked that the following be posted on the Forum, evidently pertaining, primarily but not exclusively, to these posts by Betsy [1], [2], & [3] and my initial post. Betsy is aware of the content, agreed to allow this posting, and says that she stands by her original evaluation of Robert Bidinotto. I have not seen the emails they refer to.

From: Robert Bidinotto

Subject: False claims by Betsy Speicher

Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 15:12:03 -0400

Thank you, [jordanz], for bringing to my attention the ongoing comments about me on Betsy Speicher’s website. And thank you and [ewv] for simply trying to set the factual record straight.

To add to that record—if Speicher would dare to allow it to be printed (please at least send it to her):

1. I have never in my life claimed to be a spokesperson for Ayn Rand or Objectivism. Nor would I: I do not believe that anyone can be an “intellectual representative” of the mind of another. I have written and lectured on that very point, always emphasizing that I speak for myself. In any case, Ayn Rand spoke for herself, brilliantly and powerfully: She needed no translator or self-appointed “intellectual heir” to clarify her philosophy.

2. I call myself an Objectivist because of my agreement with all the fundamentals of the philosophy as presented in the writings of Ayn Rand—not in the works of anyone else claiming to be her “intellectual heir” or “representative”—claims I reject as a gross presumption on and abuse of her name and legacy. I also use the term Objectivist to distinguish my views from other well-known philosophies and ideologies. Using that term in self-description, however, does not imply that I am a “spokesman” for Rand or her ideas, any more than calling oneself a Catholic implies one is a “spokesman” for the Catholic Church.

3. To her claim that I am somehow “exploiting” Ayn Rand, I ask a question: What would be the difference between making a career choice to advance Ayn Rand’s philosophy professionally, versus “exploiting” Ayn Rand? Explain to me what that difference would look like.

If what I am doing constitutes “exploitation” of Rand’s name and ideas, then why aren’t those working for ARI—some of whom are paid many times what I earn promoting Objectivism—also “exploiters”? Let me add that, unlike them, I don’t promote Objectivism under her name.

4. Finally, to a personal issue (and only because she raised it publicly):

I recall only a couple of very brief communications that I ever sent to Betsy Speicher over the years. One was to express my sincere regret about the death of her husband, a prominent Objectivist who—whatever our differences—had done much to promote Objectivism. The other was a message congratulating her for taking a stand independent from that of Leonard Peikoff and others, who were calling for the defeat of Republicans and the election of Democrats. I thought that such a welcome sign of intellectual independence, all too rare in Objectivist circles, deserved encouragement.

That was it. I never shared those brief messages with others. I neither expected nor received any response to them. I simply thought those messages, under those circumstances, were the classy and proper way for someone like me to act.

I certainly did not desire or seek her “support,” and there is nothing in either message that she could possibly quote on behalf of that interpretation, for it is ludicrous on its face. My long-established career record is that of an independent writer and speaker who aims to address and influence non-Objectivists, not “movement” people. If Betsy Speicher imagines that her support (whatever that is) could possibly be useful to me in advancing such a career, then she flatters herself.

Sincerely,

Robert

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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.

Ayn Rand's endorsement of Leonard Peikoff was nothing more or less than a contextual endorsement of his representation of her ideas to that point--a representation I will emphasize was to that time done in close working association with Miss Rand. He himself has confessed to having grievous intellectual difficulties in the realm of high-level methodology, and stated in one lecture that he actually gave up teaching for a period while he grappled with these issues. I have personally been very grateful for many beneficial experiences from Dr. Peikoff's many courses and speeches, and the two of his books I've read (one of which he sought much ongoing feedback from Rand on, and the other which was largely based on lecture courses closely supervised by Rand.) But that said, I also see MUCH evidence for the very sin Dr. Peikoff claims to have suffered from over so many years, namely "rationalism". For example, in his Understanding Objectivism course, he, along with Edith Packer, described homosexuality as "a developmental disorder" -- but no *inductive* approach to dealing with human sexuality could possibly conclude homosexuality was a "disorder"--a "disorder" is something that interferes with normal functioning, and would include things like major depression, autism, psychosis, etc. etc. (And btw, I happen to know that Dr. Peikoff has been over the years acquainted with several "out" individuals who I've met and who are models of psychological normalcy, so one can't say, "Oh, well Dr. Peikoff knew all these schizophrenic psychotic manic-depressive autistic people who were also homosexual, and so he just made an innocent error of induction.) I think a number of issues that Dr. Peikoff has addressed since Miss Rand's death continue to support the view that Dr. Peikoff, despite his stature, character, and many qualities, still has methodological issues.

So bottom line for me, is I hold little stock in this "Intellectual Heir" business. And the notion of an authority figure who stands as an arbiter is, imhbco, an extremely detrimental concept that is the antithesis of independent thought and civil association among intellectuals.

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So bottom line for me, is I hold little stock in this "Intellectual Heir" business. And the notion of an authority figure who stands as an arbiter is, imhbco, an extremely detrimental concept that is the antithesis of independent thought and civil association among intellectuals.

I don't think "intellectual heir" means an appointed authority. It simply means that Dr. Peikoff inherited her intellectual property, including her copyrights, and the right to collect royalties from them, negotiate their use, etc.

As to whether someone is an authority on Ayn Rand, that is something each of us must decide by comparing what Ayn Rand wrote with what someone says she wrote or meant. Also, we must each decide the value of any intellectual's ideas, including Dr. Peikoff's and especially Ayn Rand's, by applying them to reality and seing if and how they correspond to it.

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So bottom line for me, is I hold little stock in this "Intellectual Heir" business. And the notion of an authority figure who stands as an arbiter is, imhbco, an extremely detrimental concept that is the antithesis of independent thought and civil association among intellectuals.

I don't think "intellectual heir" means an appointed authority. It simply means that Dr. Peikoff inherited her intellectual property, including her copyrights, and the right to collect royalties from them, negotiate their use, etc.

"Intellectual heir" meant and has been used as more than that. Inheritance of property rights does not mean something intellectual. He was the one person she expected to carry on and lead her battle for ideas with integrity and knowledge, based on his experience and understanding at the time. But it does not mean an appointed authority with some kind of official capacity.

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... ...
From: Robert Bidinotto

Subject: False claims by Betsy Speicher

... ... I thought that such a welcome sign of intellectual independence, all too rare in Objectivist circles, deserved encouragement...

Sincerely,

Robert

Notice how he condescendingly insults and smears "Objectivist circles." It's not surprising that subjectivists and skeptics cannot accept the fact that anyone has discovered important knowledge on such a vast scale as Miss Rand did. Thus, to their superficial eyes, when someone accepts her entire philosophy (which, let me remind you, is a system) it could only be through lack of independence.

However, those of us who understand the philosophy--and we are many--accept the entirety of her system because, by our own independent judgement, we have grasped that it's true. Not because "she said so"--the only possibiity that occurs to subjectivists.

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However, those of us who understand the philosophy--and we are many--accept the entirety of her system because, by our own independent judgement, we have grasped that it's true. Not because "she said so"--the only possibiity that occurs to subjectivists.

Hear, hear! If I may put it a bit more bluntly: I don't give a damn that it was Ayn Rand who created what she did, I give a damn whether or not it's right.

That she was the one who did it makes me have enormous respect for her, of course. But she's not some kind of oracle or deity whose pronouncements I accept on faith. Neither is anyone else.

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... ...
From: Robert Bidinotto

Subject: False claims by Betsy Speicher

... ... I thought that such a welcome sign of intellectual independence, all too rare in Objectivist circles, deserved encouragement...

Sincerely,

Robert

Notice how he condescendingly insults and smears "Objectivist circles." It's not surprising that subjectivists and skeptics cannot accept the fact that anyone has discovered important knowledge on such a vast scale as Miss Rand did. Thus, to their superficial eyes, when someone accepts her entire philosophy (which, let me remind you, is a system) it could only be through lack of independence.

However, those of us who understand the philosophy--and we are many--accept the entirety of her system because, by our own independent judgement, we have grasped that it's true. Not because "she said so"--the only possibiity that occurs to subjectivists.

He didn't disagree with that ("I call myself an Objectivist because of my agreement with all the fundamentals of the philosophy as presented in the writings of Ayn Rand"); he is not a subjectivist or skeptic. He was referring to those who follow along (behind Leonard Peikoff in particular) without first hand understanding, specifically those who followed Leonard Peikoff's injunction to defeat "all" Republicans as an alleged implication of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

The independent responses on the Forum by the way were largely, though not entirely, admirable -- and further, informal polls on the Forum and a couple of other web sites like O. Online and the old TIA forum revealed that most participants rejected Leonard Peikoff's views. But we were denounced and 'written out of the movement' by those who aren't so independent.

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... ...
From: Robert Bidinotto

Subject: False claims by Betsy Speicher

... ... I thought that such a welcome sign of intellectual independence, all too rare in Objectivist circles, deserved encouragement...

Sincerely,

Robert

Notice how he condescendingly insults and smears "Objectivist circles." It's not surprising that subjectivists and skeptics cannot accept the fact that anyone has discovered important knowledge on such a vast scale as Miss Rand did. Thus, to their superficial eyes, when someone accepts her entire philosophy (which, let me remind you, is a system) it could only be through lack of independence.

However, those of us who understand the philosophy--and we are many--accept the entirety of her system because, by our own independent judgement, we have grasped that it's true. Not because "she said so"--the only possibiity that occurs to subjectivists.

I STAND BY my statements.

The ugly subjectivist hangers-on who posture as Objectivists, while trying to define Objectivism as "a little bit Ayn Rand, a little bit David Kelly, a little bit who knows what," typically do not come out and flatly state "I am a subjectivist and skeptic."

Rather, their flaws become evident in the way they attack ARI and individuals who DO hold CONSISTENT views.

See posts #48 and 57 for further evidence.

Years ago, I asked:

Would David Kelly approve if I founded a David Kelly Society, dedicated to advancing ideas he was opposed to, e.g. the idea that tolerance is not a virtue?

NO?

THEN WHY DOES HE DEMAND FOR HIMSELF A RIGHT HE IS NOT WILLING TO GRANT TO AYN RAND?

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Would David Kelly approve if I founded a David Kelly Society, dedicated to advancing ideas he was opposed to, e.g. the idea that tolerance is not a virtue?

But David Kelley did not create an Ayn Rand Society. He created the Institute for Objectivist Studies (later the Objectivist Center). Put another way, if some unknown person created something called The Institute for the Study of Atlas Shrugged no one would bat an eye. IOS/TOC's names state what it is they do and in no way give the impression that they represent or are approved of by Ayn Rand.

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But David Kelley did not create an Ayn Rand Society. He created the Institute for Objectivist Studies (later the Objectivist Center). Put another way, if some unknown person created something called The Institute for the Study of Atlas Shrugged no one would bat an eye. IOS/TOC's names state what it is they do and in no way give the impression that they represent or are approved of by Ayn Rand.

If they're interested in studying Objectivism, they might want to stick to what Ayn Rand wrote, since it's her philosophy, not public property. I've noticed that it is a frequent complaint of pseudo-Objectivists that random people's writings aren't considered by ARI to be a part of "Objectivist canon". For that ARI staff are labeled "dogmatists" or even cultists! But nobody said people weren't allowed to write about Objectivism on their own, or to apply Objectivism to the specialty of their choice. What good would the philosophy be if that were the case! And if you notice, despite their "dogmatism" this is exactly what ARI intellectuals do - they work in their own disciplines with Objectivism as a base and share their conclusions with other Objectivists. The difference is they don't claim when teaching their own ideas that they are teaching Objectivism, they don't co-opt the name in order to give them more weight in the ears of the listener.

But I don't understand why this discussion is still necessary, because I know we've had it before.

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But I don't understand why this discussion is still necessary, because I know we've had it before.

I imagine you mean to say that you think this is settled. It's not settled for me. I would like to see the different Objectivist factions stop arguing with one another.

they might want to stick to what Ayn Rand wrote, since it's her philosophy

They do (I assume you're referring to TOC).

The difference is they don't claim when teaching their own ideas that they are teaching Objectivism

TOC has always been accurate on this. At seminars I've been to, TOC principals have always been explicit when something was their own conclusion or when it was a quote from Ayn Rand.

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they might want to stick to what Ayn Rand wrote, since it's her philosophy

They do (I assume you're referring to TOC).

No, they don't, which I already pointed out in a previous discussion with you. Ignoring the evidence doesn't make it go away. See especially my last response here to your claim that Kelley refers only to Ayn Rand's works as the content of Objectivism.

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No, they don't, which I already pointed out in a previous discussion with you. Ignoring the evidence doesn't make it go away. See especially my last response here to your claim that Kelley refers only to Ayn Rand's works as the content of Objectivism.

You have not convinced me. I read the same references and come to a different conclusion than you. These are subtle and difficult issues and I believe rational people can reasonably disagree on these points. I respectfully disagree with you. In general, you have respectfully disagreed with me, bborg. This is what I value most about this Forum. This is a wonderful place where we can all come and discuss these issues. I know of no other place where that would be tolerated.

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they might want to stick to what Ayn Rand wrote, since it's her philosophy

They do (I assume you're referring to TOC).

No, they don't, which I already pointed out in a previous discussion with you. Ignoring the evidence doesn't make it go away.

I gave jordanz a specific quote, just one page back in this very thread, from the TOC website in which Bidinotto explicitly stated that they Objectivism should be something other than what Ayn Rand wrote.

[shrug]

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I gave jordanz a specific quote, just one page back in this very thread, from the TOC website in which Bidinotto explicitly stated that they Objectivism should be something other than what Ayn Rand wrote.

My response was that it was in conflict with everything I've heard Robert say elsewhere. I hope that's not your only evidence.

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