Bill Bucko

Bill Bucko, Diana Hsieh, and ARI

84 posts in this topic

I have to laugh at Miss Hsieh writing that FORUM members are "so-called Ayn Rand fans." Apparently, actual Ayn Rand fans don't question authority and they can't see through Branden's pathetic act.

In all justice to Diana, she eventually did see through Branden's act.

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To me, the ultimate coward is the man who is terrified of the fact that this is an absolute universe. He or she is terrified that maybe...just maybe...the Universe we live in has absolute rules. They are frightened by this because it means there is nowhere else--no other non-absolute universe--to go to or to appeal to. And the absolute laws of this Universe include laws that rule the function and operation of human consciousness. One of those rules/laws is that evasion may offer immediate relief or pleasure, but in the long run is always destructive, primarily to one's soul and happiness.

Anyone who resorts to ad hominem attacks--as it sounds like the individual being discussed and debated has done--is someone who hasn't a leg to stand on. They have no rational argument to present, so they have to resort to personal attacks. Why they do this, I don't know; the motivation is individual and subjective.

I'm just glad the Forum has you, Betsy, to offer shining rationality in opposition to this brand of irrationality. It's like breathing fresh air.

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I have to laugh at Miss Hsieh writing that FORUM members are "so-called Ayn Rand fans." Apparently, actual Ayn Rand fans don't question authority and they can't see through Branden's pathetic act.

In all justice to Diana, she eventually did see through Branden's act.

True. But when she dares to imply that FORUM members aren't actual Ayn Rand fans, it's hard for me to accept that she's still not making the same 101-level errors that had her at Branden's side for so long. The fact is that after some time, continuing with such erroneous methodologies is indicative of evasion and/or other issues -- issues that contradict Miss Hsieh's implicit claim that she's an authority on Objectivsm and/or a personification of the philosophy.

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My concerns are my goals and aspirations and being the best person I can be, all of the rest are side issues. In other words, my relationship to reality is my primary concern.

Diana Hsieh has many positive characteristics and so I admire those things about her. However, I think she is far too quick to condemn good people. I mean, she turned on Betsy and Stephen pretty quickly.

Betsy, you're a great person and I have nothing but respect and admiration for you and I have gained quite a bit of insight into Objectivism thanks to you.

Oh yeah, and I love Playboy! :angry2:

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That's because it isn't a source for stress, and never has been. When I first encountered hostility for stating what I thought was true, way back in the NBI days when I noticed seemingly dishonest actions on the part of Branden and questioned them, the reaction I got from some other students was "That's Nathaniel Branden. Who are you to question him?" I was very shocked by that but even then, I wasn't stressed out about it, just puzzled. When I asked them why they reacted that way, they couldn't give me an answer that made sense.

Since then, being the outspoken "judgemental" person that I am, I have run into plenty more hostility along the way, but I am no longer puzzled and I realize it comes with the territory. When I am attacked by those who find themselves backed into a corner because something I said or did exposes their pretenses, or threatens to, I tend to be amused. I know they can't touch me becuase I'm right and I think, "There they go again!"

I only wish I had such a healthy attitude. I know that when I think I'm being judged unfairly, it really bothers me.

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Miss Hsieh's implicit claim that she's an authority on Objectivsm and/or a personification of the philosophy.

I don't know if she considers herself to be an authority on Objectivism, but as Betsy's posted conversation illustrates she does not deal well with any challenge to her understanding of Objectivism. And it was not just a challenge from some "newbie", it came from a person who has been in the movement for over 40 years and who questioned Nathaniel Branden's ideas when he was still considered to be an official spokesman for Objectivism. I have had my own disagreements with Betsy over time, but I consider her experience to be a valuable resource. Is that experience a threat to my understanding of Objectivism? When we disagree, yes it could be. But then, I can't determine that unless I explore the argument, give the evidence for my objections, until I am either convinced that I am right and can prove it or I am convinced that she is and change my ideas accordingly. Either way I win. Nowhere in this process does it help me to blank out arguments and condemn facts that contradict my position as "concrete-bound".

Diana Hsieh has many positive characteristics and so I admire those things about her. However, I think she is far too quick to condemn good people. I mean, she turned on Betsy and Stephen pretty quickly.

The problem isn't her haste, but her criteria for condemning people. There is no evidence to support her moral evaluation of Betsy. The only evidence suggests that it all began when Betsy and Stephen objected to Dr. Peikoff's comments on election strategy, which was somehow interpreted (and later claimed) as a personal attack. Perhaps she believes this redeems her of her past errors siding with Branden? Who knows but her. But the point is, this was not some overreaction to a lesser breach of morals. Betsy and Stephen did nothing wrong.

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Miss Hsieh's implicit claim that she's an authority on Objectivsm and/or a personification of the philosophy.

I don't know if she considers herself to be an authority on Objectivism,

I don't know if Miss Hsieh sees herself as an expert on the philosophy. Having said that , I find it hard not to notice the implication(s) of her writing style. Anyway...unless Miss Hsieh launches yet another attack on us FORUM fleas, I'm done with this issue.

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... Objectivity....

Amen to your whole post, Carlos, and particularly this one important word.

Let's put the Objectivity back in Objectivism. By the way, in an "objectivity contest" between Betsy and Diana, well... even "Betsy wins hands-down" is not strong enough because it implies that Diana would show up to the contest!

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Diana Hsieh has many positive characteristics and so I admire those things about her. However, I think she is far too quick to condemn good people. I mean, she turned on Betsy and Stephen pretty quickly.

The problem isn't her haste, but her criteria for condemning people. There is no evidence to support her moral evaluation of Betsy. The only evidence suggests that it all began when Betsy and Stephen objected to Dr. Peikoff's comments on election strategy, which was somehow interpreted (and later claimed) as a personal attack. Perhaps she believes this redeems her of her past errors siding with Branden? Who knows but her. But the point is, this was not some overreaction to a lesser breach of morals. Betsy and Stephen did nothing wrong.

You're right that they did nothing wrong, but there is a problem with haste. Unless someone does something egregiously wrong, it takes time to judge someone fairly.

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I have had my own disagreements with Betsy over time, but I consider her experience to be a valuable resource. Is that experience a threat to my understanding of Objectivism? When we disagree, yes it could be. But then, I can't determine that unless I explore the argument, give the evidence for my objections, until I am either convinced that I am right and can prove it or I am convinced that she is and change my ideas accordingly.

As John Galt said:

When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.

You and I may disagree from time to time but, because we let reality be our final arbiter, we are really on the same side -- the winning side -- no matter how much we disagree.

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Betsy, I admire your attitude and way of dealing with this. From what i've seen so far i've found no grounds for Diana Hsieh's attacks on you and Stephen Speciher, while you have on the other hand stayed with the facts. I must say that you have really impressed me.

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--------------------

In a later response to another of my comments she wrote:

Betsy Speicher replied: "Ayn Rand didn't think so. She wrote about how to select a candidate (but not a party) and, over the years, she wrote about why we should vote for or against particular candidates in particular elections. Sometimes she endorsed a Democrat, sometimes she condemned a Republican, but where did she ever write about voting for or against a PARTY?"

That's bizarrely concrete-bound reasoning. Ayn Rand has been dead for over 20 years ...

(Link to Diana's full comment):

It is ironic that while dismissing me as "concrete-bound" Diana also dismissed Ayn Rand's views because Ayn Rand was dead.

-------------

In light of DH's full comment (below), was she dismissing Ayn Rand because she was dead or just using that statement to introduce the point that current conditions have changed and we should evaluate individuals and/or political parties as appropriate?

That's bizarrely concrete-bound reasoning. Ayn Rand has been dead for over 20 years. The Republican and Democratic Parties have changed significantly in those years. As Objectivists, we should think in principles, not bind ourselves to Ayn Rand's particular analyses. No principle of Objectivism states that candidates must be evaluated individually, without regard for their party -- or vice versa. Ayn Rand judged individual candidates when appropriate -- and parties when appropriate. As you well know, she judged the Libertarian Party as unworthy of any votes, regardless of the particular candidates. She did so with good reason: the LP had an ideological core of subjectivism, just as the ideological core of today's GOP is religion.
(my bold)

Miss Rand did indicate some condition for supporting a party:

There is one particular item of Barry Goldwater's position with which I explicitly and emphatically disagree: his appeal for "party unity," his insistence that Republicans must support any candidate nominated by the convention. It is impossible for any honest advocate of capitalism to vote for Gov. Rockefeller: he has read us out of the party and out of the nation. It is impossible to sanction him as a champion of individualism and free enterprise. It is precisely in the name of "party loyalty" that those who are Republicans must oppose him: his nomination would destroy the Republican Party's significance, its role as an opposition party; his election would deliver the country into the power of a single party with two indistinguishable branches.

Is that not what we have now: two indistinguishable branches?

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--------------------

In a later response to another of my comments she wrote:

Betsy Speicher replied: "Ayn Rand didn't think so. She wrote about how to select a candidate (but not a party) and, over the years, she wrote about why we should vote for or against particular candidates in particular elections. Sometimes she endorsed a Democrat, sometimes she condemned a Republican, but where did she ever write about voting for or against a PARTY?"

That's bizarrely concrete-bound reasoning. Ayn Rand has been dead for over 20 years ...

(Link to Diana's full comment):

It is ironic that while dismissing me as "concrete-bound" Diana also dismissed Ayn Rand's views because Ayn Rand was dead.

-------------

In light of DH's full comment (below), was she dismissing Ayn Rand because she was dead or just using that statement to introduce the point that current conditions have changed and we should evaluate individuals and/or political parties as appropriate?

That is why I included the link to Diana's FULL comment. I followed that with a link to my full, point-by-point, answer to everything in Diana's full comment so people could read both comments and judge for themselves.

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-------------------

That is why I included the link to Diana's FULL comment. I followed that with a link to my full, point-by-point, answer to everything in Diana's full comment so people could read both comments and judge for themselves.

Thanks for pointing that out. I guess I missed that link. You do indeed answer her point by point.

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I cannot resist adding to this 2 year old thread Ms Hsieh's latest 'hastiness', as related to the 'NYC mosque debate'. Hopefully it was not addressed in a previous thread (I did not see it, after intensive searching).

When she saw inn Ed Cline's Facebook thread on this that there were Objectivists who argued for 'violating' the enemy's, so the mosque owner's 'property rights', she posted this text below on her own O-list, which is a direct request to all those who disagree with her on the mosque issue to remove themselves from her lists.

If that is not bullying, because she cannot win an argument with facts and argumentation, what is it?

Having had an understandable cautiousness from her past stay at the moral relativists of David Kelley, does not mean that one now has to move to the other extreme of denying others justice and that one has then the right to now condemn every person disagreeing with you about the measurements of evil, not about if something is evil or not. Ms Hsieh did not have the open mind for that. For her anyone who did not see like her the risk of non-objective law becoming embedded in our society as a greater evil than the 'imminent now' threat of the mosque construction, was considered as poison to her Olist.

I quote Ms Hsieh literally below on June 6, 2010 from the O-list summary I got from her.

And despite that I had not contributed to Ed Cline's thread then, I was happy to oblige by quitting that Olist and telling here why, being that I do not accept threats.

I also pointed out that I was quite concerned about there being a newly baked professor around like her who teaches Objectivism and acts this way, threatening, bullying. The two do not go together.

There is something with someone when he uses aggression to force his ideas on others (I admit I sometimes also did that inadvertedly out of passion, but always redeemed myself for the injustice done).

I never saw this kind of bullying attitude from other longtime Objectivists I met and certainly not from Ayn Rand nor Leonard Peikoff, who are models of an open mind to me, so I cannot stand silent without exposing the opposite, this kind of bullying acts for what they are: evil.

Still I have trouble exactly defining more precisely for myself what is the injustice that Ms Hsieh committed and continues to commit wit her 'hastiness'. Any ideas?

----------------------------------------------

Date: Jun 16 09:10AM -0600

Url: http://groups.google.com/group/oactivists/...4f84abfb48d4cf4

OActivists & OBloggers,

I've just written up a fairly lengthy post on what's morally wrong and

politically dangerous about the conservative attempt to prevent the

building of the mosque near the WTC:

http://blog.dianahsieh.com/2010/06/nyc-mos...rty-rights.html

(Please post any comments on this issue in those blog comments, rather

than on the list.)

I'm disheartened to see some Objectivists supporting this violation of

property rights. To do so means that people's rights may be stripped

solely based on ideology, even if they're not involved with any

criminal wrongdoing. That's a very, very dangerous slippery slope.

The only practical and moral solution to the threat of totalitarian

Islam is to destroy the states that sponsor it, as well as vigorously

seek out and prosecute budding terrorists in America.

If you regard the violation of property rights as justified in this

case -- such that you're committed to that view and to advocating it

-- then please e-mail me privately. I hate to say it, but we need to

discuss whether you can remain on OActivists and OBloggers. I won't

have these lists help promote violations of rights, particularly not

when likely to create such dangerous precedents.

-- DMH

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... When she saw inn Ed Cline's Facebook thread on this that there were Objectivists who argued for 'violating' the enemy's, so the mosque owner's 'property rights', she posted this text below on her own O-list, which is a direct request to all those who disagree with her on the mosque issue to remove themselves from her lists.

If that is not bullying, because she cannot win an argument with facts and argumentation, what is it?

I also pointed out that I was quite concerned about there being a newly baked professor around like her who teaches Objectivism and acts this way, threatening, bullying. The two do not go together...

There may be an element of intellectual "bullying" and "threatening", but it is her forum and she can edit it the way she likes, including all the arrogant narcissistic cape-waving for the sake of a caricaturized version of moral judgment, and other immature stream of consciousness shoot-from-the-hip foolishness. I think that those who feel they must toe the line at her forum aren't so much threatened as they are sycophants to the sycophant. If you aren't posting there anymore you aren't missing much.

Having had an understandable cautiousness from her past stay at the moral relativists of David Kelley, does not mean that one now has to move to the other extreme of denying others justice and...

For a self-proclaimed serious intellectual knowledgeable of Objectivism, but with little to show for it, it took her an awfully long time to understand and drop the tolerationists-on-principle for a more successful organization.

I never saw this kind of bullying attitude from other longtime Objectivists I met and certainly not from Ayn Rand nor Leonard Peikoff, who are models of an open mind to me, so I cannot stand silent without exposing the opposite, this kind of bullying acts for what they are: evil.

Both Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff tended to be openly benevolent towards inquiries and comments even when very wrongly premised, as long as they thought the person deserved the benefit of the doubt. That was not, however, always the case among the smug "lieutenants" orbiting the inner circle (which certainly does not include all of them) and various other satellite paths. In the earlier days of the mid 60s I am told that Branden was the worst of the smug posturers.

But Ayn Rand's openness and benevolence was not an "open mind" -- Ayn Rand knew what she believed and why, and what was right, and did not suggest that it was open to replacement from chance encounters with other views. He who has an open mind quickly has it filled with garbage.

Ayn Rand herself was not always right about who deserved patience and who didn't, as some of the embarrassing impatient blow ups at public speaking events with follow-up questions demonstrated. Even among friends, as Leonard Peikoff once put it, she could be "difficult". It seems that, in the name of "justice", the worst kind of behavior detached from objectivity is too often projected by those admirers of Ayn Rand who pick up on, amplify and misdirect the worst kind of traits in a tortured second-hander distortion of Ayn Rand.

Still I have trouble exactly defining more precisely for myself what is the injustice that Ms Hsieh committed and continues to commit wit her 'hastiness'. Any ideas?

Reading the quotes you posted she seems to have been most incensed with the actions of "conservatives", which she has been trained to condemn on the hastiest of grounds. Latching onto "property rights" as an out of context frozen absolute seems to have come all too quickly. She must have been quite taken aback when Leonard Peikoff morally denounced her position, which authority appears to have now led her to tolerate serious discussion, which I somehow doubt she otherwise would have. She is not a deep first-hand thinker. I wouldn't worry about her as long as ARI keeps it's standards up.

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Thanks for a very impressive and thoughtful reply post, ewv!

There may be an element of intellectual "bullying" and "threatening", but it is her forum and she can edit it the way she likes, including all the arrogant narcissistic cape-waving for the sake of a caricaturized version of moral judgment, and other immature stream of consciousness shoot-from-the-hip foolishness. I think that those who feel they must toe the line at her forum aren't so much threatened as they are sycophants to the sycophant. If you aren't posting there anymore you aren't missing much.

Hsieh's lists are indeed 'groupie' sites.

Interesting is that, when she does not get her way with arguments on a non-Hsieh site, she uses a technique of hijacking that disccussion to her own site to get full control over the discussion. Obviously no one will contradict here on sites she controls....;-)

I learned something new from that they I had not yet figured out to exist on the Internet.

But Ayn Rand's openness and benevolence was not an "open mind" -- Ayn Rand knew what she believed and why, and what was right, and did not suggest that it was open to replacement from chance encounters with other views. He who has an open mind quickly has it filled with garbage.

I should have qualified that I did not mean 'non-judgmentalism' when I talked about Ayn Rand's 'open mind' , but I meant 'her benevolence' of in a discussion trusting in the other party's honesty, unless proven otherwise.

I wouldn't worry about her as long as ARI keeps it's standards up.

Prof Diane Hsieh just finished teaching a course at OCON, an ARI venue. Hopefully that exposed to Objectivism students what she is really about, but it concerns me that ARI has not vetted her better. I guess, one just has to trust that our fellow Objectivists will eventually come to the same conclusions as we here and will stop her disruptions. By the way, I was more concerned though about those who are not as intellectually armed as we are. Imagine her teaching innocent kids. What is worse then, a pure Kantian professor, or one Kellyite Kantian who is cloaked as an Objectivist?

Reading the quotes you posted she seems to have been most incensed with the actions of "conservatives", which she has been trained to condemn on the hastiest of grounds.

Now that you pointed me to the word 'conservatives' that Hsieh used, I just realize that she used a hardly cloaked technique to label unjustly Objectivists in that thread as 'conservatives'.

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I think that those who feel they must toe the line at her forum aren't so much threatened as they are sycophants to the sycophant.

This is an unjust over-generalization. There are many reading and posting to Diana's lists for the genuine values they find there who may not know of, or be turned off by, the negatives -- yet.

I never saw this kind of bullying attitude from other longtime Objectivists I met and certainly not from Ayn Rand nor Leonard Peikoff, who are models of an open mind to me, so I cannot stand silent without exposing the opposite, this kind of bullying acts for what they are: evil.

Fortunately, we are dealing with Objectivists who, much more than people at large, don't like to be bullied. I'm glad Diana is being herself and doing her thing openly, in public, so that everyone can see her, evaluate her, and act accordingly.

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I cannot resist adding to this 2 year old thread Ms Hsieh's latest 'hastiness', as related to the 'NYC mosque debate'. Hopefully it was not addressed in a previous thread (I did not see it, after intensive searching).

When she saw inn Ed Cline's Facebook thread on this that there were Objectivists who argued for 'violating' the enemy's, so the mosque owner's 'property rights', she posted this text below on her own O-list, which is a direct request to all those who disagree with her on the mosque issue to remove themselves from her lists.

----------------------------------------------

Date: Jun 16 09:10AM -0600

Url: http://groups.google.com/group/oactivists/...4f84abfb48d4cf4

OActivists & OBloggers,

I've just written up a fairly lengthy post on what's morally wrong and

politically dangerous about the conservative attempt to prevent the

building of the mosque near the WTC:

http://blog.dianahsieh.com/2010/06/nyc-mos...rty-rights.html

(Please post any comments on this issue in those blog comments, rather

than on the list.)

I'm disheartened to see some Objectivists supporting this violation of

property rights. To do so means that people's rights may be stripped

solely based on ideology, even if they're not involved with any

criminal wrongdoing. That's a very, very dangerous slippery slope.

The only practical and moral solution to the threat of totalitarian

Islam is to destroy the states that sponsor it, as well as vigorously

seek out and prosecute budding terrorists in America.

If you regard the violation of property rights as justified in this

case -- such that you're committed to that view and to advocating it

-- then please e-mail me privately. I hate to say it, but we need to

discuss whether you can remain on OActivists and OBloggers. I won't

have these lists help promote violations of rights, particularly not

when likely to create such dangerous precedents.

-- DMH

Was this ever posted on the web, or was it limited to her private e-mail lists? I tried to find it on the web and could not.

Incidentally, anyone who posts to THE FORUM is excluded from posting to NoodleFood or belonging to any of her "Olists".

If you choose to continue posting on The Forum, then however honest and nice you are, please do not post comments on NoodleFood. Do not e-mail me with or for information -- or for any other purpose. Do not talk to me at conferences or elsewhere. Just stay away from me. I want nothing whatsoever to do with the fleas who attack me on that forum -- or the people who sanction such attacks by participating in the pointless bull sessions with the fleas on that forum.

(Link to Diana's full statement)

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I wonder how long it will be before she falls away from Objectivism. I see plenty of photos on Facebook of her smiling face at OCON this year, but I can't help thinking more and more people will figure her out and back away.

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I wonder how long it will be before she falls away from Objectivism. I see plenty of photos on Facebook of her smiling face at OCON this year, but I can't help thinking more and more people will figure her out and back away.

It is hard to predict the timing, but people who try to exploit Objectivism and Objectivists for improper ends sooner or later trip themselves up.

As Ayn Rand wrote:

Consistency is one of the cardinal requirements of Objectivism, both philosophically and psychologically. It is a dangerous philosophy to play with or to accept half-way: it will stifle the mind that attempts to do so. In this respect, Objectivism, like reality, is its own avenger.

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Was this ever posted on the web, or was it limited to her private e-mail lists? I tried to find it on the web and could not.

Diana Hsieh's declaration of 'conform to my views or get moving' was sent to me as a daily digest item from the O-list.

I'm astounded to read that I was expected to cancel my membership with your board if I signed up with her O-list. I guess that if I had read better what her rules where, I would have been 'awake' earlier. I just did not think of checking her rules as I assumed that they would be rational.

We'll be disagreeing about any of her redeeming qualities. Poison is poison, even if there is some of the best whiskey mixed in.

I'm just so used to the total benevolence I encountered amongst fellow Objectivists that this really got me totally unawares.

By the way, Betsy, thanks for editing my typos. This 'hasty' bad boy will work harder at that. ;-)

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I wonder how long it will be before she falls away from Objectivism. I see plenty of photos on Facebook of her smiling face at OCON this year, but I can't help thinking more and more people will figure her out and back away.

It is hard to predict the timing, but people who try to exploit Objectivism and Objectivists for improper ends sooner or later trip themselves up.

As Ayn Rand wrote:

Consistency is one of the cardinal requirements of Objectivism, both philosophically and psychologically. It is a dangerous philosophy to play with or to accept half-way: it will stifle the mind that attempts to do so. In this respect, Objectivism, like reality, is its own avenger.

Indeed. Personally, I don't care really, aside from having an odious person I have to avoid if I attend a future OCON. Still, that's pretty easy given there are plenty of people who do go I would want to associate with.

I reckon some people would think this sullies Objectivism, but I'm of the opinion that the people who fall away eventually aren't missed and the philosophy would never suffer because they were poor representatives, anyway.

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I think that those who feel they must toe the line at her forum aren't so much threatened as they are sycophants to the sycophant.

This is an unjust over-generalization. There are many reading and posting to Diana's lists for the genuine values they find there who may not know of, or be turned off by, the negatives -- yet.

It is not unjust and not an over-generalization. Your statement does not address what I wrote. I specifically referred to "those who feel they must toe the line" as being willing victims as opposed to being "threatened", not everyone in search of genuine values on her forum.

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