Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Showtime"

A while ago, Greg Nyquist wondered "Is Objectivism Dangerous?" He concluded that the answer was no, despite the often fantastic theorising and overblown rhetoric of some of its proponents.

However, here in New Zealand we have the interesting situation of the former leader of the Libertarianz, Objectivist Lindsay Perigo, on Tuesday taking the quite unprecedented step of calling for the violent overthrow of the presiding government, a coalition of several parties dominated by the Labour Party. Comparing the situation to the American War of Independence, he said:
"...the time for mere marches is past...It is the right and duty of New Zealand citizens to throw off this government, which has long evinced a desire—nay, a compulsion—to subjugate us to absolute despotism. We should not wait for the 2008 election...New Zealanders must now ask themselves if they are a free people—and if so, are they prepared to act accordingly? Which is to say, are they prepared forcibly to evict all tyranny-mongers from their positions of power?"
In a followup comment, "So, now to overthrow!" Perigo continues:
"Private feedback this evening indicates overwhelming acceptance that the time has come...Everything from this point until Showtime must of necessity be clandestine..."
He then seems to try to soften his original position with some of his trademark outre humour, before returning to his theme:
"All right, I'm getting flippant already. Seriously, don't fret at the absence of progress reports. Needs must that this project go underground. But help is on the way."
One commenter described himself as "shocked" yet applauded Perigo's stand, to which Perigo replied "Bravo to you! At least you took in its import. And yes, this is where we've got to..."

This is the first time in my recollection that the former leader of a longstanding political party has called for the overthrow by force of a sitting government. The issue that has apparently brought him to make these threats is the Electoral Finance Bill, a controversial attempt to stop anonymous election funding that is currently before Parliament. The bill appears flawed in many ways; but does not appear to be serious enough a threat to free speech to require revolutionary action.

Should we take this sort of literal call to arms seriously? Probably not. These days Perigo seems to largely act as a figurehead in the Objectivist/Libertarian movement, issuing various provocative pronouncements and leaving others to do the organizational donkey work behind the scenes. The Libertarianz themselves, while composed of some highly competent and intelligent people, also do not have much of a reputation for organizational prowess, and have struggled to gain political traction. A former media personality, Perigo's star has fallen significantly over the past decade or more since leaving employment in the state-run Television New Zealand. His naturally contrarian tendencies have made him an interesting figure in the political landscape, but other than sporadic fill-in media gigs, inflammatory web posts and a short run in a student newspaper column, his actual output has reduced to a trickle. How seriously he is taken in Objectivist circles is also uncertain.

It is most likely that this is either a simple cri de coeur, to be quietly regretted in the cold light of day, or a kind of publicity stunt intended to re-ignite media interest in his views. The danger, however, in these sorts of things lies not so much with Perigo himself, but more with some of the figures on the fringes of these movements who perhaps might take calls for some kind of "Showtime" more seriously than their author may have intended.

At any rate, I will email Bernard Darnton, current leader of the Libertarianz, for a reaction to these statements.

UPDATE: Perigo has now deleted his later "So, now to overthrow!" comment. However, I had archived it, and will put up a link to it later.

27 comments:

PhysicistDave said...

You didn’t tell us where we send in for our membership card and secret decoder ring so we too can be part of the Revolution!

I had to watch the revolution of the ‘60s on the tube: I was just a kid in junior high while all the older kids got to take to the streets and kick the System in the @#!&*.

I wanna join up this time!

Seriously, there is a time and place for revolution (I’m in favor of the 1776 revolution in the colonies and the 1989-’92 revolution in Eastern Europe, for example). But, obviously, there are the equivalent of “Just War” criteria for a just revolution, and I doubt New Zealand meets those criteria today.

Linz always seemed a bit saner than the majority of Objectivists. When the dust clears, it will probably turn out he was just venting (you should hear me venting about President Cheney and Vice-President Bush!).

Dave

Glenn Jameson said...

Labour is about to fast track legislation that will deny us the freedom of speech, and all you can focus on is this? Could you be more myopic?

I don't know what's sadder, Daniel: your obsessive quest to find a pimple on one of history's greatest philosophers; or the fact you'd post praise of your illustrious blog from someone who hasn't even got the Kahunas to attach his name.

PhysicistDave said...

Glenn,

You wrote:
>one of history's greatest philosophers..

Who would that be, Glenn???

Good heavens, you're not really referring to Alyssa Rosenbaum, AKA Ayn Rand, are you?

Glenn, do you know anything at all about the history of philosophy?

Rand's epistemology and political theory were cribbed from John Locke. Her ethical theory is basically Aristotelian eudaemonism. She wasn't much interested in metaphysics, but her views seem to be sort of warmed over (and very badly outdated, pre-scientific-revolution) Thomism.

I will concede that her philosophy of sexuality truly was all her own -- and we all know what that led to, now don't we? (Yeah, I know, she and Nathan were really just two crazy kids in love.)

There is no significant part of her philosophy that was original with her, she never wrote a systematic treatise on her philosophy, and when she tried to make a logical case for particular positions, she commonly made a fool of herself -- e.g., her idiotic proof of atheism based on the "benevolence" of the universe, or her death defying leap from life alone as the standard of value to life of man qua man as the standard of value.

All blue smoke and mirrors.

And her theory of history (and of the history of philosophy) was a cartoon without illustrations -- Immanuel Kant may have been dull and mistaken, but he was not Satan.

Do you really know so little philosophy that you cannot see this?

If she had bothered to learn some science, perhaps she could have brought some scientific insights to the problems of philosophy and really created something new. But she just couldn't be bothered.

She certainly had a fiery tongue and she knew how to make philosophy (literally!) sexy.

But, "one of history's greatest philosophers"?? C'mon, this was a satirical posting, right?

Dave

Glenn Jameson said...

I don't have a degree in Philosophy, physicistdave, but I'm well acquainted with the Law of Identity and can spot a pomowanker a mile off.

"It’s amazing that at one time Objectivism was all so profound to me. Thanks so much for all the posts and all the thoughtful conversation. Keep up the great work."- Anonymous

Pathetic. Truly pathetic.

gregnyquist said...

Glenn: "Labour is about to fast track legislation that will deny us the freedom of speech."

A palpable exaggeration. Labour is passing electoral reform legislation that favors, well, labour (who else did you think it was going to favor?). Labour (and their left-wing allies) are guilty of a breech in democratic etiquette (you don't pass partisan electoral reform legislation in a democracy—it's bad form), but it's doesn't exactly constitute denying everyone their free speech.

Daniel: "Objectivist Lindsay Perigo, on Tuesday [took] the quite unprecedented step of calling for the violent overthrow of the presiding government"

How many men divisions does Perigo have? Whose going to lead this overthrow? Does Perigo have any military experience? How many people can he muster who are willing to fight and die over an election reform bill?

This pathetic on a number of levels. First of all, if you don't have an army, such threats are no better than those of King Lear's ("I will do such things—what they are yet I know not—but they shall be the terrors of the earth"). But even if Mr. Perigo could, through his mere fustian, trigger a violent overthrow of the government, what would he expect to gain from it? In violent revolutions, men who are good at using violence rise to the top. These are not the sort of men who are likely to esteem an individual like Perigo.

Anonymous said...

Linz and company like to hype things to the limit, but "showtime" usually ends up being a bland fizzle. The Perigo Putsch will likely consist of Linz delivering a blustery declaration of independence in front of Peter Cresswell and a couple of naive kids in an isolated corner of a public building. A few confused passersby might suspect that they're witnessing a group of amateur drama spazzes making a cheesy student film. A video clip of the overblown performance will be posted on the SOLO site, and upwards of maybe a half dozen members will celebrate their major victory.

Daniel Barnes said...

Glenn:
>Labour is about to fast track legislation that will deny us the freedom of speech, and all you can focus on is this? Could you be more myopic?

Hey Glenn,

I disagree with your assessment of the situation. It seems to me Labour is passing legislation that is likely to be problematic for itself anyway. It will not really get road tested until the election, and if it is an obvious disaster in practice, and does restrict free speech, it will hand Labour's opponents a perfect weapon at the time when it is most vulnerable. It seems to me the sort of bill which is potentially rife with unintended consequences; and these are the very things which destroy governments. Basically I don't see a problem here yet that voting won't fix in about a year's time.

Glenn:
>I don't know what's sadder, Daniel: your obsessive quest to find a pimple on one of history's greatest philosophers; or the fact you'd post praise of your illustrious blog from someone who hasn't even got the Kahunas to attach his name.

Well, to the last of these issues first; as it happens, I have had very positive comments about that snippet from some ex-Objectivists who post here. For example, former Objectivist Ken Stauffer - was it you Ken? - who said that it summarised exactly how he felt. So I decided it was worth keeping up there, though obviously I would have preferred it if it wasn't anonymous. In fact, Glenn, if you look over this site you'll find that it is the vast majority of anons who post here are Objectivists. Some of them have engaged us at length - for a recent example, see Anon76 - without ever revealing themselves. We even had to encourage them to use handles, as it was getting difficult to tell all the anons apart! In fact it seems if we did not permit anon posting, most Objectivists would be reluctant to post here (eg Anon76's reluctance to reveal him/herself: "As long as you permit Anonymous commentators, you'll have to keep wondering who I am"). I would be happy to compare this sort of standard to my own, where I have gone to bat for what I believe for years on Objectivist forums such as Solo under my own name. Glenn, I invite you to weigh all that before you make a judgement as to what's "sad".

Now, to the greater of the two - that we are merely on some kind of obsessive quest to find a "pimple" on the greatness of Ayn Rand's thought.

Look, I realise you greatly respect Ayn Rand's work, and that her philosophy is very important to you. I also believe you have a great respect for science, and the search for truth, and that these are likewise invaluable to you. You are the man who, after all, gifted me a copy of David Bodanis' superb "E=MC2".

The problem is, Glenn, that I, and many other people who post here, believe that these two propositions are ultimately on a collision course. This is evident, for example, in the ARI's growing propogation of pseudoscience in physics, typified by the weird anti-Einstein pronouncements from the likes of Diana Hsieh, Leonard Peikoff and David Harriman that have been cited here.

If you read Greg's book, and our site, you'll find that the fundamental thesis is that there are both excellent scientific and logical* reasons to belief Objectivism is mostly false, though like most philosophies it does contain some grains of truth.

We do not believe these are "pimples", but serious fundamental problems. We are trying to point them out to anyone that's interested.

But...we could be wrong, and our critics could also be right.

If we are, the best way to find out is demonstrate our errors by open criticism and debate, just as we attempt to do to Rand. If you've got better logical and scientific counter arguments, by all means let's hear 'em. The search for truth will ultimately be the winner on the day.

Look, serendipitously, an Objectivist anon just posted this comment over on our Jargon section under "Second Hander":
"I love Ayn Rand's philosophy, and I see where you question alot of her stuff. As long as you explain your self, others can see your point. Good for you, you question things and think for yourself..."

That's what we're all here for, right?...;-)

Glenn:
>I don't have a degree in Philosophy, physicistdave, but I'm well acquainted with the Law of Identity and can spot a pomowanker a mile off.

Well, just in case, for future ref. here's what one actually looks like:

"What am I to do in order to speak of the a of différance? It goes without saying that it cannot be exposed. One can expose only that which at a certain moment can become present, manifest, that which can be shown, presented as something present, a being-present in its truth, in the truth of a present or the presence of the present. Now if différance is (and I also cross out the 'is') what makes possible the presentation of the being-present, it is never presented as such. It is never offered to the present. Or to anyone. Reserving itself, not exposing itself, in regular fashion it exceeds the order of truth at a certain precise point, but without dissimulating itself-as something, as a mysterious being, in the occult of a nonknowledge or in a hole with indeterminable borders (for example, in a topology of castration). In every exposition it would be exposed to disappearing as disappearance. It would risk appearing: disappearing." - Jacques Derrida

best
Daniel

*I see Perigo describes our site as "pomowanker." Well, this is yet another example of why I find him hard to take seriously. There are no examples of anything like Derrida, Baudrillard, Kristeva, Deleuze etc in Greg's book or on this blog. Neither Greg nor I subscribe to postmodernism (tho I do have a soft spot for Foucault among the derisory herd). Labels don't really matter, but for the record Greg describes himself roughly as a "truculent naturalist", I as you know am mostly influenced by Karl Popper. Rather you are more likely to find E.O Wilson, Steven Pinker, Santayana, Popper, Pareto, and much more. Take a look for yourself sometime.

(Incidentally, intellectual criticism is not really Linz's strong point. As I recall the last time Perigo atttempted the subject of postmodernism, simple as it might seem to be, it resulted in a something of an embarrassment for him. But anyhoo, that's before your time and a tale for another day...)

Kevin said...

So Perigo is saying similar stuff to Tame Iti. But it sounds good to his groupies when he says it. Pathetic, and dangerous. The Police should be notified.

Anonymous said...

“Perigo has now deleted his later
"So, now to overthrow!" comment. However, I had archived it, and will put up a link to it later.”

Good work, Daniel. It was probably small-hours bravado, but let’s put his feet to the fire.

“The Perigo Putsch will likely consist of Linz delivering a blustery declaration of independence…”

Or some words from Ronald Reagan. Yesterday Linz was in urgent need of The Reagan Diaries, but was frustrated in his quest by the Drooling Beast in the form of slacker shop assistants. Is there no end to the evils of this postmodern world?

I can hear it now: “Miss Clark, if you care for the freedom of your people to buy free speech, tear down this Bill.”

Kevin: “So Perigo is saying similar stuff to Tame Iti.”

Ironic, hypocritical, ‘brave’, or just venting? Give a clown a megaphone and you get a noisy joker.

Brendan

PhysicistDave said...

Glenn,

I opened these comments by trying to diplomatically suggest that some of you Kiwi Objectivists were a bit more sane than your Yankee cousins.

And then you had to ruin it all by showing that you’re just as crazy as your North American comrades!

Sheesh!

Seriously, in reply to my detailed comments about Ayn Rand, you wrote:
> I don't have a degree in Philosophy, physicistdave, but I'm well acquainted with the Law of Identity and can spot a pomowanker a mile off.

Let’s leave aside the childishly silly “pomowanker.”

Glenn, my boy, you do not need a degree in philosophy in order to be aware of the facts I mentioned about Ayn Rand.

Access to a decent encyclopedia (or just the Internet) would suffice.

If you had half a mind to do so, you could easily learn enough about philosophy to realize that it’s crazy to claim that Rand was, as you put it, “one of history's greatest philosophers”!

I won’t repeat in detail what I have stated above, but simply remind you that her ideas are derivative from earlier philosophers and that her attempts at offering logical arguments for her positions were often deeply embarrassing.

I realize that you have an emotional attachment to Rand, and, in your adolescent emotional state, would like to think that she is “one of history's greatest philosophers.” But there is a real, objective world outside of your deep emotional feelings, and in that real world it simply is not so. Indeed, Rand herself, on occasion, hammered away on that very point: you are not entitled to simply make up lies that disagree with objective reality.

If you have no desire to learn about philosophy and the history of philosophy, fine. But then why bother to make claims, such as your bizarre claim about Rand, that illustrate to any educated person the depth of your ignorance about philosophy? If you choose not to learn anything about philosophy, why not refrain from advertising your ignorance in such a public, embarrassing manner?

This is, frankly, the main complaint I have with you Objectivists. If you choose to remain incredibly ignorant on some issue – be it physics, the Big Bang, evolution, or the history of philosophy – why not just refrain from making dogmatic public proclamations in the area of your chosen ignorance?

You Objectivists are making yourselves public laughingstocks, even in the eyes of those of us who sympathize with you on a number of concrete issues. Do you really want to do this?

Dave

Glenn Jameson said...

I might have believed you all thought Ayn Rand such an insignificant philosopher if you hadn't established an entire blog dedicated to tearing her down.

If you're so concerned about us getting it wrong, why not come and test your semantics against Objectivists?

Anonymous said...

GJ: "If you're so concerned about us getting it wrong, why not come and test your semantics against Objectivists?"

I think that having tested their arguments in Objectivist fora many times in the past is one of the main reasons that this blog's contributors have an even lower opinion of the intellectual skills of most of Rand's adherents than they have of Rand's. Perigo and company usually get their backsides kicked in open debate, which is why they hole up at SOLO and fear arguing in any forum that they don't control. Glenn Jameson's request is probably a good example. He has crept into territory where he feels very unconfident, and now wants to return to the comfortable hole where he feels protected.

Daniel Barnes said...

Glenn wrote:
>I might have believed you all thought Ayn Rand such an insignificant philosopher if you hadn't established an entire blog dedicated to tearing her down.

Hi Glenn,

Where did we say Rand was "insignificant"? If you have a look at our about this siteyou'll see where we're coming from.

The thesis is that Rand's ideas are mostly wrong, not that they are insignificant.

The fact that she has a far wider readership than most philosophers can boast (not to mention a couple of institutions dedicated to popularising her ideas), yet markedly less thorough criticism, indicates there's a need for her ideas to be better examined. If her ideas do prove to be mostly wrong, as we contend, the fact that many people subscribe to them increases the need for them to be corrected via criticism. Indeed, the surprising level of interest in this site - far greater than I expected - to date suggests this is the case.

PhysicistDave said...

Glenn wrote:
>If you're so concerned about us getting it wrong, why not come and test your semantics against Objectivists?

Test our "semantics"?

What on earth do you mean?

Glenn, have you been drinking?

I have made specific arguments here. You have declined to reply.

We all know why.

You can't.

I have made specific arguments in various Objectivists fora. I have been banned for my efforts.

I think that's funny. My goal is to become the most banned-by-Objectivists guy on the Web.

Glenn, you are great at making a fool of yourself. Why not try instead to actually reply to concrete points, such as my points above about why Rand is obviously not one of the greatest of philosophers?

You chose to post a message here on this thread. So, I answered your post here on the same thread and gave concrete, clear, detailed reasons as to why you are mistaken. You replied with a childishly obscure insult (“pomowanker”). You could just reply honestly to me, you know.

Yeah, I know, that would probably make you look an even greater fool.

But I'd be happy to see you try.

Dave

Glenn Jameson said...

Daniel: ”If you've got better logical and scientific counter arguments, by all means let's hear 'em.”

I didn’t come here to debate you on Objectivism, but rather express my shock over your concern for Lindsay’s rational outrage over the EFB rather than the totalitarian bill itself. I concede there are far bigger and better educated brains on SOLO than I, who would do a greater service to Objectivism in countering your academia.


Greg: ”A palpable exaggeration. Labour is passing electoral reform legislation that favors, well, labour (who else did you think it was going to favor?).”

Read it again, Greg. The right for New Zealand citizens to criticise their government has been effectively garroted for one year out of every three – specifically election year. I’m horrified that someone who enjoys the freedoms protected under the first amendment would show such little concern for the most disgusting piece of legislation ever written in a so-called First World country.


Daniel: “Where did we say Rand was "insignificant"?

Dave: “Rand's epistemology and political theory were cribbed from John Locke. Her ethical theory is basically Aristotelian eudaemonism. She wasn't much interested in metaphysics, but her views seem to be sort of warmed over (and very badly outdated, pre-scientific-revolution) Thomism… There is no significant part of her philosophy that was original with her, she never wrote a systematic treatise on her philosophy, and when she tried to make a logical case for particular positions, she commonly made a fool of herself… "one of history's greatest philosophers"?? C'mon, this was a satirical posting, right?”


Dave: ”Immanuel Kant may have been dull and mistaken, but he was not Satan.”

Kant: "It is a duty to preserve one's life, and moreover everyone has a direct inclination to do so. But for that reason the often anxious care which most men take of it has no intrinsic worth, and the maxim of doing so has no moral import." Kant drained the morality out of self-interest and breathed life into dutiful selflessness, a concept more evil than the sum of its most passionate proponents, Mao, Stalin and Hitler.


Anonymous: “… He has crept into territory where he feels very unconfident…”

Confident enough to put my moniker where my mouth is, you spineless jellyfish. Honestly, Daniel, where’s your blog’s integrity?

Daniel: ”We even had to encourage them to use handles, as it was getting difficult to tell all the anons apart!”

And not because it has anything to do with courage, accountability and self-respect?

Daniel: ”In fact it seems if we did not permit anon posting, most Objectivists would be reluctant to post here…”

I know of none - not a single one. In the context of the dangers posed in posting on this blog, an anonymous Objectivist is a contradiction in terms.


Dave: ”I opened these comments by trying to diplomatically suggest that some of you Kiwi Objectivists were a bit more sane than your Yankee cousins.”

Dave, your first sentence read: “You didn’t tell us where we send in for our membership card and secret decoder ring so we too can be part of the Revolution!” Is that the Michael Cullen School of Diplomacy?


Dave: ”If you have no desire to learn about philosophy and the history of philosophy, fine.”

That’s a massive leap, Dave – where’s your empirical proof for that?


Dave: “I have made specific arguments in various Objectivists fora. I have been banned for my efforts… My goal is to become the most banned-by-Objectivists guy on the Web.”

As far as I’m aware you haven’t been banned from SOLO, Dave, and I look forward to seeing you fulfill your stated objective there. To spice it up a little I’ll wager $100 that you bail from SOLO before you’re booted, on the proviso you follow the SOLO guidelines: http://www.solopassion.com/guidelines

Another $100 bucks (to be paid concurrently) says you're a blow-hard who’ll renege on his own goal before putting his balls on the block.


Finally, I accept that you are not, by the preceding definition, post-modernists, and I shall contract my epithet accordingly.

Anonymous Jellyfish said...

I wrote about GJ: "He has crept into territory where he feels very unconfident”

GJ replied: "Confident enough to put my moniker where my mouth is, you spineless jellyfish."

But not confident enough to defend Rand's philosophy here, and to do so with arguments as intelligent and articulate as those of Nyquist, Barnes, etc.

GJ wrote to Dave: "I’ll wager $100 that you bail from SOLO before you’re booted, on the proviso you follow the SOLO guidelines: http://www.solopassion.com/guidelines."

Of course. As I said, Linz and company get their backsides kicked in open debate, which is why they hole up at SOLO and fear arguing in fora they can't control. The SOLO guidelines are the antithesis of Linz's posting behavior, as Jeff Riggenbach humorously noted in the second post at http://www.solopassion.com/guidelines. Linz has banned several people who have conducted themselves better than he has and who have put forth arguments which were far more intelligent than those of the SOLO regulars.

You're here, GJ. Your opponents are here. Why do you want them to go to another site to debate?

Anonymous Jellyfish

Glenn Jameson said...

The fact your cowardice is tolerated here, Jelly, is reason enough to avoid this blog altogether.

Daniel Barnes said...

Glenn:
>I didn’t come here to debate you on Objectivism, but rather express my shock over your concern for Lindsay’s rational outrage over the EFB rather than the totalitarian bill itself.

As I said, I disagree with your assessment of the situation. I think the Bill is likely to be self-defeating for Labour. As Libertarian, you know that government efforts often have consequences quite different to what is intended, right? Well, I think this is probably one of those. You think otherwise? Well, we'll agree to disagree on that.

As far as Perigo's comments being "rational", he subsequently redacted them himself. He clearly had second thoughts, just as I suggested he might in my original post. You seem to be angry with me because Perigo said something he later regretted. This doesn't make a lot of sense, to be honest.

>I concede there are far bigger and better educated brains on SOLO than I, who would do a greater service to Objectivism in countering your academia.

Yes, but what about your brains? There's nothing wrong with them AFAICS. (FYI, I've never been in "academia" in my life).

>Daniel: “Where did we say Rand was "insignificant"?

Glenn, you quoted Physicist Dave in reply. But he isn't part of the ARCHN site. He's just a commenter. Greg and I run the site.

>>I wrote: In fact it seems if we did not permit anon posting, most Objectivists would be reluctant to post here…

>Glenn replied: I know of none - not a single one. In the context of the dangers posed in posting on this blog, an anonymous Objectivist is a contradiction in terms.

Plenty of Anon Objectivists post here, often at extreme length. If you don't believe me, have a look yourself. I don't know why they prefer anonymity. Internal politics in Objectivism can be weird, as you know. Maybe they're worried Lenny is watching. Who knows?

Look, ultimately you seem to be pissed off because we're criticizing something you sincerely believe in, and that means a lot to you. This is completely understandable. It sometimes annoys the shit out of me when I read the critics of thinkers I admire, especially if I think they're being unfair. But what you're doing here is not the way to go about dealing with it. I learned this myself the hard way. The way to do it is to get up to speed yourself with the debates. Don't fob the responsibility off onto other so-called "bigger" brains. I know a few of them at Solo, and IMHO your brain is as good if not better than theirs. The first step is for you actually take some time to understand your opponent's arguments (I know, I know, Objectivism actively discourages people from doing this, which is one of its dumber ideas). Then you can actually debate them from a position of non-ignorance. Not only that, but you know, the damn thing about it is that sometimes they turn out to be right. For example, I've got a lot more respect for Austrian economics now than when I first started out criticizing Objectivism (I still disagree with important aspects of it, but never mind that now) Don't just read the stuff you already agree with! I don't agree with Rand, but I've nonetheless got to know her work pretty well - I suspect probably better than you. I may turn out to be wrong, but at least I've tried to get it right. Have you done the same yourself - honestly now - or have you relied on what you assume to be "bigger" brains to tell you what's right or wrong about the thinkers Objectivism condemns?

Someone pretty smart once said this:
“Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not within everyone's power and that is not easy.”

In short: Don't get mad...get up to speed.

Then perhaps in future you can let us have it over something a little more important than our comments policy!

>Finally, I accept that you are not, by the preceding definition, post-modernists, and I shall contract my epithet accordingly.

Now that was pretty funny...:-)

Glenn Jameson said...

I say take Kong Fuzi's quote and absorb it yourself! I am angry, Daniel, and for good reason. The EFB may or may not prove to be a bullet discharged into Labor's foot, but that does not in any way nullify its evil intent. Your reaction to Lindsay's assault on the bill seems all too glib (FYI he is NOT embarrassed about a thing he said - perhaps you could contrive another reason why he might want it removed).

That is the context for my presence here. I didn't come here to debate Objectivism with you - I barely have time to contribute to SOLO as it is.

By the way, any weasel who's too scared to stand by what he says cannot, by any definition I'm familiar with, call himself an Objectivist. And if know the philosophy as well as you say you do, you'd know that.

Daniel Barnes said...

Glenn:
>I say take Kong Fuzi's quote and absorb it yourself!

Actually, it's Aristotle, dude. From his Ethics.

And I have. It's good advice.

Glenn Jameson said...

Yes, well, that was embarrassing. Stupid thing is, I knew that; I own a copy of the Nicomachean.

Teach me for being a bloody hothead.

Daniel Barnes said...

Glenn:
>Yes, well, that was embarrassing. Stupid thing is, I knew that; I own a copy of the Nicomachean.

No big, half the time I don't even know what day it is...

PhysicistDave said...

Glenn,

Sorry about the $100 you were hoping to get – I know you Objectivists are commonly short on cash, but I have limited time and I don't really think SOLO is worth any of my time.

The real problem you Objectivists have is that you want to be taken seriously by intelligent, educated people, and then you keep behaving in ways that guarantee that this will not happen.

Sorry, but I do not need or want your approval. I have no need to hop on over to SOLO unless and until it strikes my fancy.

I have no obligation to debate you and your pals at SOLO. I don't respect you enough to do so.

Now, if you could actually explain some of Rand's ideas that are so important and original that they really do make her, in your words, “one of history's greatest philosophers,” then you might actually earn my respect. But somehow I’m pretty sure you can’t do that.

No, I’ll content myself with spreading the word to other intelligent, educated people about what you Objectivists and Rand herself really do think and believe. I recently filled in the esteemed philosopher Colin McGinn about you guys (this was after he had found it necessary to ban Diana Hsieh from his own blog).

That should be enough to make sure that other intelligent people don’t respect you folks either.

Dave

Glenn Jameson said...

Dave: “I have made specific arguments in various Objectivists fora. I have been banned for my efforts… My goal is to become the most banned-by-Objectivists guy on the Web.”

Yes, well, you've shown yourself to be a blow-hard as I predicted.

PhysicistDave said...

Ah, Glenn.

The real problem here is that you Objectivists desperately want the approval of educated, intelligent people, people like me and some of the other non-Objectivists here.

But none of us want or need the approval of you Objectivists.

I know this is cruel, but you'd better get used to it. To be an Objectivist is, in Rand's words, to be surrounded by a bunch of "second-handers."

To put it in terms concrete enough for you to understand, Glenn, you are Peter Keating.

And, yes, I get a big kick laughing at you.

Dave

P.S. Can't you pretty, pretty please at least try to explain why Rand is “one of history's greatest philosophers”? I need some more laughs.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard any news lately about Linz and his fellow SOLO crackpots overthrowing the New Zealand government? I thought that maybe the revolution already happen but CNN failed to report it.

Daniel Barnes said...

Hi Anon

Our report was picked up in a couple of places, such as the "Molesworth and Featherston" weekly political scandal sheet, which in turn got picked up at the Left site The Standard.

Libertarianz Environment spokesman and friend of Perigo's Peter Cresswell made a lengthy reply to The Standard's piece, noting some inaccuracies yet fudging a few things himself.

For example, Cresswell wrote: "Far from resiling from his comments as (The Standard) intimate, (Perigo)'s four-square behind them."

Yet this is simply false, as Perigo has erased his "So Now, To Overthrow!" comment from his site and has not restored it. (I've saved a copy, but haven't bothered putting it up) That comment, which starts in a humorous vein, ends on a plainly serious note, which I quoted in my original post.

While a few more hints have been dropped recently, such as quoting Lafayetteon insurrection whether there's going to be any more than bluster to this is doubtful. Personally, I think firing off a few highly charged press-releases is about as dangerous as this is going to get. Perigo does not exactly have a reputation as a man of action, nor the Libertarianz for organisation. We should also bear in mind that anytime the government does anything, the Libertarianz issue a press release about the imminent arrival of Fascism etc in New Zealand, so hysteria comes as standard.

Bernard Darnton did not respond to my email regarding Perigo's comments.