Greybird

Nathaniel Branden defamed by Penn & Teller

84 posts in this topic

The magicians and comedians Penn (Jillette) and Teller have been producing and hosting their half-hour-episode series "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" on Showtime for eight years.

They create a usually genial and generally effective eviscerating of all kinds of nonsense in the broader culture. (Jillette is the only host who speaks on camera, though both write the show and act out bits connecting those they film or have interviewed.)

Many of the shows have had a pronounced libertarian bent, dealing with an endless supply of examples of governmental malfeasance and delusions. Others have taken on elements of popular culture (such as, this eighth season, Area 51 and UFOs) and unacknowledged dark sides to activities that are seen as positive (the appalling injury rates and risks for teenagers in cheerleading, partly from its not being called a formal sport).

Their iconoclasm has been refreshing, with only occasional misfires. One of those, though, was in the show that premiered on 5 August, about, as they put it, "overinflated self-esteem."

One frequent failing of the "Penn & Teller" show is to over-exalt glib experts. In this case, they first went in the other direction, to not use nearly enough from one of those their staff interviewed. They both underplayed and misrepresented Nathaniel Branden in a way that, to me, qualifies as at least borderline defamation.

This "P&T: BS" episode featured several who play professionally upon, and with, the notion of one's self-esteem being generally deficient. Those included a quite vapid "affirmation" counselor, with cameras following one of her group-session clients, an unemployed woman; a clown/magician who has done over 2,500 shows before elementary-school kids trying to affirm their self-esteem; and a hypnotherapist shown in a session with a patient.

As to theory, or supposed sparkplugs, behind the self-esteem movement, the only one noted was Branden, who was interviewed at his home. Unfortunately, what was used by the show left out (as is evident in the editing) or misstated enough of what Branden has said and written as to be needlessly mocking and entirely pointless — even before it gets around to being defamatory.

Here, in context, are the only two appearances of or references to Branden in a show that runs 28:07. This first appearance, after the clown/magician was lampooned, ran from 5:35 to 6:47. Jillette made voiceovers and was not seen on camera. Ellipses are pauses, not omissions.

PJ: But forget kids for a sec — how are we [adults] supposed to raise our self-esteem?

NB (in his office): I think that one of the very best things a person could do, if they wanted to grow in self-esteem, would be to read the following books by Nathanlel Branden — [titles are repeated mockingly and sotto voce by PJ with a sound effect of scribbling notes] Honoring the Self, How to Raise Your Self-Esteem, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem ... that's enough for now.

PJ: Hey, thanks! So who's this Nathaniel Branden, anyway?

NB (directly to camera, by back-yard fountain): I am Dr. Nathaniel Branden, I am a practicing psychotherapist ... [intro is plainly, by his rising tone of voice, cut off from continuing]

PJ: You were talkin' about yourself in the third person, recommending your own books? Your shit must work! ... For the past forty years, Dr. Branden's findings have been considered a reference point for the whole self-esteem industry.

NB (in office): When I began doing psychotherapy, I was struck by the fact that regardless of the particular complaint the person came into my office with, one common denominator was a poor self-concept, underdeveloped self-esteem.

PJ (over shots of NB reading and walking): Back in the '70s, Dr. Branden declared that virtually all psychological problems are traceable to low self-esteem. Anxiety, depression, fear of intimacy, spousal battery, child molestation, parking violations — all low self-esteem.

... Parking violations? Parody and hyperbole, yes. But raw words don't fully communicate Jillette's mocking tone of voice. And, yes, Branden didn't help by referring to himself in the third person, which comes across as minor pretension.

Still, I'm sure those reading this site don't need to have lengthy details or discussion about how this is an utter misrepresentation of Branden's work. Especially in the open equivocation behind using "traceable" to imply "solely caused." And in ignoring Branden's qualifier of "one common denominator."

This is all we hear of Branden's theories and therapeutic practice, or, for that matter, from Branden himself. Later, from 21:46 to 22:44, Branden appears again and is made a target, including tying him — without proof, connection, or logic — to a governmental boondoggle, one that was given both unwarranted (and extorted) tax money and undue credit for its results.

PJ: Look, there's Nathaniel Branden again! [sitting by his fountain] His claim that low self-esteem is responsible for all that's bad in the world? That theory was tested.

In 1987 the State of California created the California Task Force ["to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility"] to prove once and for all that low self-esteem was responsible for everything from poor academic achievement to criminal behavior.

But, get this [over shots of headlines and report excerpts]: They found that there was no worthwhile correlation between low self-esteem and any of those scary things Nathaniel Branden and the rest of the self-esteem posse claimed.

In fact, here's the quote from the follow-up report [in 1990]: "The associations between self-esteem and its expected consequences are mixed, insignificant, or absent."

And that's California! If anyone was gonna believe that shit, it would have been the Cali task force! That means [returns to shot of NB by his fountain] Nathaniel Branden was wrong.

Which, after lumping Branden in with "the rest of the self-esteem posse," however much they may be charlatans, and alleging that he sees it being behind "all that's bad in the world," is the last we see or hear of him in the show.

Later guests brought in as supposed experts include well-known socialist-populist author Barbara Ehrenreich, who never showed any particular expertise in matters of psychology or psychotherapy, but is quick to decry supposed cultural "narcissism," as does a professor from the University of Georgia.

(Yes, Barbara Fuckwit Ehrenreich, the only middle name she deserves. I apologize for interjecting that, but to me, she's genuinely despicable, unlike the badly mistaken and utterly careless Penn and Teller.)

By the way, if you think that lingering on Branden's ornate fountain is obviously an idée fixe of Penn and Teller, making an implicit suggestion of riches earned from misrepresentation or borderline fraud, you would be correct. Here, they leave the implication hanging in repeated shots of the fountain, occupying two-thirds of the screen. On other shows, such occasional populist denigrations are explicit and — for Penn and Teller being successful entrepreneurs themselves — sadly unexplained.

Such is how performers and satirists of considerable skill, and frequent defenders of reason, individualism, and the productive, choose to shoot themselves in the foot by maligning a man of genuine achievement.

Avoid this episode of Showtime's series if you don't want your blood to boil. I can commend all the others thus far this season, all of which continue as repeats on the cable channel into the Fall.

And I'm reporting this, first, to vent about an injustice. Second, to show my deep disappointment in two of the most entertaining cultural critics we have today. And third, so that the words used and implications made will turn up in search engines, for those who care about Nathaniel Branden and his work.

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This is a deeply disappointing thing to read, and on a number of levels. For one thing, this P&T show has often, over the years, screamed Ayn Rand--many episodes had logic, conclusions, premises and such that made me think "These guys have read Atlas Shrugged." It was very obvious to me, and for how they did it, I admired them.

I don't think NB reads most forum stuff anymore, but if he does, he is welcome to read this, because he knows that I am coming at things with great respect, borne out of a bit of time I got to do some business with him (I had also gone to the Learning Annex in Toronto to be at both a lecture and a workshop). Nathaniel is, and will always be, a very honorable man. And not only that, but he really helps people. I think his worst problem is that people ask him questions that he has already answered in his work.

I was very interested in his work, being aware of him through AR, and having read "The Psychology of Self-Esteem" many years prior to working with him. I don't really know why it happened, but one day, when I was working at my office at Compuware, I just thought about him. Basically, I was wondering if he was still around. And, I was pleasantly pleased to discover he was! I think he had a very modest website at that time. So out of the blue, I sent him an email, and I got a very cordial reply. Wow! Communication with NB! I tried to be sparing with that.

Later on, I was working with a rather strange record company. I had, by then, read all of NB's books. I think he sent me a couple of signed copies or whatever. I realized that a lot of his lectures, personal improvement work (including hypnosis audios) were only on tape (in all cases I dealt with, cassettes). I came up with the idea that maybe the world would like it if we would be able to take these tapes, and digitize them, the deliverables being CDs. He agreed, and started rummaging through his office (I don't know how it is now, but I bet there are all kinds of things in there) to find tapes, which he mailed to me. I set to work. I engaged these two hippie-type guys that had a hardened bunker studio, with mad audio tools, and they spent a very long time cleaning up these tapes--they were dealing with, if you can imagine, cassette media of the deteriorating type, and flying them into a PC, then using noise reduction, compressors, mad EQ and such to render them, ultimately, to CD format. I think we did like 6 of them (I don't even own copies of these anymore, even though I was in charge of the project and did the artwork for the covers). We did things like "The Benefits & Hazards. . ." and the companion lecture to that, along with a number of his self-hypnosis things. We pressed them and sold a few units worldwide. I remember having to mail a few of them to a guy in Bejing, and he was utterly appreciative.

The record company tubed out, and there was a rather ugly dispute involving ownership (intellectual property stuff). I felt bad because I had actually written the artist contract (which had some nice loopholes in it for NB). It was messy.

Also, during that time, I was marketing NB heavily, and if you know the show "Coast To Coast," I managed to book Nathaniel on it. This was a big deal, and I figured we would sell zillions of units off of the phone interview. Coast To Coast was very, very excited about having NB on there. A couple of days before the scheduled broadcast, NB went to their website, and kind of freaked out. . . he didn't like what he saw. I argued with him very hard, my point being that he could get great exposure, his point being that the show was full of mysticism, weirdos, you know--people that wear foil to repel alien transmissions. We both got pissed at each other, and then I had to call the show and cancel his interview--they had to scramble for a stand-in.

As pissed as I was, from this post here I am starting to understand more about where he comes from--the media is the massage, and all that. He was afraid of being mistreated. I guess this time he took it up a notch, P&T being heavyweights, and went for it. And look what they did to him. So, now I understand his wariness.

It must be torture for NB, seeing all the references to self-esteem, and here he was, for all practical purposes, the first person that created a practical definition of it, consisting of two basic qualities (self-worth, efficacy). It's all over the media, has been for a long time. The man practically invented the personal improvement movement.

He gets raped, constantly. And I have defended him for years, for what that is worth, because I know the truth and goodness in his work. And that is why I will have no quarter for all the smears put on him.

So, this is just, for NB, I think, another backfire, a misuse of his excellent work. I value his work more than Rand's, because it has functionaly proven itself, both for me (like going through his sentence-completion excercises, workshops, lectures, and so on) as well as many people to whom I recommended reading his work. It is all there, if you read it. NB is one of the most significant psychologists that has ever existed in the 20th century and forward. I find it reprehensible that he has never gotten the accolades that he deserves. But, I think he has such healthy self-esteem that it doesn't matter much to him, and that makes me love him even more.

rde

That one is for you NB--just a little love going your way.

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If Penn and Teller had a shred of decency or anything resembling it, they would have taken the time to investigate their topic and realized that Nathaniel Branden would have been the perfect expert to use in support of their premise that most of the psycho-babble nonsense perpetrated in the name of so-called ‘self-esteem’ is, in fact, bullshit.

And that what Dr. Branden writes about and teaches is the exact opposite of all the phony self-affirmations, all the stupid campaigns against competitive games and the rest of the crap that the state of California used in its worthless study of the effects of “self-esteem.”

Dr. Branden, needless to say, advocates for the type of self-esteem that a person must earn through honest effort—and that is the only real meaning of self-esteem. Even the harshest critics of the self-esteem movement seem to understand the difference, and acknowledge the potential value of Dr. Branden’s unique approach.

But Penn and Teller are archetypical libertarian nihilists. All they see is bullshit, everywhere they look. They are bullshit, personified.

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[...] Penn and Teller are archetypical libertarian nihilists. All they see is bullshit, everywhere they look. They are bullshit, personified.

Although your notes about Branden's unique approach are entirely accurate, these comments are not. Penn and Teller are a huge disappointment in shows of this low caliber — about one in five, to me, or two per season — precisely because they are not nihilists. They detest and fervently oppose hypocrisy, obfuscation, cant, powermongering, and non-magic-act deception.

When they don't care to have their staff investigate fully, they ignore potential allies on many issues, and show their side of too easily being sloppy, careless, and in over-awe of "authorities" they happen to agree with. Yet that doesn't make them worthless. They're stupidly erratic, which ends up undercutting their many far better moments.

Apart from this, your pairing of "nihilist" with "libertarian" is itself an unjustified slur and an explicit equivocation. One that's beneath both your own past standard specifically, and standards of reasonable comment more generally.

Edited by Greybird
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But Penn and Teller are archetypical libertarian nihilists. All they see is bullshit, everywhere they look. They are bullshit, personified.

Most of the time I find them amusing, although they can be heavy handed on occasion. What I like best about them is that they are unkind to their targets.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Scientology also doesn't believe in psychology.

I don't think that hurts the profession much.

I predict that the antics of a comedy duo will not have much impact on NB, his reputation, or his valuable work.

On reading how the half-baked "trap" that Penn and Teller laid for NB unfolded, I started thinking bullfart, not bullshit.

As they say in Brazil, "These guys actually were good at one time."

Michael

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Do Penn and Teller realize that they've simply warmed over the standard mainstream media critique of the "self-esteem movement," starting in the late 1990s?

Why else would they cite Barbara Ehrenreich? She's neither a psychologist nor someone they would normally have any respect for.

And the infamous Calfornia commission (which, to my knowledge, Nathaniel Branden had no connection with) has been lampooned since its inception. I think I first learned about it from Doonesbury...

Sad stuff.

Robert Campbell

PS. Is the professor from UGA W. Keith Campbell, by any chance? He's a genuine researcher on the subject of narcissism, though his theory of self-esteem leaves a lot to be desired.

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It was, at one time, a good show. All there is is that they "jumped the shark."

See. that is probably what NB was aware of, as many are: meaning, you can get used/abused/mishandled by the media. P&T don't ~really~ have control of their own show--their is marketing and big $ at stake!

So it is nothing to take even someone as important and revered as NB up the flagpole--basically, they just used him for schtick.

And that sucks, it is reprehensible behavior. They're probably more worried about amping the show up again so they can renew their contract for another one, and in that process, they will take no prisoners.

Typical show-biz, really.

rde

Wanting to lock them both in a room and make them do sentence-completion exercises for like 6 months straight, the a-holes.

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Rich,

On Nathaniel Branden's wariness of certain media outlets...

Around 1997 I suggested we collaborate on a reply to Roy Baumeister et al.'s 1996 article on self-esteem. I laid out three different psych journals where I figured there was a good chance such a reply would be published. (In retrospect, I think the project would probably have succeeded. By 1998, Baumeister's own data were leading him to back-pedal from the position he'd taken in the 1996 piece. And at the very least, an article by Nathaniel Branden in an academic journal would have put a crimp on the standard academic dismissal of him as a "popular psychologist.")

Nathaniel wanted nothing to do with it. The psych journals in question were too alien an environment, and he didn't trust the editorial process.

Robert Campbell

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> I find it reprehensible that he has never gotten the accolades that he deserves. [Rich]

> I suggested we collaborate on a reply to Roy Baumeister et al.'s 1996 article on self-esteem...By 1998, Baumeister's own data were leading him to back-pedal [RC]

Perhaps his perspective has been/is breaking through?

The wikipedia entry on Self-Esteem is the very first thing that come up when you google S-E. It names him repeatedly and treats Branden's perspective very favorably in the following respects:

(i) Near the start of the entry, under "Definitions", it lists his as one of the three scholarly or historic definitions of the concept.

(ii) Immediately afterwards, it breaks his view into three parts. (It doesn't devote the space to the other two definitions.)

(iii) Toward the end of the entry there is some comparison of Mr.Baumeister's views and Mr. Branden's. And the article clearly favors Branden's positions. It starts with this quote and continues to give further space to Branden's demolition of those views.

(") Baumeister often uses a "common use" definition: self-esteem is how you regard yourself (or how you appear to regard yourself) regardless of how this view was cultivated. Other psychologists believe that a "self esteem" that depends on external validation of the self (or other people's approval), such as what seems relevant in the discussion of violent people, does not, in fact, equate to "true" self-esteem. Nathaniel Branden labeled external validation as "pseudo self-esteem"... (")

Edited by Philip Coates
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> Nathaniel Branden labeled external validation as "pseudo self-esteem"

I remember the PSE article from The Objectivist. It's nice to see the concept given respectful mention in Wikipedia.

Edited by Philip Coates
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Nathaniel Branden labeled external validation as "pseudo self-esteem"... (")

I'm not all that familiar with Branden's views.

What exactly is meant by "external validation"?

Is Branden's position that input from others should play no role whatsoever in one's evaluations of oneself?

J

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Nathaniel Branden labeled external validation as "pseudo self-esteem"... (")

I'm not all that familiar with Branden's views.

What exactly is meant by "external validation"?

Is Branden's position that input from others should play no role whatsoever in one's evaluations of oneself?

This seems to be one consequence of "social metaphysics," a term Branden doesn't like much to use any more. Phil, however, will have to answer your question.

If you are going to part of comedians' comedic routine you cannot expect respectful treatment. The editors have all the power to slice you up any way they want. If I were famous and asked to be on 60 Minutes, I'd probably decline. I stopped watching it many years ago I was so disgusted. Same, same for network "news."

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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[...] Penn and Teller are archetypical libertarian nihilists. All they see is bullshit, everywhere they look. They are bullshit, personified.

Although your notes about Branden's unique approach are entirely accurate, these comments are not. Penn and Teller are a huge disappointment in shows of this low caliber — about one in five, to me, or two per season — precisely because they are not nihilists. They detest and fervently oppose hypocrisy, obfuscation, cant, powermongering, and non-magic-act deception.

When they don't care to have their staff investigate fully, they ignore potential allies on many issues, and show their side of too easily being sloppy, careless, and in over-awe of "authorities" they happen to agree with. Yet that doesn't make them worthless. They're stupidly erratic, which ends up undercutting their many far better moments.

Apart from this, your pairing of "nihilist" with "libertarian" is itself an unjustified slur and an explicit equivocation. One that's beneath both your own past standard specifically, and standards of reasonable comment more generally.

An "unjustified slur and an explicit equivocation"? Since when did pairing words make them co-extensive? Some libertarians most definitely are nihilists, and that includes people who viciously and recklessly attack innocent, admirable people without regard to accuracy and merit. If they would do it to Nathaniel Branden, they would do it to anybody. They obviously do not care who they hurt. Penn and Teller are vile and disgusting excrement, regardless of how often they masquerade as human. If that's beneath my past standards, perhaps it's because I don't ordinarily comment on excrement--until I see it thrown at someone I deeply admire. If you attack one of my heroes, I am coming at you with both barrels, and I am not about to hold back.

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What exactly is meant by "external validation"?

Is Branden's position that input from others should play no role whatsoever in one's evaluations of oneself?

Jonathan,

"External validation" corresponds roughly to the notion of "external goods" in ancient ethics.

Wealth, fame, honors, popularity are external goods. You might fail to attain them no matter who you are or what you do.

"Internal goods" include the various virtues. Whether you act responsibly or with integrity is up to you.

Nathaniel Branden does not say that input from others should play no role in your self-evaluation. He does tend to imply that there is a direct trade-off between internal and external goods: The more your self-esteem depends on internal "sources," the less it will depend on external sources, and vice versa.

Robert Campbell

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Okay, thanks for the info, Robert.

How would Objectivists determine how much they should or should not rely on external feedback?

Imagine, for example, a young Objectivist pup who takes an interest in architecture after reading The Fountainhead. He spends a couple of years in architect school and develops the attitude that he's a real-life Howard Roark. A giant. Since he believes that accepting too much external input has the taint of "social metaphysics," he sees most criticism of his work, including criticism from his teachers and practicing professionals, as that of lesser minds who are either incapable of grasping and appreciating his genius, or are envious of it. Despite having had no prior interest in the arts, he has bought into the belief that his novice aesthetic tastes are "objective" and "objectively superior," where everyone else's are subjective and wrong (after all, he has read Rand's writings, and his critics haven't).

Should he continue to evaluate himself as highly competent? How should he determine that his self-esteem accurately reflects reality?

J

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Can’t help wondering if the fundies that rallied round P&T last month slipped them some Kool-Aid. I haven’t seen the episode yet, but others have been really good.

> Nathaniel Branden labeled external validation as "pseudo self-esteem"

I remember the PSE article from The Objectivist. It's nice to see the concept given respectful mention in Wikipedia.

Pseudo self esteem or psychological visibility, depending on the case/context.

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I didn't see the show, but Greybird's report suggests that Branden is, whatever the merits of his ideas, as vain and self-important as ever. Penn & Teller apparently made successful use of the old reporter's technique of playing along with a source's vanity (or prejudice or vindictiveness or what have you) as a way of getting him to open up. And well they should; if Greybird is to be believed, it still works.

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I didn't see the show, but Greybird's report suggests that Branden is, whatever the merits of his ideas, as vain and self-important as ever. Penn & Teller apparently made successful use of the old reporter's technique of playing along with a source's vanity (or prejudice or vindictiveness or what have you) as a way of getting him to open up. And well they should; if Greybird is to be believed, it still works.

Apparently you don't know the "merits of his ideas." He is important so the "self" is redundant--no? You didn't see the show but your *testimony* trumps those that did? "Self-important" is pretending you know what you are talking about when you don't know jack.

--Brant

this is The Nathaniel Branden Corner, not The Attack Nathaniel Branden Corner

as a courtesy to the owner, please read the posting guidelines

Edited by Brant Gaede
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I didn't see the show, but Greybird's report suggests that Branden is, whatever the merits of his ideas, as vain and self-important as ever. Penn & Teller apparently made successful use of the old reporter's technique of playing along with a source's vanity (or prejudice or vindictiveness or what have you) as a way of getting him to open up. And well they should; if Greybird is to be believed, it still works.

"If Greybird is to be believed"? Do you have particular reasons for doubting that I've provided an accurate transcript of those portions of the show? If you do, I'd like to hear them.

You don't know me "up close," but I've not been one to misrepresent others on the Net these past thirty years. And if anything, this partial transcription understates what was mishandled and misrepresented — because, as I said, you can't hear Penn Jillette's mocking inflections.

In any event, I checked this three times so as to be sure I was accurate, as to both words and tone descriptions. But if you don't choose to believe me, watch the show in its endless Showtime repeats. Or on YouTube or from BitTorrent, where each episode is promptly posted. (For the former, I've given you timings to get the correct portions. This is Season 8, Episode 9.)

Or are you talking about my having put a rhetorical spin on it? I didn't do that, apart from my aside on Ehrenreich.

As to Branden's demeanor, he was quite affable and open in his few quoted remarks, apart from that minor pretense of using the third person. I don't believe he warrants quite the tone of dismissal that you use.

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[...] your pairing of "nihilist" with "libertarian" is itself an unjustified slur and an explicit equivocation.

[...] Since when did pairing words make them co-extensive? Some libertarians most definitely are nihilists [...]

Pairing an adjective and a noun in this manner makes them into a unit. Penn and Teller are most definitely libertarians. You contend (inaccurately) that they are nihilists. The former viewpoint has nothing logically to do with the latter ... that is, outside the fever-swamps of Peter Schwartz's brain.

As for anything factual, in my direct experience, "libertarian nihilists" are a null set, which makes it difficult to have any "archetype" of them. They're barely conceivable, but extremely unlikely among any who take ideas and acting upon them seriously. Out of thousands, I've never met, nor heard of, nor read the words of one.

I can't tell if you agree with Schwartz's vicious ravings about libertarians — and I really haven't yet seen any such people at this site. Nonetheless, you cite no evidence for that pairing, and I have seen none. It's wholly irrelevant to Penn and Teller's mistakes, and serves no valid discussion point. It remains a passing slur, with its only being useful in an emotional core-dump.

Edited by Greybird
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[...] Is the professor from [the University of Georgia] W. Keith Campbell, by any chance? He's a genuine researcher on the subject of narcissism, though his theory of self-esteem leaves a lot to be desired.

Yes, it is, though he leaves off the first initial when introducing himself. He first appears at 24:30 into the episode. He later follows up the comments of Ehrenreich. If you're looking for this on YouTube, both appearances should be on the same segment.

Edited by Greybird
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I have always thought they were cynics in the modern sense, not nihilists per se.

I have always found them very off-putting and am not surprised to read what Reed reports.

When your show is named Bullshit, everything starts looking like cow manure, no?

Edited by Ted Keer
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"If x is to be believed" is, in this as in most cases, simply an idiomatic way of acknowledging a source. I have no doubts about anything you say. Your description of Branden talking about himself in the third person and Striking Poses by the fountain fits in perfectly with impressions I've formed in nearly fifty years of hanging around Objectivism. Read Judgement Day (or any of numerous public statements of Branden's) or Heller's biography if you don't want to take my word. What you say about Penn, Teller, Baumeister and Ehrenreich is equally accurate.

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"If x is to be believed" is, in this as in most cases, simply an idiomatic way of acknowledging a source. I have no doubts about anything you say. Your description of Branden talking about himself in the third person and Striking Poses by the fountain fits in perfectly with impressions I've formed in nearly fifty years of hanging around Objectivism. Read Judgement Day (or any of numerous public statements of Branden's) or Heller's biography if you don't want to take my word. What you say about Penn, Teller, Baumeister and Ehrenreich is equally accurate.

Your post #18 violates the posting guidelines for OL. Continuing this conversation off that is little better.

--Brant

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