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#1 blackhorse

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:38 AM

Is anyone here familiar with the Independent Individualist? The site is run by a "Reginald Firehammer" who seems to be a quasi-Objectivist of sorts; he extols much of Oism but has disagreements as well. I actually quite enjoy most of the content. His columns are well thought out and presented. I like most of what he has to say. Any thoughts?

http://usabig.com/atnmst/about.php

#2 studiodekadent

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:37 AM

Firehammer has a long history as, essentially, the Westboro Baptist Church of Objectivism.

Even if he doesn't call himself an Objectivist, he's really, REALLY fixated on "teh evul gay people." It's an obsession of his... a complete preoccupation... to basically use Objectiv-ish ideas to prove the evil of homosexuality/homosexuals/same-sex sexual acts/etc.

He's fought with Chris Sciabarra (who himself is a gay man) over the subject.

Firehammer uses the Objectivist orthodoxy arguments, claiming "Oism is just what Ayn Rand wrote and endorsed during her lifetime, therefore gay people that claim to be Objectivists in spite of Rand's condemnation of homosexuality are hijacking the philosophy." Since even the ARI crowd have realized that Rand's statements on homosexuality were rather ignorant, then Firehammer's "conservatism" on this issue goes deeper than ARI's.

Firehammer's obsession with the topic is simply insane.
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#3 Selene

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:54 AM

Firehammer's obsession with the topic is simply insane.


Andrew:

How many times have I told you that you have to stop suppressing your opinions!

You need to express yourself and stop being so damned PC! :wink:

Love ya dude!

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#4 blackhorse

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:17 AM

studiodekadent,His arguments seem cogent to me. He doesn't go off on wild tirades in his work, but methodically builds his case, which is more than I can say for many supposed Objectivists. You may disagree, but Firehammer has a quality to his work that I find refreshing. That's just my two cents. He does make a good case some of the departation of Rand's idea's from current Oist scholars.

#5 Mark

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:07 AM

Yes, Regi Firehammer has written quite a few good articles. There's only one article that I violently -- figuratively speaking -- disagree with, which I'll mention in a moment, the rest range from mostly excellent to a few problematic.

In case you happened to notice it, one of his articles uses the same rhetorical technique I use in my article "The Military Commissions Act of 2006." Not that I have a patent on rhetorical techniques but I'd like you to know I published my article before he did his.

Again, all in all his website is pretty good. He opposes the Welfare/Warfare State and realizes that the so-called Ayn Rand Institute is a pack of hypocrites. Like all reasonable people he recommends ARIwatch.com and links to it. (In case you don't know, I run ARI Watch.)

Now about the negative. No, I don't think it's his position on homosexuality. The later is obviously a *syndrome*. Whether it's a syndrome like left-handedness which cannot be trained away, or not, I don't know. Maybe somebody knows but I'm not interested enough in the subject to find out. The article by Regi Firehammer that is in my opinion the pits is "If You Spank Him, He Will Not Die." It's devoted to quoting and agreeing with someone else's article, by an oriental immigrant, "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior" illustrating the proper way to raise a child. (You read the warden's account, not the prisoner's.)

A view on child education also represents, I would say, a view of man, in Regi's case man as inherently evil. And that evil must be beaten out of him, first by the parent, then by what? What sort of society would this child best feel comfortable in when he grows up? The Amish perhaps? China certainly. This one article by Regi blatantly contradicts the rest of his website. It's a freak among his articles.

If it were possible I would denaturalize "tiger mom" and send her back. She could take her obedient children with her.

Anyway, there are some good things on Regi Firehammer's website, reader discretion advised.

#6 blackhorse

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:18 AM

Mark, I fully agree with your assessment. Like I said, I like most of what he has to say, even the part about homosexuality, but not everything. I don't agree with his assessment that man is inherently evil and what you have mentioned above regarding the Chinese mothers. I am still combing over his website and I find it a refreshing turn from "pop culture objectivism". Thank you for your insight.

#7 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:30 PM

Regi and I have interacted cordially several times.

He's all right until the guru bug bites him (which it does at times and which he always emphatically denies) or he gets enchanted by a theory.

Then he can get weird and outlandish, with total hardening of the categories.

But on the whole, he's not a bad dude. He likes to push people's buttons, so you can always count on contention when he's around.

I vaguely remember him or Cass or someone close to him signing up here on OL under a pseudonym, or maybe on another forum, and talking up his forum as if it were the best thing since sliced bread. Then that effort, and the person, got exposed.

I'd have to look it up to remember the details correctly, but I don't condemn him for it. A lapse is a lapse is a lapse. And nothing more than a lapse. I think he gets lonely and hungry for intelligent attention.

I say read his site if you want to know what he thinks. I doubt you will find any original world-shaking insights, but I don't think you will waste your time. He looks at, and discusses important issues and there is virtue in that.

ER...

P...

PA...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

PARC...

Whew!

(wiping brow)

Well, I almost made a post about Regi Firehammer without mentioning his frenzied race (through Cass) to embrace Valliant's boneheaded book and be the world's first to promote it. Valliant later crapped all over him and her.

I don't think either of them ever learned the lesson that if you want to run with pigs, don't eat with them.

Michael

Know thyself...


#8 studiodekadent

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:27 AM

studiodekadent,His arguments seem cogent to me. He doesn't go off on wild tirades in his work, but methodically builds his case, which is more than I can say for many supposed Objectivists. You may disagree, but Firehammer has a quality to his work that I find refreshing. That's just my two cents. He does make a good case some of the departation of Rand's idea's from current Oist scholars.


At least on the subject of sexual preference, I don't find Firehammer's arguments cogent. I also find his fixation on the topic to be utterly disproportionate. The morality of any person's preference as to the gender of their sexual partners certainly doesn't strike me as the kind of critical moral issue that some people seem to think it is. Whilst in broad terms I agree with Rand's concept of sex-as-admiration, and the idea that one's values manifest in one's sexuality (to varying degrees depending on context and other factors), "whether one prefers to sleep with men, women, both or neither" is scarcely the kind of moral crisis that Firehammer seems to treat it as.

Anyway, "departing Rand's ideas" is not necessarily either wrong or anti-Objectivist. Objectivism is a set of philosophical propositions; it is not the sum total of every single one of Rand's ideas. One can disagree with her artistic tastes and still be an Objectivist. One can disagree with her views on sexuality and gender (views which were clearly a product of her own fetishes, which themselves were pretty obviously psychological ways she deal with her frustrations at being a woman with a stereotypically 'male' (by the standards of her time and context) cognitive style, thus socially defeminized), and still be an Objectivist.

If Objectivism proclaims that facts are facts independently of consciousness, that reason requires continuous integration of the empirical evidence provided to the senses, and that reason is not infallible, then to be an Objectivist, one must treats facts as independent of Ayn Rand's consciousness, to continually integrate empirical evidence that Ayn Rand may not have had access to (or overlooked), and to accept that Ayn Rand's faculty of reason was (whilst extraordinarily powerful) just as fallible as anyone else's.

If Rand's pronouncements on sex/gender/sexuality or art or music or whatever, are just rationalized pronouncements of personal taste, or contradictions of her underlying philosophy (for instance, her statements on gender clearly assume some sort of Platonic or Aristotelian Realist theory of Universals, even though Rand herself was a Particularist (see ITOE) and thus rejected the idea that Universals exist objectively), then an Objectivist need not be bound by Rand's statements on those subjects.
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#9 studiodekadent

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:32 AM

The article by Regi Firehammer that is in my opinion the pits is "If You Spank Him, He Will Not Die." It's devoted to quoting and agreeing with someone else's article, by an oriental immigrant, "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior" illustrating the proper way to raise a child. (You read the warden's account, not the prisoner's.)

A view on child education also represents, I would say, a view of man, in Regi's case man as inherently evil. And that evil must be beaten out of him, first by the parent, then by what? What sort of society would this child best feel comfortable in when he grows up? The Amish perhaps? China certainly. This one article by Regi blatantly contradicts the rest of his website. It's a freak among his articles.

If it were possible I would denaturalize "tiger mom" and send her back. She could take her obedient children with her.


Mark,

I haven't read that article, and I'm glad I have not. The opinions you ascribe to Firehammer are ones I hold in great contempt, to say the least.

Perhaps I will read it. And then I can go from seeing Firehammer as a pretentious niusance to seeing him as loathsome.
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#10 blackhorse

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:25 PM

Firehammer does a good job exposing the problems of pop culture objectivism. I find him to be more of an Ojectivist than many self proclaimed ones. Like I said, I don't agree 100% with his content , but I find that I agree with more of his work than not. It's refreshing to hear his idea's amidst the cacophony of Objectivists supposed defenders. He is an obvious admirer of Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Another fellow that I like is G. Stolyarov II at the Rational Argumentator http://www.rationala...ator.com/index/




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