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Online literature by David Kelley


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#1 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:30 PM

Online Literature by David Kelley

You will find writings by David Kelley on this page of The Atlas Center site. Links to many of them at The Atlas Society are provided below.

Articles

A Philosophy for the 21st Century (Discussion of the universal ideas of Objectivism in changing times and multiculturalism with focus on reason, individualism and morality.)
Altruism and Capitalism (Excerpt from a speech originally given by David Kelley in 1991 at a conference at the University of Aix, Aix-en-Provence, France.)
Better Things To Do (Discussion on how attacks from other quarters of the Objectivist community are to be handled.)
Early Light (Inspirational message from the beginning days of the Institute of Objectivist Studies—IOS, now The Atlas Society—TAS.)
Epistemology and Politics: Ayn Rand's Cultural Commentary (Discussion of Rand's cultural commentary focusing on how reason leads to freedom and faith leads elsewhere, with a charming note called “Rand on Rawls” tacked on.)
For a Museum of Capitalism (Discussion of museums, the curious lack of a capitalism museum and what the World Trade Center meant.)
Generosity and Self-Interest (The role of non-altruistic generosity in the pursuit of enlightened self-interest.)
I Don't Have To (Discussion of values, actions and basic attitude.)
Ideological Differences and Political Evolution (Commentary on the Bush-Gore Presidential Election 2000 and other political issues—actually two articles, “The Next Four Years” and “An Echo, Not a Choice!” with input from Patrick Stephens and Roger Donway.)
In Memoriam: George Walsh (Eulogy for an eminent Objectivist trooper.)
Is it Nobler to Give than to Create? (Discussion of Ted Turner’s philanthropy and the principles behind successful entrepreneurs giving money to charity.)
Is There a Right to Health Care? (Rights, health care subsidies and Clinton policies.)
Outline of "Galt's Speech" (Should be read by all Objectivists.)
Rand and Objectivity (Discussion of Rand’s insight on the nature of the mind in its relationship to reality.)
Ruled -- Or Principled? (Rules, principles and objectivity.)
The History, Economics, and Philosophy of Social Security (Excerpt from his book, A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State.)
The Ideas That Promote Terrorism (The common ideas between fanatical Islamists and other forms of organized oppression, and the basic principles behind them.)
The Lessons of Littleton: A Letter to Teens (Discussion of some of the principles behind the Columbine High School shooting tragedy.)
The Party of Modernity (Using modernity to describe individualist and rationalist culture, discussion of prenodern and postmodern culture and a call for the creation of a modernity party.)
The Stamp of Greatness (Discussion of Ayn Rand and the postage stamp honoring her.)
The State-Made Crisis in Health Insurance (Criticism of government interventions in health insurance.)
The War against Modernity (Examination of Islamic terrorism and its hatred of modern civilization.)


Book Reviews

Autobiography of an Idea (Review of Journals of Ayn Rand, edited by David Harriman.)
Peikoff's Summa (Review of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff.)
The Virtue of Profit and the Profitable Virtues (Review of Ayn Rand and Business by Donna Greiner and Theodore Kinni.)


Movie Reviews

Review: Mad Hot Ballroom (Review of a documentary about dance instruction and competition in schools.)
Superhero Me! A Review of "The Incredibles” (Review of the movie, The Incredibles.)


Study Guide

Foundations Study Guide: Epistemology


Books

The Logical Structure of Objectivism (Beta version - Html essay online and PDF download.)
The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand (Html essay online and PDF download.)


Articles in Spanish

¿Es más noble dar que crear ...?
Altruismo y Capitalismo
El asalto a la civilización
No "tengo que ..."

#2 Bidinotto

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:56 PM

You missed one, under "books": THE CONTESTED LEGACY OF AYN RAND, at

http://www.objectivi...gacyonline.aspx

#3 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 07:07 PM

Robert,

Thank you. I have now added it.

My list is not complete yet, but it is a good start. I will be adding the ones I left out, others I may find and new ones when they become available. I would be grateful to anyone who can furnish more links.

Michael

#4 Charles R. Anderson

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 01:26 AM

Michael,

Thanks for making this effort to recognize David Kelley's work. He deserves the highest praise from those who want an Objectivist philosophy for living their lives with a total commitment to reality and knowing reality by examining it with our rational faculty as independently-minded human beings.

By the way, it is The Atlas Society and The Objectivist Center, rather than The Atlas Center.

#5 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:43 PM

Here are some posts that were recovered from a Google search cache from the July 17-27 black hole.

Michael


Charles:" David Kelley. . . deserves the highest praise from those who want an Objectivist philosophy for living their lives with a total commitment to reality and knowing reality by examining it with our rational faculty as independently-minded human beings."

He does indeed deserve our praise. And also for working incredibly hard to make his vision of an Objectivist society a reality, and for assembling a remarkable faculty and officers of the Atlas Society. The odds against him were enormous when he began, but he has succeeded in creating something unprecedented. I hope now, with his organization funcioning relatively smoothly, he will have the time to devote himself to that which I believe he loves most: writing on philosophy.

Barbara


Barbara,

I agree fully with your comments about David. While quiet and unassuming by nature, he has consistently fought the great fight with courage and determination. He has led by example. He has shown what benevolence and toleration can contribute to the lives of rational people in civilized societies. David is a true hero.

I think it will be a good thing that David will be able to devote more time to writing and speaking about the ideas that are important to civilized life, which we take to be those that are most conducive to the lives of rational, independent thinkers. David is a one of the best of such men. In the context of Objectivism, I believe that his approach of checking all of Objectivism's ideas against his own experience and understanding of reality breathes a very healthy common sense into Objectivism. He understands that valid ideas must be consistent with the particulars of reality and that a philosophy for living must be consistent with human nature. Objectivism is not just an abstract construct erected by Ayn Rand, but rather it is her, and should be anyone else's, attempt to understand reality and life. David is willing, when too many are not, to recognize the complexity of reality and of human life. He is willing to tackle issues in all this complexity when too many others would reduce the human being to the proverbial circle, which is so much easier to model.

Besides, I have always liked and admired David. He is simply a good man. He has served too often as a lightening rod for small-minded pretenders, but they only do themselves discredit by not recognizing him for the great Objectivist he is.
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Charles, your statement about David is very beautiful and very wise. I am sending him a link to it; he deserves to see it.

Barbara


Well said, Charles, and very true. One calm, thoughtful -- and objective -- comment outweighs a dozen of the mean-spirited, narrow-minded, emotion-driven kind of attacks that are so easy to utter but so hard to justify.

REB
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When I met David Kelley in 1994, I thought this is an Objectivist as he could be and ought to be: principled, focused, kind, tolerant and resolute.

Jim


"I thought this is an Objectivist as he could be and ought to be: principled, focused, kind, tolerant and resolute."

I felt the same way when I met Nathaniel Branden in 1976. I also thought he was very much a master of his chosen profession.

Michael,

I'm looking forward to reading much more of David's works. OL is such a breath of fresh air. An oasis of reason and civilized minds. Thanks to all.


It is a joy to be among so many who are able to and happy to recognize a good man when when they encounter him. This is a very good way to winnow out the chaff and treasure those who can pass this test.

So, to Michael, Barbara, Roger, James, and Michael, I could admire you for this alone, though I have had good reasons to respect and admire each of you independent of this. Thanks for joining me in paying David with the respect of good people that he has done so much to earn.
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#6 Randall

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 12:02 AM

I am working on a paper with an associate of mine on the nature of ideas. In particular I am interested in finding where David Kelley may have said that he does not think that ideas can be judged morally at all. Am I correct in this understanding or mistaken? If I am correct, where can I find this in his writings? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Donovan
“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.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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#7 Bill P

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 12:06 AM

I am working on a paper with an associate of mine on the nature of ideas. In particular I am interested in finding where David Kelley may have said that he does not think that ideas can be judged morally at all. Am I correct in this understanding or mistaken? If I am correct, where can I find this in his writings? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Donovan


Try Truth and Toleration - his essay (now in short book form). Full title of current version:

The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand: Truth and Toleration in Objectivism

Bill Parr

#8 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 01:57 AM

In particular I am interested in finding where David Kelley may have said that he does not think that ideas can be judged morally at all.

Donovan,

The way you phrased this sounds like the distortion constantly presented by orthodox Objectivists. No amount of clarity seems to cut through their hatred dripped down from Peikoff. They always try to fit everything with on-off switches. But David's words are very clear if you read them objectively.

Read the link Bill provided. You will easily see that David said there were degrees of evil in human affairs, not that there was no evil in an idea someone may hold. What he did emphasize was that you can only impute morality to an idea when volition is involved.

Volition.
Not isolated idea.

or better

Volition+idea+reality.
Not idea floating loose in someone's head.

Good and evil (morality) pertain to human choices, not to the intrinsic nature of any idea a human being may hold. The most important choice a person can make with an idea is to act on it (make it real, i.e., bring it into reality), so the degree of evil is usually measured by the degree of an act.

David gave as an example that the idea+choice+action of a bloody dictator is far more evil than a bad idea promoted by an obscure academic. He said you cannot call a whole person evil simply because of some of the bad ideas he holds, especially if he chooses not to act on them. You would have thought all hell broke loose from the orthodoxy, at least going by what I have read. But David's right. Murder is far worse and far more evil than thinking about murder, even if a person admires murderers. We keep our guard up with a person thinking about murder, but we punish a person who murders.

Volition and action are critical in measuring good and evil, not just idea. It is a sum. This derives from human nature. David's harshest critics always ignore that David said this (in his own manner) and they always impute a boneheaded position to him that he never stated. They say his position is that an idea cannot be moral, so one cannot judge a person for the ideas he holds. In other words, David sanctions evil. To be blunt, they lie about him.

Anyway, the last thing we need in the world is punishment for thinking, even wrong thinking. In addition to loathing censorship, I say part of learning is getting it wrong. If a person doesn't get it wrong, he doesn't have to learn anything. He already knows—he automatically knows what's right. That is the epistemology of a non-conceptual animal.

I don't know anyone born automatically knowing what's right except for basic things like hunger, pain, pleasure, some basic affects, etc.. We all have to learn as we grow and live. That means we all get something wrong until we learn it. (btw - Degree applies to this, too.)

Michael

Know thyself...


#9 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:37 AM

I am working on a paper with an associate of mine on the nature of ideas. In particular I am interested in finding where David Kelley may have said that he does not think that ideas can be judged morally at all. Am I correct in this understanding or mistaken? If I am correct, where can I find this in his writings? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Here are two quotes from A Question of Sanction:

The concept of evil applies primarily to actions, and to the people who perform them.

Truth and falsity, not good or evil, are the primary evaluative concepts that apply to ideas as such.


Note he used "primarily" and "primary", not "only" or "exclusive[ly]".

Here is Peikoff in Fact and Value:

Yet such is the essence of David Kelley's viewpoint. "Truth" and "falsity," he says, apply primarily to "ideas"; "good" and "evil," to "actions, and to the people who perform them." In regard to evil, he says, we must not be tolerant; but in regard to ideas, moral judgment is a mistake.

The last five words imply Kelley had used "exclusively" or "only." Elsewhere he writes as if Kelley had used "only" or "exclusive[ly]". Peikoff supporters have behaved as if Kelley used "exclusively" or "only." Is that honesty, dishonesty or carelessness? You are the judge.

#10 Bill P

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:49 PM

I am working on a paper with an associate of mine on the nature of ideas. In particular I am interested in finding where David Kelley may have said that he does not think that ideas can be judged morally at all. Am I correct in this understanding or mistaken? If I am correct, where can I find this in his writings? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Donovan


Here's a longer quote from Truth and Toleration, which is also posted on this WWW site (Objectivist Living):

Truth and falsity, not good or evil, are the primary evaluative concepts that apply to ideas as such. It is true that the horrors of this century were made possible by irrationalist and collectivist ideas. Bad ideas can be dangerous; that's one reason we shouldn't endorse them. But they are dangerous because people use them to perpetrate evil. We are not Hegelians: ideas per se are not agents in the world. Truth or falsity is the essential property of an idea; the good or ill it produces is derivative. It is also true that a given person may adopt false ideas through evasion, which is morally wrong. But another person might adopt the same idea through honest error. The assumption that libertarians as such are immoral is therefore an egregious insult. Some are honest and rational, some are not. The same is true for any other ideological group, including Objectivists. It is a gross non-sequitur to infer that because an idea is false, its adherents are evil for holding it.

The failure to draw these distinctions has a pernicious effect. If we approach ideas with the question: true or false?, we stand ready to combat bad ideas by the only means appropriate to intellectual issues: open, rational discussion and debate. But if we approach ideas with the question: good or evil?, we will avoid debate for fear of sanctioning evil-doers. We will substitute condemnation for argument, and adopt a non-intellectual, intolerant attitude toward any disagreement with our views.



Hope that helps,

Bill P

#11 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:55 PM

I have expressed this by saying that cognitive abstractions come before normative ones in validating a concept.

You have to know what something is before you know what value it has.

Thus the true-false standard is more fundamental than good-evil.

After all, how good is good if it is built on false? That case literally means good doesn't exist.

Michael

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#12 Randall

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 10:21 PM

First of all I want to thank everyone for your fast replies. I have read the Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand by Kelley and Fact and Value by Peikoff.

I did not care for Fact and Value for it's lack of value. :lol:

I'd like to be clear about who I am and why I am here. My mom picked up The Fountainhead at the age of 19 and I am the 3rd of her three sons. David Kelley was here in Dallas, TX right when all of the split began. I was too young to be involved with all of the philosophical reasons that encompassed the schism. I studied Objectivism informally with my family in High School and it really put a lot together for me. Ultimately though I felt that I needed to live my life, enjoy college and not spend everyday thinking about philosophy and politics; there is more to this, but that is for another day.

A few years ago, my older brother reestablished The North Texas Objectivist Society here in Dallas, TX. I of course attended several meetings and started to investigate Objectivism on the internet. I came across a very bright young person online who despite his technical knowledge of the philosophy was nothing but hostile toward David Kelley. His remarks were so hideous, so vicious, my mouth dropped wide open. He demanded that I read Fact and Value and I read it. I also read Barbara Branden's Objectivism and Rage paper and then, Truth and Toleration. To make a long story short, conversations with this new person did not last long. I committed myself to understanding the issues and printed out everything I could find on the issues. In reading the two major papers by Kelley and Peikoff I did not feel that I had enough background in the technical aspects of the philosophy to really understand what all the fighting was about, though I did see quite easily that Peikoff falls into rationalism. I decided to listen to Nathaniel Branden's Basic Principles of Objectivism to help me gain more understanding of the philosophy explicitly. Currently, I have 2 lectures remaining to listen to and I have been very pleased with the friends I have made that have attended my study group (The Culture of Reason Center).

I apologize for not clearly understanding that Kelley does think that ideas can hold moral significance. There is of course a difference between judging ideas and judging a person's character and actions and I think many people are very confused. I know that in trying to learn about the division in the Objectivist movement I have felt pretty confused, many times. Overall, I think the last thing that is helpful is moral intimidation when trying to sort through complex ideas. If philosophy was so easy and errors so rare, than there wouldn't be much to argue about in the world.

To be totally clear then: Kelley does not say in any other papers that you guys know of that he thinks ideas cannot be judged morally?

I feel like I have a vague memory of reading something almost informal from Kelley stating "Peikoff thinks you can judge ideas morally, I do not." (quote from memory). This is false then correct?

Thanks for the help,

Donovan
“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.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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#13 Randall

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 11:56 PM

I want to point to something I have found on OL. "Ideas aren't evil, only people are evil."

http://www.objectivi...hp?showtopic=52

I am trying to understand how this ties in.
“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.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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#14 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 02:45 AM

Donovan,

This is a case where Principle of charity is definitely in order:

In philosophy and rhetoric, the principle of charity is an approach to understanding a speaker's statements by interpreting the speaker's statements to be rational and, in the case of any argument, rendering the best, strongest possible interpretation of an argument.

When Roger and Barbara mention "only people are evil" or "ideas are not evil" within that context, I don't see how volition and action can be divorced from considering their meanings. There is danger of total misunderstanding in using a word like "idea" in one context and transposing it to another with the first meaning.

In very simplified terms (even though the issue is actually not so simple since life is complex), you cannot blame a person for choosing a wrong alternative when the right alternative is not available to him. How can a person be blamed for choosing oranges and not apples when there are no apples around him?

One of the metaphysical conditions of volition is having something to choose. If you can't choose something because it simply ain't there to choose, you can't be good or evil because you didn't choose it.

But some choices can be, were and are made within all cultures, religions and philosophy throughout all of human history, including Objectivism in the present day. Observe that there are people who are good and there are people who are evil in all of them. The evil ones normally use the body of ideas at hand and selectively distort some of the ideas, take others in a very literal sense, and ignore others to justify their acts. Actually, the good people do this, too.

I have come to the conclusion that the body of ideas doesn't really matter for one basic choice in life, whether to be a good guy or a bad guy. This is between a person and himself, not anything he studies. Now, how am I judging which person is good or evil here if I set aside the body of ideas? Here are a few of my standards:
  • Someone who tries to rule or damage other people as the main goal of his actions rather than try to rule (and obey) nature,
  • Someone who prefers to destroy than produce,
  • Someone who wallows in negative emotions like hatred, spite, envy and rage rather than someone who seeks love, joy, triumph and serenity.
There are other standards, but that will do for now. For accuracy, I should say something. We all need the negative parts of life at times for balance and survival, but those who hold the negative up as the best life has to offer and constantly try to damage other people because of it are evil in my book.

One of the basic choices you make in life is whether to master yourself and make yourself positive (by correcting bad habits, learning moral values, changing your social environment, and so forth) or let your innate nature impose itself on all your choices.

We can't choose what is innate. Some people are extroverts and others are introverts. Some have a short fuse and others have a great deal of patience. There are many such personality characteristics that just devleop on their own. We don't chose them. We were simply born that way and that's the way we grow.

In the best case for someone who does not choose to build his character, if he happens to be innately a positive person and does not choose to do anything about it one way or the other—he just goes with the flow—he will normally do quite well. But that's an accident, not a choice he made. In the worst case, if he is innately a highly negative person and very active, and does not choose to choose—much less choose to change, he will develop into a monster.

I know that all this seems to be beside the point when you go back to the statement, "ideas aren't evil, only people are evil," while trying to judge whether Islam or Christianity or even Satanism is more evil than Objectivism or vice versa. But that fundamental choice I mentioned and lack of alternative ideas at hand are precisely part of what Barbara and Roger were getting at.

Still, let's look at the ideas in themselves. Notice that I made a comparison. That is a standard of measurement in itself. I am not judging Islam, say, against Islam. I am judging it against Objectivism (or whatever). That is not the case of a person raised in Islam in an isolated place. How can he say Islam is evil if he is judging it against Islam and Islam is all he was ever taught? Or good for that matter? (I am against overgeneralizing about bodies of ideas, anyway.)

When someone only knows one body of ideas, those ideas can only be evil when he adds his choice to them and this results in acts. Here is an example. There is an enormous difference between setting up a monkey god or totem pole and saying that this thing is the source of the universe, and saying that the good is in sacrificing young virgins to it. The first idea is merely false. The second idea is not only false, it embodies an act and a choice that destroys innocent human life.

But there is more,. The vileness of that evil idea can be measured. In one person it can become a monstrous evil of gigantic proportions and in another person it can be an historical curiosity. In the first case, if a charismatic dictator mobilizes a multitude around that idea and they form a stable of sacrificial virgins culled from enemy tribes with weekly and daily sacrifices, you have an atrocity. In the second case, a modern person (OK, a bonehead) who decides to practice that religion once again can say that this was a custom of the ancient times, but it is no longer an essential practice. In the dictator's case, the idea was raw evil and in the bonehead, it was merely a boneheaded idea.

The plain fact is that an idea can exist that does not include volition and action. A simple concept identifying an entity is an example. Such an idea can only be true or false. The evil comes in when there is a sum of the three: idea, volition and action. And, to be blunt, you need a whole person for that, a mind and a body, not just a mind. Without the body, there is no evil. And without choice, for whatever reason, there is no evil either.

Remember the fundamental Objectivist standard of values, human life qua human life? That means mind and body, not just mind.

That is my understanding of "Ideas aren't evil, only people are evil" within the context that it was used. Of course, Barbara and Roger can correct me if I am wrong. I speak for me (for my understanding), not for them.

There is another matter, but it is actually for another discussion. Some people are very interested in manipulating (and ruling) others. Holding them to an impossible standard is a sure-fire way to do it and they know it. If you can convince a person that he can be evil just by thinking a thought, you have a person beaten into submission by his own mind.

Michael

Know thyself...


#15 Randall

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 10:05 PM

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your reply. I like what you have to say, but I would like to challenge one or two points.

One of the basic choices you make in life is whether to master yourself and make yourself positive (by correcting bad habits, learning moral values, changing your social environment, and so forth) or let your innate nature impose itself on all your choices.

We can't choose what is innate. Some people are extroverts and others are introverts. Some have a short fuse and others have a great deal of patience. There are many such personality characteristics that just develop on their own. We don't chose them. We were simply born that way and that's the way we grow.


I agree that we all have our own natural personality traits. Our genetic makeup is different, our biology is different, our backgrounds differ. I think these things establish our context as you were pointing out. However, I also think that we all have the fundamental ability to introspect, to look at our basic tendencies and ask ourselves if our behavior is helpful or harmful in respect to achieving happiness and promoting our life.

I am a big fan of Barbara Branden, my previous post was not intended to be critical. My concern is that as Objectivists that support TAS and Kelley, I think it is very important to be well prepared to deal with the on-slot of misrepresentations, misunderstanding that exists in the Objectivist communities and circles. In reading The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand by David Kelley, I have not found a single sentence that I disagree with. I have found no floating abstractions, no unsupported concretes. On the other hand, I think his paper is taxing for someone that is new to Objectivism. It can be quite easy to think that TAS and Kelley do in fact advocate that ideas hold no moral significance. Such misconceptions I believe are very costly.

I would also like to add a non sequitur:

I think it is very important that we learn to refrain from attacks against ARI or its more rationalistic members. I agree that this may seem an almost impossible task at times, but I am questioning the rationality behind the use of our time, our thoughts, our efforts. The world all around us is plagued with irrationality, altruism, mysticism, skepticism, etc. The United States could soon be facing serious economic issues, and I am of the opinion that as Objectivists we must learn how to get along. If we cannot get along, what hope is there for the world? We must be good teachers, we must be knowledgeable, we must speak and write with clarity and certainty.

- Donovan

Edited by Donovan A., 01 July 2008 - 10:06 PM.

“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.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Study Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in Dallas, TX - www.thecultureofreasoncenter.com

#16 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 10:40 PM

Donovan,

I am unclear as to what you challenged. It seems like you agree with me.

About attacks and so forth, this should cease after a time. My own value is not to bicker. It is a branding issue. There are some products I will be releasing in the future and I want something on record when the publicity offering the standard complaints about cults, rewriting history, etc., starts. Then I can point to it and say, "What you are talking about ain't me."

I have nothing against ARI per se. I do have issues with several of the ideas and policies they promote and I would have issues with these policies whether they were scientists, Christians or Voodoo worshipers. I don't want to be grouped with those ideas and policies. Unfortunately, this requires some diligence now. Later it won't matter.

Michael

Know thyself...


#17 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 06:52 PM

Donovan,

I want to add a thought to my previous post just so my meaning is absolutely clear.

If the nasty souls I traditionally criticize on OL would just do their thing and go on about their business (like, thankfully a certain Noodler has), that would be one thing and I would not give it a moment's thought. Their lives are their own business and may they live long prosperous ones far, far away.

The problem is that I actually do have products planned and these people are leeches. They cannot generate large audiences on their own, so they migrate to where someone else has created an Objectivist audience. They mooch on it, bashing the person who generated it to the person's own customers, all the while trying to promote themselves.

There are many examples, but one of the most ugly cases was during the TAS 2006 Summer Seminar that was held at Chapman University in Orange County, California. These people ponied up an airplane ticket for Lindsay Perigo to fly halfway around the world for the sole purpose of giving a speech bashing Barbara Branden at a nearby bookstore at the time of the seminar, while at the same time trying to promote James Valliant's book (that bashes the Brandens) in a formal book-signing. The idea was to mooch off the TAS audience and create controversy because both Barbara and Nathaniel were giving talks at the TAS event.

They were not bringing their own audience. They were literally trying to loot another.

Part of the reason they flopped so badly was that I ran a campaign to discredit their efforts, exposing them to the light of day here on little old OL. It's all in the threads.

Another really ugly case involved mooching off of Chris Sciabarra's work and audience while bashing him. But there are various cases.

The reality is that these people, with very few exceptions,:

1. Do not produce products of value like educational materials, fiction, movies and so forth,
2. Do not have the capacity to generate an audience of any meaningful size, and
3. Leech off of those who do produce and try to spoil their markets.

You want the Objectivist community to get organized, but I could never organize with that crap under any banner. Instead, the time to discredit it is now, not later when those idiots will cost me a whole lot of money in lost sales. Call it a capitalist thing.

My values for organizing any intellectual effort are first and foremost production, goodwill and independent thinking, and only then Objectivism. I want people of good character around me and Ayn Rand's philosophy is not a guarantee of good character. You can be an Objectivist and still be a con artist, bully, moocher, and just plain sleazy. Look at those half-assed dudes. They are proof.

I see no reason to consort with someone whose goal in life is to destroy what I produce. I have every reason on earth to protect my efforts against such garbage. Those who ask me to consort with parasites should instead think about their own creations and productions if they want to advance Objectivism.

Now that's something worth fighting for. You can always count on me to help out with that.

Michael

Know thyself...


#18 Randall

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 06:24 PM

Michael,

I agree with you. I am not in favor of Noodles, other than the pasta variety. I am also unhappy with many things that have come from ARI. I think we can all agree on that.
“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.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Study Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in Dallas, TX - www.thecultureofreasoncenter.com

#19 Randall

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 12:39 AM

Has there been any response to this:

http://www.dianahsie...chotomy-in.html

I could start writing one if nobody has.
:frantics:
“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.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Study Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in Dallas, TX - www.thecultureofreasoncenter.com

#20 Brant Gaede

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 12:56 AM

Has there been any response to this:

http://www.dianahsie...chotomy-in.html

I could start writing one if nobody has.

It's just philosophers chasing each other round in a circle. Some of them want to use morality as a weapon, some don't.

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism





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