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Atlas Summit 2014

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But this horseshit is what David Kelley et al so righteously want to cram down our throats, treating TAS's critics as the guilty party, and insisting on deference and respect for Harriman, their great catch.

What is so appealing about Harriman? TAS seems to see him as a very respected, serious, published scholar. But isn't that their misperception of only his acting that part? Who respects his work, other than Peikoff and co? Who has published his work, other than Peikoff and co? Who has reviewed his work and offered constructive criticism and not gotten the boot from Peikoff and co because of it?

Is Harriman super charming and a great performer at seminars, and therefore he brings the right style to TAS? Is he great at looking professorial?

I say all that because I disagree with Ellen Stuttle and others here who have made Harriman's views on physics the main focus.

I don't think that there has to be a single "main focus," but that both concerns work together in the perplexing picture of why TAS finds Harriman to be so valuable. The moral issues combined with the physics/history/theory of induction should be the "main focus."

In his "debate closing" post at TAS, Kelley has the nerve to bring up the "quarter of a century" for which he's known me, but doesn't have the integrity to respond to anything that his supposed colleague of a quarter of a century has to say. What then is the value of his having known me for so long?

I think the point is that Kelley is saying that you owe him something, but that he owes you nothing. He outranks you as a human being. He is superior.

You owe him loyalty, the ability to know what he's thinking without being told, the courtesy of discussing his organization's publicly posted announcements only in private messages, and the ability to look into the future and know which posting rules will be implemented ex post facto. That's apparently the type "objectivity" that he expects from you.

Morally, I think you're expected to give him a great big blank check and trust his judgments. If you were to discover that he's been working very hard to get, say, James Holmes pardoned and released from jail in the hopes that Holmes will give presentations at the Atlas Summit, you're supposed to keep your mouth shut and wait and see, in perpetuity if necessary, if Kelley has a morally legitimate reason for doing so. Your questioning him about his interest in and relationship with Holmes would earn you a scolding that is worse than the scolding that you would have gotten from him had you done what Holmes has done.

The TAS Altas Summit Tease seems to be that Harriman has made amends privately to Kelley, Will "Charlie Foxtrot" Thomas, and the rest of the TAS cognoscenti, or that the cognoscenti have decided for all of us that no amends are necessary, so sign up, pay, and wait and see. It's got eggheaded mismanagement, smugness and obliviousness written all over it.

Kelley himself tells us that he was well aware that the invitation would "of course" create a "stir." And yet it didn't occur to him or to his PR people that people might take the occasion to create the stir on the very page on which the stir-worthy announcement had been made.

That's what I mean by eggheaded mismanagement. Lot's of ivory tower theorizing going on upstairs, but not a lot of real world objectivity. Zero ability at strategy and tactics, and, unfortunately, zero ability to self-reflect and be self-critical. It would have been nice to see Kelley pondering what he owes you as a long time friend, and what role he and his organization's weaknesses have played in creating this clusterfuck. But, nope. It's all your fault.

J

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Philishness. Ha.

I will say this for PC, this last OL flounce of his has had some staying power.

'I can resist anything except temptation.'

Oscar Wilde

Phil2006-2.jpg

Poor Phil. He couldn't see himself projecting what he objected to onto others, except the school marm stuff which he hardly got at all. Of everyone who ever posted here who ever just left or got thrown out, he was the one guy, save one other, whose leaving made OL palpably better. It was like a fresh ocean breeze or not being hit on the head by a two by four anymore.

--Brant

well, I left for two weeks: how did that go?

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well, I left for two weeks: how did that go?

Brant,

We missed you. At least I did.

Michael

Aw. That's a relief from the thousands of PMs I got congratualting me for my absence.

--Brant

alternative reality

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We have closed the comments on this page. This will be the final comment...

...We are looking forward to Harriman's contribution to the Atlas Summit. Those who have no interest in the Summit, those who merely want to get their ideological rocks off, those who are more interested in reliving the conflicts in the Objectivist movement than trying to heal them-please take your agenda elsewhere.

Is this same sort of thing going to happen at the Atlas Summit? During a Q&A session in which people are questioning Harriman, as Will "Charlie Foxtrot" Thomas has cheerfully invited attendees to do, will an enraged Kelley suddenly jump to the microphone and abruptly and clumsily close the Q&A session to protect Harriman's ideas and actions from criticism? Will any and every challenge to Harriman be defined by Kelley as rude, inappropriate, and gauche? That seems to be the signal that he's sending. You can toss Harriman soft pitches which he can knock out of the park and make himself and TAS look scholarly and important, but DO NOT bring any REAL criticism, don't throw any heat.

"The Summit's over, get the fuck out! NOW, bitches! Get OUT!!!"

J

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well, I left for two weeks: how did that go?

Brant,

We missed you. At least I did.

Michael

Aw. That's a relief from the thousands of PMs I got congratualting me for my absence.

--Brant

alternative reality

Eye mist ewe.

J

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We have closed the comments on this page. This will be the final comment...

...We are looking forward to Harriman's contribution to the Atlas Summit. Those who have no interest in the Summit, those who merely want to get their ideological rocks off, those who are more interested in reliving the conflicts in the Objectivist movement than trying to heal them-please take your agenda elsewhere.

Is this same sort of thing going to happen at the Atlas Summit? During a Q&A session in which people are questioning Harriman, as Will "Charlie Foxtrot" Thomas has cheerfully invited attendees to do, will an enraged Kelley suddenly jump to the microphone and abruptly and clumsily close the Q&A session to protect Harriman's ideas and actions from criticism? Will any and every challenge to Harriman be defined by Kelley as rude, inappropriate, and gauche? That seems to be the signal that he's sending. You can toss Harriman soft pitches which he can knock out of the park and make himself and TAS look scholarly and important, but DO NOT bring any REAL criticism, don't throw any heat.

"The Summit's over, get the fuck out! NOW, bitches! Get OUT!!!"

J

The Japanese did all they could to cover up their defeat at Midway--from themselves. Consequently they rendered themselves incapable of coming up with any good new strategy going forward making their complete defeat inevitable. All from a lack of feedback. This is not to say they could have avoided complete defeat, only that they locked themselves into it over three years before they were. Defeat per se was guaranteed by attacking Pearl Harbor.

What Sherman knew before the American Civil War was that the agrarian South could not prevail against an industrialized North. The North then taught the South the lesson the Japanese would learn the hard way too, eighty years later. They couldn't or didn't learn it until they actually got kicked in the ass. Studying history, if they actually studied history with any thoroughness, came up short. Southern hubris and pride was weak stuff compared to Japanese arrogance.

TAS is through. It's been through for several years now except for a hiccup now and then. Any thread over 50 posts long on OL will generate more value than anything TAS will be able to do from now on. As for ARI, they seem to have something going with fund-raising and use of technology to spread the word. Should last another ten years. The basic problem is intellectual authoritarianism, thanks to Ayn Rand, and that doesn't work in the Internet age. Cultural authoritarianism still does, for the mass is much greater and is stuffed into people continuously since childhood.

David Kelley giving the great unwashed the finger is just his way of saying goodbye.

--Brant

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The Japanese...TAS is through.

Watching TAS falling apart these past few years has been like watching wave after wave of unopposed B-29s flying over Japan. But I think that TAS could still survive.

It depends on what's actually going on in the minds at the leadership levels of these organizations. Pope Lenny is on his way out. Death is inevitable. And people have been pondering who the next pope might be. Will it be Amy or Kira? Or Yaron or Peter or Harry?

The thing is, when one's papacy is based on riding Rand's coattails and having known her for years as a member of her inner inner circle, it isn't logical to conclude that the tiara and mitre will be passed to Lenny's family or associates, or that he should have any say in who the next pope will be. The logical choice is one of Lenny's fellow inner inner circle members who was actually there with Rand.

People associated with ARI are starting to pursue a new mindset of openness in dealing with others, and here and there people are defecting from the ARI side. Perhaps these people have started to recognize that in the cult of personality ranking system, Kelley outranks all others after Peikoff is gone?

It's been through for several years now except for a hiccup now and then. Any thread over 50 posts long on OL will generate more value than anything TAS will be able to do from now on.

Do you ever wonder how much money is being paid to the people at TAS and ARI, and what they're being paid for? I often see posts on OL and elsewhere in O-land that are written by "nobodies" but are significantly deeper and more relevant than anything that comes from the paid writers at TAS or ARI. In other words, people who are doing it for free in their spare time are more productive and effective than the "professionals" who are being paid to do it full time. Not to mention much more original and interesting.

David Kelley giving the great unwashed the finger is just his way of saying goodbye.

Or his way of signaling that he knows what cult of personality ranking he holds, and of announcing that he's going to be even more personally vindictive and irrational than Lenny was as pope.

J

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So, when LP dies ARI will buy out TAS to get Kelley?

--Brant

I can't make it weirder than that

Or the ARI might instantly lose its power and start begging to join up with TAS. The only thing that any of these people have is a connection to Rand and those who had a connection to her. On their own, they're just average academics without any original star power. And Kelley probably has more charisma and a better academic reputation than other surviving inner inner circle members. So, the sands could shift quickly enough that TAS could offer to buy out ARI at a very discounted price.

J

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Now u're reaching for it; the backbone of ARI is the fundraiser, the CEO or whatever they call him. I don't think TAS has much money.

--Brant

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Now u're reaching for it; the backbone of ARI is the fundraiser, the CEO or whatever they call him. I don't think TAS has much money.

--Brant

How effective will the fundraising be when the current pope has passed and if the conclave selects Kelley, or, worse, if it selects Brook, Binswanger or Schwartz and then everyone laughs at the selection and vetoes it with their feet? How much "big money" will continue to flow to ARI after that?

J

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I say all that because I disagree with Ellen Stuttle and others here who have made Harriman's views on physics the main focus. Personally, I have no opinion at all on Harriman's views on physics. I've never read Logical Leap, and have no qualifications to judge anyone's views on physics. (The last time I took physics was tenth grade and I got a C in it.) But unless Harriman's views on physics were at the level of the Flat Earth Society, I don't think it would be appropriate to denounce him morally for having false views about physics. Nor would I make a big moral deal about TAS's inviting someone with false views about physics. I'd leave all that to the physicists, and would expect them to discuss physics, not morality. My objection to Harriman is a moral one. I don't think it should be described as a matter of "ARI/TAS politics," either. I have no interested stake in ARI/TAS politics. I just regard myself as a moral critic of the Objectivist movement, full stop. And I regard myself as having made a criticism that no one in that movement can answer, least of all David Kelley.

Irfan,

My issue with Harriman over physics is a moral issue, as much as and of a fabric with the issues you raise.

The root problem is Harriman's willingness to spin-doctor according to ideological preferences. He displayed this willingness both in his editing of Rand's Journals and in his contributions to TheLogical Leap.

He is not an honorable intellectual.

Ellen

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I went and read the post where Kelley shut down the comments.

I really feel for Irfan. 24 years pushing a rock uphill, thinking he was fighting the good fight.

Re Brant's Civil War analogy, one cause for hope among those trapped within the movement for the past 25+ years: it is worth remembering that the Civil War veterans, 50 years after Gettysburg, actually met and shook hands. And they actually pointed deadly weapons at each other, rather than advectives and fingers.

Only 25 years to go!

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I haven't studied Harriman's work well enough to have an informed opinion on Ellen Stuttle's comments, so she may well be right.

As for the Civil War analogy, I think Frederick Douglass's 1871 Decoration Day speech is worth reading and remembering. It's rather appropriate. Douglass was opposed to collective amnesia about the meaning of the Civil War--my point, too.

We are sometimes asked, in the name of patriotism, to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation’s life and those who struck to save it, those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice.

I am no minister of malice. I would not strike the fallen. I would not repel the repentant; but may my “right hand forget her cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” if I forget the difference between the parties to that terrible, protracted, and bloody conflict.

Irfan

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I haven't studied Harriman's work well enough to have an informed opinion on Ellen Stuttle's comments, so she may well be right.

As for the Civil War analogy, I think Frederick Douglass's 1871 Decoration Day speech is worth reading and remembering. It's rather appropriate. Douglass was opposed to collective amnesia about the meaning of the Civil War--my point, too.

We are sometimes asked, in the name of patriotism, to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation’s life and those who struck to save it, those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice.

I am no minister of malice. I would not strike the fallen. I would not repel the repentant; but may my “right hand forget her cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” if I forget the difference between the parties to that terrible, protracted, and bloody conflict.

Irfan

"The difference between the parties" is that one wanted war to preserve the union and the other wanted to leave the union. While slavery was evil so were the nearly million war deaths and gross destruction. Also evil was the North during that war sanctioning slavery in non-successionist states and in southern states if they would return to the union and the federal and northern state governments supporting slavery prior to that conflict. Then there was the sanctimonious Great Britian condemning the slave trade while taking delivery of southern cotton and almost going to war with the US on the side of the South. And after the war slavery de jure was replaced by slavery de facto, over a hundred years of a gross stuck in the mud racism continuing to this very day with the destruction of poor (black) families with we-will-take-care-of-you liberal condescension welfarism. This last has also continually assaulted the American Indian and now is trying to seduce one and all regardless of race, creed or ethnicity.

"Necessary" wars are made necessary by the unnecessary antecedent events and even then most weren't necessary. People--countries--get pissed off at each other or evil, stupid leaders jump into conflicts dragging the country along behind. Biologically made to fight young men then go off to Iraq to fight for "freedom" with their hormones driving them into gunfire, bombs and killing the necessary "collateral damge" civilians. The only reason Timothy McVeigh was executed was he blew up the wrong building. If he had blown up the right city with an atomic bomb he'd of been a celebrated or at least respected hero.

The American soldier is the warrior servant of the POTUS. Join up for the victory parade!

--Brant

freedom, my ass

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"The difference between the parties" is that one wanted war to preserve the union and the other wanted to leave the union.

Like I said, collective amnesia is a bad thing. The difference between the two parties is that one side started the war and the other side didn't. Another difference: one side defended slavery and the other abolished it. Feel free to equate those things if you want, but nothing you've said even begins to make the case. Just as nothing you've so far said actually responds to anything I said about Harriman.

Irfan

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"The difference between the parties" is that one wanted war to preserve the union and the other wanted to leave the union.

Like I said, collective amnesia is a bad thing. The difference between the two parties is that one side started the war and the other side didn't. Another difference: one side defended slavery and the other abolished it. Feel free to equate those things if you want, but nothing you've said even begins to make the case. Just as nothing you've so far said actually responds to anything I said about Harriman.

Irfan

Respond about Harriman? As far as I can tell so far I agree with you about Harriman. I haven't followed it too closely as he's a zero to me so I can't begin to figure out TAS and him and Kelley too.

South Carolina started the war but it takes two to tango.

Too much of practical Objectivism dead-ends in implicit state worship or just sanctioning the state. Thus South Carolina fires on Ft. Sumpter and a thug like Lincoln is morally justified to wage war to save the union? THAT'S why he did what he did! Well into the destructive carnage he throws in partial emancipation ex post facto to make it more palatable and morally right and he gets to be "our greatest President," "the great emancipator"--and the man who saved the God-damned bloody union--statue and all, American school crap.

--Brant

the United States has the "moral right"(?) to invade Cuba "or any other slave pen," but Ayn Rand never addressed whether the United States has the moral right to order its citizens to do that just because a country was one

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Jerry,

Nauseating," is a word that comes to mind. .Why? David Harriman was the editor of The Journals of Ayn Rand and is responsible for the inclusion of material that Ayn Rand, herself, did not publish during her lifetime because she did not consider it to either be representative of her thought, badly written, or she did not approve for other reasons. , Harriman included material unknown even to exist by many members of Rand's Inner Circle (Nathaniel Branden, Barbara Branden, Henry Holzer, and Phyllis Holzer. - I know this from personal conversations with them. Think what that means! Material not even shared with her closest confidants) . I am referring to Rand's previously unpublished and unfinished short story, The Little House, and her notes about the horrendous torture and murder of a little girl. Rand's notes indicate some sympathy with the murderer Hickman, although in later notes she withdraws any admiration and did not finish or publish this story.

If Rand didn't want this stuff published at some point, she could have destroyed it.

My objection to Harriman is that, according to Jennifer Burns, he rewrote Rand's Journals and didn't tell his readers.

-Neil

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In re Harriman: fraud and hypocrisy come to mind for reasons why he needs to come clean and make amends publicly, *before* being given the honor of being invited to speak at a Kelley-ite function. Some have compared Harriman's objectionable status (for not having yet atoned) to that of the Brandens in the 1990s, when they were first welcomed into the Kelley-ite fold. But this comparison does not wash. The Brandens had already done extensive self-rehabilitation and making of amends well prior to being invited to speak at IOS.

Nathaniel, especially, began the healing outreach process almost immediately after the Split in 1968, as can be judged from the material in his (yet unpublished) Seminar recordings for Academic Associates. In fact, the amount of personal and public amends-making he has done, compared with anyone I have ever known, in or out of the Objectivist movement, is astonishing. People quibble with this or that detail in his memoirs and post-Split lectures, but it seems to me that it amounts to straining at a gnat while swallowing a whole lot of other elephants.

In re Lincoln: the fact that bloody, racist, pragmatic Crony Capitalist, raper of the Constitution is regarded as "the Great Emancipator" is one of the most egregious, shameful lies told generations of schoolchildren by people who (at least in the early years) should have known better. He worked behind the scenes on a "colonization" scheme to send blacks to Africa or elsewhere, and supported an amendment passed by both the Senate and House in 1861 (before the war broke out) to *not* abolish slavery. As Brant pointed out, Lincoln only *partially* proclaimed blacks to be free - not in the Northern states, many of which still had legal slavery, and not in the Southern states that were already under Union control. Only (get this) in the Southern states which were still under Confederate control.

Why? Why do you think? Was it a dumb mistake? Selective compassion? Try: crass wartime politics, having nothing to do with concerns about human liberty. Lincoln told Horace Greeley in a newspaper interview in 1862 that his concern was not whether the blacks were free, or remained slaves, but whether the Union was held together. Not liberty, but statism. Specifically, the thinking was that by proclaiming the slaves free in Confederate territory, it might induce slaves there to revolt and to undermine the Confederate war effort - and to discourage Great Britain or other countries from entering the war on the side of the South. In other words, *partial* Emancipation was a total fraud. No one was emancipated by his proclamation.

The fact is that slavery was not abolished in America until *after* Lincoln died, and only by dint of President Johnson "reconstructing" enough Southern state legislatures to engineer a fraudulent ratification vote for the Thirteenth Amendment. It was all politics. It had nothing (or relatively little) to do with human freedom. It was all about forcing the Union to stay united. It was force and fraud, on the theory that "the end justifies the means." That is the shameful historical truth behind the scurrilous, dishonorable way the United States finally ended the worst thing that has ever been done (so far) to Americans by their government.

Thomas DiLorenzo has written a couple of excellent books about Lincoln, if you think your blood pressure can stand reading them. What I took away from reading them, beyond the above, is: (1) It's not an accident that the Republican Party has the widespread image of being the party of Crony Capitalism, and (2) It's not surprising that the claims of the Republican Party to be anti-slavery and pro-civil rights are largely greeted with skepticism. Lincoln, with his cynical, faux-liberty and sub-rosa Corporatism, was the Fountainhead of much that is evil or simply fishy about the G.O.P. And they're our only hope to keep from sliding into full statist tyranny? God help us...

REB

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Jerry,

Nauseating," is a word that comes to mind. .Why? David Harriman was the editor of The Journals of Ayn Rand and is responsible for the inclusion of material that Ayn Rand, herself, did not publish during her lifetime because she did not consider it to either be representative of her thought, badly written, or she did not approve for other reasons. , Harriman included material unknown even to exist by many members of Rand's Inner Circle (Nathaniel Branden, Barbara Branden, Henry Holzer, and Phyllis Holzer. - I know this from personal conversations with them. Think what that means! Material not even shared with her closest confidants) . I am referring to Rand's previously unpublished and unfinished short story, The Little House, and her notes about the horrendous torture and murder of a little girl. Rand's notes indicate some sympathy with the murderer Hickman, although in later notes she withdraws any admiration and did not finish or publish this story.

If Rand didn't want this stuff published at some point, she could have destroyed it.

My objection to Harriman is that, according to Jennifer Burns, he rewrote Rand's Journals and didn't tell his readers.

-Neil

Such material is for scholars or at least to be published as such, not gussied up as if Rand herself had edited it for her public.

--Brant

I bet she forgot all about her Harriman Hickman notes--they simply reflect an immature but developing artistic (and unbalanced [brain-emotion, not nutso]) mind: there is plenty in her published work for those desiring to distill material for animadversion upon her character

don't get too close to great artists for you'll get traduced

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I bet she forgot all about her Harriman Hickman notes--they simply reflect an immature but developing artistic (and unbalanced [brain-emotion, not nutso]) mind: there is plenty in her published work for those desiring to distill material for animadversion upon her character

She might have forgotten specifics of what she said, but I don't think she forgot the image of Hickman in the dock and the idea for her discontinued The Little Street. As I said earlier on this thread:

As to "The Little Street" and Rand's Journal entries about the Hickman case, I'm very glad that those were published because of the insight they offer on Rand's literary development, specifically artistic background for The Fountainhead and major plot features of that work, especially the criminal trial climax and Roark's courtroom speech.

Ellen

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