Harriman/ARI and/or Peikoff rift?


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The notion or only making out with heroes (of a certain type) led to many students of Objectivism looking for heroes (of a certain type) and pretending to be heroes (of a certain type) or at least zipping it up so as not to be self-exposed as anything else. A lying culture built on lies--plus a lot of great ideas!

--Brant

ah, the good old days!

Brant,

Dayaamm!

How is it you say in a couple of lines what it takes me a few pages to say?

:)

Michael

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What worries me is the thought that Kelley might be trying to get Harriman for TAS.

I would expect Kelley to be able to see the logical problems in the book's foundational material (which was supplied by Peikoff), but Kelley knows little about science and I'm worried that he might mistakenly think that Harriman would be a valuable resource.

I think that's a legitimate worry. If TAS's past trusting of opinions outside the leadership's areas of expertise is any indication, such as their trusting Hicks enough to publish his very mistaken views on art (which are currently the number one most popular article at the TAS website!), they could easily become a laughing stock in scientific circles.

J

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The notion of only making out with heroes (of a certain type) led to many students of Objectivism looking for heroes (of a certain type) and pretending to be heroes (of a certain type) or at least zipping it up so as not to be self-exposed as anything else. A lying culture built on lies--plus a lot of great ideas!

--Brant

ah, the good old days!

Brant,

Dayaamm!

How is it you say in a couple of lines what it takes me a few pages to say?

:smile:

Michael

Because I'm a two-fingered typist. I don't have time to bang out paragraph after paragraph, post after post, thread after thread.

--Brant

besides, you can't be very funny if you're very long (if I kead my town staff I sturt kaughfling--is that barficssim? [see the editing I have to do?])

you said it? (see how mean and petty I can be?)

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Rand's affair with N. Branden negatively impacts her credibility and impact on personal relationships.

Darrell,

Do you know of anyone who suffers in their personal relationship because they want to follow Rand's vision, but cannot because they became disillusioned due to her behavior (or the alleged exploitation of that behavior by Barbara and Nathaniel post-break)?

That reasoning sounds good on the surface because it appears to make sense, but when I look to see what is what, I don't see that conclusion played out in reality.

Anywhere.

It is a general feeling I get that people are ill at ease with Rand's notion of romantic love. It appears that there are several people on here that are down-right hostile to her notions. However, even among people that call themselves Objectivists, I sometimes get that feeling. There are certainly those people that plunge right ahead, but perhaps some caution is a good thing. I just don't want people to completely ignore her ideas in that area.

I do know one thing that has played out in my own life. The concept of constantly judging my partner's morality, of constantly condemning her in the name of justice and integrity, but saying, "Love is exception-making" when things get too complicated, is a lousy-ass foundation for a love-relationship.

That hasn't worked out well for me. I burned through several serious relationships for precisely that reason and I had no idea a Rand-Branden break had even happened back then. Thank goodness I woke up and checked that goddam premise. Family is important. And that's the norm. There are exceptions, but that is the norm.

I don't want to judge anyone else's relationship. That may sound very anti-objectivism, but it's really more of a matter of me not knowing anything about anyone else's situation and their relationship not being any of my business. So, if I say anything that sounds like it could be personal, it's not. We all have to struggle to learn how to build successful relationships. I'm no exception. My marriage was rocky for many years. So, I'm not trying to be judgmental in anything I say.

With the above caveats out of the way, I have to say that I think it is a mistake to think that a negative judgment of someone should necessarily lead to condemnation. Rand herself was quick to condemn, slow to praise, and slow to forgive, but I think it is a mistake to live that way. Most mistakes are fixable. Even if your partner goes off the rails, it is possible to fix problems if both people want the relationship to work.

Objectivism holds that a person should judge other people. In my view, that is a sound principle. If someone else does something wrong, a person should not simply pretend (to himself) that nothing happened. That's a form of evasion. Instead, a person should attempt to understand what happened, who was in the wrong, and why. And, if the other person persists in bad behavior, the person should look for a remedy.

The problem is in believing that an internal judgment requires immediate action such as condemnation, rejection, arguing, yelling, fighting or the like. Of course, psychologically, it might be hard to resist yelling or arguing if the other person is treating you badly. I must admit having somewhat of a short temper, much to my own detriment at times.

Objectivism holds that a person should act in his own self interest. In my view, that is also a sound principle. In this context, one should ask whether one's own contemplated actions will be in his own self interest. It may be that the other person is behaving badly --- perhaps that person even has a serious character flaw --- but that, by itself, doesn't mean that it is in one's self interest to end the relationship. So, before flying off the handle, one should assess what the possible consequences might be --- e.g., loss of the relationship with the other person, break up of the family, damage to the children, etc. Presumably, the other person has a lot of good characteristics, otherwise you probably wouldn't have chosen that person in the first place.

I'm not saying that every relationship is salvageable or should be salvaged, but I think it is wrong to rush to condemn. Unfortunately, Rand herself may have shown the way --- the wrong way --- in that regard.

Why?

Because human beings already come that way. Male parent. Female parent. Offspring. Put them together and whaddya get? Family.

Even in non-reproductive relationships like homosexual ones, family is important.

I won the lottery when I got Kat and I decided it was time to make some adjustments in my thinking. God knows I know how to do it wrong.

This had nothing to do with Rand's behavior and everything to do with her ideas on sex and love. I took them to heart and tried to live by them, not just mouth them. And I made a holy mess of things. :smile:

Let me be fair, though. Her notions are not bad for a slice of the relationship. It's good to add some heroism, high moral standards, etc., into the mix.

But these ideas don't work for the whole shebang. Especially glamour, which wears off quickly when you live with a person. You see them sweat and snore and fart and throw up and goof and get mad for nothing and tell stupid jokes and all kinds of unglamorous things. Glamorized versions of what human love could and should be aren't much of a help at those times. In fact, if that is one of your fundaments, you fall out of love real quick.

Look at the sorry trail of failed relationships in O-Land. At least from what I have read about online. Happy relationships where both partners call themselves Objectivist are the exception, not the norm.

Here's something in Rand's behavior I find a love-killer in a relationship more than anything else. And it has nothing to do with what normally comes up in these discussions. At some point she and Frank kept separate bedrooms.

WTF?

That, to me, is a deal-breaker. And I don't believe it is healthy, but what do I know? I admit, after the sheer number of failed relationships I have in my past, I'm not really the person to give the best advice about that for others.

I do know Kat and I are in it for the long haul. Deeply in love. We are the best thing that ever happened to each other and we make sure it stays that way--especially at the times when it's not easy. And I say that with pride.

I don't say we don't have our troubles (although they are far, far less than I ever experienced before because we don't judge each other constantly). My pride stems from being able to say we put our relationship first when trouble comes.

This is one difference I have with Rand's ideas. I tried it her way--over and over--and I almost blew it for my lifetime. But I got my family--late in life, but I got mine. It's one of the most precious things I have and I'm keeping it.

Michael

I'm glad you are in a happy, loving relationship. I'm not going to talk about my marriage other than to say that I am deeply committed to it. We've successfully raised three children together --- though you're never really done raising your children --- so I am at peace with the choices I've made.

Another thing that Objectivism holds is that admiration is that the basis of love. I believe that to be true too. There must be some qualities that you admire in someone in order to fall in love, whether it be physical beauty, character, personality, success, etc., and the more you find to admire in someone, the more strongly you are likely to be attracted to that person. Of course, for the relationship to work, the attraction must be mutual.

In my view, there are many ways in which Objectivism is right about romantic love. I could go on, but I need to run. I agree that Rand was not a good model of romantic love and her characters give a false notion of what love is for ordinary people. Rand like to write about her super heroes, but Objectivism views man as a heroic being, even those of us that are ordinary, so long as we strive to live honestly, morally, and by our own effort.

Darrell

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Darrell, every one of your "Objectivism holds" is questionable respecting what it might hold instead depending on perspective and/or extent. Objectivism qua Objectivism I am not addressing. Consider perhaps the seemingly non-controversial: "Objectivism holds a person should act in his own self interest." Two questions are side-tracked. First, just what is one's "self interest" and, second, who doesn't so act? I'd add to your Objectivist proposition that it's morally right and one should not assume moral guilt for doing so. That guilt is altruistic and is used by the altruists--acting in what they see as their own self interest--to control people through guilt for doing what they need to do to survive as human beings qua human being. They want to control people for the sake of outright political power or political power sublimated into a religion.

One more: "Admiration is the basis for love." The non-admirable people can't love? Is it possible to fall into love without any feelings of admiration even if you are an admirable (lovable) person yourself? Sure. Psychology cuts way deeper than evaluations. But if that's you you will need to come to admire that other to maintain or justify the love or the love will evaporate even if you fight that by irrationally trying to improve a potential roamntic partner, for when you look at her you feel you are experiencing yourself through her seeing you. One can say much the same about friendships.

--Brant

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In a comment I linked yesterday (from the Epstein thread), Christian Wernstedt wrote:

(The line-up of disgruntled subject matter experts has now grown to a mini-movement in its own right.)

I want to follow up on that and try to find out who all he's talking about. I'd never heard of him before reading that post, but he's clearly one of those of whom he speaks.

Ellen

Someone should invite Wernstedt to OL. He looks like he'd be a lot of fun.

J

I have a feeling that he's a working scientist and wouldn't have time. I'll try to find out about him when I get a chance.

Ellen

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What worries me is the thought that Kelley might be trying to get Harriman for TAS.

I would expect Kelley to be able to see the logical problems in the book's foundational material (which was supplied by Peikoff), but Kelley knows little about science and I'm worried that he might mistakenly think that Harriman would be a valuable resource.

I think that's a legitimate worry. If TAS's past trusting of opinions outside the leadership's areas of expertise is any indication, such as their trusting Hicks enough to publish his very mistaken views on art (which are currently the number one most popular article at the TAS website!), they could easily become a laughing stock in scientific circles.

J

I got some further cause for worry upon looking at the last day's accumulation of comments on the Epstein thread.

link

FYI everyone Harriman only became friends w Kelley *after* he split w Peikoff, so that whole "dishonest non-disclosure" line is moot.

That's by someone named Brad Aisa. I don't know who he is, or where he got his information. If he's right, looks like either Harriman or Kelley sent out feelers.

And guess who showed up...James Valliant, who said:

link

I think the concept [snake] does most definitely apply to Mr. [Judd] Weiss, and if this was a matter of replying to his "evidence," there wouldn't be an issue yet. This is about Harriman's own statements, posted to his own Facebook page, referring to himself, for example, as a friend of David Kelley. I agree with your impulse, but I have written Harriman asking about this, the same Harriman who praised PARC to me last year. When I wrote him, I emphasized that I had not yet judged his actions, and that I could understand a variety of reasons for attending the ceremony. He thereafter replied to folks like Mr. Hent, giving his thanks for defending him, but not to me. But none of this turns on Judd Weiss's cred.

Ellen

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Darrell, thank you for writing and sharing #104.

However idiosyncratic, I doubt I could fall in love with someone who had not become my hero and vice versa. Even in one case of unrequited love by me, that mutual circumstance was at hand. (We remain friends and each other’s hero through two decades now.) Noticing that I was in love was, of course, not a matter of thinking about that factor.

The major exposition of psychology concerning romantic love, tied to Objectivist philosophy, was written by Nathaniel Branden. Rand concurred with that theory, as it was published in The Objectivist. That piece is well known here, though for some reason it has not been mentioned: “Self-Esteem and Romantic Love” (1967–68). There are things right in it and things wrong. One error was that it had defined same-sex romantic love out of existence. That was an error repairable, yet still leaving a psychological theory consonant with the concept of self-esteem that was a major component in Rand’s theory of ethics. I doubt that any of the errors in the psychological theory in SERL entail falsity of the concept of self-esteem Rand used in exposition of the values of her ethical system as set out in “The Objectivist Ethics.” My criticisms of the Objectivist ethics certainly has never hinged on errors in Rand’s views on romantic love and on sex. (The visibility principle does have important implications for nature of the self in ethics, however, which will be in my book.) Among my personal acquaintances, no one needed or relied on reports of the love lives of Rand or Branden for their assessments of the Objectivist philosophy and the psychological theories put forth by Rand and by Branden.

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Darrell, every one of your "Objectivism holds" is questionable respecting what it might hold instead depending on perspective and/or extent.

. . .

One more: "Admiration is the basis for love."

Brant,

This got me thinking on perspective. My fundamental perspective is different and I wonder if it shows in the way I phrase things.

For example, "Objectivism holds." I never say that. This implies Objectivism holds my life, my intent, my values, etc. That's not the way I do it.

I go this way. "I hold Objectivism." I am a me that is sufficient for me before I consider Objectivism. I add Objectivism to that, which means if Objectivism fell away, I would still be enough for me. I use some of the things in Objectivism as templates for specific things I want to do or for ways of thinking about different matters, but I do not use it as a template to pour my life into. From my perspective, I am much more important than Objectivism ever could be.

This perspective is the same for "admiration is the basis for love." I don't do it that way either. I love. I start there. I do admire some of the people and things I love if, by admire I mean I want to become that way in some fundamental respect. But there are many other ways I love where the main component is something else--a feeling of wanting to protect them, a pleasure in watching them grow, even a contrast to my way of being. There are all kinds of things mixed up in my loves.

(I do admire Kat, though. I do. She's a good-guy type fighter for the things she wants and I deeply admire that. I want to emphasize this, too. She was not pleased about the snoring and farting thing. :) Let's say our discussion of that passage got colorful. :) )

In other words, I love. Then I look at what the components of that love are. I don't go about looking for something to admire, then try to pour love into it. And if I do love something or someone I admire and that admiration morphs into something else, I don't try to kill the love. On the contrary, I make a conscious effort to make sure it doesn't die. (Unless I decide the morphing has become so twisted, so unlike the way I see the world, especially if hostility is involved, I can't hold on any more.)

I didn't used to be this way. I used to be the other, trying to be a good Objectivist and trying to set my loves on pedestals where they never got any rest. And I made one holy mess after another in my personal life.

I now consider myself a wealthy man in the love department. I love a lot and I am loved a lot. Hell, I even love most of the regulars on OL. You're not supposed to say it, but I do.

That's a hell of a lot better than the constant hunger I used to feel.

Michael

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And guess who showed up...James Valliant, who said:

Ellen,

Comment No. 206 (or thereabouts) on a Facebook post. That's the first post by Valliant. And there are only stragglers left talking.

Dayaamm!

How's that for being relevant in any meaningful way (except for fundies)?

:)

Also, I want to mention Dan Edge. He blasted Harriman like you do, but part of that, also, is because he believes in the man-made global warming stuff. He asked people (see here on Facebook) to go to his blog (see here). That's where he extols the science behind global warming and said he spent 40 hours studying it, which is partly why he no longer considers himself to be an Objectivist.

Michael

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And guess who showed up...James Valliant, who said:

Ellen,

Comment No. 206 (or thereabouts) on a Facebook post. That's the first post by Valliant. And there are only stragglers left talking.

Dayaamm!

How's that for being relevant in any meaningful way (except for fundies)?

:smile:

Also, I want to mention Dan Edge. He blasted Harriman like you do, but part of that, also, is because he believes in the man-made global warming stuff. He asked people (see here on Facebook) to go to his blog (see here). That's where he extols the science behind global warming and said he spent 40 hours studying it, which is partly why he no longer considers himself to be an Objectivist.

This means he found the truth and that therefore the philosophy is false so he's dumped the philosophy? So, what has he replaced it with?

--Brant

the philosophy of Ayn Rand is not about truth but what she wanted to be true--and sometimes it is/was true, especially the really important stuff

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If Dan has hold of the truth on global warming, all of it, then that's where Objectivism and single Objectivists will eventually find themselves, too. Dismissing the philosophy because of a difference of scientific opinion with most O'ists is not cause enough. Like it or not, fitting the preconceived principles or not, Objectivism is only concerned with reality, wherever it's found.

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If Dan has hold of the truth in global warming, all of it, then that's where Objectivism and single Objectivists will eventually find themselves, too. Dismissing the philosophy because of a difference of scientific opinion with most O'ists is not cause enough. Like it or not, fitting the preconceived principles or not, Objectivism is only concerned with reality, wherever it's found.

We are definitely in an interglacial epoch and except for the Little Ice Age the climate has been warming since the last Great Ice Age. How of much this warming is driven by human activity? That remains to be seen. The Earth has been warming. They used to grow grapes in England back in the middle ages.

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I actually think Edge is right to question the premises of people who decide to take on the role of expert and bestow truth on others--and call bullshit where he sees it.

That's healthy.

In my view, though, he has not checked one toxic premise that he has adopted (probably not in words, but in his behavior, as anyone can see): The virtue of bashing folks in the name of a collective.

That's not a virtue at all. It's a vice.

To me, his post does have a virtue, the virtue of calling bullshit in a pretty good manner. But it has the vice of conveying the author's need to swap one warring tribe (with accompanying mythology) for another.

This guy's a warrior, but at root he fights for the tribe he belongs to, not a vision. He leaves one tribe for another (the science tribe--which is not the same thing as respect for science) because the other looks like a better tribe. But he's still a cog in tribal machinery by choice and by heart. Otherwise, what would life mean?

Michael

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What worries me is the thought that Kelley might be trying to get Harriman for TAS.

I would expect Kelley to be able to see the logical problems in the book's foundational material (which was supplied by Peikoff), but Kelley knows little about science and I'm worried that he might mistakenly think that Harriman would be a valuable resource.

I think that's a legitimate worry. If TAS's past trusting of opinions outside the leadership's areas of expertise is any indication, such as their trusting Hicks enough to publish his very mistaken views on art (which are currently the number one most popular article at the TAS website!), they could easily become a laughing stock in scientific circles.

J

I got some further cause for worry upon looking at the last day's accumulation of comments on the Epstein thread.

link

FYI everyone Harriman only became friends w Kelley *after* he split w Peikoff, so that whole "dishonest non-disclosure" line is moot.

Okay, so now the question is why did Peikoff and Harriman split? I thought that they were as close as two men can be without being gay, if not closer. I thought that Peikoff's pooping of his diapers over McCaskey's mild, private, constructive criticism was due to Peikoff's bromance loyalty to Harriman.

I wonder who dumped who, and why. Was it an unbelievably new low in Objectivist pettiness? I can't wait to find out!

And guess who showed up...James Valliant, who said:

link

I think the concept [snake] does most definitely apply to Mr. [Judd] Weiss, and if this was a matter of replying to his "evidence," there wouldn't be an issue yet. This is about Harriman's own statements, posted to his own Facebook page, referring to himself, for example, as a friend of David Kelley. I agree with your impulse, but I have written Harriman asking about this, the same Harriman who praised PARC to me last year. When I wrote him, I emphasized that I had not yet judged his actions, and that I could understand a variety of reasons for attending the ceremony. He thereafter replied to folks like Mr. Hent, giving his thanks for defending him, but not to me. But none of this turns on Judd Weiss's cred.

Ellen

Still a pathetic clown. I love the threat of warning Harriman that his actions have not yet been judged. We'll need more information before we pull that trigger. But prepare yourself to be condemned.

God, how will Harriman go on if Valliant ultimately ends up making a negative judgment?!!! And other fundies are likely to follow. There'll be nothing left for Harriman to live for. I bet he'll kill himself.

J

Memory Lane flashback: What a Dipshit

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Quick question: Have there ever been any Anthropogenic Global Warming supporters/proponents who have identified the results which would disprove their theories? I have yet to hear of any AGWers who specifically state which conditions would falsify their theories. In fact, whenever any merely logically implied conditions of disproof are found to exist, the goal posts are always then moved, even to the extent of renaming the theory itself to erase the obvious falseness of the previous name. (It makes you wonder if "Climate Change" would give way to "Climate Smothering Stagnation/Sameness" if all evidence of change disappeared).

J

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It occurs to me that people like Judd Weiss, people who have feet in both O-Land camps (ARI and TAS) at high levels, are going to become more numerous and more influential as time goes on, not less.

So I wonder what the hardcore cult-like Objectivist fundamentalists like Valliant will look like after their ability to exclude others is so diluted it is meaningless. Will there still be a club with a gate?

As they dwindle, will they crawl into a fantasy of martyrdom, rent their garments and cry out in the night, "The bastards! The bastards!"?

:smile:

Not that I would ever want to be included in anything involving Valliant. I'm specifically talking about the time after Rand's works go into the public domain and the ARI archives become digitized and available to the public (which has to happen sooner or later).

The only thing boneheads like Valliant have right now is the gate they keep. But it's a dying profession in the modern Internet-connected world. They tell themselves they are keeping the enemies out and protecting a treasure and defending Rand's honor and yawp, but the people I see wanting to get in are mostly scholars and others who want to study and/or verify things for themselves.

So I'm thinking this exclusive group will eventually end up being about the size of a local reading club at the library. I wish them long life and success.

:smile:

btw - I just had an evil thought. Is it possible that Judd Weiss is related to Fred Weiss? That he's the black sheep of the family, so to speak? If so, that would give an easy explanation for his acceptance by high-level fundies after he does something that would normally result in excommunication.

Michael

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Michael wrote:

It occurs to me that people like Judd Weiss, people who have feet in both O-Land camps (ARI and TAS) at high levels, are going to become more numerous and more influential as time goes on, not less.

end quote

This has a wonderful ring to it: Renaissance. Now all we need is an entrepreneur who can put it all together, like Nathaniel Branden did when he founded NBI. MKI?

A good intermediate step, as Rand did with the inserts in her books would be links on every objectivist site to every other site. I can imagine a high school kid or an Army guy in Afghanistan after reading AS, visiting a site like OO or ARI and being disillusioned by fundamentalist bull shit.

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Quick question: Have there ever been any Anthropogenic Global Warming supporters/proponents who have identified the results which would disprove their theories? I have yet to hear of any AGWers who specifically state which conditions would falsify their theories. In fact, whenever any merely logically implied conditions of disproof are found to exist, the goal posts are always then moved, even to the extent of renaming the theory itself to erase the obvious falseness of the previous name. (It makes you wonder if "Climate Change" would give way to "Climate Smothering Stagnation/Sameness" if all evidence of change disappeared).

J

Fact, not theory. Therefore all contrary results are not factual.

--Brant

so much for Popper

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Okay, so now the question is why did Peikoff and Harriman split? I thought that they were as close as two men can be without being gay, if not closer. I thought that Peikoff's pooping of his diapers over McCaskey's mild, private, constructive criticism was due to Peikoff's bromance loyalty to Harriman.

I wonder who dumped who, and why. Was it an unbelievably new low in Objectivist pettiness? I can't wait to find out!

Once more: Peikoff is the person whose thesis forms the foundational part of The Logical Leap. The book is in effect co-authored. McCaskey's "mild, private, constructive criticism" - as Peikoff recognized - had implications which went to the core of the thesis. I.e., if McCaskey was right on the historical issue, Peikoff's notion of a possible guaranteed inductive method is wrong. Peikoff got the point - that his work was being criticized without explicit statement of the implication. It was not some minor issue at stake, but instead the soundness of Peikoff's thesis.

(There are basic logical problems with the thesis which I'm not sure if any of the people associated with ARI at the time, except one, Travis Norsen, saw. I think McCaskey thought, and still thinks, the thesis could be modified.)

As to who did the dumping - maybe it was mutual - I've found no hints so far. There is the non-disclosure thing at ARI. I suppose some people know, but they haven't been saying publicly.

Ellen

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Quick question: Have there ever been any Anthropogenic Global Warming supporters/proponents who have identified the results which would disprove their theories? I have yet to hear of any AGWers who specifically state which conditions would falsify their theories. In fact, whenever any merely logically implied conditions of disproof are found to exist, the goal posts are always then moved, even to the extent of renaming the theory itself to erase the obvious falseness of the previous name. (It makes you wonder if "Climate Change" would give way to "Climate Smothering Stagnation/Sameness" if all evidence of change disappeared).

J

I don't off-hand know of any prominent AGW proponents who have done other than change goalposts and retroactively adjust data.

I know of a number of scientists you wouldn't likely have heard of who started out thinking that there's truth to the AGW scare but have come either to be doubtful or to be of the opinion that the scare is false. I think there are quite a few more who are doubting than have said so outright - there is the issue for young scientists of risking their career if they speak up, and for older ones as well of risking loss of funding.

A change might be brewing. We'll see what happens after the anticipated second betrayal by the APS executive committee. A revised APS position paper is in the works. Those who know what's been going on in the stacked assessment committee expect only a cosmetic change. This might be a result which backfires, unleashing voluble opposition. We shall see.

Ellen

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Michael,

I haven't had a chance yet to look at Dan Edge's stuff. I've been frustratingly busy with other issues I had to tend to and have only managed snatches of time for reading the two Facebook threads (Epstein's and Judd Weiss').

I'll look at the links you gave re Dan in a bit.

Ellen

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