In support of Chris Sciabarra


Recommended Posts

There have been some very loud personal attacks on Chris Sciabarra recently in the Objectivist community. I just want to say on record that I support Chris and he is a wonderful person. He is certainly not deserving of such betrayal. The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies is very important work and I hope that good people will come out in support of Chris and subscribe to JARS.

We love you Chris.

Kat

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris Sciabarra is one of the finest human beings I have the pleasure of knowing. His high level achievements are out there in the world for all to see and he has made a crucial difference in Rand scholarship.

This thread is a wonderful idea. Thank you, Kitten, for starting it. When a despicable attack like the present one happens, combating the attackers is not enough. The value of the one attacked also needs to be highlighted.

Chris is a high-value man for mankind. He is an inspiration to me. I strive to live up to his legion of good qualities, virtues and competence. Chris, if you read this, know that there are many in the world who love and admire you as I do. You are important.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as Ms. H's posting goes, I am reminded of a quote from my personal individualist hero, Oscar Wilde:

It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things against one, behind one's back, that are absolutely and entirely true.

If I found someone said about me, "She's green," it wouldn't prompt a response like Ms. H's because it would be so clearly untrue. On the other hand, if someone said something commenting on a part of my character I'm not particularly proud of, I might be defensive. Seems like that's the case here.

Or, as Shakespeare wrote in "Hamlet," the lady doeth protest too much.

Peri

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm reading The Russian Radical... and I'll try to post some thoughts, etc. on my website. I'm also interested in reading his essays on line and posting thoughts on them too... when I have more time. (I'm taking a history paper writing break right now :) )

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having just read Ms. H's skewering of Chris...

Ok, I confess...I didn't read it all but I tried. And I promise at my earliest convenience to nominate it to the Guinness people for the longest bloggy rant ever.

One thing about it did strike me:

The tortured justifications for breaking her admitted promise to Chris of mutual discretion.

Diana reminds me right now of Danielle on Survivor last night.

We hates Danielle, since D cost the amazing hero Terry his million bucks by correctly supposing that she would have a better chance of beating the feckless Aras, even though a better chance was no chance at all since she couldn't beat either Terry or Aras.

My point here is if you don't watch Survivor then you might as well stop reading. Me and my wife were hissing at D last night because she was spending her whole last days making excuses and justifications for her huge and inevitable and futile moral betrayal of Terry.

D made a promise and when the time came to honor or betray it, she didn't make a decision to break her promise. She just did it like a lizard flicks its tongue. It wasn't a betrayal but an inevitability.

Diana's excuses for breaking her promises to Chris have a similar reptilian quality. Chris hasn't trashed her publicly (as far as I know). And exposing private email to win a personal fight is the sure sign of the asshole.

Diana is pursuing a medical career, and it's stressing her out, and she will probably be a damn fine doctor. That really does count for more in the end than the fact that lately she blogs like she has BPD.

Mike Lee

Defender of the Devil

Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh, Mike, I think you're misinformed about Diana's career goals.

Her husband, Paul, is an M.D.

Diana is working toward a Ph.D. in philosophy. Obviously, though, it could hardly be moral philosophy, if you catch my drift.

Also, were she working toward an M.D., it's not likely she would be a "damned fine" doctor, since the first rule of the medical profession is "do no harm," and she's already blown that in spades!

REB

P.S. -- It was pointed out that my comments about Diana's "repitilian behavior" are inappropriate to a thread purporting to defend Chris Sciabarra, so they have been deleted from the above and relocated in the Humor folder, where they more appropriately belong. While it's true that some people can't take a joke, even when it's clearly intended as a joke, perhaps this will suffice for all but the most clueless, such as Java the Moron.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember how ironic it was that to protest stereotypes of being violent and irrational, large numbers of Muslims reacted by ... acting violent and irrational? Well, we have here a case of someone who objects to being referred to as Comrade Sonia... and reacts by acting like Comrade Sonia. Food for thought.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I read on Noodlefood that Diana was all stressed and taking the site down because of her surgical rotation. That's what I get for reading every third word and fourth paragraph and fifth post. It must have been because of her husband's rotation. Or maybe because her cat needed surgery.

Anyhow, her site is currently in the bit bucket so I can neither confirm nor deny that Diana would make a damn fine doctor.

But I will say this, and it will sound strange coming from me, but I think everyone is getting a little too harsh on her. I have to give her mad props for quoting the "Comrade Sonia" thing on her own blog. Wicked, Chris, just wicked. Cracked me up and everyone else too and she'll never wash it off.

Something's up. I hope she's ok.

Mike Lee

Social worker to the stars

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike Lee,

In Diana's replies to Phil on SOLO the reason she cites for being too busy to give full attention to the questions he(Phil) was posing was she was in the middle of finals and then her and her husband were leaving a day or so ago on a bike trip or something to that effect.

I found it odd that she would post the denunciation Chris S at such a time in her life when she could be almost certain it would elicit controversy and she would be called on to defend her assertions. Of course if you had no intention to begin with of putting up a defense of such an all out attack on a noted member of the Oist community I guess it wouldn't matter.

L W

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike Lee,

The announced hiatus at NoodleFood is temporary. And Ms. Hsieh routinely shuts down the comment function when she won't be around to monitor and respond to comments.

Robert Campbell

Link to post
Share on other sites
I found it odd that she would post the denunciation Chris S at such a time in her life when she could be almost certain it would elicit controversy and she would be called on to defend her assertions.

I don't find it odd at all, it's exactly what I'd expect from her. See also how quickly she found an excuse to shut off the discussion with Phil.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In regard to the timing of Diana's opus (when she was in the middle of finals and was planning a vacation for afterward), I think something's being overlooked by those who find this "odd." It isn't as if she was planning, as part of her schedule, to write such a thing. I suspect that she was entertaining various cogitations about what to do in regard to the promise she felt she had made to Chris. And I thought that James Valliant was obviously -- in his exchanges with Robert Campbell -- angling to have a reason which he'd feel looked plausible not to publish in JARS. But the immediate triggering event was serendipitous: an email that Chris wrote to Joe Maurone (the one in which he described Diana as "Comrade Sonia"). Diana could hardly have predicted that this email would be written, and that Joe would then share it with Linz and write to Diana herself about it (and that Linz would inform James Valliant about it). Linz and Diana and James, and maybe Joe as well, probably conferred amongst themselves as to who would do the honors of writing up charges against Chris, including excerpts from private emails. Someplace maybe a couple weeks before Diana's long post appeared, Linz hinted at his having received information about an important person, and that more would be forthcoming. (I don't remember what thread his hint was on, though I think it was one of the threads pertaining to Bill Perry's leaving TOC.)

In other words, Diana didn't plan the timing and the particulars. I assume she'd have ended up, and probably within the near future, making some form of public statement to the effect that she'd no longer stay quiet about her views of Chris's work. But her doing it now, and in the way she did it, was because of unforeseen and unforeseable circumstances arising.

I'm not entering this corrective in order to defend her action. I have a very negative view of the way she's handled her desire to separate from her friendship with Chris. I'm only indicating that the idea that she planned to denounce him at a time when she'd be busy with end-of-the-semester at school -- and then soon thereafter departing on a vaction -- doesn't make sense because she couldn't have planned the catalyzing email.

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ellen, your comments about the "serendipitous" emails might explain the timing (or lack of same) for one of Diana's four points, the one about the emails involving Linz and Joe and Chris. Even if the resolution of this point were the decisive factor in Diana's deciding to publish when she did, however, I am not aware that there was anything pressing her to publish exactly when she did, scant days before finals and an out of town trip.

Also, there is more to the timing of her announcement than that -- and the "more" involves deliberate pro-active investigating on Diana's part, done just before she released the statement. Her point regarding the ARI scholars who were allegedly afraid to post in JARS was finessed (?) by her asking Chris for the name of one of those scholars (and he foolishly complied, thus breaching the confidentiality of that scholar and opened it up to Diana's manipulation), then putting the ARI scholar on the spot -- that scholar then denying having any such fear.

I do not know for a fact that this process took place after the other one (the one involving Linz and Joe). But I suspect it was the culminating item. Otherwise, if she had nailed it down earlier, it was such a blockbuster item that she would surely have rushed to publish with it, even if she had nothing else to tag Chris with -- and she would then have had a comfortable cushion of time during which to discuss the matter.

But back to the basic question of timing. If you were in college, involved in a busy schedule, following which you were planning to go off on a vacation, would you -- responsible person that you are -- throw out a nearly 13,000 word denunciation of a former friend just before you are scheduled to be at your very busiest and/or least available, then beg off that you are too busy to discuss it? Of course not. You would wait until summer break, after you had returned from vacation, right? Except that then your audience would be (nearly) gone.

Don't kid yourself. Diana knew exactly what she was doing, when she was doing it. She was deliberately playing to her optimal audience and allowing her pals to take care of the dirty work for her while she hid behind her final exams and her mountain trip. I would not be at all surprised to find that while no thing pressed her to publish when she did, several of those orchestrating this run-on series of personal attacks supplied plenty of personal pressure. (Remember, one of her four points of attack on Chris was little more than a place-holder for Linz to fill in the details. Despite all his smarmy, "good cop" comments -- "come back, Chris, confess your sins and all will be forgiven" -- it is clear that he has been salivating for some time over his role in the campaign of personal destruction.)

This whole fiasco sounds less like sincere, good-faith exercise in moral judgment than a drive-by character assassination to me.

REB

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ellen and Roger,

I don't know the exact timing of all of these events, though it is clear that the banning of Regi Firehammer from NoodleFood on April 6 involved cooperation among Ms. Hsieh, Mr. Valliant, Mr. Maurone and others--and could hardly have displeased Mr. Perigo.

"Dialectical Dishonesty," by my estimate, would take roughly a month to write. It appeared on April 25. (It took me two weeks, off and on, to write "Fractious Factions," which is a good deal shorter.)

As to whether it's wise for a grad student to put so much effort into an extracurricular project when the Spring semester is winding up, Ms. Hsieh did rack up incompletes during the Spring of 2004, when she denounced David Kelley and aligned herself with the Ayn Rand Institute.

Robert Campbell

Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger,

From the tone of your remarks -- which sound as if you're hectoring me -- you seem to think that you're contradicting what I said, but I fail to see the contradiction.

Robert,

The email to Joe was at the end of the first week of April, somewhat more than two weeks before "Dialectical Dishonesty." I think Diana could have written that article in a couple weeks. The piece isn't well written; it's repetitive, diffuse, and poorly organized, not a polished work. And Diana appears to be able to write fairly quickly, judging from the output she keeps up on her blog while meanwhile working on a doctorate.

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ellen, I'm sorry that you thought I was bullying ("hectoring") you. I've re-read my post twice, and I don't see (or hear: I read it out loud) what you're referring to. Basically, I'm just emphatically disagreeing with you and trying to substantiate my disagreement.

I still think there is a contradiction or factual conflict involved. You say Diana didn't plan the timing of her piece. I say she most certainly did. It's certainly possible, even likely, that she wrote it in an unplanned way, on impulse, in a white heat of inspiration or zeal. Yet, she deliberately chose exactly when to release it - in late April, right before finals and trip, when she could have waited until June so it could be discussed with her full partipation at her leisure. That is what everyone is controverting about -- the poor timing of her release of the piece.

Diana is not new to this process of being a busy student and a busy intellectual (?). She knows (as Bob Campbell pointed out) that she has gotten into trouble with trying to do momentous things right at the end of semester. Yet, she persists in this habitual pattern. She is a drama junky. And it will be her undoing. In this case, she may have avoided damage to her studies/finals, but only at the cost of having to duck most of the discussion that she created.

Again, I apologize if you were offended by my tone. I hope this reply is better.

REB

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ellen and Roger,

The difficulty here is that, in one sense, "Dialectical Dishonesty" had been in the works since April 2004, if not earlier. Many observers had correctly predicted a denunciation of Chris Sciabarra, sooner or later. Joe Duarte put it very well here:

http://joeduarte.blogspot.com/2006/05/my-boy.html

Of course the actual writing was done much closer to the date of release.

Both the "Comrade Sonia" remark and the naming of an ARI scholar provided material for the piece. Whether they actually "inspired" the writing is another matter. Mr. Mazza had been trying to get names of ARI scholars who privately communicated with members of the JARS editorial board since October 2005, when I had a couple of sharp exchanges with him on the matter. Ms. Hsieh had been looking more recently.

Ms. Hsieh's alliance with Mr. Perigo can be confidently dated to late February 2006, when she began appearing on SOLOP (it could have begun even earlier). Mr. Valliant had been allied with Mr. Perigo since October or November 2005; his search for an excuse not to publish in JARS began after Mr. Perigo had his final falling out with Chris Sciabarra, which was also somewhere around late February 2006.

Since none of these folks want to talk about their behind-the-scenes activities, we may never know just when "Dialectical Dishonesty" was written, whether comments were sought from allies before posting, etc.

Robert Campbell

Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted a brief coment on this on Rebirth ofReason, I'll repost it here:

What I'm trying to get my arms around is the ends justify the means behavior displayed by many Objectivists. In the case of the Reismans/ARI, Diana Hsieh felt that George Reisman's publication of private correspondence was a betrayal of trust. In the case of Diana Hsieh/ Chris Sciabarra she felt she was justified. In both cases there was some personal conflict that was private and spilled out into the public sphere.In the Reisman case, George Reisman was defending himself and his reputation. In the Hsieh/Sciabarra case Hsieh is defending nonspecified ARI scholars and herself against nonpublic characterizations.

In any case, it seems the bar releasing many Objectivists from confidentiality and prior commitments is rather low. It is an end justifies the means argument of the following form: I no longer like or respect you, therefore all my previous commitments to you are null and void. The history of the Objectivist movement is filled with such pronouncements. This obviously does nothing to moderate or contain conflicts and makes those involved look rather silly.

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger said:

Diana is not new to this process of being a busy student and a busy intellectual (?). She knows (as Bob Campbell pointed out) that she has gotten into trouble with trying to do momentous things right at the end of semester. Yet, she persists in this habitual pattern. She is a drama junky. And it will be her undoing. In this case, she may have avoided damage to her studies/finals, but only at the cost of having to duck most of the discussion that she created

Although I am not as familiar with the various personalities in the Oist community as many of you are due to my being newer than most, I nonetheless am inclined to agree with Roger here.

I am reminded of a time when I was in my early twenties, and was dating a very pretty girl who seemed to be a turmoil and excitement junkie. I was very hot-headed, possessive and jealous and also liked to drink a lot which made for a volatile mix; a mix which she knew just how to stir and did quite often while she sat back and watched as fights would break out between me and other guys. I don't blame her today because my reactions were things I could have controlled, but was not mature enough to do so.

Now keep in mind I am not accusing or insinuating that anyone who has debated this issue is being immature, rather I am pointing to the way Diana made her post at the time she did-where I have yet to figure out what would have prevented a couple of weeks delay- and then had the ready made excuse of finals and vacation to fall back on. All the while others were ready to act as her proxy in the ensuing argument in which she has had the leisure of mainly being a spectator.

After reading Joe Duarte's blog and especially this part:

Hot, angry, and melodramatic rebukes are simply not a normal part of life for them, but they are a daily routine for the ARI cultists. Diana does this all the time. And if you go to SOLO Passion and read those posts, you would never think Objectivism was a philosophy for living successfully and happily. You would instead find a swirling cloud of malice, nastiness, and darkness.

I can't help but be more inclined to agree with Roger's assessment of her being a "drama junky".

The bottom line is something in Denmark has a decidedly rank smell to it.

L W

Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the most disturbing thing about all this...

The possibility that her state-of-mind, and her convictions, are such that she actually believed she was doing something good and true.

That kind of state, and the action that followed represent, in a nutshell, the creepiest, most unsettling side of the movement. J'Accuse, my arse. Salem witch trial crap.

You know, there's a certain kind of person, not always a particularly rotten one, that gets in that gets kind of hobbled in their own interior, and it makes them do things to people that are not really useful nor necessary.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now