Barbara Branden

Who is Michael Stuart Kelly?

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Who is Michael Stuart Kelly?

I have often thanked Michael Kelly privately for everything he’s done for me, but it’s time I thanked him publicly, and time I told those of you who are not familiar with his activities something about this remarkable man.

I did not know Michael until he appeared one day on Solo, long before the present hysteria, and wrote a very beautiful post thanking me for "The Passion of Ayn Rand," and explaining that it had been of great value to him at a crucial time in his life. I was very pleased that this was so, as I told him, and I assumed that that was the end of it. It was not the end of it. I have learned that if Michael feels someone has helped him, he will return the help many times over. And that is what he has done for me.

There was a period of some months when Solo rang with praises for my biography of Rand– yes, much of it from people who are now denouncing it and me -- but later, when I criticized Perigo for his rudeness and endless hysterical damnations of innocent people, when I defended an old friend against Perigo’s malice, when I sanctioned James Kilbourne’s article “The Drooling Beast” because I believed Perigo would not have published if he did not agree with it, the tide quickly turned. I was not startled by Perigo’s about-face; I had seen it many times before with other people whom he first praised and then damned, and I had had no doubt that his basic hostility would one day be directed against me should I ever cross him, but I was startled by the sycophancy that caused many people on Solo to become his clones. I had expected better of those who called themselves Objectivists.

When I left Solo, unwilling to sanction by my presence a debate on my integrity, and feeling that so long as I remained I would be swimming in a sewer of malice, Michael had taken up the battle that I was too disgusted any longer to fight. Many of you know what the results have been for him. He has become an equal victim of the brutish behavior on Solo and Noodlefood, the butt of Perigo’s ugliest spite and hatred; but he continued to stand firm as a rock in defense of those who were not there to defend themselves. He has fought not only for me, but for everyone and everything he values and who are being vilified: for Nathaniel, for The Objectivist Center, for David Kelley, among many others, and now for Chris Sciabarra, the latest victim of the campaign of lies and distortions. And with Kat’s invaluable help, he has created Objectivist Living, where people of good will can meet and exchange ideas in an atmosphere free of acrimony.

I have often told him that it’s enough, that he has his own important work to do, that he should return to it and leave the haters to stew in their own bile, but it became clear to me that he would not do so as long as there still were things he wanted to say and people he wanted to defend.

Many years ago, I wrote a novel called “Price No Object.” It’s theme was loyalty to values, a trait exemplified by the heroine of the novel who continued to fight for her values no matter what price she had to pay, no matter what the odds against her. For her, price was no object. The novel could have been dedicated to Michael Kelly.

Thank you, my friend. It is now I who am in your debt.

Barbara

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Thanks Barbara. That was a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. You have become a wonderful friend to us and it is always an honor to have you here. We adore you.

**purr alert**

Michael is truly a man of honor, loyalty, honesty, integrity, intelligence and independence. He is also charming, sexy and writes wonderful poetry. I love my Michael. purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Kat

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Kat-

You should have banned him long ago. Since his first post here, he's done nothing but steer this site in a good direction. ;)

Thanks Barbara! :)

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Yes, MSK, thank you for your kind treatment of your interaction with me. It is noted, and appreciated. As is with everyone else, on this forum or not. :)

I *do* tend to gravitate towards those interactions that do *not* start off with (possible, potential, certain) ill will towards me (either anonymously, generally, by association, whatever). I guess this is a DUH statement. ;)

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Jenna,

If it was just a "DUH statement" you wouldn't have felt the need to say it. There are a lot of ways we are motivated to act against such clear rationale. I don't think I am saying anything you don't already know. As strange as it seems, we all can get sucked into acting against our best self-interests. We witness the members of this site do it frequently. It is not a question of intelligence. It is a question of being aware of our motives and the more global consequences of our actions.

Why do we allow ourselves to become embroiled in discussions and debates that are clearly against our rational self-interests? Raising our awareness of our interpretive frameworks and motivational biases would be the first step to answering this question. Aside from the rationale, "to defend so-and-so's honour," or "to save misguided newbies," why are we motivated to go into battle with people for who's perspective we have no respect? It is worth thinking about. I don't think the rationale stands the test of scrutiny. Focussing on the motivation behind our own rationalizations and actions is, however, a valuable use of our energy.

Paul

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Why do we allow ourselves to become embroiled in discussions and debates that are clearly against our rational self-interests? Raising our awareness of our interpretive frameworks and motivational biases would be the first step to answering this question. Aside from the rationale, "to defend so-and-so's honour," or "to save misguided newbies," why are we motivated to go into battle with people for who's perspective we have no respect? It is worth thinking about. I don't think the rationale stands the test of scrutiny. Focussing on the motivation behind our own rationalizations and actions is, however, a valuable use of our energy.

I don't fight for Chris's honor. He can fight for that as he chooses.

A part of me is interested in trying to see the big picture. A part of me would like to warn people against certain types of thinking, and that is a part of my past and a part of my personality that I inherited/learned from my mom. That part of me would like to help straighten things out; the difference is is that at some point I know when to stop. My mom, and my sister, go much farther than I do in some respects.

What I am fighting for is an asset. I see in Chris and his work an asset to my own life in informing me, in a way that I think. Since I view my thinking as valuable, I view any source of information that interprets data in a similar way to me valuable. [i view all information as valuable to me.] Chris' work is valuable because I do not come across like-minded systems/nonlinear thinkers as myself very often. So thus I would fight any agenda that attempts to regard systems thinking as invaluable--- even evil. I fight any attempts to undermine information because the attack is masked under some kind of ideological auspice.

Once information is regarded as evil, or wrong, that is a bad sign. Once the notions of privacy [what is private is private, not public] is erased, it is a bad sign. Once the way that someone thinks is considered a sin, that is a bad sign.

Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

One of my friends told me, "If you cannot understand peer-review, it's over. Read Fahrenheit 451."

So, yes, in a very self-interested way, I am fighting for what I value. Freedom.

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Jenna wrote:

Chris' work is valuable because I do not come across like-minded systems/nonlinear thinkers as myself very often. So thus I would fight any agenda that attempts to regard systems thinking as invaluable--- even evil. I fight any attempts to undermine information because the attack is masked under some kind of ideological auspice.

Chris' value is not diminished by someone else's poor logic and twisted sense of existence. Insert your better logic and a more balanced and integrated sense of existence into the culture and demonstrate how to actively disregard those with no value. To actively engage those with no value is to automatically elevate their value. Also, to actively engage those with no value is to spend your time and your freedom unwisely.

Having said this, I get the sense that you are already doing what I am advocating. I actually think we agree.

Paul

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Barbara,

That needed said and you are, heads above, the ideal person to have said it.

When people ask me who they can trust in the Objectivst forum-world, MSK is nearly always the very first name I mention.

I know this because he earned my trust- I have made myself "vulnerable" to him many times in the course of our correspondence, and he never did anything but listen, and try to help me.

THAT I can't say too often.

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SOLO has apparently picked this up, reprinting the original post in entirely.

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In tone and content, SOLO is an embarrassment to Objectivism. It is sad that George Reisman has chosen to lend it the veneer of respectability. As with other malignant, vicious "objectivist" blogs, the less said about SOLO here, on Objectivist Living, the better.

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Dennis wrote:

As with other malignant, vicious "objectivist" blogs, the less said about SOLO here, on Objectivist Living, the better.

Absolutely!!!

It's better for the healthy ones to distance themselves as much as they can from malignancy.

Paul

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I've defended (on SOLO) Reisman's decision to post his material on the Mises Institute site, so of course I'd also defend him posting them on SOLO.

There's a lot of bashing and name-calling of Objectivist Living on SOLO. There's a lot of bashing and name-calling of SOLO on Objectivist Living. There is non-factional-warfare material on both as well. You have to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I posted the link to the SOLO article as an FYI. I'm not involved in nor do I care to be involved in whatever happened between MSK/Linz/Branden/Kilbourne. Regardless, seeing an entire hundreds-of-words post reprinted presumably without permission seemed something the author should be aware of (as it would have if done the other direction as well).

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Aaron,

Don't worry about any of that. You are not being asked to takes sides on anything.

For the record, SOLOP and the core SOLOP people were hardly even mentioned on OL for a few months despite the constant insults against OL and the people who post here. Mentions were kept to facts. I actually discouraged mocking and so forth. When they did that disgraceful and spiteful kiddy-tantrum against Chris Sciabarra, though, I decided to take the gloves off.

My sentiments, however, run with what Dennis Hardin and Paul Mawdsley just posted.

There is one clarification I would like to make about Dr. Reisman's articles on SOLOP (and the one I posted on OL). From what I understand, Dr. Reisman does not post his blog articles on other sites. He only posts them on his own blog. There is a notice at the end of each article as follows:

This article is copyright © 2006, by George Reisman. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute it electronically and in print, other than as part of a book and provided that mention of the author’s web site www.capitalism.net is included. (Email notification is requested.) All other rights reserved. George Reisman is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996) and is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics.

Despite the entries on SOLOP saying:

Submitted by George Reisman on... (date)

he does not actually post there. They simply set up a pretend account for him that they operate themselves to give the illusion that he posts there. This gives them a boost in unearned prestige (and it is free high-quality material that comes regularly).

You know, Objectivism honesty and all that...

I don't take advantage of Dr. Reisman's material because the focus of OL is not so much on current affairs. However, I did request and receive permission by email for the one article of his I posted and I received a thank you. I fully intend to post other things by him when pertinent.

I prefer not to set up a make-believe account for him, though, and pretend that he is the one posting them.

Michael

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They simply set up a pretend account for him that they operate themselves to give the illusion that he posts there. This gives them a boost in unearned prestige (and it is free high-quality material that comes regularly).

You know, Objectivism honesty and all that...

Wow, I know that that's dishonest, but somehow it seems more bizarre than anything else. What's next? Perhaps they'll establish an account named "Ayn Rand" and claim they're channeling her from the Great Beyond? (Oops, I hope I'm not giving them any ideas. :-# )

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Michael,

Thanks for the clarification regarding George Reisman's reproduction policy. Perhaps I owe him an apology. If so, I will gladly offer it.

Regarding Objectivist Living, I have never read anything here that involves a disrespectful, obscene, abusive tone. OL demonstrates that criticism and disagreement--even when it involves strong moral implications--can be done with civility, courtesy and a regard for dignity. To suggest that "passion" requires invective, insults or spat-wad contests is to confess that whim-worship--not Objectivism--is your fundamental approach to life.

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There is one clarification I would like to make about Dr. Reisman's articles on SOLOP (and the one I posted on OL). From what I understand, Dr. Reisman does not post his blog articles on other sites. He only posts them on his own blog. There is a notice at the end of each article as follows:

Ah, thanks for the info. That makes sense - so his 'sanction' is a non-issue all the way around.

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Many years ago, I wrote a novel called “Price No Object.” It’s theme was loyalty to values, a trait exemplified by the heroine of the novel who continued to fight for her values no matter what price she had to pay, no matter what the odds against her. For her, price was no object. The novel could have been dedicated to Michael Kelly.

Was that novel ever published? I don't recall ever hearing of it. If its possible to obtain a copy I'd certainly be interested.

MBM

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MBM, you asked if my novel, Price No Object, was ever published. No. The problem was that I began writing it shortly after I left New York, having broken with Rand, and I still was very much influenced by her literarily. It was only when the novel was completed -- after almost five years -- that I realized the extent of the influence. It was stylistic, but less in style than in the concept of some of the major characters and in the overall structure. As I continued writing the novel, I began to find my own voice, and so there is a good deal in it that I like very much But not enough to make me want to have it published.

I feel that with The Passion of Ayn Rand, I fully found my own voice. And I do not now want to publish an inferior work. However, because there are aspects of the novel that I am proud of, I may one day put it out on the Internet. There is one character in particular that I fell in love with, a Barbara Branden character, not an Ayn Rand character. He is a defense lawyer, who was intended to be a relatively minor character. But, with him, I had one of those wonderful experiences that make writing a joy. Perhaps other writers will understand this experience. I began introducing him -- and he took off; what was intended to be a couple of paragraphs became several pages of the best and most personal writing I had ever done; the character who was intended to be secondary became a major figure, and my favorite in the book. When I began writing about him, I had not decided on his name; I intended leaving the name blank until later -- but suddenly, there was his name on the page. It felt as if he had told me his name. It was not even a name I particularly liked -- Simon Garrick -- but it seemed as if I had no choice in the matter, that was his name, and I could not change it.

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And I do not now want to publish an inferior work. However, because there are aspects of the novel that I am proud of, I may one day put it out on the Internet.

Well, here's one vote in favor....

....When I began writing about him, I had not decided on his name; I intended leaving the name blank until later -- but suddenly, there was his name on the page. It felt as if he had told me his name. It was not even a name I particularly liked -- Simon Garrick -- but it seemed as if I had no choice in the matter, that was his name, and I could not change it.

Hmmm, I wonder if I can get a "Who is Simon Garrick?" meme started on the Internet? :)

MBM

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~ Cripes! -_-

~ Like Mikey doesn't have a swelled head already! :rolleyes:

Mike:

~ I'd ditto everything everyone said, but, it wouldn't be good for you. :lol: I'm refraining from doing such, for your own good :P

~ You'll thank me later.

LLAP

J:D

Edited by John Dailey

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Thank you John.

Barbara,

Just so you know, I did read the following:

However, because there are aspects of the novel that I am proud of, I may one day put it out on the Internet.

I don't think I need to tell you, but I will anyway, that the thunderous silence you hear is not from lack of interest, but from people holding their breaths and hoping you will.

Whenever you are ready, just say what you need and it shall be done.

Michael

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