Michael Stuart Kelly

Objectivist Schism Blues

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This really should go in the creative writing section and maybe later I will transfer it over there. But for now, I thought something productive should come out of this mess, even if it is only a satire diddley.


Objectivist Schism Blues
by Michael Stuart Kelly


Hey, Michael.

Hi, Sergio.

I have been watching the schism you are causing on the Internet.

Schism?

Yeah. You know, the thing about that guy being invited to speak at a TAS Seminar.

That isn't a schism.

Sure it is.

No it isn't. A schism happens if there is an alliance. There is no alliance with that dude. Never has been since OL was founded.

Well, it looks like a schism.

(sigh…)

Come on. You know what I mean. You are all Objectivists.

Graaak!…

So why can't you Objectivists just get along? First the Brandens, then Kelley-Peikoff, then Peikoff-Reisman, then some others, now you guys.

All right. I see how it looks. What do you want me to do?

Well… er… find common ground with that dude and… you know… make peace.

OK… let's see… common ground?... hmmmm… we read some of the same books by Rand.

See? That's a start.

But he likes to cuss people all the time. He tries to get others to do that.

And you have a problem with that?

Well, duh.

But sometimes you have to cuss people.

Sure. But not all the time.

True.

This dude does it all the time.

Why do you think he does that?

Because that's what he does. He can't not do it.

But he says it is rational passion surging and pulsing through his soul.

He used to cuss people when he was a Marxist. Now he cusses them for Objectivism. Something else is surging and pulsing in his gut. If he ever became Christian he would cuss people.

Got a theory as to why?

Yeah. He likes to cuss people.

Well… the guy from TAS thinks the dude can change.

I know. The dude cusses TAS people too.

Say what?

But they don't mind. They think he will cuss himself dry one day.

Why would they think that?

I don't know. The dude says he loves Ayn Rand, so that probably counts for something.

He says he loves Rand?

Yeah. Usually right before he cusses TAS people.

Why does he cuss TAS?

He likes to cuss people.

Oh.

That's what he does.

Oh.

He likes it.

But didn't Barbara Branden just write a harsh critique of him?

Yeah. First time in a long time. She called him a "beleaguered rebel" in search of martyrdom. Said he was "often befuddled by alcohol."

Wow! Martyrdom?

Yeah. He always writes about being the last man standing… all abandoned and alone, true to his cause, the only one with integrity, you know… during some spat or other when folks start leaving.

And he drinks?

Yeah. He writes about his drinking a lot. Says it's rational.

Does he drink too much? When?

I don't know. Before he cusses people…

So what did he do about Barbara Branden?

He cussed her. Called her a "filthy, unutterably disgusting, low-life bitch."

And the TAS guy?

He thinks this dude will cuss himself dry.

Well, see what I mean about schisms?

No.

The TAS guy is trying to stop the schisms.

I've already told him I am not that dude's ally. Never will be.

So what? That can't change?

No.

Why not?

He likes to cuss people all the time. I'm into something else. Creating stuff... things like that...

But what if he stops cussing people all the time?

He won't.

How do you know that?

A is A.

I haven't heard that one in a while.

When Rand's right, she's right.

So, "A is A" means you have to have a schism?

There is no schism. You can't have a schism without an alliance.

But don't you want Objectivism to spread?

That would be nice.

So, why won't you even think about an alliance with that dude?

I don't want nonstop cussing to spread.

Oh. I see.

Do you?

But what if he stops cussing people all the time? TAS just invited him to give a speech and he promised he won't cuss anybody.

Heh.

Aren't you curious to see what will happen?

No.

Why?

Because I already know what he'll do.

But he says he won't.

He always says that.

When?

Right after he cusses people. Sometimes before…

Oh. But what if this time is different?

I'm not interested.

Why not? The Objectivist movement needs unity.

It has never had unity until now. Rand's books sell. Millions. Why does it need unity?

Because unity will make spreading the philosophy easier.

I don't mind spreading the philosophy. That's a good thing.

So what's the problem?

I don't want to spread cussing people.

Oh, just stop it!

OK.

So what are you going to do?

Nothing. You said stop it. So I stopped it.

You are going to stop the schism?

There is no schism.

All right. All right. Are you going to try to make peace with that dude?

No.

Why not?

He likes to cuss people all the time.

And here I thought you were reasonable.

(sigh...)

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Mike, The correct policy to handle "Objectivist schismology," including the current invitation to Perigo,- can be found in a statement issued by the Institute for Objectivist Studies (later, The Objectivist Center; still later, The Atlas Society), and included as the "last word(s)" in David Kelley's THE CONTESTED LEGACY OF AYN RAND, p. 122, in the section titled, "The Institute's Foreign Policy:"

"Some of our members have asked us whether the breach in Objectivist movement can be healed. Our policy is comparable to the one that Israel long adopted toward its Arab foes. We prefer to live in peace with our intellectual neighbors, but we see no basis for a civil relationship with those who deny the legitimacy of our existence as an independent Objectivist organization, and who launch unprovoked and irrational attacks on us.

Irrationality of this sort can usually be ignored, but we reserve the right to respond as we think necessary to preserve our reputation. Meanwhile, we will continue to pursue our mission: to expand the body of Objectivist thought, and to communicate these ideas to a world sorely in need of them. With your help, we will succeed."

Note: italic emphases were added to the above passages. But I think David Kelley has elucidated the correct policy. And now it is time for The Atlas Society to put these words into practice again, and take action "necessary to preserve our reputation."

Or does TAS now wish to disassociate itself from this document which defined the very meaning, existence, and essence of their organization?

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This really should go in the creative writing section and maybe later I will transfer it over there. But for now, I thought something productive should come out of this mess, even if it is only a satire diddley.

Objectivist Schism Blues

by Michael Stuart Kelly

Hey, Michael.

Hi, Sergio.

I have been watching the schism you are causing on the Internet.

Schism?

Yeah. You know, the thing about that guy being invited to speak at a TAS Seminar.

That isn't a schism.

Sure it is.

No it isn't. A schism happens if there is an alliance. There is no alliance with that dude. Never has been since OL was founded.

Well, it looks like a schism.

(sigh…)

Come on. You know what I mean. You are all Objectivists.

Graaak!…

So why can't you Objectivists just get along? First the Brandens, then Kelley-Peikoff, then Peikoff-Reisman, then some others, now you guys.

All right. I see how it looks. What do you want me to do?

Well… er… find common ground with that dude and… you know… make peace.

OK… let's see… common ground?... hmmmm… we read some of the same books by Rand.

See? That's a start.

But he likes to cuss people all the time. He tries to get others to do that.

And you have a problem with that?

Well, duh.

But sometimes you have to cuss people.

Sure. But not all the time.

True.

This dude does it all the time.

Why do you think he does that?

Because that's what he does. He can't not do it.

But he says it is rational passion surging and pulsing through his soul.

He used to cuss people when he was a Marxist. Now he cusses them for Objectivism. Something else is surging and pulsing in his gut. If he ever became Christian he would cuss people.

Got a theory as to why?

Yeah. He likes to cuss people.

Well… the guy from TAS thinks the dude can change.

I know. The dude cusses TAS people too.

Say what?

But they don't mind. They think he will cuss himself dry one day.

Why would they think that?

I don't know. The dude says he loves Ayn Rand, so that probably counts for something.

He says he loves Rand?

Yeah. Usually right before he cusses TAS people.

Why does he cuss TAS?

He likes to cuss people.

Oh.

That's what he does.

Oh.

He likes it.

But didn't Barbara Branden just write a harsh critique of him?

Yeah. First time in a long time. She called him a "beleaguered rebel" in search of martyrdom. Said he was "often befuddled by alcohol."

Wow! Martyrdom?

Yeah. He always writes about being the last man standing… all abandoned and alone, true to his cause, the only one with integrity, you know… during some spat or other when folks start leaving.

And he drinks?

Yeah. He writes about his drinking a lot. Says it's rational.

Does he drink too much? When?

I don't know. Before he cusses people…

So what did he do about Barbara Branden?

He cussed her. Called her a "filthy, unutterably disgusting, low-life bitch."

And the TAS guy?

He thinks this dude will cuss himself dry.

Well, see what I mean about schisms?

No.

The TAS guy is trying to stop the schisms.

I've already told him I am not that dude's ally. Never will be.

So what? That can't change?

No.

Why not?

He likes to cuss people all the time. I'm into something else. Creating stuff... things like that...

But what if he stops cussing people all the time?

He won't.

How do you know that?

A is A.

I haven't heard that one in a while.

When Rand's right, she's right.

So, "A is A" means you have to have a schism?

There is no schism. You can't have a schism without an alliance.

But don't you want Objectivism to spread?

That would be nice.

So, why won't you even think about an alliance with that dude?

I don't want nonstop cussing to spread.

Oh. I see.

Do you?

But what if he stops cussing people all the time? TAS just invited him to give a speech and he promised he won't cuss anybody.

Heh.

Aren't you curious to see what will happen?

No.

Why?

Because I already know what he'll do.

But he says he won't.

He always says that.

When?

Right after he cusses people. Sometimes before…

Oh. But what if this time is different?

I'm not interested.

Why not? The Objectivist movement needs unity.

It has never had unity until now. Rand's books sell. Millions. Why does it need unity?

Because unity will make spreading the philosophy easier.

I don't mind spreading the philosophy. That's a good thing.

So what's the problem?

I don't want to spread cussing people.

Oh, just stop it!

OK.

So what are you going to do?

Nothing. You said stop it. So I stopped it.

You are going to stop the schism?

There is no schism.

All right. All right. Are you going to try to make peace with that dude?

No.

Why not?

He likes to cuss people all the time.

And here I thought you were reasonable.

(sigh...)

LMAO

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That is a hilarious scene for a play...

Well written...

A...

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Thank you Adam.

Here is the backstory from a recent post since this is from several years ago.

Backstory for people who don't know:

Perigo was invited once to give a speech at a TAS event. He called Barbara some horrible names at the time in public (on his site) and she objected in public (here on OL). The TAS folks placed a condition on his talk that he could not use the TAS platform for personal bashing--especially not of other guest speakers (and she was one). He had to restrict his talk to the topic they had agreed upon. He got pissy, called the TAS people horrible names and decided it would be hypocritical to do the talk. So he canceled.

Then, he went from pissy to boneheaded. He staged a book-signing for Valliant and PARC right next door to the TAS event, right at the same time--and he traveled halfway around the world on someone's dime to be there. (I hope whoever paid for that got their money's worth.) He tried to siphon off the TAS audience--instead of building up his own--like a true secondhander.

(btw - The TAS event was a success and the booksigning fizzled with about half-a-dozen people showing up, if I remember correctly.)

On rereading this, I think I wrote it before Perigo canceled his speech. So it was during the kerfuffle, not after it.

Michael

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On rereading this, I think I wrote it before Perigo canceled his speech. So it was during the kerfuffle, not after it.

I thought Perigo's speeches (there were two of them scheduled) were canceled by TAS. (I think there was an earlier occasion when he canceled, but didn't Ed disinvite Perigo in 2008?)

Ellen

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Ellen,

I think I got it all mixed up and did some digging. It was in 2006 that Perigo refused to speak at TAS and instead did a lame-ass speech at the book-signing with Valliant right beside the TAS conference.

But Ed didn't merely uninvite Perigo for the 2008 participation (I didn't check how many speeches Perigo was supposed to do, but if you say two, that's fine with me). I think Will screwed up that year by inviting Perigo in the first place, knowing he was pushing PARC as hard has he could and both Barbara and Nathaniel were speaking at the event. (The word "clueless" comes to mind. :smile: )

Ed set conditions due to the acrimony Perigo was promoting and said he needed a commitment. Like he said, he was afraid of a bait-and-switch (and justly so).

On Thu, 2008-01-17 20:27, Ed opened a thread on SLOP and posted a long explanation and his conditions for civility (see here). I quote:

Now I must ask Lindsay: Exactly what is your topic and what are your intentions? Is your aim truly to reduce “fratricide” within the movement, as we had hoped? Clearly TAS does not want to be the victim of some kind of “bait-and-switch.”

This, then, is a challenge. I want Lindsay Perigo to commit publicly to joining me in undoing the incivility in the movement that he himself has too frequently helped to foster. This, of course, means being civil in the content of any speech at TAS and in behavior at any TAS event.

But the challenge goes further. If all the energy and—yes—passion that has gone into internecine battles among Objectivists were expended instead on developing and promoting the philosophy in a constructive way, we would be much further along than we are today. Therefore I would like Lindsay to commit to this wider goal of building an open and civil Objectivist movement and to start it with SOLO-Passion, the forum for so much ill-will. I want to hear some proposals.

. . .

... I await a constructive public response and commitment from Lindsay, which will help us determine whether his talk at the 2008 Summer Seminar will be consistent with our mission and purposes.


On Fri, 2008-01-18 22:49, Perigo responded in response to Ed's request for proposals:

Well, that’s too bad, Ed, because I’m not going to make any.


Then ended with this

Ed, I am not going to tailor my comments or actions to a lynch mob, and neither should you. You had already determined that my talk was consistent with your mission and purposes. What's changed, apart from the baying of hyenas?

You have my response in the foregoing.

Your call.


Barbara then posted (on Jan. 21, 2008): My response to Ed Hudgins' "The Atlas Society Policy and the Summer Seminar" where she charmingly said: "Lindsay Perigo is the suicide bomber of Objectivism." :smile:

After that I stopped digging, but I believe shortly thereafter Perigo got uninvited.

Ed had laid down conditions and Perigo had refused to entertain them and refused to make any commitment to stop the crap. So it was not a simple uninvite from backstage machinations as is usual in these matters. It was all out in the open. Also, Perigo was given a choice and he chose.

Michael

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