In Attempted Praise of Objectivist Turkey


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In Attempted Praise of Objectivist Turkey

by Michael Stuart Kelly

I just returned from a week in Atlantis—the Objectivist Atlantis—here on earth. It exists, folks and it is a marvelous place to be. I am referring to the TAS/TOC 2006 Summer Seminar that was held at Chapman University in Orange County, California. I’m still on a high—a high where stringent reason and intense emotions merged into one glorious feeling of “things are right with the world.” This event caused that and, shortly, I will write about it.

But life goes on for the garbage man. That’s me. I’m an intellectual garbage man.

The problem with trash is that it stinks. The smell can really blow a person’s high. It also attracts bugs and rats. Now that I am back from Atlantis, I see some online trash already piling up, so let me take it away before the stench and vermin interfere with the delight of people who were at the TAS/TOC event or would like to hear about it.

Lindsay Perigo and James Valliant gave talks at a Border’s Books (next to the bowling alley in the main shopping mall) a few miles down the road from Chapman University on July 6, 2006. This was part of a book signing event for The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics by Valliant.

If you go to Solo Passion (as an intellectual garbage man, “SLOP” is my preferred term for that venue), you will read raves about it being “truly a KASS evening” and the like. Why don’t we take a small reality check?

Did I hear gobbling? Gobble, gobble, gobble… I believe there’s a turkey laying an egg somewhere around here…

(For the information of people who do not usually use the term “turkey” in a colloquial manner, it can be used to denote “{a} a person considered inept or undesirable, or {b} a failure, especially a failed theatrical production or movie;” with thanks to The Free Dictionary for the definitions.)

The reason for the PARC book signing at that particular time and place was to be able to do a one-upmanship thing against TAS/TOC and also mooch off its audience. If a lot of people from the Seminar had shown up, no doubt this fact would have been used to great effect to demonstrate that the SLOPPERS were on the moral high ground. It didn’t quite turn out that way, though. I heard only very few accounts of what went on because almost nobody went. Estimations varied about the size of the public—between 7 and 10 people were reported to have listened to the two talks. Gobble, gobble, gobble… (I will not name the people I talked to because not everybody faces the kind of garbage being thrown at them that the SLOPPERS do to critics in the same manner that I do. Besides, I’m the trash-man. That’s my job.)

Maybe Valliant sold some books. I don’t think there was much of a turnover, though. The only PARC books in the store were the ones he brought along for the book signing and almost nobody went.

Here’s an idea of what things looked like. On Monday (July 3), Kat and I were looking for a good restaurant for a romantic meal for lovebirds. (We are more in love with each passing day.) A hotel assistant sent us to the largest shopping mall in the area. As we saw a huge Border’s Books in the distance, Kat mentioned that this was probably the place of the book signing. I couldn’t resist so off we went to check it out.

The first problem was with parking. This shopping mall was huge and so was the parking lot, but it was so crowded that we could not find a place to park for a good 15 minutes—just driving back and forth and back and forth. Finally, when we lucked out on a spot, we had to walk past a gigantic bowling alley to get to the book store.

On arriving at the store entrance, there was a poster announcing the book signing. The cardboard sign was not that big—maybe a yard wide and one-and-a-half to two feet tall. It was taped to the window. There was a large photo of the author’s head on the left and his name written very large, completely overshadowing the rest of the text. The name of the book was written too small to be seen unless you were up close, as was all the other information. Inside, there were two small posters that were essentially enlargements of the dust cover with a small stick-on on the side saying “author signing” or something like that.

That’s it. Three whole posters—not very big ones—was all the promotion there was. (To be fair, there was a mention or two in the press from Borders sending out its routine announcements to the Events columns.) Perigo’s name was not mentioned on any of the three posters, though. Curiously, neither was the name of the Brandens, except for the phrase on the enlarged dust jacket.

The crowd inside the store was fairly thick and book displays were everywhere—normal stands, children’s books, bargain books, mysteries, best-sellers, etc. The place was packed with books and people. Lots of noise. Kat and I walked around trying to see if PARC was on the shelves somewhere. We were trying to figure out which section it would be in when we heard a shriek. We were almost run over by two small kids chasing each other with the mother hot behind threatening all kinds of horrible consequences if they did not behave.

Kat, bless her heart, went to the small counter beside one of the posters and asked a clerk if she could see the book that was being advertised. The clerk had no knowledge of it at all and sent her to the row of cash registers on the other side of the store. There, a very nice clerk checked a computer and informed her that PARC had never been stocked in that particular store. He thought it was a new book that was just coming out and that was the reason. Kat did not enlighten him that the book had been released last year. The clerk also said that there would probably be copies that could be examined and bought during the book signing. Then he offered to order it for her.

I have no idea of how the politics works for something like this. I cannot imagine that a highly successful book store like Borders makes a habit of staging book signings at outlets where the book is not stocked—merely available by order. I do know that the people who set this thing up were inept amateurs. They, at least, should have made sure some copies were on the shelves. This was pure organizational incompetence. (I won’t even mention the complete lack of local promotion like interviews and advertisements on radio, TV, newspapers, etc.)

An audio copy of Perigo’s talk was recently posted on SLOP. After seeing what I saw in California, I was highly amused to hear the beginning of the talk. Perigo stated:

But what I call “Objectivist Rage” has a peculiar twist to it, unlikely to be found anywhere else except, paradoxically, in religion. It is almost always morally tinged. Those who question our ideas and those who oppose them, we are told, are not merely stupid, ignorant, uninformed. They are evil; they are moral monsters to be cast out and forever dammed.  

And that is what I want to discuss today: the immensely presumptuous moralizing, the wildly unjust condemnations, and the towering anger manifested by so many Objectivists.

As the title of Perigo’s talk was “In Defense of Objectivist Rage,” one must thus presume that he endorses “immensely presumptuous moralizing,” “wildly unjust condemnations,” and “the essentially religious view that those who question our ideas and those who oppose them are to be damned as moral monsters.”

To be fair, Perigo did define anger in general, but it is so limited in the context of his speech—or anywhere else for that matter—that it is useless as a definition. He stated:

… the Brandens, Barbara in particular are really campaigning against rational anger, against the very possibility of such a thing, against anger as such, period.

For the benefit of those who were not present at Barbara’s speech, here is a brief explanation of where she was coming from. She did not condemn anger as such—only a certain kind of rage where it has shown to be inappropriate and destructive to the spread of Objectivism.

She stated that Ayn Rand often would get angry at someone expressing an idea she knew to be false because Rand could see the consequences of holding it clearly. She saw some of the horrors with her own eyes and she had an immensely sharp and insightful intellect. This was the root of her anger: the results of implementing an idea, not any inherent evil in thinking the idea itself.

Barbara then went on to mention that she has observed over the years many Objectivists adopt Rand’s angry tone, but have no real notion of the consequences of the contested idea other than what they have read but not properly digested. They also argue a lot against people who do not see such consequences correctly, therefore could not possibly embrace evil consciously. Yet they condemn such intellectual opponents with contempt as evil.

This is a far cry from campaigning against anger as a whole. Here is what Barbara actually said in her speech (taken from the written text):

I do not wish to deprive you, or myself, of your inalienable right to anger—even to enraged, tempestuous, foaming-at-the-mouth anger. I wish only to deprive you of the specifically moral outrage that so often is unjustly directed at one’s opponent. Be fiercely angry because you know the deadly consequences when certain ideas are translated into action. But recognize, recognize clearly, that it is likely that many of your opponents do not grasp those consequences—and that, if they did, they would change their convictions.

You judge whether Perigo was talking about the same thing as Barbara did. Then you might consider asking, “Why? What is there to gain from misrepresenting it like that?”

For some strange reason that can only be found in the labyrinths of spiteful rationalizing, Perigo thinks the Brandens do not wish Objectivism to succeed. He said so. He also claimed that they are on some kind of campaign “to wish it to declare the unilateral moral and emotional disarmament, to which the repudiation of anger would be tantamount.” This is more of his bizarre stuff that actually needs no comment. Just reading it is enough for most people to dismiss it as the rubbish it is. (Did I hear a call for refuse removal? Gobble, gobble, gobble…)

Perigo can get really weird, though. Here is the kind of stuff he admires (from the speech, but taken from the Free Radical article). He was talking about the change in name policy of The Atlas Society. They adopted the name, The Atlas Society, which was a name they used for Internet stuff, as the main name and kept The Objectivist Center name for their academic division. Perigo wrongly considered this to be a complete renunciation of the name, The Objectivist Center, but he could have been intentionally deceiving his public. I strongly suspect this is the case. Anyway, here is what he stated (from the Free Radical version):

I can’t help contrast the tepid, timorous timidity of this coven of cowards with the boldness displayed by Objectivism’s adversaries. Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, for instance: “Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution.”

I believe the delusion that Objectivism can be spread like Communism is one of Perigo’s core convictions. His whole approach cries out that he wants to be a revolutionary first, second and third, with the cause (Objectivism) coming in a long forth down the road.

I was surprised in his speech that he tried “argument by repetition.” This is simply repeating a lie until you hope it becomes accepted as a commonplace truth by osmosis. The issue was the Phil Donahue TV show where Rand clashed with a rude young lady. After the clash, Rand repeatedly returned to the issue of her rudeness, to groans coming from the audience, which led to Barbara’s evaluation that Rand’s appearance was a disaster. Perigo described the audience with phrases like “pandemonium ensued,” and “the crowd’s jeering or cheering—mainly jeering—was so loud” and “after a few minutes of mayhem.” He and I obviously watched different videos because I saw nothing I could call “pandemonium” or “mayhem” or even “so loud.” Other than these colorful phrases, Perigo basically recited the misguided clumsy analysis given in PARC, trying to make it stick by repetition. I discussed the whole Phil Donahue TV episode here on OL in the PARC Fallacies thread.

I could keep going on and on about all this. There is certainly no lack of boneheaded ideas to rebut, but even garbage men have working hours. Besides, it gets awfully boring to keep saying that facts are what they are—that A is A and cannot—nay, must not ever—be allowed to be filtered though spite and underachievement to become non-A.

The bottom line is that Barbara used to be in Perigo’s corner. Then she soundly rejected him as someone unsuitable to bear the title of Objectivist Leader and as someone she would not want to associate with. Perigo never got over it. What is astounding is the facility with which some of his followers have embraced his hatred of Barbara and shut their eyes to this truth.

What do I feel about all this? As I said, I am the intellectual trash-man. I know of nobody who loves trash. I don’t. You dispose of it because you don’t want it around to spoil the things you love and treasure. So in this sense, even though I write about these things, I really do not wish Objectivist Living to become a forum devoted to SLOP bashing or even Hsieh bashing. These are merely the garbage of Objectivism and they will continue to be such so long as they target good Objectivist people with their irrational hatred. I would vastly prefer to be writing about the TAS/TOC Seminar at this moment—and I will be doing precisely that shortly.

Underneath it all, do I feel rage? Those who know me know that I am merciless in defending the values I love when they are under attack. So in that sense, yes I do. But that is usually reserved for worthy enemies. I suppose I feel some anger towards the Objectivist garbage for the destructive intentions they have manifested, but my feelings go far deeper. To quote Ayn Rand from The Fountainhead:

When Keating had gone, Roark leaned against the door, closing his eyes. He was sick with pity.

He had never felt this before—not when Henry Cameron collapsed in the office at his feet, not when he saw Steven Mallory sobbing on a bed before him. Those moments had been clean. But this was pity—this complete awareness of a man without worth or hope, this sense of finality, of the not to be redeemed. There was shame in this feeling—his own shame that he should have to pronounce such judgment upon a man, that he should know an emotion which contained no shred of respect.

Watching Perigo’s descent into irrationality, observing people engaged in just plain stupidity and hypocrisy by using their reason to justify spite and rejection—all this has brought me closer to the feeling Rand wrote about than thinking about any of the losers I knew in the gutter when I was actively addicted to drugs.

Let me be clear about this. My pity is not for the Objectivist garbage as human beings. I clearly believe in redemption of the person, otherwise I would not be writing right now. My pity is for their spiteful irrational behavior and their insistence on turning themselves into impotent mooching haters when they have precious productive lives to lead. Where would they be without practically free Internet publication and low-cost print? Certainly not coughing up a million dollars for the motion picture rights to Atlas Shrugged and fighting a battle against irrationality for years worthy of the John Galt Line like a real-life Objectivist hero—and I mean Mr. John Aglialoro.

As icing to my cake of pity, I now observe a smattering of homogeneous praise roll in for Perigo’s speech on SLOP. Here are some of the pearls of acclaim and applause:

FUCK YEAH!

Well said , Linz.

Great speech, one I really appreciate right now.

Phenomenal Linz. (…)The world is lucky to have people like you around.

Great screaming cry of hope!

Really inspirational.

Linz was as near to on fire as a human being can be without actually incinerating.

And WOW, what a speech! I really wish I could have seen it live; the passion in it is electric even when all you hear is the audio. Linz makes an eloquent and inspiring argument of a sort that's rarely seen in this day of societal appeasement and political correctness. Bravissimo, signore!

I just finished listening to the speech from my hotel room in Torun, Poland. Wow is right. Bravo Linz!

Fantastic! I just listened to the audio file while sitting on my balcony in Amsterdam with a glass of wine and a cigar. Well said and Bravo!!!

Ahem…

I thought faking reality was an un-Objectivist thing to do. Isn’t that what second-handers do? Fake reality?

I was there in California. Not at the event, but close. Almost nobody showed up. That’s a fact.

I was also once an insider and I know exactly the kind of e-mails and telephone calls people receive from Perigo to manipulate public opinion. His habit is to constantly e-mail and call people like mad to push them into posting support for one thing or the other. I simply can’t believe that Perigo would solicit the kind of gushes that have been put up, though. He’s a has-been, but he can’t be that desperate. I do believe that people like Cresswell and Elliot would have no problem in doing so. And I also believe that Perigo would encourage them.

I know of no article or speech by Perigo where there has been such gushing homogeneity from people who do not normally talk or write like that. Just look at what the posters usually write and look at what most all of them did on this thread (with a couple of obviously unsolicited posts).

I do wish the backstage orchestrators would exhibit more competence and make requests for people to try to vary their praise. This level of amateurishness in public is embarrassing for Objectivism. This reminds me of Communism and Objectivism cannot be spread like Communism. It won’t work. There are simply too many smart people learning the philosophy. Like I said, this prompts pity in me. Also, there is the fact that Perigo, now a washed up has-been, cannot get such praise from the general public (not his minions) without someone asking for it. That is very sad.

Still, life ain’t so bad. Garbage men can have a bit of fun before they take off from work. (I truly hope this particular trash run is over for a while, though.) One aspect of the Free Radical that I have always criticized is the visual layout. It is horrible. Just horrible. The people in charge of doing that are complete turkeys at visual communication. I have only seen a similar low level in high school or church magazines.

Even in choice of photos. For example, in a section of Perigo’s article devoted to explaining how Barbara Branden was a witch with a serpent’s tongue, the editors published the following photo:

BarbaraBrandenserious.jpg

I’m sorry. I don’t see any “witchness” there. The more I look at it, the more I think, “Yes, Barbara is still a very beautiful woman.” Yet, I do see a tinge of contempt and no respect in her expression, as if she were looking at something of which she did not approve. I also see a tinge of poignancy. Maybe she was thinking about her incompetent detractors and fighting off pity similar to Rand’s quote when this was taken. It certainly looks like it.

On the other hand, here is a recent photo of Valliant and Perigo in California proudly posted on SLOP.

linz_and_james_valliant_0.jpg

Now I ask you. Not knowing either of these gentlemen, would any of you dear readers buy a used car from them—either one of them or both—on the basis of this picture? Even if it were a great bargain? A steal?

I know I wouldn’t. The odds would be too great in favor of buying a turkey.

Gobble, gobble, gobble…

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If only 7-10 people attended this "event," while scores attended Barbara's, why give these people the time of day?

Do you not see how you are playing into their hands? They LOVE this sort of attack.

Attack is ATTENTION.

I've said it before. The best gift you can give to these parasites and guttersnipes is attention. They crave it. Why else do they go all the way to Orange, California -- in one case, from New Zealand -- if not to leech from the TAS audience?

The Roarkian lesson is: Don't think of them. Do your positive work. Don't give these people the sanction and gift of notice.

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Robert, I agree with you completely. Would it be possible for us to post here David Kelley's essay "Better Things to Do"? I think it very nicely summarizes the reasons for focusing on our positive, creative, constructive work -- and letting the parasites and haters and do-nothings (except criticize those who produce) cannabilize each other and, inevitably, die of malnutrition.

REB

P.S. -- There is very good reason for optimism following the wonderful week we shared at Chapman University in Orange, CA. I eagerly welcome TAS's publishing of the various related talks by you, Ed, Barbara, and others. Really, really, good stuff. Not to mention Alexander Cohen's two-parter on "Aristotelian Ethics for Objectivists," which totally knocked my socks off!

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Hey guys,

Would you believe it if I said I agree with you? I was just feeling ornery and I DON'T LIKE crummy little people who attack Barbara on Internet forums and in print. (Somebody once called me her lapdog. That was highly offensive. Everybody knows I am her bulldog.)

I think my points were clear so I don't have to keep harping on them. Newbies to forums now have another side to this issue they can read so they can decide what they want to think.

On to much more pleasant things. I'm now working on a chronicle of my experiences at the that wonderful Seminar. I want to try to bring some of the magic to our OL readers. Also, I will be setting up a David Kelley Corner tomorrow. This guy completely won me over and his work needs to be discussed on forums.

As I said, Atlantis exists. I saw it and it is inhabited by some of the nicest, most intelligent people I have ever met. All we have to do is keep building and it will grow.

Michael

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I don't know, boys...

The ignore strategy is by an large a very good one. It is particularly good in the more minor day-to-day situations.

And it is true that withdrawal of attention (or at least not creating the opportunity for further attention) is strong medicine. Sure, absolutely.

Outing is pretty good too, though, especially if you have enough hah-hah material to work with, which is clearly the case here. Sometimes, you don't have to just settle for giving someone enough rope to hang themselves with- you can go out and buy the rope, build the gallows, and leave it there with a bow on it, and an engraved invitation. Over and over in engagements (and this is somewhat of an engagement), it is proven that a prudent, well-chosen offense will generally out-perform non-action, or a defensive posture. It's usually good to get in front of something you don't care for, something whose malevolence you want to quash.

The Perigo/Valliant shack-up is precious, nearly cartoon-like. I say shack-up because it is not a marriage; do you think they could ever truly meld as close friends? It is a hastily cobbled alliance, and in human affairs that always speaks for itself, it plays out the same.

I already posted my first-blush take of Perigo's talk, and MSK's rendering of the little soiree is, to the tee, exactly as I knew it would be. Any good performer knows when to duck a gig like that thing, but not these two. I suppose they figured they could parlay it, and that almost got started, what with the rave reviews from what amounts to plants within the SOLOP forum, those loving minions I use "minions" because for one I am pretty sure that's how Perigo at least views his sphere of influence, being a prime-moving idea man and all around great thinker- plus, I just like saying "minions," it's fun.

Sidebar: Valliant is clearly more real about things of this nature, having some tangible credentials as a capitalist, albeit through being a lawyer, which can go a couple of ways, in my considerable experience with lawyers, particularly in the business world. I'm not saying all lawyers are bad, they are not, but generally I consider them unnecessary boat anchors and deal killers when it comes to business. I can't show you my giant dossier of evidence to validate my hypothesis, because of non-disclosure issues.

Let's just say Valliant has more street-knowledge when it comes to self-promotion, and has even managed to acquire a bit of street credibility as he ran his racket. I can respect that efficacy, in a way.

Perigo and anger. What revealed itself more than anything else is his nearly-comprehensive non-understanding of how humans are put together, how their equipment operates. One would think that if he is, as he says, an advocate of reason and rationality, he would understand the disabling effect that anger has upon rational (and tolerant) behavior. Instead, he seems to covet the emotion anger as a fuel-booster. By his way of looking at it, if we don't have it on a pretty regular basis, or if we work to understand and titrate our emotional boilovers, we are somehow doing offense to reason. Hmmm. I don't think he understands that it is not an either/or kind of situation, but one that requires harmonization, balance.

Or maybe he does know that, but also knows that to influence otherwise would surely be counterproductive to his way of doing ideological business. After all, he is an impresario, and a performer. I see nothing all that substantive in his work- he hosts a radio show, puts out a little magazine, and so forth. Basically, he is not that different from a B-grade lounge musician, with the lounge musician probably being the better earner. Prime mover? Not bloody likely. Two words: Air Conducting.

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Though not pre-planned to do so, a number of stellar TAS/TOC Summer Seminar talks tackled the issue of problems within the Objectivist movement.

TAS is in the process of compiling the following talks, and will issue them in several formats, and post them online as well:

"Rage and Objectivism" by Barbara Branden.

"Mature Objectivism" (excerpts) by Ed Hudgins

"Who Is An Objectivist?" by Will Thomas

"The Anatomy of Cooperation" by me (Robert Bidinotto)

Each of these talks address different aspects of the ugly schisms, denunciations, and emotionalism that has marred the Objectivist movement since NBI days. They supplement and update the case in David Kelley's Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand. But because they focus on the timeless principles involved, they make that case without giving the latest tiny gang of rage-gorged moral poseurs any of the personal attention they so desperately crave.

The combined impact of all these talks is simply extraordinary in its depth, insight, and persuasiveness. I am confident that they constitute what will be seen as the definitive case against the sort of nonsense that has become an obsession of too many -- both of the perpetrators, and of those equally obsessed opponents, whose pointless debates with the perpetrators continue to add fuel to the fires.

You will see this material on our website very soon, and published soon thereafter in audio and perhaps print formats, as well.

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It is clear from the timing, location and setting of this particular tirade that the whole purpose of Perigo’s talk was not to defend the virtue of rational passion but to perpetuate his vicious assault on Barbara Branden. Michael expressed his own brand of “Objectivist Rage,” and, with the possible exception of the health-related references, his comments are completely justified. I might have chosen a less satirical tone, but no admirer of Barbara—myself included--could possibly want to remain silent on this. Much like Valliant’s book, Perigo’s speech appears to be a cruel personal attack masquerading as an analytical exercise. It is despicable, pathetic and immature and deserves to be publicly labeled as such in no uncertain terms. An Objectivist forum such as OL, which is doing a commendable job of establishing itself as a sane and civilized alternative to SOLO PASSION, is the proper place to do so.

Dennis

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Dennis,

Thanks for your kind words and for bringing the health issue up. Let me state something for the record since I did skate over the tasteless line.

Anybody who knows me knows that I do not, nor ever would, take sadistic pleasure in the poor health of another human being. That is so not me. However, due to the insane online persecutions of Barbara and others by Perigo, resulting in that silly shaking the Objectivist world crap (as if he could) when he targeted Chris Sciabarra, I couldn't resist the puns. (Hell, I thought the hangover thing, tasteless as it was, worked beautifully.)

So, to be absolutely clear, let me state that I do not wish ill health for Perigo. I do not wish that. On the contrary, I sincerely wish him well and a speedy recovery, both as a human being (I'm the "touchy-feely" Objectivist, don't forget) and as an intellectual enemy. If he were near me and had some kind of attack, I would do everything in my power to get him to proper medical care.

I would do that out of empathy. And, as the saying goes: "I wish long life and good heath for my enemies so they may behold my victory standing up."

Michael

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Michael, I agree with Robert; it's better to ignore the likes of

Lindsey Perigo, James Valliant and Diana Hsieh. I can certainly

understand your anger at the smears leveled against good people like

Barbara Branden and Chris Sciabarra, but the slanderers are rather

insignificant and unworthy of thought. It took me a while to get over

my anger and realize this.

 

Robert, I was unable to attend TAS/TOC Summer Seminar. I'm looking

forward to the availability of these talks on line.

Mick

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In answer to Roger Bissell's request above, David Kelley's 1994 essay, "Better Things to Do," is posted online here:

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth--3-Be..._Things_Do.aspx

One of the things that has occurred to me recently is just how parasitical is the anger/"passion" of the emotionalist-Objectivists. Observe that the focus of their "passion" is wholly other-directed. As Rand wrote in a letter to Nathaniel Branden on Sept. 1, 1950, "Anger is a form of recognition. It amounts to admitting that those people are important to you and that they have the power to hurt you. Actually, they haven't."

To dwell on such anger—to nurture it, to encourage it in others, and then to blame those who rise above it as being unconcerned with values—is a sad confession of psychological dependency. Consider the degree of obsessive dependency required to draw someone from half a world away simply to fulminate in the shadows of those who make him angry, in the pathetic hope of being noticed by them, and cheered on by a tiny claque.

Of course, this juvenile petulance is bolstered by an "argument." But methodologically, the "case" for anger and rage rests entirely on rationalism. The basis for this rationalism rests in the very definition of "anger" that was apparently offered at the parasitical counter-event to the TAS Seminar in Orange, CA, last week. Michael (above) brilliantly exposes what is wrong with that definition:

To be fair, Perigo did define anger in general, but it is so limited in the context of his speech—or anywhere else for that matter—that it is useless as a definition. He stated:

"Anger is an intense emotion reflecting strongly held convictions and values."

Actually, this applies to love, fear, delight and many emotions, not just anger. Try it. “Love is an intense emotion reflecting strongly held convictions and values;” or “fear is an intense emotion reflecting strongly held convictions and values.” Any of the basic emotions fit.

Indeed. In fact, every emotion is a psycho-physiological "response to values." But what values? "Convictions and values" can be valid, or not—life-affirming, or life-denying—positive, or negative. Killers and sociopaths can also become angry and enraged when thwarted, when something occurs contrary to their expectations and hopes. So, does their anger reflect "strongly held convictions and values"—and are we thus supposed to praise them for it?

Rand said, "Don't bother to examine a folly—ask yourself what it accomplishes." In that vein, note what this completely bogus "definition" of anger accomplishes. The equation of anger with strong commitment to "convictions and values" is an attempt to smuggle into the very definition of anger the seeds of the subsequent argument, allowing it to become "true"...by definition! All one need to do is to deduce away, rationalistically, from the definition, and—voila!—one's anger becomes a moral badge of honor.

But suppose one incorporates into the definition any of the other, familiar, but less savory characteristics of anger. Such as frustration. Such as a sense of social impotence. Or, following Rand: such as the sense of the profound importance of others, and of their power over you.

Try deducing the character implications of "anger" and "rage" from any of that. Is the emerging portrait of the angry man an admirable one?

As Barbara Branden was absolutely careful to indicate in her speech, there is such a thing as justifiable anger. But anger is not always justified. And like all emotions, the emotion of anger itself betokens neither virtue nor vice—merely a strong response based on thwarted expectations or other frustrations.

To harbor this sense of outrage, of hurt, of frustration; to wear it as a badge of honor; to make it central to one's psychological and ethical outlook...this is not an emblem of morality. It is a sign of gross immaturity, of a state of frozen emotional adolescence or even emotional infancy.

It is certainly not a sign of that serenity of spirit celebrated by Ayn Rand in the characters of her two ultimate fictional heroes, Howard Roark and John Galt.

How should we respond to the purveyors of rage? Well, an adult does not deal with unruly, unreasoning adolescents and spoiled, fulminating children by futile argument and persuasion. When kids throw irrational temper tantrums, a mature adult knows that it's time to send them to their rooms.

Metaphorically speaking, I suggest the same treatment to this latest clique of raging adolescents. Send them to their rooms. Or, rather, let them stew and fuss and spit and fume in their tiny online enclaves. Let them rage until such time as they begin to remember their birthdates, and the fact that they are no longer kids—and that if they expect to ever keep the company of mature adults, they must begin to behave with the civility and dignity that their ages, and adult society, expect and demand.

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I wish someone like Perigo could be sent to his room, but, alas, he is (at least on paper, and in addition to being a curmudgeon) a legal adult.

Ignoring him and his like is certainly an attractive option; "I don't think of you." But, oh, I do. I think of him whenever I see a shiny new young

O-ist-to-be pull into the cyber parking lot. There aren't that many choices, you know, and Perigo's site might as well be called abduction van dot-com. Like church congregations, new members are important. Impressionable ones are even more important for guys like him, what with all the bridge burning, and such. So I count on the naturally inquisitive-mindedness of these folks just as much as a Perigo does--just for the entirely different reason of wanting them to know they're facing a curmudgeon, an ill-tempered clique, one that might take you in but will likely throw you under the bus for the smallest reason.

Putting newbies on the front line is a recnt trend in SOLOP curmudgeon-craft. One is encouraged to write an essay! Oh my, strokies!

You can see how it all gets rolling, next thing they know they're just another one of the minions (or dozens, more sure to say).

rde

We provide a Valuable Public Service in the form of

manufacturing excellent Curmudgeon repellent.

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Rich -- and everybody -- perhaps a viable strategy for influencing newbies toward our philosophy and away from that of Dizzy Vertigo, Dyin' O'Shame, and the Gang would be to let them continue to make their sites as unattractive as they have so far -- and to continue to make Objectivist Living as attractive as possible. This implies that we should talk as little about them here as possible, except to refer to the nastiness they're engaging in there as the yucky phenomenon it is and not truly representative of Objectivism -- and to focus on our own positive things of value we have to offer. Remember, the more they are stirred up on their sites to engage in vitriol and dirt-throwing, the more they scare good people away from their distorted, sick version of Objectivism. That's a good thing, right? All we really have to do is put up a day-glo billboard for the healthy alternative, right? Build it, and they will come -- as in "Field of Dreams." Or "Field of Reason, Purpose, and Self-Esteem." Or whatever.

REB

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Yeah, yeah, yeah.......

MSK just look at how much space you spent on Heckle and Jeckle!

You should have been talking about BARBARA!!!!!!

What's she like in person?

What was she wearing?

Did she look FANTABULOUS?!!!

Did she smell good? Chanel? Estee Lauder? Escada perhaps?

Was she just to die for?

Did you touch her? Is she real?

Boxers or Briefs?

I want to know everything!!!!!!!!

gw

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Gary - Something's in the oven. When it comes out and cools off, then I'll serve it. Barbara deserves the best writing I can muster.

Here are a couple of opinions to chew on for now. She is one hell of a lady. I mean that. Also, as a heroine that I have carried in my heart for well over three decades, meeting her did not disappoint me as so often happens with the famous. She exceeded my expectations.

I had the time of my life getting to know her in person. (Kat too.)

Robert - Dayaamm! I'm flabbergasted. Thank you very much, both for the quote and for the extremely insightful analysis.

Roger (Mick too) - Thank you for that thought of sanity. It really is time to move on to the good stuff.

Rich - Time to move on, but keep the iron oiled. Keep packin' for now.

Michael

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Gary, yes -- she was lovely and absolutely charming.

But more importantly, her talk, "Rage and Objectivism," was absolutely stellar. Analytically brilliant, rhetorically elegant, calmly delivered, and completely spellbinding. It was -- in content, style, and Barbara's own demeanor -- a withering refutation of her critics, whom she was far too classy even to name.

The Summer Seminar audience is a tough crowd, but she got a long standing ovation for her masterful dissection of those who have hijacked and vandalized Objectivism.

I simply can't wait for my colleagues at TAS to publish and post this talk, and for interested individuals to then compare it "side-by-side" against the "rage"-driven attack against her that occurred the same week. The direct comparison will be utterly devastating to the credibility of her critics.

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I am looking forward to seeing Barbara's talk in print. I have high expectations for it based on her commitment to reason and her practice of thinking. Her detractors have not shown such a commitment. It really makes a difference!

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Oh yes, indeedy, MSK, I always pack- what do you expect out of a guy that works in East Cleveland six days a week? 8)

I think I am satisfied that I can at least for awhile scale back on the fly-over grenade droppings; because it perpetuates itself so well anyhow.

Un-freaking believable. The latest comment about the Perigo on the Mount sermon:

"In all candor, this could be one of the best speeches made by a human being in recent years. Out of curiosity, was every word written in advance, or was it ad libbed? In either case, bravo!"

Oh, my... that just...

And I wonder what he thinks the best non-human speeches have been, in recent years? In all candor, please- don't gild the lilly!

rde

Nice job kissing the curmudgeon's er, ring, dude.

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