How Do I Become a Good Objectivist?


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By the way Michael, if you interpreted any of my posts to be suggesting that Jonathan's posts were in violation of an OL posting rules, that was not my intention. I was only referring to RoR.

We all have different ideas about what is offensive, mean-spirited, dishonest, etc.

Ethan

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RoR is a website. So it cannot be a cult. Do you mean RoR managament is a cult or all the members of RoR are a cult, or just those members who agree with the new dissent moderation policy? Please clarify your statment so I can consider it properly.

At least the management and those who support its policies.

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Ethan,

We all have different ideas about what is offensive, mean-spirited, dishonest, etc.

I'll agree with that.

Still, OL and RoR are two websites devoted to Objectivism, even having some of the same "heavies" in the Objectivist sub-community as members. Our ideas can be different to a degree, but there should be some point where we agree. Otherwise we get into subjectivism.

The ideas and evaluations of OL on these matters are public and open for all to read (in the Corner Office). The ideas and evaluations RoR are being withheld from the public (except for establishing prohibitions for specific members) for reasons known only to you and the others involved. When and if someday you wish to reveal them, we will have a basis for comparison.

Michael

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Jonathan

Perhaps a good first step would be for me to stop studying art and art history since there seems to be a strong correlation between lack of knowledge about art and having correct Objectivist opinions about it.

Well, since you did ask, here is an interesting assignment that involves Objectivist art history.

When I was Psychology Leader of the old SoloHQ, I chose a painting by Ayn Rand's husband Frank O'Connor, Diminishing Returns to be on the greeting page. I saw the symbolism in that painting to be a powerful way of denoting the tension between the volitional and non-volitional aspects of our brains (which gives rise to the field of psychology), and also it was a means of tying everything in with Objectivism through Rand's own implied sanction of the painting.

I was informed by Rowlands at the time that this was not an appropriate image for the Psychology Forum and he had a derogatory opinion of the work. (I will not publish his correspondence or give his exact words, since it was private and I don't do that. However, commenting on the overall notion does not betray any confidence or violate any property.)

Now here we have a problem. I do not know what Ayn Rand's exact appraisal of this painting was, but one assumes that if her opinion was the same as the public statements she made about Frank's other works, she approved of it at the very least. That is why I used the phrase "implied sanction" above. To my knowledge, she never blasted Frank's works. Ever.

So we come to a deadlock. What should the proper view of art be when you have a concrete example like that? Do you go with Rand, not knowing for sure what she thought, but having a pretty good notion based on other examples and history? Or do you go along with Rowlands's stated appraisal, knowing he might be contradicting Rand?

Problems, problems, problems. What's a good Objectivist to do?

The assignment: Please tell us whose appraisal of this painting you adopt and why you adopt the view of that person.

Good luck on the assignment. This one's tricky to get correct.

Michael

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Please tell us whose appraisal of this painting you adopt and why you adopt the view of that person.

God's! He/She has the only absolute perspective.

<_<

:blink:

:mellow:

:huh:

:angry:

:unsure:

:(

:o

:)

Otherwise, I am stuck with mine. All I have, at best, is an autonomous perspective. It's much better to trust a higher authority....... What do you mean there may be no God. If there is no God I will have to find someone else to trust. Does anyone know where I can find a guru?

I do know one thing: if that guru claims to be an Objectivist, he is either lying or irrational. Either way, I should not trust his judgement. Any Objectivist who suggests I defer my judgement to someone else is a fraud. If disagreements are resolved by the forcing, or the deceiving, or the negating of my judgement (perhaps by downgrading my social status and marginalizing the value of my statements) by those who call themselves Objectivists, then they have a very poor understanding of the principles of Objectivism, a poor integration of the principles of Objectivism, or they are being willfully fraudulent. One of the basic principles of Objectivism is the respect for each individual's right to autonomy. The root of social/political autonomy is an autonomous perspective built from the exercise of one's own judgement, the processing of one's own experience, and the actions of one's own will. Anything that tries to bypass this, whether through one's own default or through another's manipulation, is anti-Objectivist and just plain wrong.

Paul

Edited by Paul Mawdsley
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Thanks, all, for the comments and compliments. I'm tight for time right now but will post some thoughts when I get some free time in the next few days.

And I'll do my "assignment," Michael.

J

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So are you saying, anyone who agrees with the RoR moderation policy is a cult member?

You know the answer, so why the question? Yes, those members who agree with putting Ellen Stuttle on moderation while she protested against my banishment and who agree with banishing Jonathan while he doesn't agree with all the judgements by Rand and Rowlands about certain art works are cult members. For them strict adherence to the party line is apparently more important than the possibility of expressing an independent opinion.

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Now that I think of it, there is one question left- Ethan said that, from what he saw out of Jonathan here, he found other criteria for moderation. What on earth could that be? All I saw was him laying down what was on his mind, and his take on why he got sent over to the gulag. I can't imagine he would be a flowers and love writing about that. I for one would like to hear more about this unacceptable behavior, because I didn't see a lick of anything in there. Maybe not liking to hear it is one thing, but so what?

Still no answer... How long shall we have to wait? Till the cows come home?

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So are you saying, anyone who agrees with the RoR moderation policy is a cult member?

You know the answer, so why the question? Yes, those members who agree with putting Ellen Stuttle on moderation while she protested against my banishment and who agree with banishing Jonathan while he doesn't agree with all the judgements by Rand and Rowlands about certain art works are cult members. For them strict adherence to the party line is apparently more important than the possibility of expressing an independent opinion.

So cultist means someone who agrees with something you disagree with?

Ethan

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Now that I think of it, there is one question left- Ethan said that, from what he saw out of Jonathan here, he found other criteria for moderation. What on earth could that be? All I saw was him laying down what was on his mind, and his take on why he got sent over to the gulag. I can't imagine he would be a flowers and love writing about that. I for one would like to hear more about this unacceptable behavior, because I didn't see a lick of anything in there. Maybe not liking to hear it is one thing, but so what?

Still no answer... How long shall we have to wait? Till the cows come home?

It's a cult thing, you wouldn't understand.

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Paul,

Dayaamm!

Are sure you are a good Objectivist?

:)

Michael

"Oh mama I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law. Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don't have very long...." (Styx)

HEYAAAAAAA! I'm a renegade.

Paul

(Some music that spoke to me in my teens still speaks to me today.)

Edited by Paul Mawdsley
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Hey Michael,

You could create an exclusive forum right here-- a sort of anti-forum to the dissenter forum on RoR, where people must go to talk about Objectivism only in orthodox terms. No dissenters allowed! Strictly ortho-O-talk all the time. I imagine it would be very attractive to the independent minded among us. A haven where we don't have to listen to views which contradict our own and we find hard to find any fault in the reasoning.

Why do I hear the sounds of crickets chirping?

Paul

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It's rather curious that someone from RoR is trying to engage here in discussions exactly those people who were banished on RoR while their opinions were not welcome there. I have a suspicion that he is not really interested in our opinion, but is only trying to make trouble here by trolling. Perhaps we should no longer feed this troll.

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So cultist means someone who agrees with something you disagree with?

Are you really that dumb or are you just trolling here?

Dragonfly,

It's a conclusion that I'm drawing from what you said. That's why I'm asking you to clarify your position. No need to call me names.

Ethan

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It's rather curious that someone from RoR is trying to engage here in discussions exactly those people who were banished on RoR while their opinions were not welcome there. I have a suspicion that he is not really interested in our opinion, but is only trying to make trouble here by trolling. Perhaps we should no longer feed this troll.

There is nothing so curious about it. A policy was adopted on RoR that several posters here have had serious issues with. I simply came over to present information that I had and point out why I think there is nothing wrong with the new policy. You disagree and that's fine.

Ethan

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Ethan's OK that we're OK:

"There is nothing so curious about it. A policy was adopted on RoR that several posters here have had serious issues with. I simply came over to present information that I had and point out why I think there is nothing wrong with the new policy. You disagree and that's fine."

So, perhaps you don't have an answer for this (if you don't, I wonder if your team ever talks about anything, I find it difficult to believe that you do not, but still...)- an answer for the "why," the thinking beneath the action, which means using various types of banishment/confinement without publicly delineating the posting policy.

Aside from the kneejerk answer that it's Rowlands' and he can do what he wants, how do you feel about that type of approach? No one will hold you to anything, it's fine... I can tell you my thoughts on that kind of approach, it's no different from what old-style business management was like (and, btw, it largely failed- NB writes a lot about that in "Self-Esteem at Work- How Confident People Make Powerful Companies). It provides a free-floating, grey policy. It is not even a double standard- it's a non-standard, consisting of "you'll know what the policy is whenever I enact it." It is disconnected leadership, and the biggest flaw of it is that it does not foster respect for the leader, because one never knows what pleases him and what does not until it's too late. It's a major control thing.

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Ethan's OK that we're OK:

"There is nothing so curious about it. A policy was adopted on RoR that several posters here have had serious issues with. I simply came over to present information that I had and point out why I think there is nothing wrong with the new policy. You disagree and that's fine."

So, perhaps you don't have an answer for this (if you don't, I wonder if your team ever talks about anything, I find it difficult to believe that you do not, but still...)- an answer for the "why," the thinking beneath the action, which means using various types of banishment/confinement without publicly delineating the posting policy.

Aside from the kneejerk answer that it's Rowlands' and he can do what he wants, how do you feel about that type of approach? No one will hold you to anything, it's fine... I can tell you my thoughts on that kind of approach, it's no different from what old-style business management was like (and, btw, it largely failed- NB writes a lot about that in "Self-Esteem at Work- How Confident People Make Powerful Companies). It provides a free-floating, grey policy. It is not even a double standard- it's a non-standard, consisting of "you'll know what the policy is whenever I enact it." It is disconnected leadership, and the biggest flaw of it is that it does not foster respect for the leader, because one never knows what pleases him and what does not until it's too late. It's a major control thing.

Hey Rich,

In our cult we just do what the boss says. :D

To answer your question, I have no problem with this type of policy. If I owned a sight I may have a similar one. As far as the notice prior to establishment issue, if I had my own site I may have (may) announced it ahead of time. I think that would result in even more outcry. People would claim that it was an attempt to threaten people into adopting certain ideas, etc. Then you would have the outcry of people as they were moderated. Like I said, someone is going to be pissed no matter what.

Ethan

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Well, I guess it's less of a discussion forum, and more like Joe's ideological development site, the development path being to cull out (or at least segregate) anyone that isn't in alignment with Joe's thinking. That's definitely not a forum. Forums don't nab people for having different takes on things- they moderate harrassers, ad hominem attackers, things where the purposes are not to engage in dialogue. That's pretty standard moderation, and yes, people still bitch.

But clearly, that's not what Joe is doing. He's doing a little sanitizing. A little minion-molding.

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Well, I guess it's less of a discussion forum, and more like Joe's ideological development site, the development path being to cull out (or at least segregate) anyone that isn't in alignment with Joe's thinking. That's definitely not a forum. Forums don't nab people for having different takes on things- they moderate harrassers, ad hominem attackers, things where the purposes are not to engage in dialogue. That's pretty standard moderation, and yes, people still bitch.

But clearly, that's not what Joe is doing. He's doing a little sanitizing. A little minion-molding.

I disagree.

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I see a disagreement but no why. I am saying that he moderates on the fly, and that moderation extends beyond the usual going after trolling, ad hominems, etc. He says the goal is to advance the philosophy of Objectivism, and create a new Renaissance. That's the stated purpose, and that's about all other than the mentions of offering editing help, loose style guidelines, etc. Apparently you have to experience his moderation in order to understand it. And, that moderation consists of whether or not Joe wants it on his site or not. It is extended to providing an area for dissenters. Recently, he has started placing those he deems dissenters into that area.

This is all fine, all his right in his house, but it's without doubt a lot less a living breathing area for fluid exchange of ideas- Joe is doing some Big Brother. Not moderation- Big Brother. Big difference, obvious difference.

Edited by Rich Engle
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I see a disagreement but no why. I am saying that he moderates on the fly, and that moderation extends beyond the usual going after trolling, ad hominems, etc. He says the goal is to advance the philosophy of Objectivism, and create a new Renaissance. That's the stated purpose, and that's about all other than the mentions of offering editing help, loose style guidelines, etc. Apparently you have to experience his moderation in order to understand it. And, that moderation consists of whether or not Joe wants it on his site or not. It is extended to providing an area for dissenters. Recently, he has started placing those he deems dissenters into that area.

This is all fine, all his right in his house, but it's without doubt a lot less a living breathing area for fluid exchange of ideas- Joe is doing some Big Brother. Not moderation- Big Brother. Big difference, obvious difference.

Rich,

Participation on RoR is voluntary. You admit Joe has the right to do what he's done, but you seem to see some conflict between his sated purpose and his actions. I don't see that conflict. IF there is a conflict, Joe's goals will suffer. Since people here apparently don't like Joe, and some have even called him a cult leader, I don't see the concern. Time will tell.

Ethan

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I wouldn't know about any of that scuttlebutt about Joe. I think on the whole he is a very good writer. As far as his leadership skills, not sure. This latest doesn't impress me, but whatever.

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