Selective timeline and links of the Kelley-Peikoff schism


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Mike:

>Also, I have no doubt that if the streaker had been playing some kind of prank WITH HIS CLOTHES ON, Rand's discourse on the principles involved would have been different.

This is the key point. You could even make a strong Objectivist argument for the streaker if you like. To whip something up as an example:

"Art that is proper to man qua man - that is, true Objectivist art - can and should be a celebration of the human spirit and the human body fully integrated, of the true nature of man unsullied by mere fashion and whim: man as a heroic object of worship, not denigrated as an animal living in the brutish range-of-the-moment. Yet observe the spiritual degradation, the profound self-loathing of "liberal" left wing Hollywood, as it honours disgusting smears of man's true nature with its highest awards; like the gangster worshipping "Godfather II", or even worse "Chinatown" - a movie that is nothing more than a sleazy portrait of crime, violence and incest, reveling in filth, made by a paedophile and fugitive. Underneath its fancy dress, modern Hollywood is a corrupt, bitter old leper that has turned her back on reality. What more rational, objective protest could be made against these vicious smears than by hurling the true, beautiful body of man, in the kind of display of masterful male athletic prowess appreciated by Aristotle himself, in the face of this corrupt sham! A high speed arc of rationality, a lightning streak of objectivity, blasting the intrinsicist/subjectivist hordes with an act of courageous, transcendent purity -that is what we witness at the 1974 Academy Awards. If you don't understand the full meaning of this magnificent gesture, I would have to seriously question whether you truly understand Objectivism itself..."

See how easy - not to mention fun - this is?

Edited by Daniel Barnes
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Michael,

I would say that this underscores a problem with Objectivism: its rationalism. Just as Rand "knows" why the streaker did what he did w/o the facts, Peikoff knows why the Nazis came to power.

I'm the last to deny the importance of ideas in the rise of the Nazis, but it's also the case that if Hitler's opponents had acted a bit more wisely, he might not have taken over.

Or as Nathaniel Branden said decades ago: "What if Hitler had been run over by a horsecart when he was a kid?"--or words to that effect.

--Brant

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An omnibus reply to several posts...

[....] You could even make a strong Objectivist argument for the streaker if you like. To whip something up as an example:

[skipping the example]

See how easy - not to mention fun - this is?

Easy and fun maybe; but not plausibly Ayn Rand.

Notice how Leonard describes her remarks:

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...ost&p=34245

"Here," she said to me in effect, "is a nationally acclaimed occasion replete with celebrities, jeweled ballgowns, coveted prizes, and breathless cameras, an occasion offered to the country as the height of excitement, elegance, glamor [...]."

He's paraphrasing her; but she did think of the film industry as an icon of glamor, however much she might have disapproved of particular films being made, and of watering down to the lowest common denominator, etc. She'd revered the film industry from afar in Russia. She took begowned, bejeweled displays, echoes of Garbo and Dietrich, etc., seriously. On the other hand, she had no sympathies for the sexual liberationist hippiedom cultural trends of which the streaker fad was a sort of tail-end (forgive the pun) manifestation. (I still recall the scathing scorn of her voice tones when she spoke of "hippies.") She wouldn't have drawn a parallel to Greek sculptures glorifying the human body. I think she felt personally insulted by the streaker's appearance at (fanfare) The Academy Awards (gasp).

Neil comments:

[....] Just as Rand "knows" why the streaker did what he did w/o the facts, Peikoff knows why the Nazis came to power.

Again quoting "My Thirty Years...":

[my emphasis]

Listening to Ayn Rand that evening, I felt that I was beginning to understand what it means really to understand an event. I went home and proceeded to write the chapter in my book The Ominous Parallels about Weimar culture, which develops at length Ayn Rand's analysis of the modern intellectual trend.

I recall thinking upon reading "My Thirty Years..." when it appeared in The Objectivist Forum, Yes, well, just so: the methodology he uses in The Ominous Parallels indeed does share the flaws of her streaker analysis. He learned the "lesson."

==

Another detail about his account: He refers to her throughout as "Ayn Rand": interesting compromise between referring to her as "Ayn" -- too familiar I suppose he would have thought -- and referring to her as "Miss Rand," as he typically did in lectures and speeches -- too formal for the specific occasion, I suppose he would have thought.

==

Dan,

It's unfortunate that no one had the courage or the brains to tell Rand, "Sometimes a streaker is just a streaker."

Or to tell her anything one had half an idea that she would take the wrong (right?) way.

--Brant

It wasn't simply a lack of courage or brains (though I think in some cases there was a lack of one or the other or both). It was also that one couldn't get anywhere telling her something she'd "take the wrong (right?) way." Vide the Blumenthals' experience trying re music and painting. Or the story told by John Hospers in his 2-part Liberty memoir "Conversations with Ayn Rand." I've been re-reading that memoir. I'll type in some passages tomorrow. I find the circumstances of John Hospers' relationship with her especially poignant and especially revealing in illustrating why she necessarily remained insulated from intelligent critique.

Ellen

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An omnibus reply to several posts...

[....] You could even make a strong Objectivist argument for the streaker if you like. To whip something up as an example:

[skipping the example]

See how easy - not to mention fun - this is?

Easy and fun maybe; but not plausibly Ayn Rand.

Notice how Leonard describes her remarks:

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...ost&p=34245

"Here," she said to me in effect, "is a nationally acclaimed occasion replete with celebrities, jeweled ballgowns, coveted prizes, and breathless cameras, an occasion offered to the country as the height of excitement, elegance, glamor [...]."

He's paraphrasing her; but she did think of the film industry as an icon of glamor, however much she might have disapproved of particular films being made, and of watering down to the lowest common denominator, etc. She'd revered the film industry from afar in Russia. She took begowned, bejeweled displays, echoes of Garbo and Dietrich, etc., seriously. On the other hand, she had no sympathies for the sexual liberationist hippiedom cultural trends of which the streaker fad was a sort of tail-end (forgive the pun) manifestation. (I still recall the scathing scorn of her voice tones when she spoke of "hippies.") She wouldn't have drawn a parallel to Greek sculptures glorifying the human body. I think she felt personally insulted by the streaker's appearance at (fanfare) The Academy Awards (gasp).

Neil comments:

[....] Just as Rand "knows" why the streaker did what he did w/o the facts, Peikoff knows why the Nazis came to power.

Again quoting "My Thirty Years...":

[my emphasis]

Listening to Ayn Rand that evening, I felt that I was beginning to understand what it means really to understand an event. I went home and proceeded to write the chapter in my book The Ominous Parallels about Weimar culture, which develops at length Ayn Rand's analysis of the modern intellectual trend.

I recall thinking upon reading "My Thirty Years..." when it appeared in The Objectivist Forum, Yes, well, just so: the methodology he uses in The Ominous Parallels indeed does share the flaws of her streaker analysis. He learned the "lesson."

==

Another detail about his account: He refers to her throughout as "Ayn Rand": interesting compromise between referring to her as "Ayn" -- too familiar I suppose he would have thought -- and referring to her as "Miss Rand," as he typically did in lectures and speeches -- too formal for the specific occasion, I suppose he would have thought.

==

Dan,

It's unfortunate that no one had the courage or the brains to tell Rand, "Sometimes a streaker is just a streaker."

Or to tell her anything one had half an idea that she would take the wrong (right?) way.

--Brant

It wasn't simply a lack of courage or brains (though I think in some cases there was a lack of one or the other or both). It was also that one couldn't get anywhere telling her something she'd "take the wrong (right?) way." Vide the Blumenthals' experience trying re music and painting. Or the story told by John Hospers in his 2-part Liberty memoir "Conversations with Ayn Rand." I've been re-reading that memoir. I'll type in some passages tomorrow. I find the circumstances of John Hospers' relationship with her especially poignant and especially revealing in illustrating why she necessarily remained insulated from intelligent critique.

Ellen

While I'm not a witness, I've said before and now I think Hospers got the boot because Rand didn't want the type of ratiocination he brought, necessarily, to their situation.

--Brant

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[...] the story told by John Hospers in his 2-part Liberty memoir "Conversations with Ayn Rand." I've been re-reading that memoir. I'll type in some passages tomorrow. I find the circumstances of John Hospers' relationship with her especially poignant and especially revealing in illustrating why she necessarily remained insulated from intelligent critique.

Ellen

While I'm not a witness, I've said before and now I think Hospers got the boot because Rand didn't want the type of ratiocination he brought, necessarily, to their situation.

--Brant

Are you saying this as a criticism of Hospers? I.e., are you using "ratiocination" as a pejorative? Or is your point that she didn't want any well-based challenges to her views, and he was qualified to make such? (I agree with that.) Or...some other interpretation I'm not thinking of.

Ellen

___

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[...] the story told by John Hospers in his 2-part Liberty memoir "Conversations with Ayn Rand." I've been re-reading that memoir. I'll type in some passages tomorrow. I find the circumstances of John Hospers' relationship with her especially poignant and especially revealing in illustrating why she necessarily remained insulated from intelligent critique.

Ellen

While I'm not a witness, I've said before and now I think Hospers got the boot because Rand didn't want the type of ratiocination he brought, necessarily, to their situation.

--Brant

Are you saying this as a criticism of Hospers? I.e., are you using "ratiocination" as a pejorative? Or is your point that she didn't want any well-based challenges to her views, and he was qualified to make such? (I agree with that.) Or...some other interpretation I'm not thinking of.

Ellen

___

She had had many philosophical discussions with Hospers. In Boston he demonstrated his basic frame of reference wasn't hers but that of philosophical give and take. If he had asserted himself as an Ayn Rand partisan the way NB did in his debate with Albert Ellis in 1967 she wouldn't have broken with him. She wanted agreement and affirmation, not any kind of criticism she could not answer without switching out of her "Atlas Shrugged" context. That context is that of the creator of a novel in which she was essentially beyond criticism for she was the deliverer of truth. After she made "Atlas," I don't think she ever left that context.

--Brant

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A resources question about Liberty back issues and their on-line availability: Does anyone here know if the John Hospers 2-part Liberty memoir "Conversations with Ayn Rand" (July and September 1990) is available via website?

I wrote in my post #53 above that I'd been re-reading the memoir and would "type in some passages tomorrow," since

[...] I find the circumstances of John Hospers' relationship with her especially poignant and especially revealing in illustrating why she necessarily remained insulated from intelligent critique.

I should know better by now than to say "tomorrow" about a project requiring my sitting at a computer screen for more than a brief while. The spirit might be willing; the flesh has its problems. And tomorrow (the coming tomorrow, not the one I meant) I won't be home. But I do find that memoir poignantly illuminating for a number of reasons, including its relevance to a type of question which has come up several times on this site: What would have happened if someone non-hostile toward her had respectfully but intelligently critiqued Rand?

The memoir's on-line accessability would expedite quoting passages.

Ellen

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John,

I Googled it and came up with the following list of contents in the now defunct Full Context magazine.

SEPTEMBER 1990 (#1)

Interview with Dr. Petr Beckmann - Karen Reedstrom

About Access to Energy - Karen Reedstrom

Justice for the Constitution? - David Oyerly

Market Perspective: An Interview with Jim O'Donnell - Karen Reedstrom

Amen (poem) - Civilization

Compare and Judge for Yourself (unedited letter of resignation from The Intellectual Activist) - George Walsh

Commentary (an analysis of Peter Schwartz's editing of Walsh's letter) - David Oyerly

Summer Movie Reviews - David Oyerly

The web site to this wonderful place is down. Does anybody know what happened? Are archives available someplace? Is it possible to purchase back issues?

Michael

Interesting. I am looking at The Intellectual Activist, a bound volume containing the issues 1979 - 1991. There is no September 1990 issue. However, the November 1989 issue contains a letter to the reader - three fairly short paragraphs - indicating that "as you have adopted 'Fact and Value' as the basis of your editorial policy, please accept my resignation from the Board of Contributing Directors." (by George Walsh, of course)

Alfonso

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  • 5 years later...

Speaking of George Walsh's letter of resignation from The Intellectual Activist, does anyone here have a copy of Peter Schwartz's nasty response to him?

This is apparently even rarer than "On Sanctioning the Sanctioners," which can be found today at ObjectivistLiving—and hardly anywhere else.

Robert Campbell

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This is apparently even rarer than "On Sanctioning the Sanctioners," which can be found today at ObjectivistLiving—and hardly anywhere else.

Professor, I seldom let a citation get away from me. Granted that school was a lot easier in 2010 than it was in 1967, that I very early on excelled at library research is why I work as a technical writer. I am good at chasing sources, and that includes interviewing people. Nice as it was of you to drop the hint, you could have provided the link.

Objectivist Living → Corners of Insight → David Kelley Corner

A Question of Sanction

Started by Michael Stuart Kelly, Aug 10 2006 02:31 PM

Page 2, Post #23 by Ellen Stuttle

It is not on the ARI's Intellectual Activist archive pages, though "Fact and Value" and "On Moral Sanctions" are.

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Michael,

I figured a link wasn't necessary, because "On Sanctioning the Sanctioners" is on this same thread—and is also accessible by a link from MSK's revised timeline.

Robert Campbell

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Ah! Found it:

  • 1989 (February 27) – "On Sanctioning the Sanctioners" by Peter Schwartz was published in The Intellectual Activist stating the official orthodox Objectivist stance against speaking at libertarian events.

That's why we have prerequisites: so everyone has the same body of knowledge going in. Since 1969, I have paid only passing attention to this, though I did read Judgment Day and The Passion of Ayn Rand. But I also read Darkness at Noon, -- and of course had already studied the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation in freshman history, so I had some context for this.

In Darkness at Noon, a minor ideological error brings the hero to trial for attempting to kill Stalin. His interrogator finally gets him to understand that one leads inevitably to the other, so his objective innocence in the assassination plot is irrelevant.

So, I understand the internal culture Objectivism quite well, even as I continue to call myself an Objectivist and acknowledge the entire ARI Kremlin its Trotskyite detractors alike also as being Objectivists. Just as Marxists claim that "Russia did not really have true communism" so too do we deny that our philosophy inevitably leads to condemning the Kantian epistemology of those who listen to Beethoven as being morally equivalent to Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, and Pope Benedict XVI.

As for those prerequisites, I get that, too. Sorry for jumping in... In the graduate criminology program, we would get these social science candidates - I was one, actually; but my BS was in crim - who on the first day of class would offer idiotic comments about the nature of crime. They had some reading to do. I see that I do, as well...

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