Andrew Bernstein’s Tribute to Carl Barney


Recommended Posts

The following is more or less from my review of Andrew Bernstein's tribute to Carl Barney:

Mr. Bernstein repeats how wonderful the Church of Scientology used to be then relies on your already thinking Barney a fine fellow to argue the point:

“In its early years, Scientology did a great deal of good for many students. Anyone who knows Carl even a little bit knows his immense good will and his benevolence that motivates his desire to help countless good persons. This is what drew him into that movement.
“His desire to advance his own life and his selfish pleasure in aiding many other good persons is what impelled him to discover first Scientology and later Objectivism. Scientology, in its early years, was good for this.”

There you have it.  Scientology, in its original form (assuming with Mr. Bernstein that it changed), helps lead people to Objectivism.  Perhaps sensing that something is wrong here Mr. Bernstein continues:  “Objectivism was and is incomparably better.”  But the damage has been done:  he puts Scientology of the 1970s – what he would have us believe was the Golden Age of Scientology – and Objectivism in the same category.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve met Bernstein and heard him speak at length, about The Fountsinhead. Very weak, ineffective lecturer.

I was in college. Adam Mossoff and I ran the Objectivist Club and he heard Bernstein would be speaking somewhere in town. Adam is at George Mason Law now and has lectured at ARI. He couldn’t easily get the details because it would be hosted at a private residence and it was for adults only.

I said, “Adults only?”

Adam:”They’ve had bad experiences and don’t want students.”

Jon: “Not the blanket response, but they’re saying this to you?”


Jon: “ These agists, these collectivists, they call themselves Objectivists?”

[I can’t recall the third kid]: “We go, we behave right but we shove their sick exclusive mindset in their faces if they confront us!”

And that’s what happened. I had been penetrating parties I wasn’t necessarily invited to, for sport, for years. We sat in the back in this couple’s basement along with about twenty other people and waited for Bernstein to appear. They eyed us and then challenged us. We expressed our disappointment with “the 100% collectivistic ageism, especially when directed at the future of our movement, etc. What incident, you are the incident, we are sitting quietly, etc.” We were not told to leave.

Later we agreed he was a total disappointment and we made sure he was never brought to our club to speak. Fake. What’s his personality? The just-fake-everything personality. Hard to say between him and Ridpath.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is outside the Barney thing, but I got Bernstein's new book, Heroes, Legends, Champions: Why Heroism Matters. (My focus at this stage of my life is on fiction writing, so it's natural this would interest me.)

I will comment on it when I have finished it. I'm a couple of chapters in and so far, it's strong on anecdotes and stories and much weaker on explanations. But it's not fair to mention this as a shortcoming at this stage. It could be a form of warming up the reader's mind to focus in a particular way while bonding with him (or her), i.e., framing. These skills are rare in ARI-oriented authors, but time will tell. I suspect Bernstein is not bad at this.

At least so far, I am not sorry I am reading the book. He's holding my interest.

But back to the Barney thing, Bernstein thanks Barney in the book for funding him while he wrote it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven’t read Bernstein’s book but if it is consistent with a talk he gave at the Ayn Rand Institute’s summer conference OCON 2015, 8 July
he would get the facts wrong for at least two of his heroes.  Back then I started writing a review of the talk then decided there were larger fish to fry.  From my notes:

  From the blurb for “Black Innovators and Entrepreneurs Under Capitalism”:  

“This talk by Andrew Bernstein celebrates a number of great minds — including Madame C. J. Walker, the first self-made female millionaire in America; George Washington Carver, who revolutionized agricultural science; and others —”

About Walker: “Madame C. J. Walker” was the business name of Sarah Breedlove (1867 - 1919).  She discovered an un-exploited niche market providing grooming products for blacks, worked hard and intelligently at it and became very successful.  However she was not the first self-made female millionaire.  In fact she probably never was a millionaire in the dollars of her day.  Two years before her death she said she was not yet a millionaire, and when she died her estate was worth $600,000.

In his talk (about 12:40) Bernstein says Walker “donated to the NAACP” and he thinks that laudable.  He calls the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s “the individual rights movement” and never mentions – probably because he doesn’t think it true – that the resulting so-called civil rights laws were the greatest violation of civil rights in American history.

The laurel for the first self-made female millionaire probably goes to Henrietta – Hetty – Greene, née Robinson (1834 – 1916), a Quaker.  Certainly she was the richest female in America.  When she died her net worth was between one and two hundred million dollars, in present-day dollars over two billion dollars.  When alive she was always far wealthier than Walker, and most everyone else.  She was quite a character, look her up.

About Carver:  Saying he “revolutionized agricultural science” is a stretch.  He promoted the benefits of crop rotation to farmers ignorant of the method – good for him – but he didn’t discover it.  In the talk itself Mr. Bernstein repeats the absurdity that Edison offered Carver a job at $100,000 per year.  At least he doesn’t repeat the oft told falsehood that Carver invented linoleum.

The blurb for Mr. Bernstein’s talk ends as follows, and note how selling shampoo to blacks and convincing the ignorant to rotate their crops have become not just good work but “great intellectual achievements” – a sort of affirmative action in labeling:

“— that, under the freedom of the capitalist system, triumphed over bigotry to reach great intellectual achievements.”

All our lives moralizing Leftists have been pushing the everlasting virtue of non-whites in our face.  Mr. Bernstein intends his talk to inculcate guilt.  He speaks of Caribbean immigrants in the early part of the 20th century who “like all immigrants were frugal and hardworking” – as if today most Third World immigrants are not on some form of welfare.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now