Case Dismissed!

Roger Bissell

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In a post on another RANT thread, Paul Mawdsley wrote:

Any statements about them [Diana Hsieh, Lindsay Periogo, et al] are best left to the cold, hard, objective facts identifying the nature and the motives of their attacks. They are best viewed as objects, not subjects. They are best talked about, not to. Talking about them will not last very long because they are not that interesting.

In that spirit, I am going to talk very briefly about Dyin' O'Shame and one of her toadies, Mike Mozzarella, exposing the incredible gap in their attempt to prove that Chris Sciabarra has been lying about attempts to manipulate its scholars by threats of withholding support if they publish in JARS.

In some rather cheesy comments on So-Low Bashin’, Mike Mozzarella wrote:

Sciabarra did not just say some negative comment about ARI. He claimed that SEVERAL (Diana made the text nice and big in her post, too) ARI scholars wanted to publish in JARS and liked him and his work, but ARI was intimidating them by withholding money. In other words, Chris (and Robert Campbell) has been claiming for some time that ARI is BRIBING Objectivists into not supporting JARS and Sciabarra. In fact, this is a total fabrication. To anyone who is actually willing to defend Chris Sciabarra, let me ask a question. Is it OK to lie about those who disagree with you? Is it OK to spread false rumors about your intellectual opponents in an effort to discredit them? Just take a look at how his tactic worked: he said enough to raise suspicions about every ARI scholar in general, yet none in particular. When he did mention a name [in the Spring of 2006, please note], Diana asked the person being accused and found out Chris was lying.
[emphasis added]

Dyin’ O’Shame found out NOTHING OF THE KIND.

Worthy of the “CLOSED SYSTEM” of Objectivism, Mozzarella and O’Shame, have failed to think outside the box. (Or worse: they want US to fail to think outside the box.) When they use the words “withhold,” in relation to money-bags ARI, they naturally want us to assume (as they do?) that “withhold” means withhold MONEY. But when we see the actual words from Chris’s PRIVATE, CONFIDENTIAL email that O’Shame felt justified in quoting in order to “PROVE” Chris’s “DISHONESTY,” we find an ambiguity big enough to drive a Mack truth through.

Here is exactly what Chris wrote in December of 2002:

ARI now has lots of money that it bestows on scholars---who suck up to them, and who refuse to do business with the outside world for fear of losing proprietary interest. I am in discussions with SEVERAL ARI scholars who might contribute to JARS at some point, and who are PETRIFIED of being cut off. There has to be another way to promote Rand scholarship without making prostitutes of scholars (December 13th, 2002).
[emphasis added]

Now, let’s ask the question that O'Shame and Mozzarella overlooked, in their rush to JUDGMENTALISM and CONDEMNATION. “Being cut off” FROM WHAT? Did Chris say that they were petrified of ARI “withholding money”? No, he did not. He said merely that they were “PETRIFIED of being cut off.”

Is there anything else in addition to filthy lucre that one might, as a scholar, fear being cut off from by ARI? I can think of two very good things. One is an opportunity to speak at an ARI-sponsored conference. If ARI were to discipline one by threatening to block one’s access to conference speaking opportunities, this might very well cow one into submission, without a single dollar of scholarly subsidy being involved. Another is access to the Ayn Rand Archives. All ARI would have to do is say the word, and one’s lifework could be stymied by one’s being forbidden access to the horde of information that should (if honoring Rand’s wishes meant anything to Peikoff) have been deposited with the Library of Congress over 20 years ago. Again, one could be intimidated into towing the line by being “cut off” from access to the Archives, without any mention of ARI money as part of the carrot and stick.

How much would YOU like to bet that Chris wasn't also referring to these latter two ARI "goodies" and not just money? And that the ARI researcher O'Shame RECENTLY (not in December 2002) asked was fearful not of being cut off from money, but from one of these other two scholarly benefits?

Surely it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine that one could be just as deeply afraid of being “cut off” from speaking and research opportunities, if one’s projects depended heavily on them, as being cut off from money -- perhaps even more so. And that one could feel driven to resort to, in effect, “prostituting” oneself by surrendering one’s objectivity and intellectual integrity in order not to be cut off from speaking and research opportunities, just as much as one would have to do in order not to be cut off from scholarly stipends. Yet, two seemingly intelligent people have leaped to an incredible non sequitur, largely fueled by their emotion-driven AGENDA, which was to crucify Chris for being “dishonest,” for "fabricating" his claims about ARI intimidation of its scholars. (Why they want to crucify him is obvious enough -- he's a rational, independent, productive scholar and thereby a stinging reproach to their own parasitic failure to produce anything of positive value, as is usually the case for Witch Doctors and Attilas.)

Now we must ask ourselves: is this non sequitur a real failure of logic and imagination on their parts (which is bad enough, since they're supposed to have logic and reason on their side [hah!] – or is it instead simply a smoke screen for the truth, namely, that they know full well that conference speaking and Archive research opportunities are just as much bribe/threat tools for ARI, as is scholarly cash?

We must also ask ourselves: was the person Chris identified as one intimidated out of submitting articles to JARS telling the whole truth, or was that person hiding being the technical “truth” of not having been threatened by being “cut off” from MONEY? What would YOU tell a bunch of Witch Doctors and Attilas breathing down your neck, expecting you to support their vendetta against Chris – especially if thwarting them by telling them the full truth could also mean the end to your scholarly dreams? Would you stick by Chris and thereby give up the means for producing something of value for Chris's journal?

There is a grotesque virus that has infected not only the Attilas and Witch Doctors who are running rampant in the Objectivist Movement these days, but also their victims. That virus is called "the end justifies the means." If you can intimidate someone into repudiating the truth in order to discredit and hurt one of your enemies, go ahead! If you can save your scholarly dreams by repudiating a friend with a half-truth told to someone with power over you, go ahead! If you can hurt one of your enemies by quoting his private, confidential emails in support of your ILLOGICAL and/or IRRELEVANT criticisms of him, go ahead! This is what has become of the Keepers of the Flame, the passionate defenders of justice, the guardians of the Objectivist Ethics.

If this were a court case, and I were the judge, I would throw it out of court based on O'Shame's lame opening salvo. Case dismissed!

But it's much more than a court case. It is, in a nutshell, a reading of the seriously diseased state of the Objectivist Movement. For better or worse, it's every man for himself -- and devil take the hindmost.

Oh, and don't forget to pursue your happiness! :-)


P.S. -- Joseph Moron wrote:

The "defense" of Chris Sciabarra so far has amounted to little more than grade school insults such as making fun of last names

Yes...and his point is...?

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