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I read AS a few years ago and it was my first time learning the basic concepts of philosophy. Reason, value, virtue. I'd just rejected Christianity after a period of introspection, but really hadn't gone much further than that. Learning about the nuts and bolts of how I as a human being worked was very exciting. I'd always been a "thinker", and having things click into place was a real special time for me.

Read much of O'ism after that, found much that was good, and matured intellectually.

Read all about the Kelley rift, and watched on HPO as various people and groups battled it out. Then the Sciabarra thing went down. I had a general idea about ARIs various ex-communications, and I found that whole slice of O'ism fascinating.

Here were a bunch of smart people whose knowledge of philosophy dwarfed my own. My journey of learning and understanding had just begun, and already it was like a breath of fresh air. I loved ingesting the writing, being forced to really think my way through and integrate bigger and wider concepts. Good times.

Yet. Some of these same people exhibited such passionate anger when it came to the various disagreements I was reading about. I've always been a thoughtful, emotionally mature person. I grasped as a young boy that anger was a warning that something was wrong not with the object of my anger, but that something was off with me.

(Yeah, I know, right? I'd take credit for it but I don't even remember how I learned it.)

So what was with these schisms, I wondered. Was it a pure, just anger? Did philosophical concepts get so deep, so profound, that to err would be utterly catastrophic, hence the banishments were justified?

And... I faded away, lived life... flourished even. Until I wander into here, and just spent the last 12ish hours reading through the aftermath of the Hsieh Incident, and other conflicts. Seriously. See, I'd left before there had been much reaction, so it was fascinating just now to find out how it all played out.

Philip Coates, wow! Those threads played out like a movie. There were skirmishes and attacks and odd lulls and deflections... and on the man trudged, step after plodding step. Now that's how you have A Discussion! I'd seen so many falter into nonsense so quickly on HPO, but nothing like that before. It actually came to a proper conclusion! Even if I thought you were incorrect in your analysis (I don't) it still would've been a great show.

And Robert Campbell. Daaaang. Sharp. You're like Joe Friday on speed! Only the facts, never a wasted syllable, and more importantly, never a wasted emotion. Never heard anybody be so hardcore on people, while so... not-angry. Rational. No ad hominum, nothing for people to latch onto if they wanted to avoid the argument.

Aaaaaaanywho. I'm wandering. I admire what those two and everyone else here does. Never have I seen a group so lacking in vitriol and bitternes... 'cuz it always seeps out if it's there, if you watch and read someone long enough, and it's always such a turn-off.

I've been kicking around thoughts in the back of my head on the whole ex-communication thing for a long time. So I just have one post to make, then I'll wander in and out. But I won't disappear. No, no... you folks are ones to watch. A group of reasonable people. Didn't know such things existed. I don't know if they have a name for groups of reasonable people, but I'm going to declare right now that you're a ration. The first ration I've ever seen in the wild! Too bad I don't have my camera. 8)

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Mr. Davis

After reading your post in which you make it clear that you find rational discourse appealing it occurs to me that you would also find that certain authors likewise are enjoyable to read because of the lucidity of their writing in whatever field of endeavor.

In no particular order certain authors come to mind:

Ayn Rand's essays and her journal, The Objectivist Newsletter. For The New Intellectual, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal...

Brand Blanshard: Reason and Analysis, The Nature of Thought...

Henry Hazlitt: Economics In One Lesson...

Nathaniel Branden: The Psychology of Self Esteem, Honoring The Self, Breaking Free, The Disowned Self, ...

Ludwig von Mises: Planning For Freedom, Planned Chaos, Human Action...

Murray Rothbard: Man, Economy and State, The Great Depression,

Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion

Christian Hitchens: God Is Not Great...

Andrew Dickson White: The History of the Warfare Between Science and Theology in Christiandom...

David Hackett Fisher: Washington's Crossing, Paul Revere's Ride, ...

Enough for now.

Ron Paul: The Revolution: A Manifesto, End The Fed...

Tom Woods: Meltdown, Nullification

Andrew Napolitano: Lies The Government Told You...

Dominick Armentano: The Myths of Antitrust

Stephen Jay Gould:

Isaac Asimov

Michael Ruse...

Niles Eldredge...

Sheldon Richman

Jacob Hornberger 231506

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Oh, right. Somehow slipped my mind this all happened years ago.

I would be referring to Coates' Questions for Diana and Diana's Takedown in response to Hsieh's Dialectical Dishonesty post, which was the last thing I read on the matter until now, and Campbell's posts on that and other related issues around the same time. There were more contributors of course, but those two seemed to carry most the weight.

Hope I didn't come across as if I just love big conflicts. Hsieh's claims against Sciabarra just seemed so venomous... not how I would expect an advanced student of objectivism to react. But enough about that, I'm sure everyone's good and tired of the whole thing.


Great list, thanks for taking the time. By quick count I've ingested 7 books listed and a smattering of the authors. I'll work on the rest.


Yup. Another beautiful summer day here. Cold, pouring rain, and beautiful. This is your site, correct? Well done. One of the few places I've seen that covers lots of Objectivism without the drama.

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Hi Stephen and welcome to Objectivist Living. Thanks for the compliment; I'm glad you like our little online home.

We do try to keep the food fights to a minimum but sometimes they pop up and can be quite colorful... or not. I pretty much stay away from Comrade Sonia and other nasty vicious people with big pointy teeth and I don't know what HPO is.

Feel free to pop in and post every now and again.


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> Hsieh's claims against Sciabarra just seemed so venomous... not how I would expect an advanced student of objectivism to react. But enough about that, I'm sure everyone's good and tired of the whole thing.

Hi, Stephen.

I'm certainly tired of it myself -- I said everything I wanted to say defending Sciabarra from unjust attacks over on Solo at the time.

> and on the man trudged, step after plodding step.

Injustice really angers me so I probably said even more than was needed to make my points at the time. My tendency is not to err in the direction of leaving a major point unsaid. Unfortunately, sometimes that makes me err in the direction of overkill or belaboring something :-).

But, while the whole pack of them at the time insulted me, questioned my integrity, didn't address my arguments carefully, and so on, I don't think Diana and her posse of the like-minded (and those who were attacking my every post back in 2006) are dishonest or trying to 'curry favor' with ARI--as has been alleged by many of their opponents, making the similar mistake of playing the moral evaluation card without proof.

Even though they are (sometimes!) 'advanced students of objectivism' and you wonder how they couldn't see some pretty obvious points, I think the explanation is largely related to "emotionalism". Our emotions evolved to give us a huge push and cut through a lot of dithering and crap when a lion is in front of us snarling and showing its teeth on a primitive savannah. But in more complex situations, sometimes you have to hold them in abeyance. At least until you finish thinking and parsing.

When they see someone they like or admire attacked (Diana in this case) or someone they dislike or strongly disagree with (Sciabarra), instantaneous emotional reactions can short-circuit higher mental processes, the careful and calm attending to detail. They immediately and quite viscerally try to knock down every argument by the 'evil side'. And no point in favor of or defending Sciabarra is allowed to sink in, since they are operating on sort of an Emotional Short-Circuit (at least that's what I would have called it at the time.)

"Emotionalism" is the substituting of emotions for reason in places where that is inappropriate.

Something very similar happened to Peikoff in "Fact and Value": He so detested libertarians and despised any criticism of Rand, and so disliked Kelley for liking "The Passion of Ayn Rand", that he 'saw red'. I suspect he was predisposed to find fault, to put the worst and least charitable possible interpretation on anything Kelley did or said from that point on.

And he made a whole bunch of arguments that showed a lack of his full mental and integrative and calm deliberative powers. He was better than that, a better thinker in, for example, "Understanding Objectivism".

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A similar mistake of emotionalism is involved in the whole "nuke Tehran" thing that arose a year or so ago.

(The emotion in this case is [justified] outrage at the murderous terrorists combined with a [justified] evaluation, that we have often been slow or weak or inaccurate in fighting terrorism and the states that support it. But I don't want to repeat that whole discussion...)

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Hope I didn't come across as if I just love big conflicts. Hsieh's claims against Sciabarra just seemed so venomous... not how I would expect an advanced student of objectivism to react. But enough about that, I'm sure everyone's good and tired of the whole thing.

Don't take Diana seriously. I could go on for hours about her. I also have some theories that I will not reveal publicly--they are just that, theories. I will say that when I found out her knife in Sciabarra's back (figuratively), I was one of the few who wasn't surprised.

Chris Matthew Sciabarra is everything that an Objectivist scholar should be. He is truly open-minded. He believes that he can learn things from anyone. He is always interested in the exchange of ideas. We are lucky to have him.

I was fortunate to meet him when I passed through Brooklyn back in 2004. Unfortunately, medical issues keep him from traveling.

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