Robert Davison wrote:
What most donít understand is how many of them are meant to be funny; that aside, they are attention grabbing, clever, creative, savvy marketing and good for business. If his approach were quiet and dignified, as some would have it, SOLO would be just another Objectivist snooze. I donít want to see Kick Ass become Kiss Ass. He is not always right but his approach is right on.
Phil Coates commented:
There's two distinctions to be made here: i) If something is meant to be deliberately over the top, funny, a rant, a joke, a clever gibe directed at someone you basically respect rather than meant literally, that should be made clear in some way (including to the intended object of it). ii) It can be appropriate to direct calumny or insult at really vicious people or movements. Anything you want to say about the character of Hitler or an equivalent is probably not going to be unfair or unjust. But there aren't many Hitlers, certainly not in the Objectivist movement.
I like this distinction, but where's the other one? :-)
In regard to i), I have recently been the target of an over the top SOLO rant by someone who has been my friend for 35 years, and whom I assume respects my intellect and devotion to rational values (e.g., knowledge, morality, rights). There was no tongue in cheek, no humor, no light heartedness, just an intense, sarcastic and judgmental attempt to shut me down and discredit me to others for advocating a viewpoint that he thinks (or fears) would threaten his values. I would have greatly appreciated his having handled it less antagonistically and defensively. We could have dialogued and explored the points of disagreement and remained on friendly terms.
In regard to ii), I see very little blistering of Hitler types in comparison to the
"bandwidth" that is consumed these days --and not just on SOLO -- on trying to eviscerate those within the Objectivist movement who do not see eye to eye with one. It seems that, as soon as one decides certain people, who used to be one's friends or colleagues, have fun afoul of some principle, they become actually worse enemies than Hitler (because they should have known better, or some such reason) and thus deserving of public flogging (with words). Yesterday, it was Nathaniel Branden vs. Hitler, today it's David Kelley vs. Stalin, tomorrow, who? Chris Sciabarra vs. Osama bin Laden? Good God...
Personally, I'm glad I'm not an Objectivist, if that's what being one requires. But how much safer is it to be (as Adam Reed suggests) a "Randian"? Lord, please deliver us from the fanatics.
Best to all,
(Edited by Roger Bissell on 8/02, 8:51am)