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Thursday, May 4 - 10:23amSanction this postReply
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Where the money goes at ARI:

The Objectivist Gravy Train



Post 1

Thursday, May 4 - 1:01pmSanction this postReply
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The One Trick Pony is back.

 

It is amazing how much time and effort has gone into this article.  It reminds me of those who are obsessed with some kind of religious proseletizing.  I tried to read it all, but was put off by the snarky style and just didn't want to waste that much time.  I mean, after all, there are real enemies out there: dictators, socialists, communists, fascists, thugs, thieves, etc.

 

Here are some of the assumptions that we are offered:

- The key people at ARI should not be selfish and should be working for less

- Or, that the amounts that they are being paid are out of line with what others are paid in comparable organizations

- Or, that something is unethical despite this being a free market arrangement where over ten million dollars were voluntarily sent in ARI

- Or, that their work is somehow so philosophically or politically wrong that it is more important to spend our time with a diatribe against ARI than anything else on the political/philosophical landscape.

- Or that it makes sense for this article's author to use Ayn Rand's name to bash ARI for using Ayn Rand's name to promote the making of money by providing more Objectivist information to the world

- Or, that ARI people should engage in some kind of altruistic sacrifice and pay their own travel expenses when on ARI business

- Or, that ARI should not be engaged in promoting Objectivism or the works of Ayn Rand to people in other countries, only here in the USA.

- Or, that the portion of personnel expenses to revenues is out of line for comparable organizations,

- Or, that net-net this purely voluntary association between funders/customers and ARI has not been even a tiny bit positive in promoting Objectivism and the works of Ayn Rand

- Or, that this incessant snarky harping of the author has some benefit

 

Is it just me, or is this author's emotional knickers all in a bind that makes no sense what so ever?  I might disagree with a number of the particulars of Yaron Brook or any other ARI person, but I still see them on "our" side, if by "our" one means reason and political liberty.  Obsessive, one-sided, petty factionalism is not principled.  It is short-sided emotionalism made possible by dropping of context and a state of denial.  Look at how the GOP divides itself in ways that don't let them agree on this single, simple operational principle: "Let us negotiate among ourselves to find the best compromise on details AS LONG AS that moves us in the direction of more freedom and only refuse to compromise when the net result would move us in the opposite direction."  If they could do that, we would, for example, go to ObamaCare lite, then ObamaCare still lighter, then Not ObamaCare, then a free market for healthcare. 

 

I've been around long enough to smell when something is either personal or a mental-emotional condition (Maybe he really does think he is being rational, appropriate and proportional!).  I just wish the author of these on-going ARI-Watch articles (they don't Watch, they just carp) would be honest and tell us what really pissed him off.  Was he turned down for a job?  Insulted by someone at ARI?  Manuscript rejected?  What's the real story?  I hate the kind of dishonesty of an approach that is dressed up in this or that set of principles but is really something totally different. 



Post 2

Thursday, May 4 - 7:03pmSanction this postReply
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ARI Watch is a one subject pony and that subject is the Ayn Rand Institute.  In case you need it there is a safe zone called “Various and Sundry” – link  at bottom of main page – which has articles on some interesting non-ARI subjects.

When someone puts a lot of time and effort into something, that per se is not a bad thing.

I didn’t mean to give the impression that ARI people should be working for less money.  I don’t think they should be working at all.  It’s a shame they get one dime for most of what they do.  I’ll add that sentiment to the article.

The article doesn’t compare ARI with any other charity.  The trouble is that many nonprofits, even those doing good work, are milked by their board – look at the NRA – so comparing one with another isn’t very helpful.  If you compare ARI with X, what about X?

The article doesn’t address where ARI’s money comes from.  Another article, “Who is Carl Barney,” tells about their largest contributor and shows that a lot of the money comes indirectly from the federal government.  But even if all donations were purely private, private money can still pay for evil propaganda.  The Koch brothers, for example, fund open immigration groups (one of them is ARI).

The ARI Watch articles are chock full of facts.  First the facts then the emotion.

ARI is not on our side if you’re on my side, LOL.  Steve seems unable to comprehend that anyone would hate ARI for wanting Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump, for advocating open immigration, for promoting the invasion of Iraq, etc.  Instead Steve thinks along these lines:


“I just wish the author of these on-going ARI-Watch articles ... would be honest and tell us what really pissed him off.  Was he turned down for a job?  Insulted by someone at ARI?  Manuscript rejected?  What’s the real story?  I hate the kind of dishonesty of an approach that is dressed up in this or that set of principles but is really something totally different.”


It sounds like projecting — a mind reader with an ill-natured outlook.

 

(Edited by Mark on 5/04, 7:11pm)



Post 3

Thursday, May 4 - 7:31pmSanction this postReply
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Steve seems unable to comprehend that we would hate ARI for wanting Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump, for advocating open immigration, for promoting the invasion of Iraq, etc. 

 

Not hardly... I may have been opposed to Trump during the primaries, but I was very stongly in favor of him over Hillary Clinton in the general election.  I'm opposed to open immigration.  I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq.  But I don't go around treating ARI as if it was in a category of enemies like Clinton, Obama, socialists, fascists, thugs, etc.  I just don't know how a rational person can be an Objectivist and at the same time see ARI as evil.  That just isn't the same as having some disagreements or being dismayed by this or that aspect... that I comprehend quite clearly. 

--------------

 

Instead Steve thinks along these lines:


“I just wish the author of these on-going ARI-Watch articles ... would be honest and tell us what really pissed him off.  Was he turned down for a job?  Insulted by someone at ARI?  Manuscript rejected?  What’s the real story?  I hate the kind of dishonesty of an approach that is dressed up in this or that set of principles but is really something totally different.”


It sounds like projecting — a mind reader with an ill-natured outlook.

 

I'm familiar with the various Freudian defense mechanisms, their application and my own psychology.  No, it isn't projecting.  It might be a bit of psychologizing - I'll cop to that.  And, it might have a tiny degree of less than benevolent 'mind-reading' (guessing at motivation) in there.  But then I'm just being honest and saying that I don't think your constant outpouring of bile towards ARI can be seen as rational in the wider context.  And if it isn't rational, then doesn't that raise the question of just why the hell do you continue? 

 

If you are so passionate about Objectivism and the works of Ayn Rand, why don't you find a positive way to express that?  Start your own organization and seek ways to put copies of her works in front of the young, for example.  If you can't see the difference between what I'm suggesting and what you are doing... then I've wasted my time writing this post, and my intial suppositions in my prior post about your outlook was correct - not mind-reading.



Post 4

Thursday, May 4 - 10:36pmSanction this postReply
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Steve Wolfer can trash anyone for anything using that fraud Freud.

The positive-negative distinction S.W. tries to make is confused.  He might see a doctor removing a tumor as a negative action, and in a way it is, but it’s certainly positive for the patient.

ARI Watch tells why ARI is a tumor on Objectivism.

One person can do only so much.  I’ve taken an interest in ARI.  I think ARI Watch is both interesting and useful, useful to Objectivists.  S.W. treats the website as some sort of aberration and psychopathology on my part.  When I disagree he’s reduced to bringing in Freudian “defense mechanisms,” and as we all know, anyone objecting to Freud’s nonsense is engaging in a defense mechanism!

No conversation is possible with someone who attacks your motivation for speaking.



Post 5

Friday, May 5 - 1:21amSanction this postReply
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Mark, you seem to be mixed up.   I didn't bring up that Freudian defense mechanism - you did.  Look at post #2 where, referring to what I wrote, you say: "It sounds like projecting..."  You accused me of projecting.  

 

Didn't you know that projecting was a Freudian defense mechanism?  You accused me of projecting and I was just telling you that I know what projecting is (a defense mechanism described by Freud) and it isn't what I was doing. 

 

I'm treating your website as bizarre - you've got that right.  Your attacks on ARI might make sense if you were a deeply religious person and hated Objectivism for its atheism, or some kind of collectivist and hated Objectivism for its individuality... if either of those were the case, then maybe you'd chose to attack ARI because they are wildly successful in getting Ayn Rand's works read by young people and you'd want to stop that.  But I just can't feature a rational, emotionally stable Objectivist devoting themselves to such consistent, on-going, virulent attacks.  It just makes no sense.  That's why I imagine that it is some kind of obsession.  A surgeon removes a tumor because he is fighting to restore health.  ARI is fighting against irrationality, altruism, and collectivism by promoting the works of Ayn Rand.  They have also taken political positions by applying her principles.  We both disagree with some of the applications they've made.  But you've gone over the top in your obsession.

 

Can't you see what I'm trying to get at?  What if someone created an extensive website called "Watching ARI Watch" and wrote lurid attack prose in one article after another - treating your website like a tumor?  And the person said it was because they are Objectivist and you are a tumor on Objectivism.  I can't imagine that you wouldn't have the same questions in your mind that I have in mine.  Wouldn't you be asking yourself, "What's wrong with them?"

 

If you can launch the kind of attacks that you do on the people at ARI, then maybe you'd better grow a thicker skin, because you've made yourself fair game.



Post 6

Saturday, May 6 - 2:39amSanction this postReply
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Personally, I find ARI Watch to be a lot of work for one person obsessed (no other word for it) with exposing the flaws and foibles of the Ayn Rand Institute.  I also agree 100% with Steve that ARI does a lot of good work.  That said, their expulsions of former stalwarts and leaders, and their opposition to the Atlas Society, just cannot be ignored.  Cutting to the center of that, I benefited from Leonard Peikoff's analysis of "fact and value" but I disagreed with where he concluded. In this case, in particular, about the money behind ARI, I found the expose to be highly informative, salient, and cogent. It is no different than exposing Nancy Pelosi's status as a millionaire - and how she got and keeps her fortune.

 

Many people in O-land understand ARI as a "church" with "Pope Leonard" at the head, excommunicating people.  To me, it is reminiscent of Russian communism during the Stalin purges. (On that point, consider that former communists created an anthology, The God that Failed.)  In Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler's "grand inquisitor" gets his victim to finally confess to plotting to kill Stalin by taking him one step at a time from the first ideological error to the inevitable conclusion that that was evaluatively the same as attempting to kill Stalin. 

 

I highly recommend Understanding Objectivism by Leoard Peikoff.  Published in 2012, it came from lectures delivered 25 years earlier.  Those gaps in time underscore the continuity in the problems that he addressed. We see the errors committed here.  Peikoff explains the fallacy of "monism" attempting to derive every truth from "A is A."  He explains the error in false hierarchy, the belief that metaphysics is at the base of a pyramid with epistemology as the next layer, then ethics, politics, and esthetics above them.  Metaphysics and epistemology are closely related, intertwined you might say, and you cannot separate the one from the other, except perhaps in some simple statements.   Peikoff endorses intuitive, emotional evaluation -- given that you have a firm foundation for such judgments in the first place, and can then go back, and rationally explain their application in reality. The subject at hand was the general difference between how many men attempt to apply Objectivism by ignoring their emotions, whereas at least some women (his wife in this case), properly use their emotions as an indicator.

 

That all being as it may, the fact remains that the ARI, like Ayn Rand herself,  gives evidence of internal contradictions, including the obvious behavior of not tolerating any dissent. (Though on that point, we must also accept Ayn Rand's own friendship with Bennett Cerf, even as we must puzzle at her "divorce" from Isabel Paterson.)  You can wonder about it or argue it -- or just accept it all prima facie because you have no control over it.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 5/06, 2:43am)



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