You refuse to generate more traffic for your own products without having to do a thing other than to give permission? Too bad. The favor I was to grant you is not something that will devastate me when refused. And I will gladly announce my store, at a time of my choosing.
You can claim the "spirit" of your organization to be anything you wish: property rights reign supreme. That is not the point here. I will let the facts of reality speak for themselves: Ayn Rand wrote only one paragraf on abortion, nothing on euthanasia, nothing on marriage (this is Phlinz's private "gay privileges" crusade; Rand detested the sort of clamoring and publicization of the private that it implies), and virtually nothing on any of the other issues where I diverge from the mainstream "Objectivist" orthodoxy. (The drug issue is an exception, and one that I had since recanted; for the record, I do not, any longer, believe in prohibitions against the personal use of any substances, so long as no other parties are involved or hurt. Milton Friedman had a greater role in convincing me of this than Rand, however. I still, however, maintain a supreme loathing of drugs, alcohol, nicotine, unprotected intercourse, etc.)
Mr. Perigo's orthodoxy is bent not on propagating Rand's Objectivism, but its own "refocused" version thereof, dissent from which it meets not with outright excommunication (that would repeat history too much), but with smear-hurling, context-dropping, and evasion. Let me quote this announcement for further proof of this:
..more recently, a friend apprised me of Mr Stolyarov’s position on voluntary euthanasia...
In the Old Soviet Union, we had a name for "friends" like these: informants.
I resolved at that moment that in no way would I permit the impression to be created that, simply because Mr Stolyarov is a prolific contributor to SOLOHQ—one whose articles and posts have been unimpeachable and inspiring as often as they’ve been appalling, both in letter and spirit—he and SOLO are in any way aligned.
Yes, yes. Ignore all the good things he has done, and focus on the bad, simply because he did not pass every round of the Party's ideology screening. He is not a loyal drone, and cannot be counted on for unconditional obedience when called on. Rather, he has that "disturbing" habit of doing and thinking whatever he wishes.
The last thing I would wish is for visitors to SOLOHQ to observe the sheer volume of Mr Stolyarov’s articles and posts and conclude that he is the arch-embodiment of SOLO. This most assuredly is not the case.
Yes, ignore the evidence of your senses and your reason that all speak favorably of the presence of Mr. Stolyarov and heed faithfully the word of the arch-Phlinz of SOLO, all ye onlookers!
But they will carry the philosophical equivalent of a health warning.
Old Soviet texts reprinting the works of Western novelists and thinkers often carried the warnings: "Although X was a lackey of bourgeois interests, we think his particular characterization in this work is demonstrative of our passionate vision for the true spirit of the proletariat!"
And I shall avoid like the plague anything that suggests that SOLO should embrace the obnoxious, Nietzschean, vainglorious, authoritarian facets of Mr Stolyarov’s beliefs that owe more to pathology than to objectivity.
(The Soviets also labelled any persistent disagreement with the Party line as "pathological." There were "mental health clinics" back there that aimed specifically at declaring insane and institutionalizing political dissenters. Whenever ideological disagreements are translated into the personal condemnations, the totalitarianism of the spirit results.)
But let the reader judge who is the pathological one here:
* Is it someone who sees a humorous quote from Ronald Reagan and calls its poster a "rationalistic, pseudo-Objectivist conservative"?
* Is it someone who reads an extensive treatise on marriage and, instead of addressing a single argument, dismisses everything, in the tone of a screeching leftist hippie headbasher as "irrational fascist crap"?
* Is it someone who witnesses another's Atlas Points gratuitously taken away by an obsessive hooligan with a vendetta, and announces publicly the hooligan's good taste?
* Is it someone who has never done more than send a one-line private message of praise to a contributor for an article well written, while not hesitating to launch into lengthy public diatribes against the person of the contributor for any slight divergence from his orthodoxy?
* Is it someone who receives an absolutely benevolent and confidential offer from another person to freely advertise his works, and generate income for him at no obligation whatsoever, and responds with a public denunciation labelling the presenter of such an offer as "pathological"?
Alas, it is not! For the word of the arch-Phlinz equals "objectivity." The true pathological one here is:
* Someone who has published a multiplicity of perspectives on abortion and euthanasia on his magazine.
* Someone who has not hesitated to dispense praise to anyone who merits it, even people like Peikoff and Perigo whose sour temperament and cultish insistence on the status quo orthodoxy render their respectability virtually impossible in the eyes of the average layman.
* Someone who is ready to change any position of his when the evidence presented in favor of such a change is strong enough.
* Someone who is willing to accomodate his style to the function of a given piece of writing rather than arbitrary formalistic (yes, formalistic, ironically enough!) restrictions imposed by somebody else's subjective notions of "passion" and "spirit."
* Someone who advocates logical substance and precision over glamorous catch frases and knee-jerk denunciations, the cold but surgically accurate blade of reason over the indiscriminately searing hot iron of emotionalism and whimsical hatred.
* Moreover, someone who persistently contributes to his chief denouncer's organization, and without whom the chief denouncer would have fewer contributions.
* Someone who demands for these contributions nothing more than the respect proper to a human being, especially an admittedly intelligent and productive one.
* Someone who rejects pre-conceptions and groupthink of all sorts, whether it comes from the Gospel of Peikoff, or the Gospel of the arch-Phlinz, or the Gospel of Modern Liberalism.
* Someone who pathologically insists on questioning everything on the basis of fundamentals and not letting himself become obstructed by obscure periferals.
Absurd? You bet. I am becoming ever more convinced that these infantile group-purges and the mentalities behind them are of greater danger to the progress of filosofy and Reason than any external menace. (Just like the greatest foe of man is other men, so the greatest foes of an Objectivist are other Objectivists, fanatical ones, that is!) They killed the prospects of Objectivism's cultrual infusion in 1968, in 1989, and have already done much to damage Objectivism's future in 2004 (from the excommunication of Henry Emrich, to the Diana Hsieh debacle, to the brutal and vulgar treatment encountered by Logan Feys on this site).
It is a pity that such a technologically fine, opportune, prominent, (ideally) ideologically diverse, and (initially) tolerant organization is being headed by such a petty, concrete-bound, evasive, fanatical, infantile, sensationalist, and utterly tactless man. (I can play the insults game better than you, Mr. Perigo, and I am doing you a favor by not going into it further. Unlike you, I see no point in it. Give up this nonsense now, and look the other way whenever our interests diverge.) I can see that his intentions in the past months have been to enrage me enough to provoke me to leave. This will not happen. I will remain here as the proverbial thorn in Mr. Perigo's side, bugging him and his kind to check their premises whenever they are too comfortable with ANY status quo orthodoxy (as we well know, such comfort results in ideological authoritarianism).
None of my behaviors on SOLO will change as a result of this diatribe, as none of them should. Howard Roark would not have changed any of his in a comparable situation. I remain. You have no way of getting rid of me outside of banning me outright, and that is a step you would not wish to take for (justified and even wise) fear of hypocrisy.
Phlindsay Pherigo, I AM NOT AFRAID OF YOU!
G. Stolyarov II
A further note: this in no way reflects on my opinion of any other SOLO member or contributor in particular. I consider many of them intelligent and productive people, well worth my time despite the arch-Phlinz's periodic sprees of Stolyarov-bashing. This is why I keep going here in the first place. And, for the time being, I see nothing that would change such a fact.
(Edited by G. Stolyarov II on 8/02, 1:29pm)