Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Cross-Posted from Gus Van Horn

Song of the Day: Taps

Diana Hsieh has a very lengthy, but extremely worthwhile post on her long and systematic betrayal by Chris Sciabarra. This passage, I think, best characterizes his modus operandi.
As Chris says, the "fundamental differences" between us "on many, many significant questions" are fairly obvious. However, my views on important particulars, such his "dialectical" interpretation of Ayn Rand, are not at all obvious to bystanders. Moreover, I did not choose to remain silent about those particulars because I regarded them as unworthy of discussion, but out of concern to honor my prior friendship. Chris knows that. He also knows that our friendship was based upon his deceptions and manipulations. He knows that he's been whispering unjust lies about me behind my back. Yet he's content to keep me bound and gagged by my promise to him. A semi-honorable man would have released me from that promise in this blog post, so that we could duke out our differences in the open. Then again, a man with genuine confidence in the value of his work would not have accepted that promise in the first place.
As someone who has been betrayed, she has my sympathy; as a writer, my respect. And as one whose opinion, that "promoting the highest standards of objectivity in scholarship on Ayn Rand and Objectivism is ... of particular pressing importance", is essentially the same as my own, she has my thanks.

And be sure to peruse the comments. Nick Provenzo makes a particularly good point about how such opponents of the Ayn Rand Institute so frequently paste supporters of ARI with the charge that they demand "loyalty oaths". I think this fits in quite well with an observation on Diana's part that some of Sciabarra's behavior towards her was a form of psychological projection.

I look forward to reading her eventual critique of Sciabarra's Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical.

And what do I mean by the title of this section? You may have to dig a little. Dig?

Alida Valli, RIP

Via Randex, I have learned that the actress who played Kira in the bootleg movie version of Ayn Rand's We the Living made in Fascist Italy, has died.

Gas Fumes

Cox and Forkum very nicely sum up the hypocrisy of every American who complains about the oil companies raising prices for gasoline.

I vaguely recall reading an economist somewhere who lamented the fact that the word "wage" is used instead of the less-loaded phrase "labor price". That four-letter word certainly does provide a convenient cover for statists who seek to increase government interference with the economy when prices for other commodities go up.


Help my shipmate! Willy Shake has a cat whose weight is "the same number of pounds as the title of a popular TV show on Fox".

I have a cat with a similar problem, but with the added twist that I have an older cat who needs food around all the time. So my advice to Willy, if he doesn't already do this, is to give his cat limited quantities of food twice or three times a day.

So if anyone has any ideas he -- or I -- can use, leave a comment or drop a line, and thanks in advance.

Soviet Submarine Base Pictures

There's one and links to more over at The Stupid Shall Be Punished. Sez Bubblehead: "The pictures at Fun Mansion really look like the base was straight out of a James Bond movie..." I agree.

Iran is the New PLO

Hmmm. Yasser Arafat harasses Israel with murder and mayhem for decades -- and gets them to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza. So is it really any big surprise that Iran is building nukes and threatening to launch them at Israel -- and calling for them to withdraw from Israel altogether?

The president of Iran, depending on what moment it is, will deny the holocaust, threaten Israel with one, or tell the Germans to "let go of [their] anti-Judaism". Read the whole thing and ask yourself why the hell anyone at all would seriously consider negotiating with (which entails speaking with) this regime. It is incredible that this has gone on for as long as it has.

How do you say ...

... "without a clue" in Portuguese?

Contradiction Required

Mike's Eyes quotes from a Q&A from the Sunday print edition of The Detroit News.
Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac to prove his faith, and he did so without knowing that God would send an angel to stay his hand at the last moment. In order for Abraham to pass this ultimate test he had to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time. He had to believe that the God of love and justice would never ask him to sacrifice his innocent, beloved son, but he also had to believe that the God who gives life deserved to be obeyed completely. In holding both beliefs, Abraham passed the test and was not required to sacrifice Isaac. [Mike's italics]
I'd say that it was his mind -- though not in so many words -- that Abraham was asked to sacrifice.

Being Intoxicated is No Excuse

I've been meaning to point to this for awhile. The General quotes from a very good legal opinion.
The rationale behind our long-standing rule as to voluntary ingestion of intoxicants and drugs is apparent. An individual who places himself in a position to have no control over his actions must be held to intend the consequences. Such a principle is absolutely essential to the protection of life and property.
Read more if you want to see a legal opinion which actually uses the phrase "inestimable gift of reason"!

Note that if this was an April Fool's joke, it was posted 11 days too late!

Archivist to Speak at NYU

Mike at Passing Thoughts notes that there is to be an interesting talk by an ARI archivist on "The History of the Objectivist Campus Club Movement" to be held, ironically enough, at NYU, which recently would not permit its campus club to display images of my blog's mascot.

-- CAV