I break for Randians

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Okay, bad pun. I refer here to their odd, pompous, self-important, silly habit of offically “breaking” with people who were once in the fold but who start to think for themselves. But I guess, like Muslims, it’s worse to be a former Randian than never to have been one at all. As Rush (another favorite group of young Randians) say, “For you the blind who once could see/The bell tolls for thee”.

Now our own Skip Oliva is the latest to be “broken” with by Official Objectivists. On the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism’s Rule of Reason blog (are Objectivists trying to parody themselves with the stilted, cloying, predictable overuse of such Randian catch-phrases?), some Nicholas Provenzo character washes his hands of the Skipster. Oliva’s sin? A former supporter of the CAC, he has–gasp!–published on LewRockwell.com. Treason! Heresy! Writes P-dog:

…I must publicly indicate my disappointment that in the time since he left CAC, Mr. Skip Oliva, a former policy expert, has chosen to become a contributing writer to libertarian organizations such as lewrockwell.com and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

… The logical outcome of the libertarian position—the position of trying to secure capitalism without a legitimate philosophic base—is anarchy. I don’t understand why Mr. Oliva has chosen to align himself with such an untenable intellectual position. I can find no innocent explanation. … I can only think that during that period of unrewarded hardship and effort, Mr. Oliva turned on the movement that he felt had abandoned him. This is tragic, but if so, the mistake lies with him. One’s ultimate justification for being cannot be the sanction of others. The alternative to the current lack of Objectivist political and legal activism is not to make one’s bed with the libertarians, simply because they are anti-state. The alternative to being ignored is not to embrace one’s spiritual enemies as an act of revenge.

… Accordingly, while I wish Mr. Oliva my best, I must properly disassociate this organization with him on the above grounds.

Oh my God, it’s so melodramatic! Hey, Provenzo–you forgot to portentiously add, “For the Record–”My reply to Provenzo’s response, in case they delete it on grounds they should not “sanction a sanctioner” or some other Randroid weirdism:

Want to enrage a Libertarian? It’s easy. Just have standards. Consider lewrockwell.com blogger Stephan Kinsella’s response to my “Off the Reservation” post.

Enrage? Ha. Far from it. Just amused. BTW I am an Objectivist, by any reasonable standard, unless lack of sense of humour, dourness, and being Serioso about everything is a requirement.

Kinsella’s response is interesting because he refers back to an earlier article he wrote attempting to eviscerate Diana Hsieh for realizing that her previous support for David Kelley’s Objectivist Center was misplaced. Hsieh, an Objectivist graduate student in philosophy, grew weary of the Objectivist Center’s lack of scholarship. Upon re-examining the break that led to Kelly’s ostracism from Objectivism, Hsieh concluded that he and his organization’s approach to philosophy was substantively flawed and dishonest. Because her participation in the Objectivist Center was often held up as an example of the organization’s efficacy and because she knew her determination would sever many of her personal relationships, Hsieh felt compelled to make her declaration of independence public.

I was criticizing not her decision to break but her compulsion to publicly announce it. It’s so Randian.

Kinsella’s response? Venom.

Not “blank-out”? Shame.

Off putting, because it reflects a standard? Probably. It certainly explains the miles of hatred heaped upon Hsieh since her break with her former allies.

Not hatred–ridicule; not for breaking, but for feeling a need to Publicly, Officially Declare It Be So.

And perhaps (going back to my post) that’s why Kinsella can’t stand the fact that I indicated my disappointment with Mr. Oliva. Never mind that Mr. Oliva was a personal friend, going back to college. Never mind that I battled with him over the very issue that severed our friendship for hours on end, only to be told that he didn’t want anything to do with me or my philosophy. Never mind that I have my standards. The Libertarian mantra Kinsella echoes is that you must simply get along with everyone, whatever they think, say or do, or shut the hell up.

Again–don’t fault you for being disappointed in or not feeling close to someone, but this Randian tendency to Publicy Break with people is just hilarious and silly.

Yeah, right. And that’s going to lead to capitalism . .

What’s going to lead to capitalism is a radical improvement in the economic understanding of the average person. Which is to say–nothing. Ain’t gonna happen. Deal.

And a reply to a subsequent post by him:

Are you saying Oliva “hates” Rand and her philosophy? Even I am not guilty of that. Quite the contrary.

Surely you guys are aware how normal people deal with these things. If they have a dispute with someone, they limit their contact with them or even stop dealing with them. But they don’t feel compelled to make an “Official Announcement” about it, as if the world cares. I think in the future all you dudes should title your public “breaking” missives something like:

“Why I Am Hereby and Henceforth Breaking with _____ (And Why You Should Care (And Why I Should Care That You Should Care)–And If You Don’t I’ll Break With You Too”

Incidentally, no Objectivist has ever officially “broken” with me yet. Sigh.

I usually go to annual Austrian Scholars Conference meetings of the Mises Institute (and good ole’ George Reisman is there–having been booted out of ARI and found a tolerant, “benevolent” home where people are not insane); if I one day lose interest and stop going, need I “officially” declare this Once and For All to the World?

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket. You people can’t even see that you have become living parodies, can you?

10:24 pm on January 17, 2006