Censorship on 4AynRandFans.com Forums?

The first blog post I made questioned whether joining online forums solely dedicated to the discussion of Ayn Rand could be considered “consistent” with objectivist principles. The reason I made the post was because I have long struggled with the boundaries between “leading” and “following.” The idea of participating in a community, online or offline, that is dedicated to the memory and ideas of a single individual, just seems “collectivist” in nature. When ideas become popular movements it is hard to distinguish the real individuals from the want-to-be-real phonies. Maybe i’m wrong, but it just seems fishy.

Anyway – I made this post in which I challenged the forum and its members, and someone posted it to 4AynRandFans.com forums with a link to my blog. Pretty much all of the forum members condemned me and criticized the poster for posting such trash. They dismissed me as a disenfranchised objectivist – a very silly (untrue) notion, and proceeded to pick apart my entire post. I will admit that they had some good points, and that I may have been too quick to generalize about the people on those forums, but in reading the thread, and with what happened afterward, it confirmed some of my initial skepticism about the forum.

People really let the original poster have it for posting my blog (I still don’t understand why), even though it stimulated a discussion that seemed productive – which was my original intent… not to bash anyone, but to challenge their conventions and learn from their responses.

In the end – they actually deleted the thread. They censored it!

The original person who posted the thread then started a new thread from which the following quote is extracted:

“I have recently made a post that was both crude and not worth putting on the forum, for that I am sorry.
First, let me explain my actions so you might understand that they were neither evil, nor malicious.”

He then went on with a long email defending himself but also bowing down to the community for being so bold as to paste in words from another individual who seemed to question them. Does this sound like a community that fosters free-thinking and allows the challenging of convention to you? I thought objectivist principles CHALLENGED “group-think” like tendencies!? Rather, (SOME) of these people seem to represent a new brand of “collectivist objectivists,” which I find ironical. Finally, the poster (John) thanked Betsy for deleting his thread, and said, “it means a lot.”

To the members of that forum – i’m sure that if I gave many of you a chance I would find a lot of people who are more intelligent than I am, whom I would both be interested in, and privileged to, learn from. Unfortunately, however, some of you have now confirmed my skepticism, and I feel sadly (and slightly) vindicated.

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40 Comments

  1. Posted February 1, 2008 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Interesting. 🙂

  2. M S
    Posted February 8, 2008 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found that a lot of AR devotees (and AR herself actually) have a tendency towards trying to silence the opposition and a general intolerance for views that do not line up with the Objectivist “dogma.” It is pretty silly, and obviously hypocritical. I think it is based in the belief that one shouldn’t place an equal value on all views and I do agree that such neutrality is incorrect. However, refusing to listen to the opposition is also incorrect.

    I would explain what I think is the best position on this issue, but I think Ayn Rand can do it better:

    “[There is a] dangerous little catch phrase which advises you to keep an “open mind.” This is a very ambiguous term—as demonstrated by a man who once accused a famous politician of having “a wide open mind.” That term is an anti-concept: it is usually taken to mean an objective, unbiased approach to ideas, but it is used as a call for perpetual skepticism, for holding no firm convictions and granting plausibility to anything. A “closed mind” is usually taken to mean the attitude of a man impervious to ideas, arguments, facts and logic, who clings stubbornly to some mixture of unwarranted assumptions, fashionable catch phrases, tribal prejudices—and emotions. But this is not a “closed” mind, it is a passive one. It is a mind that has dispensed with (or never acquired) the practice of thinking or judging, and feels threatened by any request to consider anything.

    What objectivity and the study of philosophy require is not an “open mind,” but an active mind—a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them critically. An active mind does not grant equal status to truth and falsehood; it does not remain floating forever in a stagnant vacuum of neutrality and uncertainty; by assuming the responsibility of judgment, it reaches firm convictions and holds to them. Since it is able to prove its convictions, an active mind achieves an unassailable certainty in confrontations with assailants—a certainty untainted by spots of blind faith, approximation, evasion and fear.”

    “Philosophical Detection,”
    Philosophy: Who Needs It, 21.

    (copied and pasted from http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/ since I didn’t want to type it up myself)

    I guess the question is, do these forum members have active minds, or passive, closed minds? Based on the fact that they deleted the thread, and that they severely attacked the member who posted views different from their own, I would say they should re-evaluate whether they are acting on the principles they claim to hold.

  3. reasonmrsmith
    Posted February 9, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    M S,

    Thank you for your comment – I enjoyed reading it and your point is understood and appreciated.

    Before the thread was deleted there were some respondents who, if we were to judge them by their rhetoric, appeared to be close-minded. As I read their posts more closely, however, I did find the content of some of them interesting, and I do think there were some active minds that were ultimately stifled by the forum leadership. In the end, though, I think I would be giving the forum members a pass by simply blaming the leadership rather than the membership at large because they of course permit the leadership to do whatever it is they decide to do by virtue of their reluctance to speak out or find a new venue which would, eventually, relegate the forum leaders as “kings over nothing.”

  4. Posted February 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    If you’re talking about the forum I think you’re talking about, the leader actually knew Ayn Rand personally, and is one of the main teachers of Objectivism today. And, the editor of the Ayn Rand Lexicon, which was quoted from above. Hardly a king over nothing.

    Anyways, the only entity that can censor anyone is the government. Any private citizen who deletes a post, or doesn’t publish an editorial, is not censoring it. He is simply *not endorsing* it.

    No offense, but I think it’s a waste of time to even consider the idea that Objectivists getting together to talk about philosophy makes up a contradictory (to Objectivism) collectivist group. How else can Objectivists advance Objectivism?

    We don’t get together to tell each other how to live, or to divide up our incomes and distribute it equally, or to decide on personal issues in our lives.. We get together to talk about Individualism and Objectivism, and there’s no contradiction there.

    Ayn Rand was married.. Does that mean she destroyed her Individual Self? Of course not, and that question (not that anyone here asked it) doesn’t even deserve more than 30 seconds to disprove. In the same way, neither does the other question, really.

  5. reasonmrsmith
    Posted February 10, 2008 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Ryan,

    1) I could not care less whether or not the forum owner knew Rand personally. That may earn he/she points at a cocktail party, but that’s it. Seriously now, who gives a flying f?

    2) A government is not the only entity that can censor. A forum owner can censor activity by deleting posts. I can censor by not posting your entry. Obviously I don’t believe in doing that.

    3) I fail to see how objectivists “advance” objectivism by kibbutzing with one another in online forums. Please share your logic.

    4) In terms of Ayn Rand’s marriage being a contradiction of her philosophy – why is that not a worthy discussion to have? Is it off limits to question whether Ayn Rand lived her life in perfect accordance with her principles? Ayn Rand is a personal hero of mine but I don’t carry anyone’s bag.

    Ryan – you have wasted your time, and my time, by posting to this blog. You have added nothing valuable to the discussion. Please come back when you have something meaningful to say.

  6. Bob Cronley
    Posted February 20, 2008 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    In the forward to one of Ayn Rand’s books, she says that she tries to live her life according to the pricipals that she writes about. In other words, she, herself, realized that she was not a perfect objectivist. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect anyone to be.

    I feel that objectivism is not a philosophy, in itself, but a basis for philosophy. It is a skeleton of a philosophy that we each must flesh out in our own way. That way, we can all believe in objectivism and still be individuals.

    That basis of objectivism is that A is A, there is only one reality. But each of us has a different view of reality. Take, for example, the song on Pink Floyd’s album, “The Wall,” where the little boy looks up in wonder at an airplane. His mother then lays the big guilt trip on him about the air raids she has experienced. The little boy, having not been bombed by airplanes, sees it as an object of wonder, but his mother’s stomach turns over when she sees one. They are both viewing the same reality, but have entirely different views of it. Any comments on this?

    I used to listen to an objectivist talk show host who would say that claiming that you are only human is no excuse. But, A is A, we are human, and, therefore, not perfect. As a civilized people, we need to determine which imperfections we can not tolorate, such as killing, stealing, enslavement, and general coruption, and which imperfections we can tolorate, such as fumbling the ball, so to speak.

    Anyway, I hope my comments will help further the discussion of objectivism and the advance of civilization in general.

  7. Marnee
    Posted February 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Well its all in how you deal with the community yourself. If you join in order to find camaraderie and share ideas, while maintaining and developing your own sense of self, then great. If you join in order to take umbrage because you aren’t sure what to or how to think for yourself, then that is a serious problem. Forums in and of themselves are neither good nor bad, and I don’t think there is anything inherent in them that would necessarily lead to collectivism, but they can be run badly. That is for sure. I have had many a problem with some forums, SOLOpassion being the most horrible. I mean, that place is a giant train wreck, and it doesn’t need to be that way.

    Ugh.

    Anyway, Facebook and YouTube are fun, aye?

  8. Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Ryan,

    >Anyways, the only entity that can censor anyone is the government. Any private citizen who deletes a post, or doesn’t publish an editorial, is not censoring it. He is simply *not endorsing* it.

    Not endorsing it does not call for /deleting/ some one else’s comment. It is analogous to censorship. If you do not value someone else’s opinion, you can criticize. That is how JS Mill defined Liberty.

    ReasonMrSmith,

    >The idea of participating in a community, online or offline, that is dedicated to the memory and ideas of a single individual, just seems “collectivist” in nature.

    The objective of the individuals participating in these forums is to propound Objectivism. They have a selfish interest in coming together, to discuss, debate and enrich themselves with new ideas.

    Or how else would the /trademark/ corporations and multinationals function in a laissez-faire economy? That is not collectivism, only individuals working together for selfish reasons – Reason, Purpose and Self-esteem.

    Ayn Rand realized the fact very well that she was an individual. That man is an end unto himself. Man has needs and selfish interests. His needs are driven by objectivity. By entering into a marital alliance, she satisfied her need as a member of the human species which needs to procreate. After all, humans are pre-programmed to procreate. Mothers are preprogrammed to protect their progeny. There is Objectivity.

  9. Posted March 3, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Welcome to the world.
    I have just been reading my favourite book, the Fountainhead, for the first time in years, and I still enjoy it.
    One point-it isn’t censorship if they own the blog.
    Their loss obviously.
    There are some nasty little people out there, trying to carve personal opportunities out of the reputation of Ayn Rand.
    They should ‘get a life’.

  10. jamesshrugged
    Posted March 3, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    This really isn’t surprising coming from that forum. The founder of that forum used to be a participant at a forum where I moderated, was popular although he had a habit of being rude and hateful. This problem was even discussed among the moderators in private, as to what what should be done. Eventually, I deleted two of his posts that violated the boards rules, and he posted a public statement where he quit the forum and created his own, where he could make the rules. The other forum members had the same exact mentality that you describe, and that is where he got most of his member from.

  11. Richard
    Posted March 9, 2008 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    “4) In terms of Ayn Rand’s marriage being a contradiction of her philosophy – why is that not a worthy discussion to have? Is it off limits to question whether Ayn Rand lived her life in perfect accordance with her principles?”

    “It is a skeleton of a philosophy that we each must flesh out in our own way. That way, we can all believe in objectivism and still be individuals.”

    Come on! Everyone’s personal context differs, the information they obtain about others varies and so on. You can only go so far in critiquing a person’s choices… and so it is with Rand. You cannot know what occurred *in her mind* that led to them, unless she happened to discuss them with you in great detail. Of course there are rationalist ‘Objectivists’, because one’s epistemology does not instantly correct itself on reading ITOE. It is just as reasonable to find that some life long Objectivists are severe rationalists (e.g. T.O.C). These can run blogs, populate blogs, overrun blogs etc. Relax, and ignore them, unless you somehow benefit from wrestling through their rationalizations to come to your own understanding of the nature of certain rationalizations.

    Finally, Objectivism is not “a skeleton of a philosophy”. Do you expect a philosophy to decide every event in your life for you? A philosophy is a skeleton for living —it is your job to flesh it out in your context. Understand enough to not break a leg, let alone your backbone.

  12. koenichfuerst
    Posted March 10, 2008 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    LOL. Welcome to the club, reasonmrsmith. My first post faced the same sad fate. It is often said that these “wannabe-Objectivists” just give the “real” Objectivists a bad rep. But, quite frankly, 99% of the Objectivists I have come in contact with belong to the cultish-wannabe group and become irrationally angry when faced with ANY sort of argument against Rand or Objectivism, which is instantly condemned as irrational qua being against Objectivism or Rand. That being said, it helps to set aside Rand’s book for a while. She is very charismatic and her writing is highly hypnotic. I became a Randroid myself for two weeks after reading Atlas Shrugged. Her writing does put one under a spell. Many don’t seem to recover from it. A sad irony considering Objectivism’s outspoken claim to foster individualism and rational self-reliant thinking.

  13. Majok
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Destructive religious cults use such censor tactics against those whom they view as “apostates.” It is possible that the “objectivist collectives” (!) you mention have crossed the line into becoming destructive cults, both in how they deal with independent thinkers in their midst, and in their “adoration” of the charismatic figure and founder of the movement: Ayn Rand herself.
    Consider the current infatuation among certain “objectivists” with HER personal life, photographs, anecdotes, biography. Having personally seen, and researched how destructive cults operate, it is disconcerting to see some of the same techniques of mind control being applied here as well. I love Rand’s books and philosophy, find them personally refreshing and stimulating, but I recommend author Stephen Hassan’s two books on the subject of “cult mind control” for more data on this issue.

  14. Mal
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I’ve been known to say that the author who created Ellsworth Toohey could also think like Toohey if she choose to.

  15. reasonmrsmith
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Mal, what is your rationale?

    The only rationale I could imagine for your statement that Ran could like Toohey if she chose to would be if she had a lobotomy.

  16. Grant Williams
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never used 4AynRandFans, but I’ve been a long time member and prolific poster on ObjectivismOnline.net. More specifically, because of being banned or having my freedom to post constricted, I’ve held three different memberships over the last six years. Because of that I have only been an infrequently prolific poster.

    I disagree with you that the vast majority of people who are shunned by Objectivists – in any context – receive that response because of any dogmatic, collectivist, or censorious tendencies inherent in the Objectivist, as an individual, nor in Objectivism, as a philosophy. The vast majority of people who receive the cold shoulder do so because their questions, positions, and assertions are either completely arbitrary or intentionally at odds with whatever the Objectivist-based group’s stated beliefs are. The comments and arguments of these people contribute nothing to – and in fact take away from – the study of Objectivism and/or the integration of it into one’s life by the discussion of specific events.

    However, there is a small minority of people who approach Objectivists – especially Objectivists on internet discussion boards – with a sincere interest in learning what Objectivism has to say, if anything, about a specific topic. These people are greeted enthusiastically and their simple, basic questions are eagerly answered and elucidated upon. I have been serverly critical of these people – as well as the Objectivists who respond to them. This has been the source of all of my punishments on ObjectivismOnline.net.

    My reasoning is as follows: Ayn Rand’s works are readily available at little cost. Even more, the essentials of Objectivism are at the fingertips of anyone with an internet connection at any time and for free. I believe that anyone who presumes to ask simple, fundamental questions about Objectivism on an Objectivist forum, instead of exercising the minimal effort needed to discover the answers themselves, does not deserve any attention. Thus, I believe that anyone who proceeds to answer these questions – usually in a condescending and santimonious manner – is guilty of betraying the virtue of independence; all so that they may hear themselves speak.

    So I am in an even smaller minority. I am one of the few individuals who has received scorn, not because I am adverse to Objectivism, or because I am ignorant of it, but precisely because I am so sympathetic to it, and so well-versed in it, that I will not treat it, to paraphrase Ayn Rand, as an internet parlor game.

    The administrators with whom I have butted heads are all intelligent, conscientious individuals; but too often they are eager to engage with any stray, uninformed passerby merely for the purpose of ambushing them later on when they inevitably trip up. In my opinion, this an obscene waste of valuable resources. There are far too few Objectivists in the world and there are far to few venues where they can safely, and without needless interference, express their views or apply them to new circumstances.

  17. Posted March 19, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    All philosophies and beliefs have their share of true believers and fundamentalists.Ayn rand was a brilliant philosopher, a flawed historian and economist, and a OK novelist; I don’t think she ever would have wanted “followers.” It’s true that businesses, blogs, privately owned media companies etc have the right to censor. Conversely, we have the right to systematically boycott those who do practice censorship, and recommend to others that they do the same. Thanks for letting me know about this this site, I’ll make a point of never going there.

  18. Ellen Stuttle
    Posted March 22, 2008 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I saw this thread linked from OL and read it. Just a factual correction to post #4.

    Ryan wrote:

    “If you’re talking about the forum I think you’re talking about, the leader actually knew Ayn Rand personally, and is one of the main teachers of Objectivism today. And, the editor of the Ayn Rand Lexicon, which was quoted from above. Hardly a king over nothing.”

    The person you’re thinking of is Harry Binswanger, who runs his own discussion group, HBL (Harry Binswanger List). I believe the Speichers did meet Rand several times (at least Betsy did), but they weren’t close associates.

  19. Brad Williams
    Posted March 27, 2008 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    I agree with Grant on this: the online forums are a large waste of time (at best) for many if not most of those involved. Even Peikoff says as much in one of his podcasts this year. Ayn Rand was the clearest philosopher and writer ever, a thousand posturing interpreters on the internet add nothing to her thoughts or their communication.

  20. Mal
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    It is obvious that if Ayn Rand created Ellsworth Toohey, with his master plans and sinister methods, then she had to be able to think like one. Only a Randroid would take issue with that point. A good writer of detective stories has to be able to think like a criminal in order to create criminal characters.

    It is not an insult to Ayn Rand to say this, it is simply logical.

    As for Ayn Rand being the clearest philosopher and writer ever, that only makes it easier to take her words, statements, and “axioms” apart piece by piece and to show them for the manure they are. Even if all her conclusions are true, most if not all of her arguments for them amount to rationalizations.

    As for online Rand forums, they are a joke. ObjectivismOnline is one of the worst offenders regarding censorship of posts. Obsessed Ayn Rand fanatic Dave Odden, one of the moderators on OhOh.net, guards it like a starved dog growling over a bone. Not every moderator there is like that, but there is always that one rotten apple. The Randroid argument has it that deleting posts is not censorship if private property rights are involved. But while the owner has the right to delete any post he chooses, it is still censorship. “No private individual or agency can silence a man or suppress a publication; only the government can do so.” (“Man’s Rights.”) But publications are suppressed all the time by non-governmental bodies: it’s called “post deletion” or sometimes “post canceling.”

  21. reena
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    you must have become entahgled with so called objectivists afiiliated with The Ayn Rand Instt (ARI). They are terrible and little religios freaks. Thinking independently is beyond them. Objectivism like all other strong movements attracts a lot of freaks and losers too, who have to be ignored and not taken for the real deal. Focus on the philosophy, not that these fools say not even on how Rand herself applied the philosophy – sometimes even she misapplied her work. Strange but true. Objectivism rocks but some of its self declared followers are anything but obejectivists.

  22. Posted April 6, 2008 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Firstly,

    Mal…

    “As for Ayn Rand being the clearest philosopher and writer ever, that only makes it easier to take her words, statements, and “axioms” apart piece by piece and to show them for the manure they are. Even if all her conclusions are true, most if not all of her arguments for them amount to rationalizations.”

    I would like an example or two of “arguments” that “amount to rationionalizations” to support your conclusions, if you would.

    Beyond that point, ReasonMrSmith,

    I read Atlas Shrugged some 8 or so years ago and again a couple years after that, and then the Fountainhead. I found the ideals refreshing, strong, and parallel with my own course of thinking. Not that it developed anywhere near what Ayn Rand…observed; and had been able to formulate the words to describe as she had.

    After reading Atlas Shrugged, I would say I still had things to sort out. And one thought occurred to me in relation to how I felt regarding Ayn Rand’s views. By “believing” in what she had to say and the views of Objectivism, was I a “follower” of Ayn Rand/Objectivism? I am not. I figured out that I hold Objectivism and Ayn Rand in high regard, but it is from Objectivism’s very principles that I decided it was something that had to be built upon.

    Has it occurred to anyone who adheres to Objectivism and even Ayn Rand’s thoughts on the matter that even Ayn Rand missed something and that Objectivism isn’t in and of itself perfect? (Ironically, this is occurring to me as I write this.) This being said, I reiterate, it is something to be built upon.

    In relation to your experiences with these forums, which I’ve never participated in or even viewed (so I’m glad I found yours which has brought these things into question first), you are in conflict with those whom desire to lead others. As expressed in Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead – and I am not assuming you or anyone else hasn’t thought of this, so no offense if I am stating the obvious – not one of the “heros”, even Galt himself was a leader of others. They were all leaders of themselves. None of them aimed to lead others. Those of these forums have shown through their behavior and actions what their motivations are, is to lead others. It may be with the INTENT to further Objectivism, but as with so many other movements, etc. with good intent, people tend to get in their own way due to various desires which motivate them, some even conflicting.

    All this being said, and based on your discriptions, your observations of collectivism seeding its way into these groups would be accurate. I support this conclusion thusly: It is a tenet of Objectivism to be of critical thinking and analysis, which, as to my understanding would require critical thinking of Objectivism itself, especially when it is a paradigm by which you make judgement. People (not all perhaps) within these groups/forums have stopped questioning the philosophy itself. Objectivism or perhaps more significantly, Ayn Rand, is thier answer. Like many of various religious faiths, they no longer question the the tenets and laws they follow, they simply obey or disobey. They seek no further understanding because they actually believe they have complete understanding.

    This has been longwinded, and perhaps not very relevant to your original posting…But, I will say what I read here has inspired my participation and effort.

    Upon re-reading specific points of your post, I would disagree that participation with forums dedicated to Ayn Rand and the ideals of Objectivism would be collectivism “by nature”. Why? Because it is nothing more then a site of/for discussion and debate within the specific bounderies of subject matter. However, your challenge and the reaction you received was in and of itself illuminating about those SPECIFIC people. And you have exemplified individualism by establishing this post, acknowledging the forthcoming commentary and made the decision that you are not in agreement with “deleting/censoring” responses. I may be mistaken, by I suspect an answer to some of your questions lies in your own actions and decisions.

    Hopefully making sense…

    Joseph

  23. Posted April 19, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    A forum is a private space of the owner of the forum.
    and it is his/her choice what to entertain and what not to.

  24. jab3
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Not surprising. Several commentators have found cult-like tendencies in Ojectivism. During her mature career, Rand wanted other people to think for themselves–but only to the extent that what they thought agreed with her–if it disagreed, her followers faced excommunication or humble accptance of often harsh criticims followed by thought rectification and admission of their flaws. Rand herself rarely if ever admitted error or weakness, and allowed her followers to build up a strong cult of personality around her, a cult that persists to this day. Not all collectivist movements are built on the cult of personality, but all strong cults of persoality are mentally and emotionally collectivist.

  25. Posted May 17, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mr. Smith. Sorry to hear about your bad experience on that forum. They certainly do have a reputation over there for being orthodox and intolerant. Not all boards are like that. As a forum owner myself I’ve seen how tricky it can be to run a forum with a minimum of flame wars but still allow free discussions where everyone speaks as individuals. I have been banned from another board, not for my views or what I said, but for the company I keep. At OL we want people to be able to express themselves and it doesn’t matter whether or not one is a true blue Objectivist or not. We are just a community that admires and is influenced by Ayn Rand and her work. Anyway, if you ever decide you want to try forum life again, take a look at OL http://www.objectivistliving.com

  26. Cal.Short
    Posted May 25, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    It intrigues me that you advertise on forums (via Google). Every week or two I click on your ad link, to see if you’re saying something new, but all I find is new comments. I’ve probably cost you a buck already, sorry.

  27. sabin
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    i like this site

  28. Josh
    Posted July 4, 2008 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I thought I should point out that the definition of censorship is simply to delete or restrict a word or passage of text. Censoring is just a fancy word for deleting or holding back and often, but not exclusively, refers to a foreign or higher entity. For example, by “holding your tongue” you are censoring yourself.

  29. Kae
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    It is no surprise that the creators of 4AynRandFans.com have lost touch with the liberties of objectivism; these are the same people who “…greatly admire and support…The Ayn Rand Institute.” Of course thats a different subject.

  30. Posted July 13, 2008 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Please refer to my article in which I comment of AR’s puny contribution to philosophy, and enormous and deleterious effect on society. “Ayn Rand followers” is an oxymoron.
    kristendom

  31. Michael Hardesty
    Posted July 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m not in the least surprised to hear of your awful experience with the Randroids.
    About fifteen months ago I vowed never to look at Solo Passion or Rebirth of Reason again and I haven’t. I feel better for it.
    As someone involved with Objectivism for almost half a century I avoid Objectivist sites and most so-called Objectivists like the plague. I’ve read Atlas twenty times
    and am in agreement with the philosophy while
    strongly disagreeing on Israel and the crazed
    foreign policy idiocies coming out of ARI.
    Which I rarely look at and should stop altogether. The sites critical of Objectivism
    like ARCHN and Randzapper are terrible too.
    Objectivist Living is open on Rand but don’t dare criticize either Branden or your out !
    Good luck.

  32. Posted August 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Would you go onto a site on particle physics and ask the members why they are focusing only on particle physics? You should not, since life and its endeavors can be quite specialized. The aynrandfans site sometimes has its faults, as all sites do, but it has every right to be intensely specialized and to kick out people who get in the way of that specialization and, especially, who irrationally question the perfectly-fine intent of specialization. Philosophy itself is highly specialized (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, aesthetics, etc.), even though philosophy is the broadest field of study known to humans. The “fans” site is dedicated only to Rand’s comments and how they play out in the field of human endeavor. They are not about “questioning” Rand. They agree with her fundamentals and have no interest in revisiting those. That is their choice, and you invade upon their choice with your idiocy as does a book-discussion guest who states flatly, “Do you think it’s all right to just talk about books?”
    Also, if you wish to expand the proper definition of “censorship” related to government and into private property, then, yes, they censored you, and rightly so. Perhaps next time, you’ll think before you whine.

  33. Dalip K.Seth
    Posted August 12, 2008 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Any view or comment has to be solely judged on the basis of rationality–that is the cornerstone of Objectvism. If two rational people disagree then both of them have to allow each other the right to disagree and wait for the time which alone can prove one of them wrong but in that both of them would be gainers. This is my understanding of Ayan Rand’s thought on this subject. Unless we grant others the right and freedom to disagree, so long as they do not enforce their views on us, we are violating their basic human rights which in turn diminishes our own.
    I hope I am not confusing more than the confusion that this discussion is already is throwing up.
    In any case none of us need anyone’s permission to think rationally and come to our own conclusions based on it.
    with best wishes –dalip

  34. Chuck Frey
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I read posting and as an expert can explain all the incorrect thoughts on this forum.

    1. You said it yourself, you had many mistakes which were rightly taken apart. That is the way that logic works.

    2. Those that practice objectivism are not “collectivists”. Collectivists are those that “live to serve others or expect others to serve them”. Individualist is one that uses their independent mind to process information using logic. A collection of individuals such as in a democracy is not ‘collectivism’, but invidualism as each uses their own mind and practices liberty to vote.

    3.No Rand supporter tries to ‘silence’ the opposition. The whole principle of individualism in a nation is everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT there is NO right to have your opinion on “XYZ’s private blog or facility”. You can NOT wear “whatever you like on a private mall” , IF it violates the mall’s policy. FREE SPEECH is a right that exists on PUBLIC PROPERTY. That is US law.

    4.One must never keep an “open mind”, but instead keep an “active mind”. Open mind concept means accepting “communism” possibly. But there is no “possibly” neither in theory nor in practice. There is an “active mind” that CAN evaluate ALL information that one chooses, and REJECT falsity.

    5. Objectivism is a complete philosophy, not as some person states incorrect a “preamble to a philosophy”. Philosophy is a science that integrates the facts of reality, particularly the specialist subjects out there using clear ‘abstract principles’ to apply to the concrete facts of reality. That is exactly what Objectivism does: as a philosophy.

    6.When objectivists get together in a forum to discuss Ayn Rand, and importantly to apply her concepts to the concrete facts of modern reality, it is not “following” Rand [who is dead], but using leadership:independent individualistic mind to reach conclusions.

    7. Ayn Rand’s marital choices were not immoral. She was not dishonest with anyone, and also made sure the spouses of her lover/s knew. Similarly HUGH HEFNER is not dishonest in practicing a love triangle [or more].

    Who said that a man and woman in a marriage can not “swing”? Religion? Yes! To hell with that mystic nonsense that has brought about more death and destruction including outright Catholic genocide than most things in history.

  35. jamieh
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    As with most things the spirit of objectivism is lost while the soulless interpretation of the written word, to better suit the interpreter, goes from strength to strength.

  36. Posted September 21, 2008 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    I find those who do not understand Rands Ideas and Ideals, are those who pick it apart or try to find a crack in it, when its very nature is to put the user in the position to know and understand reality as it is, not as you wish it to be or as a large group thinks it is or wishes it to be. It is no more dogamatic then gravity itself, you can argue against gravity all day, but in the end you are still stuck to the earth. This is how we view those who seek to unravel Objectivism and hence achieve the label of dogmatic. Rand does have it right, if you are against Objectivism, you are indeed against reality as it is, no ocean of tears and stomping your feet or trying to find cracks will change the fact that reality is as it is.

    Many I have had discussions with do not understand that Objectivism is like math, you don’t sit there and argue that 2 + 2 = 5 and this is the position we view many of those opposed to it and all the logical fallacies that ensue and attacks on Rand that honestly have no more to do with Objectivism then Einstein being an axe murderer would change the fact that e=mc2 is now false because of it. The Reason many seek to undermine Rand is because she has indeed cracked the code and come up with software for the human mind that is indeed in sink with reality itself, not in conflict with reality or in contradiction with reality, unlike all religions and mysticism that must undermine mans reason and claim that nothing is knowable, rand gives the user the tools to assess reality and now reality as it is and to think rational and logically, build values and think in terms of values, understanding that feelings do not create reality, nor are they a currency that can be traded in terms of values.

    So your attempt to find flaws with objectivist’s, again has nothing to do with Rands discovery, the reason you get attacked for your provocation is that many of us see right through you, and know that you are indeed a waste of time and are interfering with the ability of many to see, understand and employ the values that she brings.

    James George

  37. me`
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    I dont understand where all this negative talk comes out of your mind good sir, It is sad to confess that most of us Liberals,Idivuduals, are the most sensative unacting persons in this universe. I believe that most of us are just bitter in are own self of wisdom of what is really happening. I bealieve that we were born with a antiopium surrum, that does not allow us to be satisfied. I will leave it to your good judgement to take this group of words into affect of your character.

  38. Vern Stevens
    Posted October 5, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    As a moderator on ObjectivismOnline.net, I deal with this issue from time to time. If there is any ‘collectivist’ thought going on here, it is the assumption that just because a group of people decide they want to have a forum focused on a particular topic, that they are censoring or trying to suppress the speech or thinking of other people.

    I always try this analogy to explain what is actually going on;

    Much like some stores limit themselves to particular products, so do some forums limit themselves in the scope of discussion. Thus, if you go to a hardware store expecting to buy shoes, it’s not ‘censorship’ for the store owner to refuse to sell you shoes. He’s not trying to suppress shoes, he’s not trying to deny you the right to wear shoes, he just doesn’t sell them himself. And just as on the forum, he may even direct you to a shoe store (which some people will no doubt go to and try to buy a hammer.) Along the same lines, motorcycle clubs are not censoring individuals by refusing to allow them into the club because they drive a Honda Civic. It’s a MOTORCYCLE club.

    These forums typically state their purpose and focus succinctly in their forum rules. There are no surprises here, and for those folks that go in and either fail to read those rules, or read them and intentionally ignore them, we typically point them back in that direction with a reminder.

    The other thing is, participation on our forum does not limit people from participating on other forums. Many of our members participate on other sites that vary in scope and purpose. With the internet being as big as it is, it simply IMPOSSIBLE for one site owner to censor any individual from talking about or expressing their views. Individuals who want to explore issues that are not allowed on one website can FREELY go to another website with a different focus and air those issues out there.

    The choice is quite simple; if you don’t mind adhering to the rules of a particular site or organization, you can join and participate. If you don’t like the rules, no one is forcing you to participate. But it is false and a complete waste of time to make false assertions of censorship when you simply assume the motivation behind the clearly stated rules of participation. I’ve found that people’s gripes with Objectivism (or Objectivists) tends to bias their assumptions toward the negative. A person with a more objective mindset would at least entertain other possible reasons.

  39. Posted October 9, 2008 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I came across this blog Oct 8, 2008 am am compelled to address the idea of censorship in a forum posting. Censorship when performed by anyone other than a government is not an immoral action. It is an amoral choice by the moderator of a forum and his/her opinion as to what is proper for the forum.

    When a government censors a citizens ideas then one gets into the arena of immorality as it violates the 1st amendment.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Once again note the term ‘Congress’ shall make no law.

    Nothing to do with a private indivuals choice.

    A government is of the people.

    An private individual offerring a public forum may do what ever is in his/her best interest and as such is not abrogating the right of the other poster to post the opinion anywhere else.

    The removal of the post in this context is amoral not immoral.

    Robert H. Weinstein

  40. Posted October 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    A group is its own worst enemy : http://www.shirky.com/writings/group_enemy.html


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