The Face of Unreason

 Posted by on 17 February 2006 at 11:07 am  Uncategorized
Feb 172006

Philip Coates tells us what toleration really means in the “Rebirth of Reason” forum:

I want to say for the record that if I were ever to run a conference or a publication, I expect I would give exactly NO thought to jumping through hoops trying to evaluate the moral character of my speakers unless it is one thousand percent certain and not a disputed matter that they are on the level of Adolph Hitler…or some equivalent…or advocates of some totally vicious doctrines. What I will evaluate is their intellectual competence and the truth of their ideas. Nor would I give any thought to whether my allies get along or hate each other, as long as they are not disruptive. Nor would I give much thought to whether I would lose people who just can’t stand to be in the same auditorium. I would tell them to grow up.

And, no, I’m not “sanctioning” the speakers or writers by the above policy. That is a STUPID idea and always was. The concept is reserved for people like totalitarians, skinheads, islamofascists, etc.

Not for honest Objectivists, who, yes, do make mistakes or have done stupid or unjust things in the past — Placing Rand or Branden or Kelley or Peikoff on the level of brutes or genocidal monsters is a gross and unjust exaggeration.

[ And don't even waste my time with an angry moralistic contextless flag-waving rebuttal, inappropriately using the Rand "judge and be prepared to be judged quote", and exaggerating and demonizing the mistakes of your enemies that you couldn't even stand to appear in the same magazine with or at the same event or in the same anthology or book or bookstore with. ]

That speaks for itself, loud and clear, I think.

Notice that in the last paragraph, Philip explicitly declares himself closed to any and all objections to his view that intellectual associations with anyone less evil than Hitler are morally peachy. He’s not merely certain of his position, even though it’s just asserted, rather than supported with argument. He says that he shall not listen to any arguments, whether concerning universal principles or particular cases. He deems them all “angry moralistic contextless flag-waving” in advance. (And let me bet that he hasn’t even read The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics!)

In light of such a clear statement, I will save us all from wasting our breath: I hereby forbid Philip from engaging in any debate upon this matter in the NoodleFood comments. Why pretend to debate when your opponent openly declares himself impervious to whatever facts and whatever arguments you might raise? Why feed the illusion of rationality? Philip can say whatever he pleases on the odious “Rebirth of Reason” site, if he so chooses. Apparently the owners of that site have no objection to willful disdain for reality. All other comments on this call to tolerate everything short of mass murder are welcome.

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