The past 24 hours have offered us two fantastic examples of TOC’s seemingly schizophrenic approach to moral judgment of tolerating everything but genuine Objectivists.
First, former TOC staff member Bill Perry just posted his report on TOC’s outright refusal to judge Barbara Branden morally unworthy to speak at an Objectivist seminar, despite three very obvious and very public examples of her evading and distorting the obvious facts. Bill, although in disagreement with David Kelley’s view of moral judgment, urged the leadership of TOC to apply its own standards of judgment to Barbara Branden. They would not do so. Yet her upcoming talks at their Summer Seminar on Objectivist rage and Objectivist community will certainly give her ample opportunity to promulgate even more lies.
Second, the Editor-in-Chief of TOC’s magazine Robert Bidinotto harshly condemned an unknown person in the comments of his blog as “fundamentalist jihadist” for withdrawing his praise for the cover of The New Individualist. The commenter (Brad Williams) did so after reading Ed Hudgins’ “cognitive disaster” of an article and noting the association with “that abomination of an institution, TOC.” According to Robert Bidinotto, that makes Brad the moral equivalent of a mass-murdering religious fanatic.
TOC’s approach to moral judgment is not a contradictory hash, but a consistent policy. Like the multiculturalsts who demand tolerance above all else, The Objectivist Center is willing to tolerate almost any immorality, no matter how blatant, except the supposed sin of intolerance. The people guilty of that transgression are to be condemned in the harshest of terms, as Brad Williams was. After all, such intolerance is the only obstacle to TOC’s dream of a community in which “honest individuals in an open and tolerant environment discuss and debate ideas” such that “the truth does win out in the end.” Of course, since the judgment of a given person as dishonest would send a damp chill through that warm and fuzzy dream, any inconvenient evidence of dishonesty will be steadfastly ignored and denied, as in the case of Barbara Branden.
In short, as is becoming ever more blatant in action, TOC’s basic policy is that the only immorality worthy of condemnation is a refusal to sanction The Objectivist Center.