A Twice Baked Heretic

 Posted by on 14 April 2004 at 4:05 pm  Uncategorized
Apr 142004

Noumenal Self is blogging again, with a long and interesting post about my disassociation from TOC at the top. Given the title of the post (“Another heretic is created”) and his comments on my ten-years-ago decision to side with Kelley, he must be familiar with my original essay about that choice: Yet Another Heretic is Created. That short essay is an interesting historical record of my thinking at the time. Noumenal Self characterizes it pretty accurately, I think:

I remember thinking at the time that she was smart, but that her decision had been influenced by her exposure to supporters of ARI who were, unfortunately, dogmatic and rationalistic, and hence bad representatives of Objectivism. It was too bad.

Unsurprisingly, one of the worst, Jay Allen, has since totally rejected Objectivism in favor of something like Buddhist socialism. He even wrote an article about Objectivism not too long ago, but the site seems to be down.

In contrast to some of those ARI supporters, I was very quickly introduced to many friendly, smart, knowledgeable, and committed Objectivists at then-IOS via Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales. (Notably, most of those people are no longer involved with TOC.) As I was quite new to Objectivism at the time, I strongly suspect that my judgments about the merits of the ideas were heavily influenced by the merits of the people I saw as practicing representatives of each side. At the time, however, I don’t think I knew that. If I had, I surely would have seen my inclination toward Kelley’s view as merely provisional. I also likely would have sought out some ARI-affiliated academics.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that I recognized the asymmetries in my contacts with people on each side. That was one of the reasons I decided to attend OCON last summer. Although I was frustrated that the conference was not structured so as to make socializing all that easy for newer and/or quieter folks, people were indeed very friendly. So Noumenal Self is again right:

I know that Miss Hsieh was at the ARI summer conference last year, and that she must have realized that we’re mostly not nearly as bad as those gnomes that are to be met in various chat rooms.

(Granted, he’s terribly wrong to call me “Miss.” A girl like me doesn’t acquire a crazy name like “Hsieh” without marrying a Mr. Hsieh and shedding the “Miss”!)

I have more to say about Noumenal Self’s comments on the meaning of the “closed system” view of Objectivism in that post, but I’ll save that for later. In any case, much thanks to him for the thoughtful and supportive comments.

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