My basic policy with the comments on my blog is that I leave all genuine comments (as opposed to the occasional spam) intact. Why? A few reasons: Idiots can hang themselves with their own words. To attempt to draw a fine line somewhere would be a waste of my time. Attempting to justify that fine line would be a further waste of my time. Worst of all, selective editing might give the wrong impression of approving or agreeing with the comments that remain.
Given that bit of background, I do find Noumenal Self’s decision to remove reasonable comments by Chris Sciabarra and Robert Campbell in response to this post puzzling, particularly given the willingness to engage the far less reasonable questions and comments in that very thread. From where I stand, Robert asked a perfectly legitimate and polite question about access to the Ayn Rand archive. And Chris corrected a significant error made in an earlier comment about his prior access to those archives. (Chris’s comments on this removal can be found on SOLO. Robert’s are in my comments section.)
Perhaps NS regards both Chris and Robert as obviously beyond the pale. To be clear, I cannot remotely concur with that judgment. Whatever our philosophic disagreements, both have been good friends to me over the years. Along these lines, I should say something about Noumenal Self’s comment in that same post about my relationship with Chris. There NS wrote, “Maybe soon she’ll turn a similar critical eye to the works of a certain NYU-based dialectical scholar she continues to regard as a friend.”
Chris Sciabarra has been an excellent friend to me over the years. He has consistently encouraged me in my philosophical work. He was both supportive and challenging in our many discussions about my dissatisfaction with TOC. As my friend, he is worth his weight in gold. Notably, my friendship with Chris does not imply agreement with his dialectical approach to Objectivism, nor with his approach to academia. I have substantial questions about the former and substantial doubts about the latter. Both will surely be hashed out over time, using the same critical eye I employ in all intellectual endeavors. Yet our friendship, which is grounded in far more than a mutual interest in Objectivism, will not thereby be brought into question.
I hope that clarifies somewhat, although whether it satisfies is surely another matter.
Update 1/24/05: Unfortunately, Robert Cambell since demonstrated his total unworthiness as a friend.
Update 4/25/06: And I just recently confirmed what I long suspected: Chris Sciabarra routined lied to me and now lies about me. See Dialectical Dishonesty for the details.