THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 516, April 26, 2009
"The stuff that history is made of"
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I have just received the following note, and would appreciate your linking everything we've got to his splendid site. I was seriously impressed, and it didn't have anything to do with his references to me.
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L. Neil Smith
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I am writing to you to ask if you will consider linking to my new blog, Libertarian News Network in the list of links at The Libertarian Enterprise. Note my first entry. Also, I link to your site.....
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Re: "The Difference Between Guilt and Shame" by Ann Morgan in The Libertarian Enterprise Number 515, April 19, 2009:
This article is filled with many unfounded and unsubstantiated assertions and speculations. I would not usually bother to challenge any of them because their speculative nature is so obvious.
However, the assertion regarding Ayn Rand will not go unchallenged. Ms. Morgan conveniently neglected to cite the article, book or essay in which Ayn Rand allegedly:
"... places nudism ("We cannot take off all our clothes!") in the same category as certain other actual crimes, such as theft. This conflation of nudism and actual crime ruins the entire theme of the essay."
I have a searchable CD-Rom with most of Ayn Rand's books, article and essays. A search on the quoted sentence above "We cannot take off all our clothes!" returned the message "No Hits". Hence, lacking a specific reference, no confirmation of Ayn Rand's alleged conflation can be made.
Either the reference should be supplied, or an apology.
Another search on "nudism" returned a single hit in Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff (who has proven to be a less-than-credible spokesman for Ayn Rand, in spite of his inheritance). His statement discussed various activities as symptoms of the decline in Nazi Germany and the USA, but had nothing to do criminality. So even Peikoff's statement could not be construed as "conflation of nudism and actual crime".
Furthermore, the article completely ignores the role of nudism in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, i.e. the life sized, nude statue of a woman that is the centerpiece of the Stoddard Temple.
And, since I find the article so lacking in substance, I remain unconvinced by the final paragraph in which Ms. Morgan concludes that Rand's heros are "Shameless Men" rather than "Guiltless Men".
Dennis Lee Wilson
To Which Ann Morgan Replied:
Dear Editor: In response to the letter by Dennis Wilson, I apologize for not providing a citation for the sarcastic remark by Ayn Rand regarding nudism. He is correct, properly, I should have provided a cite. However, I am certain that I did read such a remark in one of Rand's books. I have read an awful lot of books in my life, and by no means do I still own all of them. I confess that Dennis does now has me genuinely intrigued. Where exactly DID I read such a remark by Ayn Rand? I am going to have to go re-purchase all her philosophy books and re-read them all. If I find where I read it, I will send the information to the TLE. I certainly HOPE I find it, I really hate to think my memory has decayed to such a horrible state when I am only 40 years old.
Regarding Wilson's assertion that the rest of my article is 'speculative', this I disagree with. I think there is a difference between guilt over actual crimes, and shame over culturally imposed nonses that is convenient to those in power. Ayn Rand's use of the term 'guiltless' man, rather than 'shameless' man, when referring to Galt and Rearden, although technically inaccurate, is probably understandable in a purely literary sense, due to the unfortunate connotations the latter term has been given in our society. But it is the false definitions given to many words that I try to fight. One of the many ways in which the government, or others in power try to control people's thinking is by trying to control the language, and the definitions and connotations of words. (ei, other than the confusion of the terms 'guilt' and 'shame' the confusion of 'militia' with 'military' in the 2nd amendment definitely comes to mind).
And Replied Again:
Dear Editor: In response to Dennis Wilson's demand that I either supply a citation from Ayn Rand for her statements regarding a dislike for nudism, the exact statement was not: "We cannot take off all our clothes", but rather, "I am not allowed to take my clothes off".
It is to be found in her essay "The Inexplicable Personal Alchemy", in the book, "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution."
The words "I am not allowed to take my clothes off" apparently are not originally Rand's, but rather, a quotation she copied from the NY times. However, she chose to use this quotation in the sarcastic manner in which she does use it, which to me, indicates she has a problem with nudism. The context is as follows, in one paragraph, she is expressing contempt for a certain type of rebellious youth:
In the paragraph that immediately follows, Rand then proceeds to venomously express her contempt for the youth in the NY times article she quoted:
Well, I am really puzzled as to why Ayn Rand would think the protests in the first paragraph to be so contemptable. In particular, in a free society, one should not need government permission (passports) to travel. And since drug use hurts only oneself, and nudism hurts nobody, the laws against both also have no place in a free society. Also, a nudist is not necessarily an exhibitionist. But to go on to the next paragraph in this essay, Rand then lists some ACTUAL crimes that these youth are guilty of:
Now, this last paragraph, does list a number of actual crimes, including assault, theft, arson, and murder, which it would be legitimate for Rand, or anyone else, to complain about. However, she would do far better, in my opinion, to have left out her sarcastic use of the quotation from the NY times regarding freedom of travel (I cannot travel without a passport!), freedom of self medication (I am not allowed to smoke marijauna!), and nudism (I am not allowed to take my clothes off!) The fact that she chose to use this quotation, and immediately followed it first with a paragraph expressing contempt for the youth who desire freedom of travel, freedom of self medication, and nudism, and then with a paragraph describing their actual crimes, leads me to beleive that Rand both has a dislike for these three things (which people ought to have a right to) and secondly, either has personally conflated these three freedoms with actual crimes, or is attempting to conflate them in the minds of her readers.
Furthermore, as for Dennis's statement regarding that Rand did not have a problem with the human body, because in one of her books, there was a large statue of a nude female in the Stoddard Temple, that doesn't prove anything. There are a lot of people who have no problem with nude art, but do have a problem with actual nude bodies. Including photographs and movies of those bodies (which are much more realistic than statues and paintings).
And then Dennis Lee Wilson Replied:
To the Editor of TLE:
Thank you for the corrected quote and the citation. The article in "The New Left..." is also a reprint from the 1969-January issue of The Objectivist and the article contains NOTHING that supports the idea that Ayn Rand had "a dislike for nudism". The article sarcastically compares the actions of young American "heroes"who abuse the private property of a theater, risking nothing more than a slap on the wristto the actions of young Russian heroeswho defied their tyrannical government and were sentenced to multiple years of hard labor.
Congratulations! You detected the sarcasm, even though you dropped the context and trivialized it into a "problem with nudism". As luck would have it, Ayn Rand herself wrotein an article titled "The Art of Nonfiction" Part 8, Style--about the use of sarcasm and cited this very same article that we are discussing. An excerpt quoting Ayn Rand directly might be of interest bold-underline emphasis added):
I submit that the reason you are "puzzled" is because you dropped the entire context of the article, a context which Ayn Rand EXPLICITLY set immediately after quoting the NY Times story. She said "This news story is such a remarkable example of journalism at its best that I wanted my readers to see it and to consider its wider implications." None of those wider implications had anything whatsoever to do with HER views on nudity!
You and I have no disagreement on these points, but they have nothing to do with how they are used in Ayn Rand's article.
You have certainly missed the reason for her contempt for the American youths. I only know of a few other people who would read that article and manage to miss why she has such contempt for them.
Perhaps I should also have mentioned the Ayn Rand interview in Playboy Magazine in 1964, although I doubt it would change Ms. Morgan's mind. It is clear to me, at least, that she has an anti-Ayn Rand agenda that will not be altered by such considerations as quoting things in proper context.
In conclusion, I submit that whatever propositions Ms. Morgan may have about nudism, shame and guilt, the truth or falsehood of her propositions should stand or fall on the strength of her OWN proofs, (which I have already indicated were sorely lacking in her article) rather than attempting to defame Ayn Rand by quoting her writings out of context.
Dennis Lee Wilson
[I think we can now consider the discussion closedEditor]
Here is a site I found through The Future of Freedom Foundation. Thought others might like to add this to there reading list.
I'm spamming everyone with this email, and I do apologize.
Here is the coin I designed and am trying to get minted. More information is here.
Why do they call it "law enforcement" when the "enforcers" ignore the law?
Jackie Chan has geeked. He stated in a speech to Asian businessmen that the people of Mainland China need to be controlled by their government, that the Han are not ready to enjoy complete freedom, "the Chinese people need to be controlled."
I still respect his skills as a comedian and martial artist. I don't know what price he was paid or what blackmail evidence the Central Committee had on him. Still, he geeked. He has benefited from the fruits of American, Colonial Hong Kong, and Taiwanese economic and political liberty. Freedom's good enough for him, but the masses of the Middle Kingdom aren't ready for it.
I sincerely hope the price he was paid was worth it and/or that any secrets and/or people he was trying to protect are safe.
Everyone should get full value when they sell their souls.
Marc V. Ridenour
Inanocracy: Rule by fools. Marked by ineffectual actions that result in ever greater violations of people's civil liberties as bosses "try to get it right" rather than admit it's all a balls up and call it quits. While some inanocrats had this in mind all along, the vast majority are unimaginative fools and simply lack the common sense and imagination to see that their good intentions are not enough to override laws of nature, both physical and human.
Earlier this week it was pointed out in a report on Obama's First Hundred Days that for the time being he was backing off on an assault weapons ban for the time being. While the "for the time being" limits my delight the report points out that he did so while his Attorney General and Secretary of State were militating for such a ban, in effect repudiating these types.
Reports of Obama repudiating, however temporarily, policies and persons known to be tyrannical are heartening. At the very least our enemies are in disagreement with each other over timing and tactics. Just remember that their ultimate goals remain unchanged.
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