Objectivism vs. Scientology: some “ominous parallels”:

Quite frankly, Ayn Rand’s dogged insistence on a “legal and intellectual heir” (out of all of her other abysmally stupid mistakes), is what pretty much guarantees that “Objectivism” will fail, in terms of broad cultural change.

The reason is: Ayn Rand tended to “break” with recalcitrant questioners (John Hospers, Murray Rothbard etc.)   She also ended up “excommunicating” Nathaniel and Barbara Branden — and then attempting to “rationalize” having done so, after the fact.  (The blatant hypocrisy of NOT removing Nathaniel Branden’s articles from subsequent editions of “her” various philosophical nonfiction books is, quite frankly, obvious:  I “get” why she did this — she couldn’t just dump the Branden’s down some sort of Orwellian “Memory hole”, since earlier editions of the books — and the ‘zine in which most of the articles originally appeared — still existed.  Moreover (since Ayn Rand was incapable of completing a systematic treatment of “her” philosophy despite having attempted — and abandoned — the project TWICE), if she had simply “excised” Nathaniel Branden’s articles, the result would have been even more woefully incomplete than most of “her” philosophical nonfiction already is — which would have seriously undercut her own status as “guru”.

At any rate: Ayn Rand herself tended to drive off the most creative and independent thinkers.  She also (mistakenly) treated “her” philosophy in a somewhat “Platonic” fashion (IE: her babblings about whether or not she had “authorized” a given presentation, or not.)

(I can’t help wondering — at least in passing: Nathaniel Branden got to “tap that ass” (as both he and his then-wife Barbara detail in their respective “Tell-all” books);  Did Peikoff?  Could that be at least part of why he has become progressively weirder about the “Legal and intellectual heir”/”Foremost living expert on Objectivism” schtick over the last few decades?  He can’t help but at least implicitly realize that he is (in effect) wallowing in Nathaniel Branden’s “sloppy seconds”, EVEN NOW — DECADES AFTER AYN RAND’S DEATH.

let’s think about this:

  1. Rand (mis)understands her own BDSM/dom-sub fetish as expressive of the “Essence of femininity” (IE: “hero-worship”, no female president, “being chained”, the “benevolent rape scene”, etc.)
  2. Rand (mis)applies her “sexual desire = metaphysical value judgment” thing as necessarily implying that she and N.B. had to fuck — solely on the basis of “their own highest values”, etc.  In other words, Rand ends up reifying her own, bizarre BDSM-tinged version of “gender-roles” as a philosophical primary.  Rand = female = “hero-worshipper” = “second-handed” = “hard-fucked by her ‘ideal man’. etc.
  3. Since N.B. is (as he put it later during the Benefits and hazards of the philosophy of Ayn Rand article) pretty damned close to Rand’s notion of an “ideal man”, she attempts to essentially “live out” the part in Atlas Shrugged where Dagny (good little “hero-worshiping”/slut-pig that she is) expresses the “essence” of her femininity by repeatedly allowing herself to be “conquered” by a series of (progressively) more and more “ideal men” — Francisco, Rearden, Francisco (again), Galt, etc. — on the assumption that those “ideal men” will exhibit absolutely no jealousy or possessiveness over the fact that Dagny is expressing her “highest philosophical values” by allowing herself to be “conquered” by the others.

Now, notice something right from the get-go:  Rand was utterly unable to comprehend the fact that she herself did NOT live in one of her shitty, schlock novels.  The idea that (for example) Frank O’connor might resent the fact that his wife was being power-fucked by one of her “students” — let alone that the WIFE of her student might exhibit any sort of qualms about the whole thing — was flatly incomprehensible to her.

In other words: Ayn Rand was a stupid, negligent, pseudo-intellectual slut, who attempted to “live out” her shitty, pseudo-intellectual schlock with disastrous consequences for everyone concerned.

Because, you see: Nathaniel Branden was also firmly committed to the notion that females (as part of the “essence of femininity”) would – as a matter of metaphysical necessity — be utterly drawn to the idea of “living out their deepest philosophical values” by being hard-fucked by an “ideal man”.   Thus: the fact that he was power-fucking another woman (ONE OF HIS OWN “STUDENTS”) was basically inevitable.  Moreover, Rand should not have exhibited any jealousy or petulance whatsoever — given the fact that – in her novels — “hero-worshiping” females were more or less beholden to “hero-worship” any “ideal” man they encountered, by allowing him to “chain” and “conquer” them, etc. etc.

So, yeah: Rand was a hypocrite, in that she treated her jealousy about N.B. fucking another woman (an EMOTIONAL REACTION) as a “tool of cognition”.   she threw a petulant tantrum, systematically destroyed NBI, exiled the two individuals most responsible for elevating pseudo-intellectual schlock into a “philosophy for living on Earth”.  That is the ONLY reason Peikoff hasn’t spent the last several decades languishing in N.B.’s shadow.

In other words: Peikoff’s current status within ARI is ontologically dependent on the fact that Ayn Rand was a pseudo-intellectual, whim-worshiping slut who tried to blank-out the fact that her previous “legal and intellectual heir” was fucking another woman behind her back (besides his own wife, of course — Barbara Branden was evidently just supposed to STFU.)

Then, when she could no longer evade the fact that she was NOT living in one of her own novels, she (and her entire gaggle of pretentious “New Intellectuals” surrounding her — ended up systematically self-destructing.

The WHOLE subsequent “development” of the Objectivist movement consists of various attempts to either:

A. Recreate NBI (the “Nathaniel Branden Institute”)

B. Evade various (inconvenient) “Facts of reality” about Ayn Rand, herself

At any rate: when she was alive, Ayn Rand paid vigorous lip-service to “intellectual independence” and “integrity” and other such glittering generalities — while also being a petulant little bitch who tended to “break” with others whose bootlicking was insufficiently vigorous.

Thus, the so-called “Ayn Rand cult” mentioned by Rothbard and (regrettably) Scott Walker.

These two tendencies (authoritarianism and “moral sanction” as a form of emotional blackmail) — once “institutionalized” (by way of her “legal and intellectual heir”) pretty much guaranteed what many have described as the “circular firing-squad”: the “Objectivist movement” as an endless proliferation of “schisms” and factional squabbling, all of it obsessed over WWARD — “What would Ayn Rand Do?”

So that’s why Peikoff’s interaction with the broader “Fox news”-style Conservative “movement” is o perplexing.  I simply cannot wrap my mind around the kind of blank-outs involved in failure to notice the overt pandering to the “Dominionist” wing of Protestant Christianity during the Bush administration — let alone the fact that Republicans tend to (mis)understand corporate cronyism as a “Free Market”.

And yet, this is the same guy who threw a pants-shitting tantrum over the fact that David Kelley would “morally sanction” Libertarians by giving a speech.

The “Objectivist movement” is a damned mess.   What makes it interesting is the fact that it almost exactly parallels the interaction between the “Church” of Scientology, and the so-called “FreeZone”:

To paraphrase Peikoff, there are definitely some “ominous parallels”:

  1. Both Objectivism and Dianetics/Scientology were originated by hack novelists with a pseudo-intellectual bent.
  2. In both cases, the aforementioned pseudo-intellectual schlock-monger created an organization dedicated to “saving the world” by means of promoting that pseudo-intellectual schlock.
  3. In both cases, the first “iteration” of the “movement” was more or less systematically destroyed by the founder of the movement.
  4. Both “movements” involve an organization claiming to be “authorized” by disseminate the pseudo-intellectual schlock, and another (more nebulous) version of the “movement” running in parallel with that organization, and attampting to actually make the pseudo-intellectual schlock useful and applicable to “real life.
  5.  BOTH “movements” are widely regarded by “outsiders” as ridiculous and/or pathetic, and have a vast amount of overtly negative “expose”-type literature dedicated to “exposing”/discrediting/parodying the “movement”.




What do I mean when I say that Ayn Rand is “unworthy of respect”:

Let me be very clear about this:

If you mean by “respect”, that any specific individual’s statements or actions are exempt from examination and evaluation — then NO individual is entitled to “respect”.

Rand (at least judging by her tendency to “break” with others at whim, attempts to “rationalize” her own sluttiness, BDSM-fetish, chain-smoking, etc.) was exceptionally evasive and out-of-focus on a (fairly) regular basis.

Moreover, Rand is known for four completed works (We the living, Anthem, Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged). ALL of “her” philosophical nonfiction consists of recontextualized speeches, lectures, and articles from the various iterations of the Objectivist ‘zine.   She NEVER actually wrote (from start to finish) even a single-volume “introduction” to Objectivism.  She came close a few times (The Moral basis of Individualism and Objectivism: a philosophy for living on Earth) — but neither of those projects were ever completed.

Worse yet, “her” philosophical nonfiction is actually co-authored by others — Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, Leonard Peikoff.  This fact wouldn’t be a problem IF she had actually acknowledged that fact openly.

By her own admission, she failed to complete Moral basis of Individualism and Objectivism: a philosophy for living on Earth because — she claimed — that neither project “interested” her.  Now, here’s the problem with that:

Ayn Rand is EXPLICITLY an advocate of “rational self-interest”: one’s “interests” are grounded in (as she puts it) one’s “nature and needs”.  How exactly is failure to explicitly promote – and defend – her own philosophical system NOT in her interest?

Quite frankly, the only rational conclusion is damning: Ayn Rand was a whim-ridden, evasive fraud.   To the extent that she failed to complete the above two projects, it was because she equated “her interests” with “whatever she happened to find ‘interesting’/not boring”.

PURE, unadulterated, whim-worship.

Attempted counter-argument (excuse): “cobbling together “her” philosophical argument from disparate sources — speeches/lectures/articles — was ‘easier’.”

Response: “Anti-effort mentality”.  Moreover: Nathaniel Branden could — and did — manage such a presentation via the Basic Principles of Objectivism tape-lectures.  So what exactly was Rand’s EXCUSE for failing to do so?  Her own SUBJECTIVE EMOTIONAL STATE (“It’s boring!!!!!”).

So, yeah: Ayn Rand happened to find the task of systematically presenting “her” philosophy to be “boring”….so she failed to actually do so.  Instead, she (or, in the case of the later works — PEIKOFF), attempted to PIECE TOGETHER such a presentation from preexisting fragments — speeches and newsletter articles — INCLUDING newsletter articles AUTHORED BY OTHERS.

She then proceeded (in a blatantly-hypocritical move) to insist — doggedly and immovably — that the entire content of Objectivism represented “her” ideas, and was UTTERLY ORIGINAL TO HER.

Really: you can’t have it both ways.  Rand — if she actually believed the glittering generatlities about “honesty” would have had NO CHOICE but to admit her “philosophical debt” to Aristotle (which she occasionally did), but also to explicitly acknowledge the fact that “her” philosophical nonfiction was  — in a fundamental sense — at least semi-collaborative (IE: that at least some of the “grunt-work”/details were “filled in” by others — Nathaniel Branden, Peikoff, etc.

True, you could claim that she had “delegated” those specific sub-areas to others because she was less conversant with the minutiae involved (for example: Rand understood the historical development, implications, and problems with “Western” philosophy in general outlinein particular, the Platonic/Aristotelian/Kantian (intrinsic/Objective/skeptic) trichotomy.  However, Peikoff was much more conversant with the details:  which philosopher was attempting to “answer” which earlier philosopher, how their specific attempt succeeded/failed, etc.  (For example: one of his major points is that Aristotle’s system was both incomplete, and flawed, and that such gaps/errors led to Platonism “winning” (Via the Neo-Platonists, for example.)

As Peikoff puts it, Aristotle was never “fully” Aristotelian.   To the extent that his system was a (partial) derivative of Plato, more consistent forms of Platonism would “win”.

(At least, that’s the “Orthodox” Objectivist interpretation of the history of philosophy).

Although I hate the tendency (especially among ARI-type Objectivists) to reify Rand’s novels (by claiming to “quote” Galt, etc.) — I can’t resist acknowledging the fact that Ayn Rand claiming to be the sole “author” of “her” philosophical nonfiction is exactly identical in principle to Keating taking credit for Roark’s architectural designs: Roark spends most of the novel helping Keating to (in essence) cheat his way through a “career” in architecture, without even acknowledging that Roark was helping him.  Quite frankly, for Ayn Rand to qualify as the “author” of “her” philosophical nonfiction, she would have to have actually authored all of it — and NOT “included” articles by other authors.  (For example: Peikoff’s stuff about the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, or Greenspan’s “gold and economic freedom” article — or anything written by Nathaniel Branden.

Of course, IF Ayn Rand had acknowledged the facts: “Objectivism” as a (somewhat) collaborative effort along Neo-Aristotelian lines — at that point, her position as “guru” AND her “authority” to designate a “legal and intellectual heir” would have collapsed completely.

So: IF Ayn Rand had been honest (both with herself AND her later “followers”), she would have acknowledge the following:

  1. She was essentially plagiarizing Aristotle, in terms of the fundamentals of “her” system.(IE: operating from WITHIN a preexisting, Aristotelian framework).
  2.  Large chunks of “her” books were actually authored by others (Nathaniel Branden, Peikoff etc.)

She may have authored more of it, but ONLY because Aristotle (in particular) had already done a significant amount of “her” work FOR HER.  The fact that Ayn Rand “inherited” a vast corpus of philosophical “system” or context imposed upon her the obligation to ACKNOWLEDGE that fact.

To the extent that Objectivism builds upon an Aristotelian base, Rand — IF she was honest — HAD to acknowledge that fact.

In the same vein: to the extent that she “delegated” dealing with any specific issue (“Gold and economic freedom”, “Myths about capitalism”, “The Analytic-synthetic dichotomy”) to someone else, she does NOT get “credit” for the result — EXCEPT to the extent that Aristotle gets credit for all of “her” ideas which originally derive from HIM.

In other words: IF Rand is to get credit — ANY credit — for — let’s say — Leonard Peikoff’s “Analytic-synthetic dichotomy” article (EVEN in the trivial sense of “Well, if Ayn Rand had never decided to put out the newsletter, then Leonard Peikoff *MIGHT NOT* have written the article” — then quite frankly, we cannot legitimately speak of Objectivism as “Ayn Rand’s ideas” — BOTH because Objectivism is firmly within the philosophical context which had already been established by ARISTOTLE, *AND* because in many ways Rand herself — even when offering “original” content — was MERELY attempting to answer/solve/refute some thinker “upstream”.

In essential terms: “Objectivism”  (far from being some sort of monumental, individual achievement on Ayn Rand’s part) was — and necessarily remains —  a “collaborative” effort, aimed at answering/solving/refuting various errors/problems endemic to “Western” philosophy.  Absent particular individuals (the Brandens and Peikoff in particular), “Objectivism” would most likely never have existed as anything other than “the Galt speech” — in other words, as something between the “outline” of a full philosophical system, and a (rather gimmicky) plot-device restricted to a single novel.

In some ways (although Ayn Rand would never have admitted this), Rand was MERELY a link in the “Aristotelian” chain.  Ultimately, of course (IF one grants the “primacy of Existence”) then ultimately all that you can legitimately say is: IF Rand (or Aristotle) were “right” (IE: managed to identify the “facts of reality” correctly), they shouldn’t get ass-pats for having done so.

A thinker does NOT get “credit” for managing to be “less wrong”.



James Valiant’s book is pointless:

One of the most fascinating (and rather amusing) aspects of the “Objectivist movement” is the tendency to throw pants-shitting tantrums, and/or resort to “evasion” in regard to Ayn Rand.

More specifically:  those affiliated with/sympathetic to ARI (the “Ayn Rand Institute”) have spent the past several decades (since the Brandens’ published their respective “tell-all” books) engaged in the equivalent of standing there with their fingers stuck in their ears, repeating “Na-na-na, I can’t hear you!”

They don’t want to admit that Ayn Rand was anything less that (in effect) an “avatar” of Aristotle.  More accurately, “Orthodox” Objectivist folk-mythology requires that they view Ayn Rand as effectively a “messianic” figure – of unbreached virture — who was betrayed by Nathaniel and Barbara Branden.   (Essentially a recycled “jesus/Judas” thing — which is damnably ironic for such an explicitly anti-religious philosophical movement).

The Rand=messiah narrative combines with the fact that Rand (stupidly) designated a legal and intellectual “heir” — first, Nathaniel Branden, and subsequently Leonard Peikoff — to generate the Objectivist version of “apostolic succession”.  David Kelley’s “Atlas Society” faction only happened because David Kelley and other “heretics” refused to placidly slink off, and abandon Objectivism post-“Excommunication”.

At any rate, the two most  damning things about David Kelley’s faction are the fact that they (in contrast to ARI partisans) “Morally sanction” (IE: interact with/fail to frantically denounce) stuff that Rand herself hated — specifically, Libertarians, Nathaniel & Barbara Branden, etc.

For ARI partisans, failure to reflexively and uncritically ape/parrot Ayn Rand has always amounted to “betrayal” — mostly because Ayn Rand — like any 1960s-style “guru” — HAD to be at least implicitly treated as both omniscient AND infallible.  There are two reasons for this:

  1. If Ayn Rand was human (IE: neither omniscient, nor infallible — AND possessed of a volitional consciousness — capable — EVEN IN PRINCIPLE — of the same sort of “evasions” and “blank-outs” as anyone else — then her “followers” would have to resort to evaluating her statements AND ACTIONS instead of mindlessly aping/parroting.  That defeats the purpose of the “Objectivist movement” itself — herd conformity and a party-line.
  2. Questioning Ayn Rand at all was (invariably) mis-read as an “attack”, which would (inevitably) result in one of two results:  Rand would “break” with the recalcitrant individual (IE: Murray Rothbard, John Hospers, the Brandens etc.) — OR the recalcitrant individual would STFU, and continue to toe the Objectivist “Party line”.

The above facts are too blatantly obvious to be refuted.  That’s where James Valiant’s book The Passion of Ayn Rand’s critics comes in.

Essentially, Valliant’s book — by merely existing — paints Rand as a credulous dupe, betrayed by the Machiavellian supervillian-duo, Nathaniel and Barbara Branden.  The problem with this is: it “exonerates” Rand from any culpability for “The Break” etc. — by means of making her inept.

Which of course, would be equivalent to John Galt (the hero of Atlas Shrugged) being systematically tricked and duped by James Taggart.



Books to read to REALLY learn about Ayn Rand:

  1. The Passion of Ayn Rand – Barbara Branden
  2. Judgement day: my years with Ayn Rand – Nathaniel Branden
  3. Journals of Ayn Rand – Ayn Rand

The above three books should be enough to demonstrate (Objectively!) the fact that Ayn Rand was “neither omniscient, nor infallible”.   Actually, she was a chain-smoking, amphetamine-addicted, pseudo-intellectual hack who managed to surround herself with a gaggle of tragically-gullible acolytes (most of whom were members of a single Canadian Jewish family). 

The bizarre thing about Ayn Rand is: even with a vast amount of (undeserved) fame and prestige, she was utterly incapable of even writing a single-volume treatment of “her” philosophy (Objectivism).  She was also unable to even write a newsletter in a timely fashion.

She was, however, entirely capable of:

  1. acquiring an “anchor husband” (so as to avoid being deported, without having to actually become a naturalized citizen).
  2. Cuckolding that “anchor-husband” (who turned into a hopeless drunk as a result)
  3. Systematically alienating 99% of her own fans/acolytes.
  4. Throwing a tantrum/destroy version 1.0 of the “Objectivist movement”.

In other words: Ayn Rand was basically the female equivalent of L. Ron Hubbard: a pretentious, pseudo-intellectual hack who nevertheless managed to hoodwink the gullible and desperate.

This is tragic.  The primary reason for Ayn Rand’s “relevance” has nothing to do with her own stature/abilities/”greatness”, and everything to do with the rampant, blatant, “Horror-file” idiocy surrounding her.  It really doesn’t take that much effort to do better than (for example) pretentious, obscurantist, nihilist schlock.  All that is necessary is to mouth some “glittering generalities” about “reason” and “individual freedom”, and you are pretty much guaranteed to attract at least a few listeners — NOT so much because of your own “greatness”, but merely because your “fans” are justifiably  confused/repelled/repulsed by the rising tide of shit-swill.  They are also surrounded by the (ever more precarious) remnants of a (somewhat more) reality-based (IE: Aristotelian) worldview.  It isn’t particularly difficult for a pseudo-intellectual hack to step into the void that remains when the “Intellectuals” of a given era have declared their own impotence/idiocy.



Ayn Rand, “Gurus”, and “The sixties”:

I am currently slogging my way through Leonard Peikoff’s “the philosophy of Objectivism” audio lecture course from 1976.  ARI (The “Ayn Rand Institute”)  is — in an amazingly desperate attempt at “outreach” — is dumping vast amounts of stuff online — mostly Peikoff’s tape-lectures.

In an attempt to appear “scholarly”, they’ve grafted a series of softball (multiple choice) questions onto the end of each lecture.   The whole thing is basically an admission that ARI — peikoff’s attempt to recreate NBI (the “nathaniel Branden Institute”) is a bust.

Absent the attempt by leonard Peikoff to re-create NBI (the “Nathaniel Branden institute”) Rand would have vanished into well-deserved obscurity decades ago.  As it is, Neo-Randians “downstream” are finding it increasingly necessary to cover-up/excuse/justify anything and everything Ayn Rand ever said or did — without regard to how blatantly stupid or evil.

Objectivism stands no chance of becoming an influential intellectual movement.  Rand’s novels/nonfiction are available dirt-cheap (“First sale doctrine” FTW!), so every subsequent edition is effectively “competing” with every previous edition.  The good thing about this is: every time you buy a “used” copy, Peikoff doesn’t see a dime! 🙂

Moreover, the Brandens’ respective tell-all books are also available.  Same thing with every stupid gaffe Rand ever made during her various speeches/Q&A sessions, etc.

Probably the dumbest of these is Rand’s seething hatred for Libertarianism.

Ayn Rand’s yawping idiocy with regard to the Libertarian movement is self-defeating, for two reasons:

  1. The Libertarian movement is the only genuinely fertile ground for Rand’s notions of laisez-faire capitalism.  (Right-wing “Conservatism” is a hash of corporate cronyism, would-be theocrats, racists/xenophobes, runaway leave it to beaver mythology/nostalgia, etc.)
  2. The last time Peikoff/Binswanger etc. threw a  pants-shitting tantrum over Libertarianism (1991), David Kelley failed to placidly STFU and take his “excommunication” lying down.  In other words, “Atlas Society” happened.  ARI provoked the creation of its most direct “competitor” (another organizational nexus claiming to be derived from “Ayn Rand’s ideas”).

So, yeah: even ARI-types are smart enough to understand the fact that Rand’s anti-Libertarian screeds are self-defeating.  Moreover, the longer since the NBI days, the less interesting/relevant any of that becomes.  (Nobody in their right mind gives two liquidy shits whether Frank O’connor did — or did not — have “a drinking problem”, let alone whether or not he kept liquor bottles around, and re-purposed them to hold/wash brushes. It isn’t even “trivia”.

Ayn Rand, Frank O’Connor, and the Brandens are dead.  Peikoff is alive, but is rapidly approaching the point of self-parody (The “DIM Hypothesis” was — at best — a clunky restatement of existing trichotomies which have been prevalent in Objectivist literature for decades (Plato/Aristotle/Kant, Intrinsic/Objective/Subjective, Rationalist/Objectivist/Empiricist, etc.)

So anyway, ARI is desperately attempting “outreach”.  They are also (desperately) attempting to “rehabilitate” Ayn Rand — which is, flatly, impossible:

Quite frankly, there’s some pretty damning information out there:

  1. The “Benevolent rape scene” in the Fountainhead.
  2. Rand’s (amazingly stupid) statements about “native Americans”, the “hero worship” bullshit (IE: no female president, because the essence of femininity is “being chained), etc.
  3. The fact that she cuckolded her “Anchor husband” (Frank O’Connor) with Nathaniel Branden, and then threw a shit-fit when she found out that HE was fucking another woman.  (So much for the Objectivist obsession with sex as an “expression of one’s deepest philosophical values”.
  4. Both Barbara and Nathaniel Branden’s tell-all books are (still) available (like I said above)
  5. ARI (stupidly) published Journals of Ayn Rand.

So, yeah: Ayn Rand is, quite frankly, beyond rehabilitating — a pseudo-intellectual, slutty, chain-smoking shrew of a woman who deliberately destroyed the first version of her own philosophical movement, “excommunicated” everyone involved with creating that movement/giving it coherence — who couldn’t even manage to write a newsletter correctly on her own is, quite frankly, unworthy of admiration or any sort of respect, whatsoever.

Ayn Rand was a hack  novelist with a BDSM-fetish who managed to surround herself with a gaggle of gullible acolytes (“The collective”) — most of whom she then managed to alienate and/or exile.  She ended up as an embittered joke, to the point where the last year or so of issues of her newsletter were incorrectly dated by over a year.






Those who ignored me, vs. those who bullied me: which cohort are more guilty?

I honestly cannot decide who are more guilty in bullying situations: the “bullies” themselves, or the enablers.

For example: the classmates who tacked me at recess, and kneed me in the groin until I vomited were enabled to do so both by the other students’ failure to intervene, and by the failure of the teachers etc. to punish them for doing so.

The worst enablers, however, were my own “parents” — both because they advocated that I should “just ignore them” (which PREDICTABLY resulting in the bullies merely escalating the violence) and for failing to “home-school” me.

“Public” education is essentially a form of “buck-passing”.   I can understand why they did it (my “mom” was working double shifts at the pasta factory so as to keep us from becoming homeless, while my “dad” was off getting rip-ass drunk/fucking random bar-sluts).  It makes perfect sense that they would abdicate their parental responsibilities in that way.

They assumed (incorrectly) that the school system would handle it (which they didn’t).

So: yeah.  The ones who bear primary responsibility for the incessant bullying I experienced during my “school years” were my own parents, and the parents of the bullies, themselves.

If we had all been home-schooled/unschooled, none of the bullies would have had the opportunity to do violence to me.


I haven’t been to a “Hamfest” in over a decade:

Several reasons:

  1. I never enjoyed wandering around in the parking-lot, looking at the used/damaged junk.  Sometimes you can get good deals — if you know what you’re looking for, and if the person is actually honest about the condition of the item — but that’s actually much less common than you might think.

Perfect example: My first 2-meter HT: 40 bucks from some random D-bag at some Hamfest or other.  It turned out that the circuit board had been shattered, and (ineptly) solder-jumped back together.  Result: semi-random failures, mostly involving if you moved the HT even slightly/if it heated more than a few degrees during usage.

Stupid D-bag hadn’t bothered to tell me this up front, and had sworn that the unit was “working fine”.   Now, I can (somewhat) understand if the guy would have admitted that the unit was only semi-usable, and/or been selling it explicitly as something to strip for parts — but lying about it the way he did (especially to a “newb”) was…..a d-bag thing to do.

Another “deal” I got at another hamfest: some sort of Heathkit transmitter, where the guy had yanked the power transformer/all of the tubed, and somehow “lost” the manual/schematics over the intervening years.

Result: 5 years of (intermittently) searching out tubes/trying to find/figure out how to make a suitable power-transformer, locating schematics, finally buying tubes from an EASTERN EUROPEAN SOURCE — only to have the “new” tubes pop when I tried to power the damn thing up, for the first time. 😦

So: no.  “hamfests” are nothing but a way for people to unload their failed projects/scrap on unsuspecting victims.

The other thing is: most of them serve as fund-raising for “local clubs” which are basically useless even to their own members.

Any club which does NOT actively assist its own members in navigating the (onerous and unjustifiable) restrictions on outdoor antennas perpetrated by many HOAs is — to that extent — at least circumstantially responsible for the ongoing “death” of Amateur radio.

So, no:  I haven’t been to a hamfest in over a decade.  More to the point, the few that I *did* attend “back in the day” all sucked