My Confession and Apology
The Beginning of The End
On September 18, 2004, my friend Dr. Chris Sciabarra published on the SOLO forum, the article, "It's Time To Move On: A Personal Statement" which referred to a published debate between Dr. Sciabarra and me concerning our books relating to homosexuality. These debates were also published on the SOLO forum for general discussion. The fact is, both Dr. Sciabarra and I had become exhausted with these debates and discussions, and this article was to be the announcement of the end of all that. In fact, I posted the following to Chris in response to his article, as a declaration of agreement to end it.
Thank you for being who you are, for being a staunch defender of your convictions, for being such an interesting and entertaining "opponent" (only in ideas).
I posted that at 8:45am. The time is important.
At 8:46am Chris privately emailed me thanking me for the post. Unfortunately, he sent it to an old email address we used to use regularly, but which I seldom now check, and I did not see his email until today (a day later).
So, as far as we, Chris and I, were concerned, the debate was over, and we no longer had any intention or interest in prolonging it. We had put an end to it.
Some Cannot Quit
At 12:10am, Mr. Perigo posted his own article "Moving On." Now Mr. Perigo honored me in that post by name, not once, but at least three times. It was almost as though he were addressing me personally.
Among other things he said, "Now, I myself have had enough, as has Chris, whose SOLO-sponsored monograph, originally published in The Free Radical, sparked the whole debate. One of the reasons *I* have had enough is that I have become convinced that Chris's chief adversary, Mr. Firehammer - to whom I have given unlimited space here & in The Free Radical - has not been proceeding in good faith."
What he forgot to say, and I'm sure it was an oversight, is the debates, which were as anti-adversarial as debates about such a subject could be, were the idea of Lindsay and Chris. The idea was to publish them in the Free Radical then post them on the SOLO forum as a way of generating interest in and sales of our books. Of course I went along with that. So what Mr. Perigo means by giving me unlimited space (which is not exactly true, but who cares about a little exaggeration) here and there, as though he were making some grand magnanimous gesture, is a mystery. Just were was my side of the debate they invited me to supposed to go without space somewhere?
Remembering that this is all four hours after I had already agreed with Chris to end all discussion, Linz also says, "So, what I'm asking here is this: Please respect Chris' right to *say* his last word by *not* engaging him in further debate on this subject. He's clearly stated his wish *not* to be further engaged in his article, and it shouldn't be too much to ask that it be respected, especially by the folk who already feel the subject has received too much attention. If you want to argue with *me*, do so on *this* discussion thread."
My Egregious Sin
Now I suppose everyone who read this felt Lindsay was addressing them, but since he had honored me by actually naming me three times, I was certain he was addressing me.
I guess everyone either did not read all of Lindsay's fine post or did not understand it, because almost immediately someone defied Mr. Perigo's request, and instead of addressing their argument to Mr. Perigo, they addressed it to me.
Now this is where I committed my egregious shameful distortion of the truth. To this person who was tempting me to defy Lindsay's clear request to only "argue" with him, I rashly said, "Although I've been forbidden to discuss this subject on this forum, I must correct one statement, without discussing the subject itself."
I know I should have said, "I and everyone else have been forbidden to discuss this subject on this forum with anyone but Mr. Perigo," or some such thing, but I didn't. I may even have exaggerated. Maybe I should have said, "strongly encouraged not to discuss this subject." Whatever I should have said, it did not matter, this kind of egregious distortion of the truth would not be allowed.
I could defend myself, I suppose, by mentioning the fact that I had, four hours earlier, agreed with Chris not to talk about this subject, and it was the force of that promise and my honor that was the forbidding from discussing this subject and had nothing to do with anything Mr. Perigo said. But I shall not defend myself. An "it" is not allowed to defend itself, is it? (This may be a bit obscure to those unfamiliar with Mr. Perigo's custom of referring to me as, "it," and "that entity.")
Fortunately, Peter Cresswell pointed out my terrible sin, and though it was almost immediately, unfortunately, it was not soon enough to prevent it.
He said: "Reginald Heatlamp said, "Although I've been forbidden to discuss this subject on this forum ..." and by doing so demonstrated that like his colleague Mr Rat (who claims with equal disingenuousness that he doesn't know the difference between being banned and being moderated) that he is indeed dishonest. Transparently so."
He even used an interesting nickname. If I had seen this good post earlier, I might have been able to answer him, but I had been occupied for a couple of hours in an email conversation with someone else on SOLO. When I did finally read his message and respond, I was surprised that it never showed up. Not being sure what the problem was, I found that Mr. Cresswell had posted the same message on another thread, so I sent my answer to that thread also. That one didn't show up either. It was a mystery to me why.
I would discover the reason, but not immediately. What I did discover immediately is that my egregious distortion of the truth had been discovered by none other than the sharp-eyed detective, Barbara Branden.
"Regi, Lindsay made it crystal clear that he was NOT forbidding anyone to discuss anything when he wrote:
"'So, what I'm asking here is this: Please respect Chris' right to *say* his last word by *not* engaging him in further debate on this subject. He's clearly stated his wish *not* to be further engaged in his article, and it shouldn't be too much to ask that it be respected, especially by the folk who already feel the subject has received too much attention. If you want to argue with *me*, do so on *this* discussion thread.'
"There is nothing equivocal in these words. Regi, it's time to let it go."
Well what Lindsay said might have been crystal clear to Barbara Branden, but it was clear as mud to me. It sounded a lot like he was saying all arguments were to be addressed to him. It is amazing that, as sharp-eyed as she is, she did not notice that others were violating that request. Even though I had no intention of discussing the subject with anyone, I still do not see how someone could answer a question from someone, for example, if everything was to be addressed to Mr. Perigo. What were they supposed to do? say, "Dear Mr. Perigo will you please tell so'n'so I said such'n'such?"
And what could she mean, "Regi, it's time to let it go?" It is amazing that such an astute detective would not have noticed that I had already, "let it go," four hours earlier." It seemed to me, she was the one that was not letting it go.
The One-Two Punch
Well it would be amazing, except that I was about to discover the purpose of that little sermon was not my improvement, but to set me up. Because the very next post was by Mr. Perigo himself.
"Regi, you're now under moderation. You have egregiously distorted the truth here, and you know it. See Barbara's post above."
One, two, Regi's out.
Now of course, I totally deserved it, anyone who had so egregiously distorted the truth deserved nothing less. But there was still one mystery, not even the astute detective Barbara Branden had been able to clear up for me. What happened to the post I sent twice that never showed up?
Then I noticed the times, Barbara's post, 7:13pm, Lindsay's post, 7:17pm. and the entire mystery cleared up. I had already been put under moderation before I sent my response to Mr. Cresswell. The message was "moderated." Obviously, there must have been something in it equally as terrible as my egregious distortion of the truth for it not to be posted. What could it have been?
A Mystery Solved
Well, here's the post. (I always save my posts. That's why I was able to send the same one to both of Mr. Cresswell's kind remarks.)
"Of course I may have misunderstood, but if you were me, what would you think this meant:
"'One of the reasons *I* have had enough is that I have become convinced that Chris's chief adversary, Mr. Firehammer - to whom I have given unlimited space here & in The Free Radical - has not been proceeding in good faith. ... So, what I'm asking here is this: Please respect Chris' right to *say* his last word by *not* engaging him in further debate on this subject.'
"This is Lindsay's forum, and if he does not want me to address this issue, I am willing to respect his wishes. Why would that be unusual for an Objectivist?
"Since he specifically addressed me by name and since none of my posts were directed to Chris I assume any posts I make on this subject are assumed to be, ipso facto, engaging Chris on this subject."
A Moderate Banning
Well I do not know about you, but I can see immediately why this post was not allowed. I bet the astute Barbara Branden could even see it. It looks for all the world like I was only trying to comply with Linz' request. It must have been obvious to the moderators it was written before I knew I had been banned, I mean, moderated, which sort of made the assertions I was distorting the truth, even a little, somewhat absurd.
I'm sorry about confusing "banned" with, "under moderation," but it is difficult to tell the difference when none of your posts are allowed. The last one I posted today said only, "Thank you," and nothing more. Anyone can see the offense in that. It never made it.
Oh, there is one difference between being under moderation and being banned. Saying publicly one is under moderation allows the management to effectively ban you without publicly admitting it.
But I'm not here to defend myself, I'm here to make a confession. If I were here to defend myself I might mention all the outrageous names and accustions Linsay Perigo has hurled at me here (indecency), here (dishonesty), and here (cheerleader of the vile), for example. But of course none of that would excuse my egregious distortion of the truth. In my book I praised the character, sincerity, and honor of Lindsay Perigo. That was an egregious distortion of the truth, and I sincerely apologize for it.
Reginald Firehammer is a filosofer and author of the book: The Hijacking of a Philosophy: Homosexuals vs. Ayn Rand's Objectivism. He is the author and host of The Autonomist, an online intellectual journal, as well as a contributor to The Rational Argumentator. In the future, he intends to produce a comprehensive treatise on ontology, consciousness, and ultimately filosofy itself. Mr. Firehammer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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