Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Robert Burns: Letter to an Unknown Critic

“Thou eunuch of language; thou Englishman, who never was south the Tweed; thou servile echo of fashionable barbarisms; thou quack, vending the nostrums of empirical elocution; thou marriage-maker between vowels and consonants, on the Gretna-green of caprice; thou cobler, botching the flimsy socks of bombast oratory; thou blacksmith, hammering the rivets of absurdity; thou butcher, embruing thy hands in the bowels of orthography; thou arch-heretic in pronunciation; thou pitch-pipe of affected emphasis; thou carpenter, mortising the awkward joints of jarring sentences; thou squeaking dissonance of cadence; thou pimp of gender; thou Lyon Herald to silly etymology; thou antipode of grammar; thou executioner of construction; thou brood of the speech-distracting builders of the Tower of Babel; thou lingual confusion worse confounded; thou scape-gallows from the land of syntax; thou scavenger of mood and tense; thou murderous accoucheur of infant learning; thou ignis fatuus, misleading the steps of benighted ignorance; thou pickle-herring in the puppet-show of nonsense; thou faithful recorder of barbarous idiom; thou persecutor of syllabication; thou baleful meteor, foretelling and facilitating the rapid approach of Nox and Erebus.” ~ Robert Burns | Letter to an unknown critic, 1791


Chris R Cathcart said...

It's a bit hard to make much sense of your thesis if you don't provide anything by way of documenting detail and clarification of key concepts.

Let's test the following hypothesis: Rand was right, and you're wrong about her, because she is basing her certainty in an induction of a vast set of contents. This is all made quite evident in the more advanced Objectivist materials which you've said in the past you've studied with due care. It's all about the art of context-keeping, etc., a theme Sciabarra has glommed onto quite well and which you seem to just miss.

Is there the slightest error, on inductive grounds, in Rand's "What is Capitalism?" essay? I've been giving much thought to that essay over the decades and I think the reasoning is airtight and of world-historic importance.

Why not give Ayn Rand the *full* credit she deserves? I take Rand to task on her polemics but my thoughts pretty much mirror those of George H Smith:
What the heck do you suppose Sciabarra is up to with all that exhaustive 'dialectical libertarian' scholarship of which both Rand and Aristotle are an integral aspect and inspiration?
Also what is your take on this from Hospers?
I could go on and on...

Anoop Verma said...

Chris, I am not denying the positive work that Rand has done. For instance, I continue to be a fan of her novels. The Fountainhead is a great book, I have always said that. But the problems are in her philosophy of objectivism.

Why did she select Nathaniel for the job of the CEO of Objectivism? And after Nathaniel was evicted why did she give the same job to Peikoff? Running a philosophical movement is a complicated job--first of all she should not have given her philosophy a name, and secondly she had too high expectations from the ignorant kind of people that she had collected around her.

I think we can keep talking about these issues for days and weeks, there is no end to that.