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The Damage of Purges and SchismsFirst of all purges and schisms take up a lot of time and energy thatcould be better spent on constructive tasks I cant tell you how manyissues of various libertarian publications that I read were devotedexclusively to falling-outs betrayals and selling-outs Every one ofthese articles could have been turned to some positive task whethercurrent events in the world or history public policy philosophy orwhat have you Oftentimes those writing the book-lengthpurge-statements were great minds who produced excellent work beforethey embroiled themselves in in-fighting Second purges and schisms prevent great minds and schools of thoughtfrom teaching one another Cross-fertilization is the term that comesto mind Frequently the best ideas lie scattered in the works of manythinkers In an open and tolerant intellectual atmosphere everyonewould feel comfortable to bring the best ideas together to synthesize Every new idea would have the benefit of criticism from manyperspectives Purges and schisms tend to put a stop to this beneficentprocess Of course it is conceivable that a person might bepurged but not his or her works Conceivable but rare I noticedthat every side in every schism tended to re-write history downplayingor even scorning the works of the intellectual exiles Strange as itsounds Ayn Rands treatment of Nathaniel Branden was actually betterthan average At least she kept his essays in the Virtue of Selfishnessand Capitalism the Unknown Ideal though of course she and his innercircle never cited him again to my knowledge It was more typical forformer friends who eagerly referred to one anothers work before aschism to forever afterwards ignore it completely or even scorn it Third purges and schisms seriously turn off newcomers When someonefirst acquires an interest in libertarianism he or she wants to learnlisten and discuss IDEAS When they see that more seasonedlibertarians seem more interested in PEOPLE they will understandably beturned off At its worst it makes libertarians seem more like a cultthan a community of thoughtful people who value individual
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