I'm taking a break from a rather frustrating and sad task - creating an HTML version of the email and WORD dialogue between Paul and George H Smith. What had started with high hopes and expectations in just over one week turned into a grave disappointment.
Paul and I had in years past individually read early works of George H Smith, an independent mostly self-educated libertarian scholar, and admired his ability to discern philosophical logic from emotionalism and evasion. Even some "new" finds on the Web, two from 7 and 6 years ago, a couple more recent from his website, and still another not dated, were a pleasure to read for the clear thinking expressed. It was while visiting his website after having exchanged a couple emails with George and paid for subscriber rights, that I mentioned to Paul that George had a side-business of writing consultation. While Paul generally needs no help with expressing his ideas in writing, he did very much want to have a liberty-minded philosophically and logically attuned person critique those on the Self-Sovereign Individual Project for any logical flaws. At that time he'd still not received any such responses either personally or at MoreLife Yahoo, nor had anyone directed him to any discussion of his writings elsewhere. (Only the one on Thoreau of the 3 pieces at Strike the Root had elicited any response in that site's forum, and it was extremely limited. It appeared that the readers there were more interested in flair and bombast rather than logic and fundamentals.) Therefore hiring George H Smith seemed a reasonable step and hopefully, he would find Paul's work interesting enough to want to keep in touch on at least a periodic basis.
It became obvious in the first WORD document from George of criticisms of the Declaration of Independence Critique, that George held that document to be most revered. "I have long regarded the Declaration as the most focused, succinct, brilliantly written, and successful short essay in the history of philosophy." With that view it was inevitable that George would likely never see - or at least admit to - the flaws that it contains, especially that of collectivist language.
George's major emphasis on historical perspective despite Paul's repeated explanation of today's viewpoint as the essential one needed, was another dissatisfaction with the exchange.
Admittedly Paul does get excited when he reads, hears or sees individuals failing to use the rational thought that they are capable of; and the more capable a person in his estimation, the more "excited" he tends to get. In retrospect, when I was reading the messages to George prior to their mailing, I would have been wise to have strongly suggested that Paul delete many of the exclamation points and reword certain sentences. However at the time, I didn't think that George would respond in such an offended manner, since I'd seen some of his list messages which were hardly the epitome of polite discourse. And besides, he was being paid $250 for his critical review. Still, if we were doing it over again, I'd strongly recommend that Paul tone down his replies.
In addition when we saw George at the Liberty Seminar on August 9 and 10, his life of continued personal contradictions were plainly visible in his cigarette smoking and overweight state - subjects on which I'd good naturedly chided him at the Freedom Summit last October when we'd first met. I had encouraged him to take better care of his health in order to "outlive the bastards" - the statist-minded both in and outside of governments. He expressed interest in our website and life-extension at that time, but did not appear most recently to have done anything concrete.
So here we are now, having lost much respect for a writer whose earlier works were one of the few brilliant lights in a sea of illogical ramblings. I find it very sad when I think about the potential loss - both for us and for George H Smith. Paul and I had hoped to establish a friendship with George based on common political philosophy and view of life. Under the present circumstances that can not happen. We hope that over the weeks and months to come George may give more consideration to the pertinent points that Paul made in his messages and Self-SIP writings, though I doubt that he will ever admit to Paul any change in views.
In the more than three and a half years that I have known Paul, he has changed his views on a number of issues, several of them in regard to personal relationships; he has readily acknowledged to me his past errors in thinking. He has done similarly on public forums in regard to new knowledge gained on various life-extension subjects. Paul even concedes that in regard to the correspondence with George that he should have been a bit less emphatic in his objections (and even set the "rules" for inline emails at the very outset). I wish I knew more people who would admit their errors as readily as Paul does; I readily admit that I'm not always as prompt at doing it myself - but I've improved quite a bit during our "association".