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To Robert Bruce MacDonald: "Attacks", etc. Part I

Feb 11, 2006 12:09 PM
by danielhcaldwell


To Robert Bruce MacDonald:  
"Attacks", "Personal Aspect" or Otherwise to the Attacks, etc.
Part I

Dear Robert Bruce MacDonald,

On Theos-Talk, you wrote concerning me:

===================================================

I don't think anyone is accusing Mr. Caldwell of bad will, but 
rather of inappropriate behavior. Will speaks to motive which none 
of us can know. Behavior is there for all to see. I suspect 
what people object to with Mr. Caldwell is that there is a personal 
aspect to his attacks....I don't think anyone objects to the 
principles of the subjects that Mr. Caldwell wants to discuss, 
but rather to his confrontational style. If after years of trying he 
hasn't gotten answers to his questions, maybe he should change his 
approach. What do you think Daniel? 

=================================================

Bruce, when I first read the above material from you, 
I heard a voice whisper in my ear, 

"He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

This has prompted me to decide to write a series 
of articles with that title:

"He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

Now of course you don't exactly define what you mean by 
"attacks" or by "personal aspect" but I will ask you 
to give your opinion of some examples so we will better
understand your point of view.

I ask you if these examples could ALSO be considered 
"attacks" and if they have "personal aspects"?

I think these examples are even more important to discuss 
since you also wrote to Paul Johnson the following:

===================================================================

I understand human nature to be such that if we 'act' 
civil and respectful towards one another then in time 
we will 'be' civil and respectful towards one another. 
We learn by doing. If we stay away from inuendo (corrosive) 
or bold face accusations of ill motive or ignorant motive, 
then we remove a hurtful element from this site...."

===================================================================

First of all, I'm wondering if these just quoted words of 
yours have actually guided you as editor of FOHAT and the
kind of material you have permitted in that Theosophical 
journal.  

Or is this policy only a new one that you want to see 
implemented on this site and not necessarily in the pages 
of FOHAT?

But I will deal with this a little later.  

First the examples.

The first example I give you is what Mr. Aveline posted 
here not too long ago.

I am not certain if the article from which this quote is extracted 
was ever published in FOHAT or THE AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST.  

Do you know if this article by Mr. Aveline was published in FOHAT?

Anyway, Bruce, would you consider what Mr. Aveline wrote as
an "attack" and as an attack having a "personal aspect" to it?

Here are Mr. Aveline's words:

==============================================================

The way Daniel Caldwell and John Algeo  editors of "The 
Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsty and of "The Letters of H.P. 
Blavatsky, volume I "  see Theosophy is based in a 
certain moral relativism. 

It seems that for this kind of editor everything can be 
true and everything can be false, according to their own 
interests. 

Will publishing libels against HPB make a book "hotter" 
in the market? 

May belittling HPB help keeping the structure of the Adyar 
Society the way it is now, Leadbeaterian, churchlike and
ritualistic? 

They won't think twice. They do not seem to care too 
much about truth....

=================================================================

Now Bruce, what is your honest opinion?  

Does Mr. Aveline's words seem "civil and respectful" to
you?
  
Did Mr. Aveline (to quote your own words) "stay away from inuendo 
(corrosive) or bold face accusations of ill motive" when 
writing what he did about Dr. Algeo and me?

And if by chance this article did appear in FOHAT (I hope it 
didn't!), do you think you as editor are encouraging
a "civil and respectful" atmosphere in your magazine by 
allowing such words to be expressed?

Now I will turn to the second example which unfortunately 
I do not have the exact quote for but I'm sure you 
can probably supply me with.

Apparently in the Spring 1998 issue of FOHAT, you wrote 
an editorial in which you make certain comments
about Paul Johnson's book which he wrote on 
Blavatsky and the Mahatmas.

At the time I wrote to you as follows:

"...you come down quite hard on Johnson's research 
and conclusions. In fact, you give a quite negative 
assessement and portrayal of Johnson's scholarship. 
And you even do some 'psychoanalysis' on Johnson's 
motivations, etc. "

Later in the same letter, I again write:

"You even indulged in pseudo-psychoanalysis of 
Johnson's psyche, motivations, etc."

It would appear that I believed you were indulging 
in an "ad hominem" argument against Johnson instead of 
just dealing with the substance of his arguments, etc. 
as presented in his book.

Since I cannot find my copy of that particular issue of 
FOHAT, can you be so kind as to provide me a copy of your 
exact words (you can simply post your words to this Theos-Talk 
forum) especially that part where you apparently write about 
his "psyche" and "motivations?

Again:

I ask you, do you think your own written words constitute 
an "attack" and have "personal aspects" to it?

Have you in fact followed your own wise words which read:  

"stay away from inuendo (corrosive) or bold face accusations 
of ill motive..."???

The third example:

In 2003 Volume I of LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY (edited by 
John Algeo)was published by the Theosophical Publishing House, 
Wheaton, Illnois.

The Fall, 2004 issue of FOHAT contains an editorial by you 
introducing letters from readers criticizing John Algeo for 
including in this Volume I of the LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY the
"spy letter" (Letter No. 7) and nineteen "Solovyov letters" 
(especially letters No. 12,17, 53, 69 and 76). 

Apparently these "HPB" letters are considered by you and these 
readers to be frauds or at least partial fabrications. 

In your editorial comments, you wrote as follows: 

"One could conclude...that the powers of 
Wheaton and Adyar are trying to introduce
a PERVERTED understanding of Blavatsky
into the world...."
 
"There are very good POLITICAL  reasons
for including those letters. Adyar and
Wheaton embrace a brand of 'theosophy'
that is built upon the work of Annie Besant,
Charles Leadbeater, and their worshipping
followers." 

"Adyar and Wheaton have to believe, and they
have TO ENSURE that their members believe in
the sainthood of at least Besant. This 
sainthood cannot be guaranteed if Blavatsky,
Judge and their interpretations of the Masters
are not made suspect. The easiest way to
accomplish this is TO ATTACK  the reputations
of these two founders of the society and 
attribute to them base, political motives,
to make them as ethical as a Jesuit. 

"Adyar and Wheaton obviously WANT these letters
included in these collections and YOU CAN BE SURE 
that they will not be the last of 
their type. There will be other letters
of the same ilk in future volumes. If
you are members of these organizations, do
not let your leadership get away with this."

[Quoted from Fall, 2004 issue of FOHAT] Caps added.

Now Bruce I ask you:

Is this an "attack"?

You certainly don't name names but you make vague references to 
Adyar and Wheaton and to their "leaders" so one might assume you are 
referring to certain flesh and blood Theosophical leaders who are 
doing all these things!

And you even claim that "they" are engaged in a specific attack!

And you seem quite confident in what you state and even say:

"...you can be sure..."

Bruce, do your own words here reflect a "civil and respectful" 
attitude?

Did you follow your own advise to "stay away from inuendo 
(corrosive) or bold face accusations of ill motive..."?

I will present more examples in Part II.

Daniel






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