LETTER FROM LANGAN TO WARD: August 28,1997 [from "East Coast Noesis" #134, 8/97]

Dear Jeff:

I was quite disappointed that you didn't return my call (I left a message on Wednesday afternoon, 8/27/97). 1 hope I got the number right - it is 619-679-(deleted), isn't it?

I'd wanted to ask you to serve as a friendly go-between from me to Chris Cole, who is evidently afraid to talk to me directly. By serving as intermediary, you could have helped us avoid a certain amount of trouble. Unfortunately, it appears that trouble is what we're about to have.

Enclosed is an article slated for the next issue of Noesis. As of this writing, it is being mailed to you alone. If I do not hear from you immediately, I'll go ahead and mail both it and the rest of that issue to as many other members as I can locate. Please read the article carefully, as it outlines my position in detail.

The question that you must now ask yourself as a candidate for "Administrator", of course, is whether you want to see two editions of the journal being simultaneously published. A lot of little headaches may result; issue numbers will cross, dialogues will split, and so on. That will be regrettable, but under the present circumstances, it appears to be the only way that I can assure myself that reasonable care will be taken of my contributions.

As a contributor to Noesis - let alone the premier member-contributor I've become over the years - I have certain inalienable rights not subject to the fickle democratic process. For example, I have the right to see my articles published on time. For another, I have the right to communicate directly with the journal's staff, particularly regarding delays. In addition, I have the right to submit my contributions to someone intellectually and emotionally capable of treating them objectively. And I also have the right - as does every Mega Society member - to see the journal handled in a way most conducive to the welfare of the Mega Society, and where possible, of me as a member.

I don't think I have to tell you that none of these conditions has been or is being met. Unfortunately, because Chris Cole will probably be elected Publisher - a likelihood due more to organizational inertia than to any pretense of merit - they are also highly unlikely to be met in the future. Since ultimate power over Noesis will remain in Chris' lap, the identity of the next editor won't matter. Things won't change for the better. Even when my written contributions present valid solutions to important problems, as many of them already have, I can expect to have them subjected to unanswerable delays and either ignored, which damages the prestige of both me and the Mega Society as a whole, or subjected to snide and irrational back-page commentary, which is both infuriating and intolerable.

With all due respect, my intellectual investment in the Mega Society vastly outweighs Chris Cole's, and for that matter your own. A strong case can be made that without me and my knack for solving certain kinds of problems, the Mega Society would be merely ludicrous. That may be fine by you and Cole, and it may even be fine by a majority of members. I can't answer for the assortment of inferiority complexes and other psychopathies known to afflict the frequenters of high-IQ clubs. But it isn't fine by me, and it's my own investment of time and energy that I'm determined to protect.

I don't know you, but from what I hear, you're a kind and reasonable man. Such a man has the empathy to know when another human being has been pushed far enough. I would never presume to give you orders or otherwise compromise your dignity. But my own dignity is worth something as well, and this is the point at which I must stand up for it. I therefore suggest to you the following options.

1. Convince Cole to stand down as Publisher and give up his run for the editorship;
2. Convince Cole to accept my voluntary and cooperative service as editor; or
3. Resign yourself to two editions of Noesis, one Cole's and the other mine.

If it were possible at this point to have a fair election, I'd probably run. I'd probably also win, since my performance in the job was relatively exemplary. Unfortunately, my good record is buried in the past, the deck has been stacked by seven years of petty tyranny, Cole and Rosner won't release the information needed to identify or contact our current members, and I'm simply not having any more of it. To put it as bluntly as possible, I don't recognize Chris Cole's right to stage an election under any of those conditions. What Chris' money entitles him to is none of my business. But what his fallible intellect entitles him to certainly is, and that includes neither perpetual dynasty over Noesis nor the power to blight the intellectual futures of its more productive contributors.

Please remember that I'm not an envious outsider or a vengeful politico, but a neutral member of unique intellectual accomplishments. This entire situation is distasteful to me, and if given my druthers, I'd probably just sit here and simulate masochism for another few years. But enough is enough. My success against difficult and important problems is cause for neither shame nor persecution, and the Mega Society deserves to benefit from the strengths of each of its members.

Thanks for your attention. Your immediate response will be appreciated.


Chris Langan

[This letter, like the telephone call which preceded it, was completely ignored. Now how's that for open and responsive "administrating"? Voters take heed!]