Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Preservationists with "Personality Disorders"


Dugup coin dealer Sayles tries to transform a campaign against the trade in illicitly and illegally obtained artefacts and the indiscriminate no-questions-asked practices which shield it into one against "collecting" generally. That of course does not bear scrutiny, the evidence of the deceit is far too abundant. So, running out of other arguments, he tries the ad hominem. He calls calls to clean up the antiquities trade from the 1980s "a hysteria of ideological excess":

Since then, any opposing thought has been ruthlessly ridiculed and attacked with increasing hostility. Today, the level of attacks against those who oppose national control of their personal cultural freedom [to benefit from the illicit trade in antiquities - PMB] has seriously escalated and that "crusade" is being led by ultraists. Not the least of these are a group of internet trolls who suffer from acute personality disorders and lack any other purpose in life.
Typical ad hominem, and reliant on his readers accepting uncritically the assumption that anyone who opposes the illicit trade in antiquities must in some way be mentally challenged. After all, it seems apparent from their reactions that for many of them, the disappearance of such artefacts from the market would means "the end of the hobby".

Another assumption accepted by the coiney readers of such things is that there would be nobody on the other side (their side - working in support of the maintenance of a no-questions-asked market) who could be considered as "ultraist" or one could suspect of having any kind of personality disorder. Such as one leading them to write of "goose-stepping" archaeologists, dressed in "space cadet" uniforms, and who will be hanging by the neck from a "lamppost on Constitution Avenue" when the oppressed American masses rise up against a corrupt political system and other such stuff (most of the posts to which I link have been deleted by their authors when attention was drawn to them). Then we have the comparison between attempts to clean up the antiquities market and the most shameful of the US witch trials of the seventeenth century. These are things written by supporters of no-questions-asked coin-dealing, and by members of the Board of Directors of the ACCG. Perusal of such lists as Moneta-L, Unidroit-L (especially) and Numismatica-L will soon reveal a number of people with a style of writing about preservationists and their own (and others') governments which also betray some sort of serious problems with coping with reality.

To return to preservationists, Sayles' own closests sidekick Dealer Dave had his psychologist wife diagnose "one notorious anticollecting archaeo-blogger" on the basis of - not an interview with him, nor any extensive reading what he himself writes and publishes - but "some of what was posted in my blog regarding the utterances" of the subject. So the methodology of Californian psychologists is to diagnose subjects on the basis of hearsay, what others say of them (perhaps on learning that we might think it fortunate that Susan Welsh seems from her internet profile not to be working in psychology anywhere). Her diagnosis of this person's personality based on such sources can be read online (apparently she concludes that "he is psychologically "very interesting"...). Peter Tompa calls some preservationists who have different views from his own unstable ideas "cranks" who are not to be taken seriously.

This is it, isn't it? By trying to label those who question policies that encourage and shield the trade in illicit antiquities merely "cranks" and "trolls with personality problems", Sayles, Tompa, Welsh and their ilk try to persuade onlookers "not to take such things seriously". They hope that by using such misdirection to persuade readers that there "is no problem", that the problem is wholly made up by hostile and mentally unstable individuals. That the holes in the Roman town of Archar and the Egyptian site at El Hibeh are all imaginary and in no way connected with the artefacts freshly "surfacing" (from underground) on the market. Why, those they will tell anyone who asks - but few do - were made Once Upon A Time by the Coin Elves under the secret mountains. No "Troll" has ever seen a Coin Elf (well, they wouldn't would they?) , but the coineys know this magical sustainable source of artefacts is there.

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