Valliant Razes the Brandenian Carthage - Cline

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2007-03-25 04:59

Novelist Ed Cline, the creator of the brilliant 'Sparrowhawk' novels, has just finished reading James Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, and like many of us after reading Valliant's painstaking demolition of the Brandens, he is aghast at learning the full extent of their duplicity. Says Cline at his Rule of Reason blog, in a post appropriately titled 'Dissemblers Unmasked':

I have written fifteen novels, every one of them with a villain, but all my fictional villains are amateurs compared to the Brandens. I could never have conceived of such evil for any of my villains, of the kind of monstrous deception to which the Brandens subjected Rand even while they knew she was attempting to comprehend their behavior and problems, and even trying to salvage their lives and careers. They are beyond redemption. Valliant's book is a long overdue work of justice, and anyone who values Objectivism and the truth should thank him for it. Ayn Rand is the bridge between Aristotle and our future. It would be tragic if her importance were diminished without challenge by backyard fence gossip and vile dissimulation.

Cline notes that when Barbara Branden's biography appeared he urged Leonard Peikoff to "respond publicly to it, to set the record straight - not about the affair, but about all the backstabbing allegations made in her book, which I characterized as a prolonged character assassination in an elaborately contrived guise of "homage."

Now that I see what was necessary to properly and thoroughly answer her and Nathaniel Branden's books, I not only understand why Dr. Peikoff did nothing about it for so long - the scope of research and depth of intellectual effort that Valliant must have expended are nothing less than marvelous - but understand better why I knew then that I could not write a review of them. A mere book review critical of just Barbara Branden's allegations would not have sufficed; it would have been an inappropriate and inadequate answer.

It is the difference between the Romans opening diplomatic talks with the aggressor, Carthage, to stop the third Punic War, and simply razing Carthage itself to ensure there would not be a fourth. The Estate of Ayn Rand permitted Valliant unconditional access to the journals that Rand kept while acting as Branden's psychotherapist during this period. With them, Valliant has razed Carthage.

Which is why the responses from the Branden camp since have ranged from sniffy dismissal (Bidinotto), evasive rationalisation(Hudgins) to nitpicking irrelevance (Parille et al), but never, ever to engagement on the substance of what Valliant's book revealed: the extent to which both Branden's used and abused Rand and her philosophy -- the extent, in short, of their utter vileness.

That the responses have been so shallow from persons supposedly dedicated to objectivity, and dedicated particularly to the philosophy so abused and used by the Brandens, makes them co-respondents in the same calumny.

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Thank You

James S. Valliant's picture

One and all.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Bravo! doesn't begin to give you your due, Mr. Cline! Or, of course, Mr. Valliant, disgusted and all though I am with your apologetics for Peikoff's fatwa (and PC's —and others'—silence on the subject).

I shall reprise both PC's and my reviews of PARC to celebrate Mr. Cline's magnificent contribution to justice for Ayn Rand.


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