Reprised—Betraying the self. Betraying a heroine.

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-01 07:35

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? - Mark 8:36

What makes someone give up their soul? In the decade after the publication of her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand was at the very top of her game and she began preparing another, final, novel, To Lorne Dieterling, in which she hoped to dramatise the answer to that very question. Unfortunately for all of the fans of Rand’s earlier novels, a real life drama got in the way.

The novel’s basic theme, she wrote in her first notes on the new-book-to-be, is “the story of a woman who is totally motivated by love for values—and how one maintains such a state when alone in an enemy world.” The task she set herself was to show “what it means to ‘live for one’s own sake’—shown not on a social-political scale, but in men’s personal lives… [to] show the manner in which men betray their values, and show the results… The issue, ‘to think or not to think,’ takes actual form, existentially and psychologically as the issue: ‘To value or conform.’” In 1964, she clarified the theme in her notes as: “Loyalty to values, as a sense of life.” [Italics are all Rand’s own.]

It was a book that millions of her fans were never to read. It was never completed. Her notes for it run through discussions of the various kinds of value-betrayers she identified—the ”above-zero” types including the idealist-aspirer—the ‘Byronic’ idealist—the ‘glamorizer’; and also the below-zero types: the cynic—the Babbitt, or human ballast—the ‘Uncle Ed’ type of power-luster, who in actuality wants nothing at all—the presumptuous mediocrity who wants the unearned.

The notes end in 1966. Ironically, by then, she had some real life dramas to sort out that parallel the theme and her notes, and the characters that she was mapping out for her novel: a real-life betrayal of values on such a scale that she would spend the next two years trying to unravel it. The unravelling of that betrayal can be read in Ayn Rand’s own Journals, a poor substitute for the book they now have to replace.

The Journals form Part II of a book by author James Valliant—a San Diego prosecuting attorney—that examines the monstrous duplicity of her biographers, Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, across almost the entire eighteen years of their time as associates of Rand. It is impossible both to admire Ayn Rand and to read this book unmoved. Valliant the attorney is out to convict, but Valliant the author makes abundantly plain—well beyond reasonable doubt—that Nathaniel Branden exploited Rand sexually and romantically, and that both Brandens exploited her professionally and emotionally, and did so consciously and fraudulently. To this day the Brandens continue with the deception, only now with us as dupes.

To put their story in a nutshell, in order to advance themselves by association with Rand they pretended to be what they were not, and in the end they both got burned by it. All else is obfuscation.

The scale of their duplicity is vast: it stretches almost from the time they first met Rand to the time of her death, and extends even after that with biographies and memoirs published after her passing that, as Valliant shows conclusively, are mired in contradiction and embroidered with tissues of self-serving lies. Rand was and still is a meal-ticket for both Branden, B., and Branden, N.; they have both done their best to consume her for their ends, and to dishonestly denigrate the philosophy and the woman they once claimed to represent.

It now seems clear that neither ever fully understood or accepted the philosophy of Objectivism. To first build and then save their own reputations they took to lying about themselves, then to lying about Rand to save themselves, and at all times distorting Objectivism. Writing in her biography The Passion of Ayn Rand, Barbara Branden says that Rand used psychology like “an Inquisitor might use the rack”; Nathaniel Branden’s memoirs suggest that Rand was literally insane on the subject of himself; both Brandens suggested that after their falling-out with her in 1968, Rand was moved only by a desire to see Nathaniel Branden dead. All these and similar claims are shown by Valliant to be utterly self-serving fabrications.

It was not ‘Rand the Inquisitor’ that was torturing these two; it was their own inability to maintain their lies in the face of reality—of trying to be the people they claimed to Rand to be in order to worm their way into Rand’s esteem. In Branden N.’s much quoted and widely-circulated ‘Benefits & Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand’ (an MP3 download of which still features on his website’s front page for the price of just $9.95) he complains how Objectivism encourages both ‘repression’ and ‘moralizing’; yet as Valliant and Rand’s Journals show all too clearly it was neither Objectivism nor Rand that caused the Brandens’ own confessed repressions—indeed Rand had for at least two years been encouraging Branden N. to de-repress his manufactured emotions—it was their own attempts to fake reality. As Valliant says:

Objectivism was never a description of reality for Branden [N.], it was a ‘theory’ disconnected from acting—except the act that he was putting on for Rand. Objectivism was entirely disconnected from everything else in Branden’s life… The Branden’s blame Objectivism and Rand for ‘making’ them [repress and] lie so much… [but] Branden is here confusing what ‘Objectivism demands’ in the abstract with what he had been claiming about himself to Rand in particular. Whether Branden was ever a ‘traitor to his values’ depends, of course, on the nature of his actual values.

Branden N.’s whole life with Rand was an act. In attempting to fake reality as he did, the ‘repression’ and ‘moralizing’ he claims to the inexorable hazards of Objectivism can in fact be seen—not as hazards of Objectivism—but as the hazards of trying to live a lie. Branden B’s nervous breakdown, dramatised in the shabby film of her Rand biography as due to Rand’s intransigence, can be seen instead as all Barbara’s own work. And Branden N.’s own repression, his emotional autism, and the claimed dogmatism he still claims to bedevil Objectivism were not in fact endemic to Rand’s philosophy at all, but were personal prisons of his own making. 

What was not allowing the Brandens to eat their cake and have it too was neither Objectivism’s rigidity nor Rand’s “intellectual authoritarianism," as they have both claimed since, but reality. They repressed their “true selves” not in order to “live up to the alleged ideals of Objectivism” but so they could misrepresent themselves to Rand as something they weren’t in order to claim a value they hadn’t earned. Claiming otherwise as they have done since is to hear the whining of small children at the denial and exposure of their unrealistic whims.

Branden B. whines for example that Rand’s authoritarianism required her “to tear out of myself my passionate response to Thomas Wolfe’s novels”—to “repress her true artistic tastes”—yet as Valliant shows, many of Rand’s associates including Alan Greenspan, Alan Blumenthal, Leonard Peikoff and Mary Ann Sures all had artistic tastes at odds with Rand’s, yet rather than repressing them they were simply honest with Rand and with themselves. (Note too that in answer to a recent question of my own, Branden B. conceded “[Rand] thoroughly detested the music of Wagner. But for reasons I can only speculate about, she never objected to my love for it”). So much for Rand’s much-discussed ‘artistic fascism’—it’s clear what Rand was after in her associates was not dishonest agreement, but honest analysis.

Meanwhile, Branden N. whines in chorus with his ex-wife’s bleatings that Rand “was enormously opposed to any consideration of the possible validity of telepathy, ESP, or other psi phenomenon”—fields of charlatanism Branden has since begun to plough all-too enthusiastically (see for example his work with and endorsements of mystic philosopher-psychologist Ken Wilber—“paradigmatic” Branden called him). Rather than argue for these misbegotten notions at the time, like a coward and a flake he repressed his desire to do so; instead of blaming himself for dishonesty and cowardice he blamed Rand for her “rigidity” and “dogmatism.” He concludes his carefully worded self-justification in ‘Benefits and Hazards’ with the comment:

Would I be giving this presentation if Ayn Rand were still alive? Although I can’t answer with certainty, I am inclined to say: No, I wouldn’t… In view of the disgraceful lies that she spread about me at the time of our break, in view of her efforts to destroy me, to ruin my reputation and career—which is a story I do not care to get into here—I would not have wanted to do anything that would benefit her directly while she was still alive.

Cowardly, dishonest—and vindictive too it seems, even fourteen years after Rand found him out as a phony. The fact is that neither his presentation nor his ex-wife’s book nor his own memoirs could have been published while Rand was alive, since there is barely any information in either that can be trusted and that could not have been the subject of a libel trial if she were. As deputy district attorney Valliant demonstrates, the “disgraceful lies” are not Rand’s but are all the Brandens’ own work. Of the Brandens, one is left to ponder their silence since the airing of these charges, and what Mary McCarthy said of Lillian Hellman’s account of her life (quoted by Valliant in his book): “Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the.”

Rand has gone, but fortunately her Journals and prosecutor Valliant live on to speak for her and to finally expose the Brandens’ calumnies and the many, many contradictions in their memoirs, and most importantly to resurrect the real Rand from under the dirt heaped upon her by her ‘biographers.’ In particular, after reading Rand’s own words written at the time and Valliant’s case for the prosecution, there is no doubt of the utter worthlessness of any of the Brandens’ claims to truth, or even any of their descriptions of Rand herself.

As Rand’s Journals now show incontrovertibly, at the time of abandoning her novel on value-betrayers, Rand was up to her eyes with the real thing: offering psychotherapy to a man—her chosen legal and intellectual heir—who had over the years play-acted the role of an Objectivist hero in order to ingratiate himself with Rand, and to literally gain his chance at the big time—at fame, fortune and professional advancement through the sexual and romantic exploitation of a famous and widely-respected woman. That man was Nathaniel Branden. No wonder he hoped the Journals would never see the light of day; they expose him as a con-man and a fraud.

Rand’s account of Branden’s psychotherapy (requested by him, he said at the time, to help solve his sexual impotence and ‘emotional autism,’ but in reality simply to delay his inevitable day of reckoning) offers the same view as does lifting up a rock and watching the cockroaches scuttle around: under the glare of her penetrating analysis he has no hole left in which to crawl, and eventually, painfully, his fraud is exposed, and his worlds—professional, romantic, emotional—collapse around his feet. 

He is left exposed in the wreckage as a thirty-eight-year-old fraud prepared to do anything to try and keep alive his con trick, including ‘confessing’ that if not for his sexual impotence on which Rand had wasted more than two years attempting to cure, his “ideal” would be to have sex with the sixty-one-year-old Rand “up to six times a year.” This at the time as he had been bedding for four years a ‘chorus girl’ he had specifically denied to Rand being involved with, an affair which he had conspired with Barbara Branden to conceal. His eighteen years of deception would end in the sordid, shabby collapse that it deserved.

We’re now in a position to answer the question posed at the start: What does it benefit a man to gain the whole world, but to give up his soul? As Nathaniel Branden’s duplicity shows us about such an attempt, the answer is: nothing at all. In fact, both the world and his soul are denied to such a man. 

In trying to live out the fraud that his life had become, Branden set reality against himself—and that is a game that just cannot be won; reality is the ultimate avenger. In betraying his self and the values in which he claimed to believe he set in motion an inexorable chain of events in which, one by one, he lost and betrayed the business he had built up, the women he claimed to love, and the values and the philosophy he claimed to uphold. At that point he tucked his dick between his legs and scurried off to California with the ‘chorus girl’ he couldn’t give up, the mailing lists from Rand’s magazine with which he began his client list, and the manuscript of his first book that Rand’s ideas had helped him write. Left behind was the business he had built up on the back of Rand’s reputation, the ex-wife who had lied and pimped for him, and the ‘honorable self’ that he had for so long masqueraded as being.

His years of deception had lost him both his soul and the world he had once hoped to win. If man is a being a self-made soul as Rand has convincingly argued, then Branden, N. can be seen to have defaulted on the job.

Years later after he rebuilt his career he was to write another book called ‘Honoring the Self.’ The irony is palpable, and a poor substitute for the last novel Rand was never to complete. In its place now we have James Valliant’s book The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics. It is exactly as merciless as those critics deserve, and just as well-argued as it needs to be. I was persuaded reluctantly to read it; I am now very happy I did. One emerges from reading it with the firm conviction that Rand never needs to be apologised for again—and that one should never have been put in the position of being required to.

The Brandens' biographies of Rand, said Valliant in one interview, have "distracted from Ayn Rand's message. It would be a shame," he said, "if one of the most important writers of the twentieth century went down with the portrayal by these two." Her achievements and her memory deserve so much more.


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Hong,

Casey's picture

Did she explain in her book what they were about (Branden's sexual freeze)? Did she explain that Branden was claiming he was working on his marriage with Barbara? Did she tell us (Barbara) that she was also representing to Rand that they were working on their marriage when both had moved on to their own affairs? What you were claiming is that we don't know that Rand was telling the truth in her notes. Why wouldn't she? She was obviously making the notes to HELP Branden! These are working notes from psychological sessions which Rand made in order to help sort out the mess of (false) problems he was asking her about. Read Nathaniel Branden's statement about this matter in his "In Answer to Ayn Rand," where he denies that there was much discussion about these issues at all and that Rand was the one initiating them! We see that Rand is sick of the endless psychological sessions in her notes and we see that the content of those sessions was nothing but a series of manipulating lies by Branden, lies backed up by Barbara at the time. Yet you reserve your incredulity for Rand's contemporaneous notes and not the Brandens.

Casey,We must have read

Hong's picture

Casey,

We must have read different books then. I clearly remember that BB wrote in her book that Rand spent a lot of time analyzing NB's psychological problems.

See, we read the same book and remembered completely differently. Who is right? Where is the jury?

Fitting insult

sjw's picture

Ciro, all I have left to say to you is that your method of dishing out insults is fitting. "Shayne Weasel"--haven't heard something like that since high school.

Valid point that misses the point

sjw's picture

Jon: Valid point. Particularly given ARI's past behavior in evidence in this very thread.

But however valid, your point drops the context: James' case is not based on ARI-provided materials, but on a critical examination of the biographies themselves. If you had read PARC you would have realized this--the AR journal entries are only supplementary to his core argument.

Hong,

Casey's picture

Rand's notes were written before the break as she was trying to help Branden sort out his claimed psychological problems. The very fact that this was going on is omitted from both Brandens' accounts.

 Mr Shayne Weasel, what

Ciro D Agostino's picture

 

Mr Shayne Weasel, what other side? I don't talk for any one here.

Ciro D'Agostino

call me emotional, that should work

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Jon,

Are you willing to apply the same degree of skepticism and incredulity to the Branden biographies as you do to Valliant's book? I've read the first section of PARC and Valliant blow huge holes in both Branden's biographies, simply comparing different parts of the books to each other and against known facts.

Jim

Jon, even if that's the case

Hong's picture

Jon, even if that's the case - that you got every page of Rand's notes -  they are not necessarily the facts or the truth.

call me emotional, that should work

Jon Letendre's picture

Think about it. James hands you a pile of paper and says, “This is a bit unusual, but the court needs your help. We need you to be a virtual juror. You weren’t there to see the looks on the witnesses faces or to hear their testimony, so this is unorthodox, but I’ve simplified the job for you by including only the relevant parts of the court transcript, which I received from the estate.”

You might, you might, think to ask, “But James, you are the prosecutor, how can I…What did you edit out? How can I know?”

How much confidence would you get from this response, “The onus is on you to prove your arbitrary doubt about this.”?

Even if I accept his word that all the relevant diary entries from the set he was given were reproduced in the book, I still have to challenge the assumption that the estate gave him all of it. And there is nothing arbitrary about this doubt, just look at the posts on this page regarding estate/ARI commitment to detail.

If James will say that he was absolutely given every single page of her diaries, every date, nothing missing, then I will accept it as long as it comes along with an explanation as to exactly how he can be sure of this.

Jon

More Jon "evidence"

sjw's picture

Jon: You wonder if only convenient entries are used, and therefore we are supposed to take it as evidence that that's the case? Really Jon, you're a caricature of emotionalist illogic.

Are Ciro & Jon's emotionalist ramblings this really the best the other side has to offer?

Grade A argument, Shayne

Jon Letendre's picture

If someone like Jon wonders if only those diary entries that were convenient were used, then there must not be anything to worry about.

I don’t want to move along yet, thanks.

Jon

Bollocks, James!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It's true there are moral hysterics in Objectivism. They are the types who equate TOC with Uncle Joe, or libertarians with the Ayatollah Khomeini. I am not in their ranks. Neither, on the other hand, have I had, or performed on myself, a moral lobotomy. Moral unfastididiousness may be fashionable; it is also contemptible. It spawns the treacherous mentality that says the only moral judgement one may pronounce is on the act of moral judgement (negative, of course); with respect to that which one identifies as evil, the one thing above all else one mustn't do is call it "evil." THAT type of pomo-wanking moral inversion/perversion is unspeakable, & if to say so is to use a sledgehammer rather than a scalpel then I'm a sledgehammer man, proudly. I know where this crap comes from, & I hold it in total contempt. I say again - the world is perishing from an orgy of weasel-words.

Ugh!

Linz

Moral Judgment in Objectivism

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Ciro,

One thing that is clear is that Linz doesn't have the sober temperament of a judge. Very few Objectivists do. That's why they make a mess of moral judgment more often than not. They use a sledgehammer when a scalpel is called for.

The Branden biographies pretend not to issue a judgment, but they really make an ugly psychological indictment of Rand and excuses for themselves. Surely, after 18 and 21 years respectively they should have gotten over 1968 enough not to shovel dirt on Rand they way they did.

Valliant has tried to overpress his case and damn David Kelley and others for even having Nathaniel Branden speak at TOC Summer Seminars. He also blows up the Branden issue to be the major issue between ARI and TOC, which appears on exactly one page out of 77 in Truth and Toleration, a document spanning issues of moral judgment, error and evil, sanction, libertarianism and open vs. closed system in Objectivism.

So yes, there is a surfeit of moral judgment and judgmentalism in Objectivism, but the Brandens are last people who would have the credibility to make that charge.

Jim

 James,I understand, but

Ciro D Agostino's picture

 

James,I understand, but look at what Linz writes: Casey, Holly & I ( ABOUT VALLIANT? WHERE WAS HE?)had been taunting TOC for weeks that they wouldn't invite me to speak at one of their Seminars ever again after my about-turn on the Valliant book. To TOC's credit, they confounded us by inviting me.

I just don't know what to think at this point!

Ciro D'Agostino

Re Duncan Bayne, Tuesday

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Peter,

Thanks for exposing more of this ARI nonsense. Objectivity, transparency, and adherence to scholarly standards seem to be quite lacking at ARI.

Jim

On Sickness

Jon Trager's picture

James: "They [TOC leaders] got 'sick' of the Branden issue without any serious, or published, criticism, just from the grousing? And after Kelley's (and his T.&T.'s) 'shock' at the absence of debate over PAR?"

Yes, that's what I think. PAR was published 20 years ago, T&T 16 years ago, and *a lot* of grousing can happen in that time. Many Objectivists just don't want to revisit the Rand/Branden saga anymore.

Again, I'm not arguing that Objectivists *shouldn't* care. But it shouldn't be inconceivable why some Objectivists would grow weary of such an issue over the span of two decades.

My original point was that it's a leap to say that TOC's minimal association with the Brandens is the reason why people at TOC won't address PARC. I hardly think TOC staff is concerned about the Brandens not attending their summer seminars in the future. And calling TOC "The Branden Center," as though the Brandens run the organization or are the focus of TOCs work, is just ridiculous and over the top.

Rightly or wrongly, the TOC staff is just tired of the whole thing, in my view. They only want to focus on the ideas. Clearly, since you spent a great deal of time and effort researching and writing your book, you think that approach is wrong. But that's the way it is.

For Linz

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Ciro,

I think all Linz wants is the truth and for people to act honorably. I don't always like the way he expresses himself, but that's a side issue to the current discussion. The real issue is: Did Ayn Rand live her philosophy or was she a fundamentally flawed genius who succumbed to depression, nursed lifelong grudges about rejection and generally acted like a moralistic monster some of the time? These are the contentions in the Branden biographies.

I don't believe they are true. James Valliant's book shows how they are false. I don't choose to react to these revelations the same way Linz does, but I admire his integrity for wanting the truth.

The Branden biographies have been lens through which people have seen Rand's personal life through the last 20 years. If the biographies are fundamentally flawed, then a great injustice has been done.

I am not James Valliant proclaiming eternal damnation on the Brandens, but I recognize that Nathaniel Branden is a Gail Wynand-like figure with a tragic appetite for power and theatrics. Barbara seems to be passive-aggressive and overreact unjustly at perceived insult.

If there really is an issue with Valliant's account, the Brandens are free to correct it. Ayn Rand was not afforded a similar opportunity with their biographies. This is what the Brandens opened themselves up to by writing their biographies and these are the chickens coming home to roost.

Jim

"Mr. Proof"--right

sjw's picture

Jon, don't go off on Holly about evidence and proof, all you've ever offered by way of proof is "I consider the argument to be lousy." Well now, that proves it then--if someone like *Jon* considers the unspecified argument lousy, then it certainly must be bad!

If PARC's arguments are so bad, well then it should be easy to produce just one such argument. Don't want to do that? Then everything you're puffing into this forum is just useless hot air. Move along.

Re Duncan Bayne, Tuesday:

Reidy's picture

Re Duncan Bayne, Tuesday: Secretly?

Re James Heaps-Nelson, Wednesday: One omission I noted (and have mentioned earlier in the Solo Homo forum) was on the topic of homosexuality. Mayhew gives us a passage in which Rand delivers a boilerplate-libertarian condemnation of laws against homosexual acts and mentions in passing that it's not personally her kinda thing. He omits her widely-quoted, rip-roaring moral denunciation from the 1971 Ford Hall Forum. Its inclusion wouldn't have sat well with current policy. OCON's summer conference announcement informs us that same-sex couples are welcome at the Locke-Kenner presentation on romantic relationships.

Less in particular, I have different recollections of some of Rand's words in The Great Challenge, a 1962 TV panel show. I'd just discovered her, and it was the first time I heard her voice, so my memories are quite vivid, and they don't match Mayhew's text word for word. Nothing substantial, though.

For Linz, Come ad un fratello!!

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Holly, pleaseeee, I though that this forum was created with the intent to change the world, and not to have you and your associates standing on pride rock shouting at the world how bad the Brandens are. I thought that Linz wanted to go solo, in the real meaning of the word, but, it seems that he lacks the courage to do so; he needs someone to accompany him all the time. Bravo Linz, keep letting this people use you, at the end, they get want they want--leave you, and you remain the usual nasty bad guy as always been. But, as always, before they do that, you are so smart to have new parasites ready for the feeding hiding behind you! Do you lack the courage to shrug???

Sei pazzo, o pauroso?

Ciro

Ps

Ha! Dimenticavo, salutami Derek, l’unico che ti vuole bene sul serio!!

Fun indeed

Jon Letendre's picture

I provide a long list of the sources of my data, she responds, “never-mentioned "data."”

She brings up again the proof I asked for and says even she saw “some [of] the material”, and suggests that even more proof has been “implied.”

Holly, this is the pattern your husband and Casey got into over and over in the threads on SOLOHQ. (Example: Can’t prove Rand didn’t attack Emerson’s person—no problem! Just pretend you’re being coherent in insisting that “small mind” means “incorrect philosophy.”)

If you can’t prove something, acknowledge as much. The sky won’t fall, you know.

On second thought, don’t. After all, you’re not the only one having fun!

Jon

Okay...

Holly Valliant's picture

Dr. Machan,

I appreciate that you have never endorsed Ms. Branden's work -- and you are certainly not alone in wanting to distance yourself from it these days (the most curious example of this being Ms, Branden's own declared boredom at any further discussion of her magnum opus.) But, if it's merely a lack of interest in the subject, then why call for the end of discussion? In other instances where you weren't interested, did you just ignore the thread, or call for its end? Why call the discussion "tabloid" when you haven't read PARC? You seem to accept Letendre's sewer-minded approach as the only viable option here. Why not just stay out of the debate if it bores you? Or, is biography as such off limits for the rest of us?

Stop the Torture!

Holly Valliant's picture

I can understand why it "tortures" you so, Jon, but the problem is that all of your comments lack any substance. For example, I really also said that I have actually seen some the material myself, -- and implied even more... What's your proof for anything? Just those "oodles" of never-mentioned "data." That's a gem! You are often rude and insulting and unpleasant, as well. No, don't read how Rand's notes substantiate many of the theses of the essays you read before. The writing changed in only minor ways, so you probably wouldn't like it any better, and, besides, your ignorance is kinda fun.

No endorsement, nada

removed's picture

Wherever have I implicitly endorsed the Brandens' books? I never even read them except for a few snippets, actually, and since I wasn't there to check out what was kosher and what wasn't, I have never chimed in either in favor or against. Besides, both the Brandens' books, The Passion of AR and Judgment Day, dealt with stuff I had no interest in (though I did appreciate BB's making reference to my work in the back of her book). If someone wants to know my take on all this from me, read chapter 6, "Ayn Rand and I," in my book, The Man Without a Hobby (Hamilton Books, 2004).

For the Record

James S. Valliant's picture

Kelley wrote in "Truth and Toleration," page 75, that he thought Ms. Branden's book, PAR, was "reasonably fair," and then that this point was "arguable, of course," and then Kelley said, "When the book appeared, I was shocked by the refusal of many prominent Objectivists to discuss the issues that it raised [Kelley had just listed a series of her criticisms of Rand -- as a human being], and their tendency to condemn anyone who did [that is, to condemn those who argue the points raised by Ms. Branden's biography]."

So what, specifically, "shocked" him the refusal to "argue" about Ms. Branden's book or "discuss" it, or to "condemn" those who did.

Don't knock it

Andrew Bissell's picture

Hey, it's at least the next best thing after atheism. I mean, at least you can see the sun ...

Bizarre

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Now I really am beginning to wonder what edits were made to the Q&A by Mayhew.

Jim

This is even funnier if

Duncan Bayne's picture

This is even funnier if you've studied any ancient Egyptian history - apparently they used to go around chiseling out the names of disgraced (read: unpopular with the current ruler) from monuments, writing over them in books etc. The idea was that if no trace of your life remains in this world, the afterlife is forever denied to you.

I wonder if any ARI insiders are in fact secretly sun-god cultists Eye

Bizarre

sjw's picture

Reidy: To quibble, that's not censorship, it's re-writing history. Essentially, it's lying to the reader.

And it's bizarre twice over. First it's bizarre because they're really not going to achieve anything, one can easily discover that Branden wrote that. And it's bizarre that they think there's some kind of virtue in this re-writing of history. Surely they must rationalize it by saying something akin to the idea that NB deserves no publicity so they should remove his name from all published documents. Oh, I know, it was a "typographical error"... OK, really I have no idea what excuse they'd use. Which is part of the deeper point about ARI of course--they do these kinds of things and refuse to explain why.

Just for the record, I found

Reidy's picture

Just for the record, I found another primo piece of attempted censorship by the ARI inner circle. On p. 117 of AR Answers, the editor refers us to the [apparently authorless] article "Counterfeit Individualism," anthologized in VOS. Who wrote it? Blank out, as Galt would have said. Nathaniel Branden, as anyone who's seen the book in the last 40+ years would say.

It doesn't stop there. Look the "Counterfeit Individualism" up in the index, and Rand is the credited author.

This reminds me of a story out of the Brezhnev-era USSR. Valery and Galina Panov, famous dancers, were disgraced, forbidden to perform publicly and eventually exiled. Trouble was, the Soviet Encyclopedia already had an article about them. The publishers printed a new article on a different topic, fitting precisely over the Panov entry, and sent it out to all the libraries in the country with instructions to paste it over.

And the ARI insiders wonder why have a credibility problem.

Suspicion of TOC

sjw's picture

We don't know whether someone got "sick" or not, that was just a speculation by Jon. There are many possibilities for why TOC might not recognize your book or this subject, and none of them are enough to indict them wholesale on. The most innocent possibility is that they simply haven't had time to formulate their response. The book is new, and you can't expect everyone to drop everything and read your book. Maybe we'll see something from them about it this year.

Why torture myself with more?

Jon Letendre's picture

Duncan,

And Casey, and whoever else thinks the book must be read before any opinions can have a valid basis: I do not need to read the book.

---Years ago I read the essay that PARC was based upon. It was terrible. Horribly written, but more importantly: very poorly argued.

---I had a brief private email exchange with James at that time. I got a taste then of the quality of argument he considers acceptable.

---I have seen posts in the hundreds from he and Casey. Here again, I have seen the quality of argument that he and his sidekick consider to be very good.

---There has been abundant opportunity for something, anything, to be presented that I either didn’t already know, or don’t consider to be lousy argumentation. None has appeared.

---In this thread, I asked Holly if she could prove that all the relevant journal entries are presented. She responded that she sure could: Casey saw them all and he says that some dates are reproduced almost in total. (!?!?!)

I have oodles of data on which to base my strong negative opinions.

I will say this again, you don’t have to believe me: What concerns me the most is that James and Casey are not only out to expose the extent of the Brandens’ crimes and contradictions. If that were true, if that were all this project involved, I would be fine with it. But they are also out to purify Rand. They of course deny this, so they can kindly save the electrons and not bother denying it again. (Yet, notice that here and elsewhere a major part of the praise that James gets is for the “restoration” of Rand’s reputation.) But Rand cannot be purified, it simply will not work.

We want this philosophy to be more widely accepted, yes? Well, when normal people look at all this, they conclude that objectivists are too interested in heroine worship and not well, objective about her. It turns them off. It turns me off. I guess I just don’t feel any need to behold a heroine. I just don’t care about that. I don’t care how often she screwed up her personal life. I don’t think her failures prove anything about the practicality of the philosophy.

Jon

How did they get sick?

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

James V,

Kelley's "shock" was not over the lack of debate, but the fact that ARI would boot people and socially ostracize them without having a debate or proving their case.

Your book is a welcome addition to vindicate Ayn Rand's integrity and the lack thereof from the Brandens. In talking to Bill Perry about the issue, he provided me with a copy of Bryan Register's article detailing the line changes between the first and second editions of Judgment Day. This sealed my opinion against Nathaniel Branden.

In reading the first 123 pages of your book, the blatant contradictions in Barbara's biography are coming out in stark relief as well.

Jim

How'd They Get Sick?

James S. Valliant's picture

Jon,

They got "sick" of the Branden issue without any serious, or published, criticism, just from the grousing? And after Kelley's (and his T.&T.'s) "shock" at the absence of debate over PAR?

Curious, indeed.

Perhaps we need a new

Duncan Bayne's picture

Perhaps we need a new feature on the site: a checkbox that appears by the "Comment" box, and reads "I have read the book / article / essay about which I am commenting".

Then, it simply throws away all comments without the checkbox checked ...

Smiling

A correction

Andrew Bissell's picture

I was too timid in one part of my earlier post when I said I "didn't care" whether Branden was the driving influence behind T&T. Obviously, were such a thing true, it would not reflect well on Kelley's character to have lifted a bunch of insights from someone else and passed them off as his own. Having worked alongside him for a summer, having read a great deal of his work, shared several dinners and bummed one delicious cigarette, I know enough of his character to be certain that he is both far too independent of mind to consider doing that, and far too intelligent to need to do it.

At any rate, no one needs my personal testimonials to examine the relevant writings and decide for himself, as Shayne has done. A simple comparison of Branden's philosophy (at least, that which I have seen in the Rand-published books) and T&T shows that T&T stands on its own as David Kelley's unique achievement.

I agree with Shayne

Jon Trager's picture

If you want to say that David Kelley or Bob Bidinotto, given their comments years ago about PAR, should also read and respond to PARC, okay. If you want to say that TOC is sanctioning evil by inviting NB to speak at conferences, fine. I'm not arguing those points now.

But don't make wild claims like TOC is "The Branden Center" or TOC is taking "marching orders" from the Brandens. I don't think there's any evidence that the Brandens are running the organization in any way. My impression is that sometime in the last 20 years the TOC leaders just became sick of the whole Rand/Branden issue.

I'm not justifying such apathy here. I understand the arguments about why Objectivists *should* care about the issue (and I'm sympathetic to them). But some Objectivists sincerely *don't* care about it. That may or may not be a vice in your eyes, but does it automatically make those people "Brandenites"? I don't think so.

PARC & TOC

sjw's picture

Call it "merely grousing the ranks" if you want, but controversial issues such as this would not be openly discussed at an ARI conference, on the podium or among the ranks. Nor would a prominent ARI lecturer be permitted, as Bill Perry has been, to speak out, particularly in the midst of a forum that has been critical of ARI (an "enemy").

Perhaps it's my ignorance of TOC showing (I'm really only superficially familiar with them), but I'm not seeing the connection between the Brandens and the fundamental driving forces behind TOC. I don't see the connection between the Brandens and "Truth & Toleration". Sure, there are some related issues, but calling the Brandens the cause of TOC? That's a stretch and a half.

If the goal here is to capitalize on the support for PARC in order to make a case against TOC, your going to have to do a lot better than you've done so far, and I think you're going to have to deal with the issue separately, and by putting both ARI and TOC under the magnifying glass (even if you prove the case against TOC it doesn't follow that ARI is the answer).

VSD,

Casey's picture

You have heard enough on this thread to know that there is plenty about Rand, her integrity, her character, and her never before heard words in PARC to be interesting to anyone who has read her novels and cares at all about their author being truthfully represented in the broader culture. Calling this an ill-conceived thread, etc., and reverting to the same stubborn take on this issue, is curious indeed. If you aren't interested, then allow others to be interested without your broad dismissal of their interest as "ill-conceived." Peter Cresswell started this thread with a review that stated in plain English that he was not interested in this subject, that he read the book reluctantly, and that it dramatically altered for the better his view of Rand, so much so that he decided to write a quite passionate review of PARC to inform others of its relevance as someone who was previously uninterested in the subject. That's all I'll say to you about it now. But once again, someone who has not read the book is coming onto this thread to judge others who have read it and question their interest and their conclusions about the topic. (While claiming to be tired of bashing.) My, my, my.

TBC

Holly Valliant's picture

Andrew,

Of course, there are other aspects to TOC -- the difference of opinion in the quality of their conferences indicates this, of course.

And, of course, I meant a "discussion" about these issues from the podium, not merely the grousing from the ranks that you mentioned. It's an official silence, not the passive disinterest you seem to readily accept as the excuse. Bill Perry is a noteworthy exception, but the Hudgins' "stay out of it" is just as unacceptable as Bidinotto's, even without any previous endorsement of PAR. To "stay out" of this while still sending out Branden invites without comment is a loud and clear -- and official -- stance.

A thread like the one Peter

Ciro D Agostino's picture

A thread like the one Peter C. started here, sometime won't just die here on a forum, it can create groups ready to fight, even risking their own lives.

You are going too far my friends, it’s time to go back to rationality and be nice.

Children are looking!!!

I forgot to add one thing: Many have the talent to become odious just for little things

Ciro D'Agostino

Alright - my very last reply ...

VSD's picture

... I'm not putting the pox on those who are willing to bring the topic back to the philosophy - but this thread (with the few exceptions I've always excluded and whose contributions I valued) is NOT doing that - on the contrary ...

as for the dupes who fall for the B.'s smear-job and ignore Rand's own writing: let them fall - sounds harsh, but I'm not gonna go out crusading if their intellect doesn't even reach that far to distinguish between the B.'s books and films and Rand's actual work ...

as for Ayn - the split with the B.'s happened during her lifetime and many of their smear-jobs were issued during her lifetime - she chose to ignore them ... those parts published after her death I agree with you benefit by contradicting, but I'm not interested if they don't bring me new knowledge about Rand and/or her philosophy - which of course does not mean you should not be interested, but I'd suggest a different form of discussion might aid your interests ...

feel free to take our discussion to mail if you think I'm really so far away from your interests and that I could benefit from further points you might make, but I'm not willing to give this ill-conceived thread any more exposure by continuing it here ...

VSD

VSD,

Casey's picture

Rand herself would CERTAINLY have responded if she were not DEAD when the Brandens published their books about her. Yes, she wanted to maintain focus on the ideas. The Brandens did not, and gave a hostile world the excuse it was looking for to evade those ideas (and were handsomely rewarded for it). If you knew how many people who bought into the Brandens after reading their books or watching the movie reviewed by the writer above decided against even looking at her ideas, you might not find this debate just a bunch of unnecessary "bashing." This is precisely a battle to take the focus off that garbage and get it back onto the ideas, to remove the false and fraudulent weapons the Brandens armed her enemies with so that her ideas might stand or fall on their own merits. If you can't see that now, live a little, and see how often the Branden mud is slung around to stifle any honest evaluation of those ideas. I provided the link to the movie review above to demonstrate just how ongoing and pervasive that tactic of avoiding her ideas continues to be right up to this day. PARC will change that, but only if those people are called on it when they engage in this kind of thing. To call that engagement "bashing" and say "A pox on both your houses!" is -- well, it's something I've seen quite a lot of, sadly.

Some contrition, even now

John M Newnham's picture

Some contrition, even now years later would be refreshing. Even silence would be preferrable to a faux majestic "boring" and "silly".

However....it may well be the truth! BB may honestly be bored by the discussion, and as much as the statement galls some(myself included), it cannot be argued with. And that dear friends is the point of saying it, to leave one speechless.

I agree I should move on. But only after I've had a chance to have my say, which I've pretty much had. Dammit, the books by the Brandens have been around and contributed to the public mis-perception of Ayn Rand for close to twenty years. PARC has been a topic of discussion for what, less than a year? And we should just shut up?

MSK has given BB a forum to be seen and heard. He admires her and her work. I disagree with him in spades on this and other issues. But we remain friends.

John

Sorry for cutting this short ...

VSD's picture

... but I feel like I'm getting sucked into this whole debate against my own intentions of my initial post - so please don't take it personally if this will be my last answer to this discussion ...

I understand the position you come from and I even admire your courage and the effort spent on writing/promoting this book - but for me it still comes down to the same question: 'are you my alternative'? (to the B.'s)

The truth about Ayn's life will stand on it's own if it ever get's published and the value of PARC for me is new information on Rand and from Rand available, not why the B.'s are wrong - I never read their works, so I don't care (personally speaking here) ... and though I hate smear-jobs myself, I never go out contradicting them - I make the truth available and let the reader chose which version they want to believe (the inquisitive rational mind will come to it's own conclusion anyway) ...

that's what I assume Rand did when she refused to comment on the B.'s smear-jobs - and that's what she definitely did when she demanded that objectivism should be about her philosophy, not her personal life - on these posts both sides (with some exceptions) ignore all of that - they keep bashing each other on the merit of what other's have said about someone else - if that is what objectivism and Ayn Rand have come to mean, then I'm not interested ...

VSD

Boring subject? Not to Rand's enemies...

Casey's picture

Meanwhile, those hostile to Ayn Rand don't find Barbara's book, or the movie made from it, boring at all. In fact, one of them published a movie review of PAR just a couple of weeks ago (December 29). A sample:

"Ayn Rand, one of the reputedly “great” champions of individualism, once known, proves to be a hollow (wo)man indeed. The Passion of Ayn Rand film shows why..."

What a revel Barbara provided for such critics by breaking her promise with Rand and airing all this for the world through her own vicious prism. If one wants to read how much hay is made from the Brandens' handiwork, follow the link, but I warn you, it's not pretty:

http://www.opednews.com/articl...

Oh, it's certainly not boring for those looking for a cheap smear tactic to use against Ayn Rand. That's for sure.

Jesus Christ!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I thought I'd seen it all, but, visiting Diana's blog, I followed a link to the site of that toxic slug Michael Stuart Kelly. There is Barbara, bold as brass, saying the whole PARC debate bores her silly. The lying, smearing low-life bitch! I know what her reaction was when PARC came out, & it certainly wasn't one of boredom. In fact, I was urging boredom upon her! Now, she's affecting boredom as a tactic: diminish a heroine, then, when someone finally remonstrates with you, say the whole thing is "boring" & everyone should move on. How unspeakably sick-making.

It won't wash, BB. Too many have now tumbled to your lies & smears. You're toast. Cosmic Yuk!

Linz

More on the same

Andrew Bissell's picture

"Most Catholic women take birth control, too, but could they endorse it -- or even discuss it -- at a Catholic conference?" Well, as I said, anti-Branden sentiment was quite openly expressed and discussed at the last conference, so I don't think the comparison applies.
 
Also, I didn't say Branden has nothing to contribute. To a newcomer it can be quite thrilling to hear him spin yarns about the early days of the Objectivist movement, as it was for me at my first conference. Just 'cuz he always tells the same stories doesn't mean they aren't interesting the first time around. To be clear, I do not believe that this benefit outweighs the moral cost of associating with him, which is why I'll be happy to see him go.

Aside from Bidinotto's anti-PARC stance, the two bigwigs I've seen comment on PARC were Bill Perry (who seemed generally favorable to its substance, if not its tone, and cautioned me against dismissing its indictments of the Brandens) and Ed Hudgins. Hudgins has entered the fray only to briefly say that he wishes to stay outside it, which is fine with me since, as far as I have seen at least, he has never been involved in promoting the Branden narratives. (On the other hand, Bidinotto's blurb on the jacket of PAR means he's already in the fray, and therefore ought to make a judgment one way or the other about PARC.) For my own part, I've never read any of the Brandens' books and so don't really feel a pressing need to read the corrections and vindications contained in PARC. Still, I'm grateful to James for having published them, and the fact that men like Lindsay Perigo, Lance Moore, Peter Cresswell, and many others who started out hostile to the book, were persuaded in one readthrough leads me to believe I would probably agree with most of its substantive conclusions.

I know very little (actually, nothing) about David Kelley's past associations with Branden. Whether Branden was really a founding philosophical influence behind "Truth and Toleration" isn't that big of a concern to me, since I agree with its conclusions, and find laughable the suggestion that it is some sort of surreptitious attack on True Objectivism. This philosophical difference from the ARI "Fact and Value" approach is one of the main reasons I chose TOC in the first place and continue to support them today.

One last thing: I spent the summer of 2004 working for TOC as an intern. A great deal of this experience involved intensive study of Objectivist philosophy. On many occasions I was encouraged to read and study works by Peikoff and other ARI scholars. Not once was it suggested I should read anything by the Brandens. "The Branden Center" indeed.

Jody

Lindsay Perigo's picture

If he didn't see any value in an ongoing argument over PARC the solution was simple - ignore it. Start up different threads. As it was, he tried to get me to shut it down by threatening to leave if I didn't. Typical prima donna behaviour of the kind we've seen before from folk on his side of the argument. Now he's making out that I showed him the door. Well, I did - after he announced his intention to exit. As Tim Sturm pointed out, he could have responded differently - taken a look at his own behaviour & realised he'd been out of line. I'm disappointed that he didn't. I don't relish these spats any more than anyone else, but I'm not going to betray my own values in the quest to avoid them.

Linz

Lindsay, I think that Jody's

Duncan Bayne's picture

Lindsay - I think that Jody's criticism was well-intentioned, if strongly worded: he doesn't see any value in an ongoing argument over PARC. To be honest, neither do I - although I agree 100% with those who condemn the Brandens' actions. The whole thing's just a bit tired.

Jody - remember that you are a Group Coordinator. If you have ideas for content, topics, meetings etc. that would drive this community to greater heights than before, GO FOR IT! Remember, as Coordinator, you're one of those supposed to be providing the impetus for this site to thrive!

Jody, thanks for the kind

Duncan Bayne's picture

Jody, thanks for the kind words - and remember, the smiling man (a.k.a. Julian Pistorius) has done at least as much work as I have on the innards of this site. He just doesn't enjoy boasting as much as I do Smiling

VSD,

Casey's picture

While there is a lot of new material by Rand in PARC, and a lot of researched facts about her life from sources other than the Brandens, it is impossible to get around the PAR vs. PARC focus, since that is the precise focus of James's book. He is not presenting a biography of Rand. He is critically analyzing the trustworthiness of both of the Brandens' books about Rand. Other books will come along, no doubt, that offer new and more trustworthy biographical information about Rand than the Brandens have written, but PARC is most emphatically not such a book and was not intended to be that book.

Ironically, it was ARI that initially held the position that the Brandens' books should be ignored and TOC's position that they should have at least been debated. Now that seems to have completely reversed itself.

James: thanx for inquiring

VSD's picture

James: thanx for inquiring after a digital version ... I think it would be a great addition to the objectivst reasearch cd-rom Smiling

Casey: it's less personal interest in these long discussions than the tone this thread put on - I've looked up some of the older posts and they are more or less of the same tone - more PAR vs. PARC discussion than facts about Ayn's life ... maybe 'ignore them' might be better advice - you don't have to prove to them that your facts are true and their non-facts are not - you'll have a lot of non-proofing to do if you start there ...

VSD,

Casey's picture

If you're interested in a point by point discussion of the issues in the book, there is a long history now of that very sort of thing in the archives of this site. A LONG history, with many issues exhaustively argued.

The reason I say read PARC repeatedly is that those on the other side of these point-by-point debates have not read it. If they would stop slamming the book without having read it, I'd stop saying "read it!" It gets pretty exhausting spelling out the entire contents of the book to people point-by-point, which James, others and I have done painstakingly on other threads, to those who refuse to read it but insist on making broad derogatory statements about its content. If someone does not want to discuss the book, I would not be suggesting that he or she read it. I hope that context is quite clear.

TOC Is "The Branden Center"

Holly Valliant's picture

Andrew,

So with nothing to contribute, Branden still gets the perfunctory invite then? Why?

TOC's association with the Brandens runs deep -- way back to Kelley's "Truth and Toleration" in its theoretical underpinnings; in its actual formation from Bidinotto's admitted role in the Kelley-Peikoff break; in TOC's on-going endorsement of them (there's no other way of seeing it); and, in the fact that all TOC big-wigs and friends seem to take the Branden position on the suppression of Rand's notes and the silencing of any discussion of PARC, etc. This goes well beyond any private complaints among the rank-and-file -- although I am certain that these complaints are real.

Most Catholic women take birth control, too, but could they endorse it -- or even discuss it -- at a Catholic conference?

It's So

James S. Valliant's picture

PARC contains a good deal of important material from Rand's private journals not available anywhere else yet. Until the release of my book last year only a handful of people had ever seen most of this material. I don't know how to accomodate your request for a digital version of the book. I'm just the author... but I will make an inquiry.

TOC and Branden

Andrew Bissell's picture

As an attendee of TOC's last two Summer Seminars, I share Jim's sentiments and observations about Branden's presence there. He attracts a lot of newcomers and first-timers, but it doesn't take most people very long to figure out that he's just saying the same thing over and over again, and his interviews are mostly downers. If you go to whichever event is running alongside Branden, you almost always find a few attendees discussing why they dislike him and think his appearances are a discredit to TOC.

In fact, at this past summer's conference, I casually remarked during one Branden-alternative session that I think there's too much ARI- and Leonard-bashing at TOC events, to which one woman replied, "Peikoff is a very decent man," and related a story of an occasion where he had been especially kind to her. I also heard one Sponsor remark that Branden is increasingly coming to be seen as a "doddering old fool" trotted out to help newcomers and old-timers relive the glory days, but who hasn't contributed anything of substance to the conference for years now. And Bill Perry, himself a TOC staffer, corrected me when I made a dismissive remark about PARC on the old SOLO forum. I'd be delighted if they stopped inviting him to speak, but TOC isn't nearly as wedded to Branden as some are charging here.

TOC, Branden, and Other Topics

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

James V,

I have not considered the Brandens issue to be of paramount importance in my (or my brother's) linkage with TOC over the last several years. In fact, given my fairly pronounced stance against their biographies and that I've found a considerable fraction of the TOC members whom I greatly respect to be anti-Branden, I find the explicit charges of "toadying" etc. to be mystifying.

In fact, none of my reasons for attending TOC events have been related to the Brandens. Ken Livingston has delivered terrific lectures on psychology, David Ross has delivered groundbreaking lectures on Objectivism and Mathematics, the most recent seminar had a terrific symposium on philosophy of science including a terrific lecture on Chaos and Randomness by Lyman Hazelton and Glenn Fletcher's lectures on the philosophy of quantum mechanics.

I have gone on at length about my deep disappointment with ARI's handling of the George Reisman/Edith Packer issue, which is deeply personal to me, so I won't relitigate it here.

I cringe every time I think of the "offerings" that ARI has given out in philosophy of science aside from Binswanger's work in philosophy of biology. I am hopeful, given the fact that they have added a terrific, credentialed physicist to their list of speakers that this will change. If it doesn't, at some time in the future I will take up a critical examination of David Harriman's work and Dr. Peikoff's lectures on philosophy and physics.

I will also note that I personally have also benefitted from ARI's activities in that I was able take a class in philosophy from Darryl Wright in college and my brother was able to take several and we have benefitted greatly. So I am not anti-ARI. They do much good work, including their phenomenal book project, Andy Bernstein's the Capitalist Manifesto and others.

I agree with you and Linz that TOC will have to come to grips with the Brandens issue and new revelations in PARC, so be it. Hopefully, the result of all of this will be the marginalization of the Brandens' biographies and their persons as time goes on and a critical examination of Nathaniel Branden's books on psychology: rescuing what is valuable from what is nonsense.

Jim

Congrats everybody ...

VSD's picture

... you've been dissing all over each other's achievements, the shit has hit the fan and people start leaving the party ... and all this over some 'tabloids' ...

here's my challenge to all you rightful defenders of your local champs: trott out the evidence one piece at a time and beat each other over the head with the facts until one party either agrees or can no longer refute the evidence given ... then move on to the next fact ...

any more dissing on integrity or one more repetition of 'read PARC' get's disqualified ... oups: sorry Linz - didn't mean to appropriate your rights as owner of this site - you'll disqualify Eye ...

in case you do wonder why I write this: Ayn Rand was perfectly capable of defending her own honor - obviously she did not give 'an objectivists informed opinion' about the 'tabloids' - and I admire her for that - takes some inner strength not to get into every pissing-contest thrown at you ... what she cared about was her philosophy - and I admire her for that even more ... the core of her philosophy is rational thinking which most of this thread is lacking - you want to honor Rand, honor her philosophy and behave like it ...

and before you twist my words: I'm not saying PARC is superfluous and Rand's life doesn't need being 'set straight' - I'm saying it's discussion should measure up to objectivist standards - from both sides ...

VSD

Disclaimer: this article was translated into emotionally charged language in the hope of reaching same audience so that rational argument can again be applied.

PS James: you've hinted at some previously undisclosed material from Rand's own pen - if that is so, I'd be interested in obtaining a digital copy of your book - I'm travelling quite a lot and the hardcopy available would exceed my 'cabin-luggage' ... Thanx

Another prima donna runs off

Tim S's picture

Another prima donna runs off with their tail between their legs.

Jody, if you really have integrity then I hope you will review your own actions in future rather than fretting about who said what to you and the words they chose to vent their anger. Maybe you'll see there is a reason for their anger.

If you come to that level of development, maybe then you'll remember this site, the site that upholds integrity and loyalty to values.

High Drama and History

Holly Valliant's picture

Repetitive, Jody?

And, Jim, yes, there have been a number of threads about PARC!! Just note the number of posts on each and the incredible intensity in them!!

"Eight threads" versus twenty years of books, interviews, television movies, loathsome biographically-inspired insults against Ayn Rand in nearly every media, etc., etc.??

Now, let's discuss those "eight threads."

And do go back and read the first couple threads about the book on the old SOLOHQ and then compare them to this last, or the one before it!!

HISTORY is being made! Look at the revolutions in some minds, the change from disgusting, vile and absurdly unfounded insults thrown at my wonderful husband to a fast-growing admiration for his efforts -- finally seeing the light -- and many other surprising developments!! Not the least of which were Ms. Branden's own amazing reactions to PARC!

This has been high drama!

And all in only "eight threads."

Not bad.

Whatever will come next?

"Amen," Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

I just came back from a talk and booksigning in L.A. (at the Borders on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, no less), where I had a blast (I always do, the enthusiasm is just incredible!), to find all of this going on!

My wife once said that PARC would be like Frodo's ring in Tolkien's classic story, passing through various lands as the acid test of character -- that one's reaction to it would provide an important line of demarcation between intellectual honesty and its opposite.

The courage and integrity I have seen displayed by those like Linz has indeed been an inspiration beyond my wildest expectations. Linz has also made a compelling case, along with Casey and Peter and Diana, that my opponents have generally displayed of very different aspect of the human potential.

Jim, I'll bet you cannot even see the insult in calling those with that kind of courage an "amen" chorus, so I will take no offense, but surely you can see that Linz has provided a rare forum on the web that will not censor the discussion entirely -- and that Dr. Machan's call for the debate to be silenced is more than a different context of values.

The suppression of important evidence, wholesale, is the goal in Bidinotto's and N. Branden's (and B. Branden's) complaints about the pubiication of Rand's notes. This has become painfully clear. Now, they call for an end to all discussion and debate about it.

In some cases, friendship is thicker than intellectual integrity; in other cases, the previous investment in a certain "truth" makes it impossibile to abandon.

Jody, as bored as you may be, my critics still show no signs of having grasped the current situation, or having developed answers to any of the cogent questions now on the table.

For example, no new "shock" or outrage regarding the intentional silence -- only ARI's -- about these vary topics, something about which David Kelley once complained so bitterly.

And, Jody, whatever other good deeds the Brandens must have done in their lives, such deeds cannot alter the fact that they HAVE so miserably and dishonestly bashed Ayn Rand.

Diana's e-mail

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Linz,

I'll bet you're sleeping much more soundly now that you've got Diana's Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval Smiling. I've actually enjoyed reading her Blog as she has many cogent criticisms of TOC when she doesn't go over the top. For most of that, I figured the onus was on TOC to respond if they so desired.

However, in her latest missive she specifically targeted those of us planning to attend the 2006 Summer Seminar. Actually, I probably would not have attended the last two were it not for curiosity about what all the fuss was about concerning her blog.

Jim

Actually...

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Jody,

I hope you will continue to post over on the RoR site and I'm sorry you got caught up in the latest dustup. I have enjoyed your contibutions here and on the old SOLO site. Good luck to you!

Best,

Jim

Actually...

Jody Gomez's picture

Now we see a concerted effort by you, Tibor, Bidinotto & the like to argue that, in effect, Barbara & Nathan can say what they like about Ayn Rand, but no one is allowed to speak up for her, since that constitutes becoming a "tabloid." Well, fuck all of you.-Lindsay 

I would say the same thing I said about either Branden if they were here doing nothing but bashing Ayn Rand.  Truth be told, I had never read either of the Branden books until all of this 'tabloid' talk was in full swing.  I was never interested in biography, I was interested in Ayn's ideas.

Oh well, I've had my integrity questioned, been called a hypocrite, and shown the door with a resounding 'fuck off.'  I do have enough integrity however, to say a couple of things here.

Duncan-

Linz drew you into this when he said that my comment came on the very day that you were "working your butt off" on the technical side of things.  This seemed to imply that my criticism was all-inclusive.  It was not.  You have done an excellent job with this site.  We've asked for things and in short time you have delivered them.  You have created many great features on this site, it shows that you put forth a lot of effort here, and for all of your hard work, I have always commended you, and continue to do so.

Tibor-

I am sorry. I fear that  I unwittingly exacerbated the situation with your post, by calling attention to what you stated and emphatically agreeing with it.  I saw nothing productive going on with the repetative nature of the discussions, and I emphatically sanctioned your post because I couldn't agree more.  My intention was never to bring this type of criticism upon you, and I never imagined it would even sink to the level of the questioning of integrity.  I hope you will forgive me.

Nuwanda-

I think you are man enough to head up both SoloSports, and SoloThrust.  Have a go at it, and all my best.

Also, all my best to James Heaps Nelson, Jason Ciro and others.  I hope our paths continue to cross elsewhere.

Speaking of "Bizarre foolishness"

sjw's picture

Diana writes: "And I think that your decision to speak at TOC -- despite the obvious evasions, appeasements, and betrayals by its leaders of basic Objectivist principles, including about the Brandens -- is bizarre foolishness."

She spends about a decade steeped in TOC, and your coming to a conference now and again to speak is "bizarre foolishness"? Talk about a bizarrely warped perspective...

Thanks, Shayne

Casey's picture

Back at ya, bro.

Diana Clarifies ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I received this e-mail from Diana after posting my Integrity rant above. She had written it before my post, unbeknown to me as I posted:

Hi Linz,

Based on the SOLO thread on Peter's review of PARC, I realized that my
recent blog entry on involvement with TOC has been taken in ways that I did not intend. That's my fault: I wasn't clear. Certainly, I didn't have you
in mind when I wrote that line about the dishonesty of those who continue to
attend TOC Summer Seminars -- since I only meant those who pretend as if the
Brandens' involvement with TOC isn't an important issue. So I've changed
that line to be more clear: "And yes, that includes those who attend TOC
Summer Seminars, claiming that TOC's involvement with the Brandens isn't
important."

That being said, I do think that the vast majority of TOC supporters are
getting exactly the sort of appeasing, superficial, dishonest, Brandenite,
only vaguely Objectivist organization they want. And I think that your
decision to speak at TOC -- despite the obvious evasions, appeasements, and
betrayals by its leaders of basic Objectivist principles, including about
the Brandens -- is bizarre foolishness. (Based upon what we've seen so far,
TOC will never get out of bed with the Brandens.) However, I do not think
you dishonest, *particularly* not about anything related to PARC.

You are more than welcome to post this clarification in the forum, if you
please. (The same goes for Casey.) I don't wish to wade in at this point.

All the best,
Diana.

P.S. Tibor is way beyond amazing. He want to stop talking about all these
personal matters, but only once Ayn Rand's reputation has been transformed
into a pile of shit by the Brandens -- and only after he's added his
worthless, vague, and nasty rumor to that pile? Oh, what elevated nobility
that is!

When hell freezes over...

sjw's picture

Jim, you write:

> if Lindsay asks many more people to leave, all he'll have left
> is a few people saying "amen brother".

Well as long as Casey and me are still here, that will never happen Eye

Reluctant readers of PARC...

Casey's picture

"...[PARC] accomplishes one of the psychological goals Valliant intended. To a significant degree the book restored to me and (I believe) others a better opinion of "Rand the woman." For one thing, it was important to me that NBI, a beacon of light in the cultural darkness, had not been shattered by a pathetic aging woman who had taken a fancy to a younger man. Her actions are now understandable and no longer inexplicably vicious. Also, as a result of Valliant's arguments, I no longer accept certain previously assumed facts that had lowered my opinion of "Rand the woman." For example, I find no reason to believe Frank O'Connor was an alcoholic – a condition to which many people presumed "the affair" had driven him or made more chronic.

"I am pleased to have read [PARC]. I intend to re-read it. And I am grateful to Valliant on several points while disagreeing with him on others."

-Wendy McElroy, editor of ifeminists.com and a research fellow for The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., author and editor of many books and articles, including the new book, Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century (Ivan R. Dee/Independent Institute, 2002)

"For me, it was worth the price of admission."

-Chris Sciabarra

"I owe James Valliant an apology for initially dismissing The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics, sight unseen. This is precisely the kind of behaviour for which the ARI, rightly, gets condemned and ridiculed. James, I’m sorry. Your book deserves much better. It deserves the widest possible readership. Your research is unimpeachable and your achievement admirable. You have redressed serious injustices... With PARC, justice to Ayn Rand has been done."

-Lindsay Perigo

"It is exactly as merciless as those critics deserve, and just as well-argued as it needs to be. I was persuaded reluctantly to read it; I am now very happy I did. One emerges from reading it with the firm conviction that Rand never needs to be apologised for again — and that one should never have been put in the position of being required to."

-Peter Cresswell

"I have to give Valliant credit for blowing the doors off my lack of critical thinking in regard to the Brandens, their works on AR, the break of 1968 and my relationship to the Objectivist movement. And my regard for Leonard Peikoff has gone up more than a little."

-Brant Gaede

(These quotes about PARC are all from people who were sympathetic with or personally associated with the Brandens. Diana Hsieh's praise of PARC is not included, even though she was a friend and associate of Nathaniel Branden and TOC, because she changed her mind dramatically about Branden prior to reading PARC.)

Integrity

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The stinking hypocrisy of the "Let's stick to Rand's ideas, not her personal life" smokescreen-merchants was highlighted for me yesterday when I read, on Diana's blog, what Bidinotto had written on the back cover of Barbara's book contrasted with what he'd written here on SOLO. "Ideas, not personal life," apart from being Platonist, serves the vile purpose of enabling the Rand-diminishers to hit & run - they can throw out something derogatory about her personal life, then hurriedly retreat behind their cowardly cloak of "ideas, not personal life" when called on it (and no, the opposite of Rand-diminisher is not blind Rand-worshipper). They can use it as a pseudo-plausible pretext for trying to shut down any debate that would expose their stinking hypocrisy, as is happening right here. Trouble is for the stinking hypocrites, Linz sets the rules here, & Linz says no topic is taboo, however discomfiting it may be for stinking hypocrites.

Alongside her merciless exposure of the fork in Bidinotto's tongue, Diana attacked me for agreeing to speak at TOC. She indirectly called me dishonest, a coward & such-like. I guess this was a salutary reminder of why there is a SOLO. TOC was/is too pallid, to be sure, but one can see in Diana's hysterically unjust attack on me precisely the kind of maniacal ARI judgmentalism that TOC was a reaction against. Casey, Holly & I had been taunting TOC for weeks that they wouldn't invite me to speak at one of their Seminars ever again after my about-turn on the Valliant book. To TOC's credit, they confounded us by inviting me. Was I then supposed to turn around & say, "Oh well, I couldn't possibly speak to a TOC gathering" when no such qualifier had been attached to our taunts? Bollocks!

You betcha I'll speak at TOC. I know from experience the vast majority of attendees are honourable, conscientious Objectivists. Some even exude the "rational exuberance" that I want to pervade SOLO, & I enjoy their company immensely. TOC qua organisation will have to confront the Valliant book & what it tells them about the Branden they like to trot out, to be sure, and their response thus far has been lamentable, but the fact that they invited me tells me they're decent folk (with aberrant exceptions) who will do it eventually. They've never been known for a sense of urgency about anything. I have nagged them for years about their lack of KASS. I'm not so naive as to think they'll change overnight.

What also incensed me yesterday was the suggestion that because debate on this matter flourishes, the rest of SOLO is stagnating. This on the very day that Duncan was working his butt off making the site more state-of-the-art & user-friendly. The day that SOLO Youth was launched. We didn't quite nail the Staff Forum, but we shall have it nailed by the time I finish my current radio gig in a week's time, & then it'll be Game On! Andrew Bissell is about to make a significant announcement re articles as well. Stagnating? Well, anyone, especially a staffer, who feels that should be taking aggressive ownership of his domain & making sure that his stretch of water, at least, is NOT stagnant, not bitching about precisely the same kind of inactivity of which he is guilty. I'll be sidelined by media gigs again in the future - SOLOists must carry on frolicking AND changing the culture regardless.

Linz

Value Hierarchy

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Shayne,

This is about the eighth SOLO thread on PARC. Although I don't think the matter has been discussed completely, I don't blame some for being battle weary or finding it tiresome. I've tried to stay out of the fray until I finish the book, but if Lindsay asks many more people to leave, all he'll have left is a few people saying "amen brother".

Jim

Here is an interesting item

Casey's picture

Here is an interesting item that sheds some light on my point about the Brandens deliberately cashing in on cliches to justify the schizophrenic portrait of Rand they present.

After Nathaniel Branden was banned from commenting on Diana Hsieh's site, he posted this letter under the alias "Hellen Rearden." He was posing as a bewildered newcomer to Rand's ideas who was wondering why there was such hostility toward the Brandens. When Hsieh replied that the Brandens' portrayals of Rand were unrealistic, "Hellen" (Branden) replied:

"Most important, you ask me to consider if someone as troubled as the Brandens claim Miss Rand could be at times could produce work of literary and philosophical greatnes. I have two responses. Yes, I think it's possible; great thinkers, scientists, artists are not revered for their mental or emotional stability. Next, I don't think the man who wrote the books Dr. Branden has written could be the vicious, irrational character some people make him out to be. That's one of the reaons I find this whole situation so confusing and bewildering."

It doesn't get more cynically calculated and self-serving than that. What's sauce for the goose is a backrub for the gander. Rand is the cliched mentally and emotionally unstable artist capable of wild contradictions in her character, but Branden's work, so largely derived from Rand's, is testament to the consistency of his soul.

The line Branden wrote (but in the second edition removed) in his memoir when Barbara Branden protested that all the secrets must be kept from Rand or everything would crumble, comes to mind here. He remarks that at that moment when Barbara committed to the fraud he thought to himself "So, we are all operators now."

There is very good reason to come to conclusions about the cynical and arbitrary nature of the Brandens' portrayal of Ayn Rand -- arbitrary in the sense that conformity with the truth was not their first concern while spinning their tales. To anyone who still believes this was just a matter of opinion, I urge you to buy and read PARC. Get a used copy, that way Valliant won't make a dime and you'll save a buck. But afterwards I'll bet that you wish he did get a royalty from you for the experience.

What gets lost in all of this is that PARC is, ultimately, an uplifting book. As the detractors (who haven't read it) lob smear-ball after smear-ball at Ayn Rand to discredit the book they turn the discussion of the book into a mud-fight. When actually reading PARC, the experience is quite different: as the basis for each negative claim about Rand is revealed to be nonexistent and unintentionally contradicted by facts throughout the Brandens' works, there is a gradual dispersing of a cloud of doubt that takes place as unjustified mud is removed. Insight into the true relationship of Rand and Frank, and of Rand as a person in the fullness of the context of her life, shines through the Branden cloud until one is left with something very similar to the hope one feels after reading The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged for the first time, but in a secondary way -- a way that confirms the view of Rand one got from her novels before it was jaded by the Brandens.

I think the mud-fight that immediately closes in on the subject of PARC whenever it is raised is calculated to turn people off to the book, and is usually promulgated by people who have not read it -- because most people are not so dishonest as to have read it and still be spewing this kind of muck all over Rand. But everyone should take note that those who attack this book have not read it, or merely perused it, or audited a few journal entries, and those who have, albeit reluctantly, read the book have come to very different conclusions. That is worthy of noting.

Ciro,

Casey's picture

I don't think I could have been clearer about where I stand. I've actually read the book, and watched it develop over years as James Valliant researched and wrote it. My conclusions are based on an intimate knowledge of the subject matter. You can compare that to the knowledge you are basing your conclusions upon, and I think you'll see there is a difference. I am not asking anyone to come to the conclusions I have come to right now. I am simply stating that I have come to these conclusions based on my studies of the topic for a number of years now. I am urging that people read the book, however, before making judgments about it or about the conclusions made by people who have read the book. I don't want to come to any final judgment about you, Ciro -- I'll wait and give you a chance to read it and deliver your conclusion, if that day should come. But you shouldn't judge me until you know what I'm talking about and why I say the things I said.

thank you

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Thank you very much, Casey, with your last post you have taken "finally" away from me every shadow of doubt I had about making a decision on what you are!!! Thank you again!!! I know now!!

 

Ciro D'Agostino

I'm not shocked that you

Duncan Bayne's picture

I'm not shocked that you haven't read PARC - I'm shocked that you're offering up quite strong opinions on this topic without having read it.

Laure,

Casey's picture

You stated: "Ciro and Jon's comments are the kind of thing that Rand rightly sought to avoid by not going public with the affair. She knew that many people hold that sort of casual, smutty view of sex, and that they just wouldn't 'get' what it meant to her."

I agree, and those comments by the conventional-thinking masses are precisely what the Brandens were pandering to by going public with the affair.

They played into all the cliches, the devastated husband, the dangerous excesses of the artist's ego, etc., ad nauseum that would sell on Main Street U.S.A. All that was missing was a masthead of The Banner and a byline by Ellsworth Toohey.

Ciro and Jon are not reading?

Casey's picture

Jon Letendre, you wonder why Duncan asked if you had not read PARC. Maybe the question was prompted by the fact that you are here on this thread blathering on with no knowledge of what you're talking about because you haven't even read the book.

Ciro has obviously not read the part about Frank, but is comfortable calling him a "flower man" equivalent to a chorus girl. Without Frank, there would be no Atlas Shrugged, including the title of the book. There is much to learn about the real Frank in PARC -- the Brandens left it conveniently out to justify their caricature of a cuckolded pretty boy driven to drink. It was vital to their case to claim that Frank was a conventional man who reacted in a conventional way to the affair and was equally devastated by Rand's "selfishness" as Ciro puts it. When you see the other evidence and realize how much the Brandens must have knowingly left out from their portrait of Frank, while proceeding to fill in the hole with an unknown number of empty booze bottles in his artist's studio, one cannot honestly believe, as Hong claims to, that these were the Brandens' honest "opinions."

Without knowing anything about what is in the book, so many are willing to come on a thread like this and pass some kind of judgment over it. It's understandable why Duncan would find this remarkable -- I'm used to it by now.

But to those others who are willing to consider the evidence, take it from Peter Cresswell. He was reluctant to read the book -- and very glad that he did.

Value hierarchies

sjw's picture

Jim: You wrote:

> Why is it that when people differ on a given subject, you think
> they lack integrity?

You want to portray Tibor as merely having a personal hierarchy of value difference that Linz has no right to attack, and ignore the fact that it was Tibor who came in here and scolded everyone for their hierarchy of values, specifically, the hierarchy that ranks Ayn Rand highly. Why's that?

The nature of the objections

Casey's picture

The nature of the objections to Peter's review is smoking gun evidence of just how much damage the Brandens have done. People like Jon Letendre, and even, alas, Tibor Machan, regard Rand as a hypocrite deserving of what the Brandens did, and no more should be said about the matter. Move on. Letendre sees fit to compare Rand to a child molester. Hong seems to disregard whole sections of PARC that deal specifically with the nature of the Brandens' dishonesty, their self-serving self-contradictions, etc., and ascribes their grossly unfounded and contradictory attacks on Rand as their honest impressions even when their own impressions elsewhere completely contradict their ugly pot-shots. Ciro feels justified in reducing what was a love affair in Rand's mind to ass-spanking. This is the Branden legacy, not James Valliant's. To step in NOW and start some kind of pseudo-principled campaign against Valliant is, frankly, disgusting. All of these people, including most of all the Brandens, owe much to Rand -- but apparently not even the time of day when it comes to considering her side of a story that besmirched her after her death. I hope you all feel proud of your high-minded principles here, your sudden refusal to dip into tabloid subjects, your willingness to let Rand rot with your seedy impressions of her intact. But don't presume to impose your "principles" on others who are at least interested enough to read the evidence in Rand's favor. Have the grace to take your dainty, condescending self-righteousness to another thread; it appeared too long after the Brandens started this smut-fest for me to take seriously.

On another issue, I'm sorry that Diana Hsieh blasted Linz for agreeing to speak at TOC -- in truth, I saw it as a good sign that TOC could be starting to disentangle themselves from their canonization of the Brandens. But if this kind of hideously low trashing of Ayn Rand is what lurks under the surface of that Branden worship, then I'm not so sure supporting them is a good thing after all. "The Objectivist Center," indeed.

Peter -- now you know how it feels.

Integrity Is At Issue Here

Holly Valliant's picture

Jim,

My adorable husband is reluctant, but not me: I do question the integrity of anyone who wants this discussion shut down, especially those who never complained about the Brandens' biographical projects. I also smell a Branden when it happens. Dr. Machan is not just standing on the sidelines but urging Linz to silence this "tabloid" debate.

Other Facts

James S. Valliant's picture

Hong,

You will see in PARC the variety of factual issues involved, apart from alleged alcoholism. Any of the many instances where a Branden claims to specialized information from a single private conversation with Rand that contradicts all the rest of the evidence, including their own, would be in this category, too.

Integrity

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Linz,

When I first met Tibor at my first IOS conference in 1994, I remember a bunch of people gathered around talking about the split between Peikoff and Kelley. His first comment was that it was uninteresting. He joked that if someone wanted something really interesting to talk about, they could talk about his 4 divorces.

Look, I think Peter's piece is well-written and argues persuasively. However, I think the real betrayal of Rand, regardless of the personal circumstances of 1968 and before, is that it is shameful that people would be willing to drag Rand's name through the mud and minimize her philosophical achievements just to prove a point. I felt that when I first read the Branden biographies. I said as much when Barbara was cheered six ways to Sunday on the old SOLO site.

Tibor has his own opinion about this, but rarely talks about it. I'm sure he's disgusted with the personal nature of this, pro or con. He left the old Objectivist movement early, wrote mountains of his own work and his position on this has been clear all along. He clearly just doesn't think it's that important.

Let me ask you, Linz, straight out. Why is it that when people differ on a given subject, you think they lack integrity? If Rand's personal life is not high in Tibor's hierarchy of values, why is that a problem?

Jim

Jon,I wonder, do you think

James S. Valliant's picture

Jon,

I wonder, do you think that Rand's notes should be burned instead of published as some do? Some skepticism about the publication of Rand's notes is a healthy thing, but coming from those, like Bidinotto and N. Branden, who oppose the release of any of this evidence in any form -- or even its availability to scholars, it seems -- such criticism is a joke.

Sure Can

Holly Valliant's picture

Jon,

The burden of proof for arbitrary doubt is on you. I've seen some of the material myself, and Mr. Fahy has seen nearly all of it -- when my husband was working with it.

And, while only some scholars may publish Rand's notes, others have been allowed access sufficient to verify their published uses. (Sciabarra declined such an offer, for example, to see but not publish them.)

But, for sound reasons, I doubt that you would be allowed near the stuff.

Then go, Jody ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Tibor. Thank you. Linz you need to step up and guide this site in some direction other than the one it is taking. I have friends here, and I wish Linz the best, but if this is the total height of passion, then I simply deny it. I'll climb greater heights than this on my own.

Then do it, Jody. You were an apologist/conduit for Barbara from early on. Now we see a concerted effort by you, Tibor, Bidinotto & the like to argue that, in effect, Barbara & Nathan can say what they like about Ayn Rand, but no one is allowed to speak up for her, since that constitutes becoming a "tabloid." Well, fuck all of you. That game is up, and those who want to play it should go elsewhere (as the semi-honest among them have done). There are lots of pseudo-Objectivist sites built on treachery & passionlessness that should satisfy. Enjoy. Get the hell out of here. This site is about integrity & loyalty to values & hero(ine)-worship. Get used to it, & go snicker about it somewhere else.

Linz

Can you prove that?

Jon Letendre's picture

Holly, in a post entitled, “Yuk” said:

“Also, you don't understand the book. These notes are almost entirely reproduced. Whole dates and big chunks. The book preserves Rand's very notations in as "raw" a form as any edition is ever likely to give us, and we are given almost every single word of them, and the few omissions are clearly defined by the editor.”

Then demonstrate it. Show me.

Obviously, “any edition is ever likely to give us” means: ‘all that Peikoff wants us to see.’

Of course, I trust you. So show me.

Ciro and Jon are not reading?

Jon Letendre's picture

Duncan,

Do I understand correctly that you are just now reading Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal? Yet, you seem shocked that I haven’t read PARC? Do you realize that she published the former, but not the diary clippings from the latter? Not that I give a shit about her priorities.

Ciro has indicated that he has read [selections from] her diary.

Ciro and Jon haven't read PARC????

Duncan Bayne's picture

Ciro, Jon - is this correct?

How about a little justice?

Tim S's picture

I did not sign up for this site to sit around and participate in a circle jerk in adoration of bashing others. This has nothing to do with being pro-this person, or pro-that person, but rather anti-stagnation. This site is stagnating.

So, this free, voluntary participation site is not delivering up to your standards Jody? Is that right?

There's a little matter of justice here. As far as I am concerned Lindsay Perigo has been very poorly treated by others, and I will cut this site a huge amount of slack while it gets started up. Not that it needs it, mind you. It was Perigo's passion that "lit Objectivism on fire", and I have no doubt that that process will continue on this site.

It is also becoming clear to me that a grave injustice was done to Ayn Rand, and if those who are interested - on both sides of the issue - want to debate it, all power to them I say. Bravo to Lindsay for allowing them to do so here.

There's nothing stopping you and Tibor posting here on any issue you like. Solopassion is a free for all and you should both be happy about that fact! If you don't like this particular discussion, then ignore it and post on some other issue. There's no point trying to stand in the way of a discussion that clearly many people want to have.

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