The Nature of Poison

Casey's picture
Submitted by Casey on Tue, 2006-02-21 01:37

When my friend, James Valliant, had his book sent to the publishers, the galleys completed and the jacket copy and cover decided upon, I expected to have only limited involvement thereafter. A review posted at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, a response to some flagrantly erroneous articles that recycled lies about Ayn Rand that the Brandens told—that was about the extent of the contribution I anticipated after the book was out there for all the world to see and read.

However, I was surprised by the nature of the posts that were slamming the book before it was published at the old SOLOHQ site, where Barbara Branden herself held court, considering this was a site comprising individuals who claimed to admire Rand, or at least her novels and ideas.

There was a certain imperious and gratuitous sneer that characterized the kind of attacks that were being launched on PARC, with an assumption that Ayn Rand's shoddy character was a given and could be abused with any level of crass insult and derogatory condescension. Any bitter and poisonous remark about her character was acceptable in the course of undermining the book before it had ever appeared. The ugliest accusations of hypocrisy, smuttiness, lust, and cruelty, and even lunacy, were tossed out about Rand's character with chuckles and snickers, raspberries and hisses.

All the while, Barbara Branden never interceded, indeed presided, silently, over this display. That's when it occurred to me that the Brandens carry with them something that is so well documented in PARC. They're smug and superior and see the worst kind of arbitrary character assassination as a valid tool of their trade. They deal in flattery and smears, both equally baseless, both self-serving. They flattered Rand with absolute agreement about everything in her amazingly original and lonely mind, offering her intellectual loneliness something Nathaniel Branden identified as psychological "visibility," even though that visibility, for Rand, was an illusion that he and Barbara used to win her friendship and endorsement. They flatter those who contribute to smearing Rand with the most grandiose pseudo-Randian language, and turn on them with muck-raking viciousness the moment they learn of any danger of disagreement in those followers.

Barbara’s friend and loyal supporter Lindsay Perigo stuck by her when PARC was announced and published, advising her not to take it so seriously, to just ignore it. She had always been leery of Perigo’s tendency to moral outrage, however—moral righteousness was not something either Branden felt comfortable around since their break with Rand, even though before the break they were both extreme practitioners and even though they are de facto bare-knuckled practitioners of moral condemnation to this day. For a quick and ready example of this duplicity, here is a quote from Nathaniel Branden on the subject of moral judgment in the Free Radical interview with him conducted by Alec Mouhibian:

NB: Now, there are some people who are so clearly evil (e.g., Saddam Hussein) that we can’t imagine anything mitigating their horror. But even there, I’ve come to feel the following: if there is a mad animal running around, eating people, I may have to shoot him. I don’t think: “Oh, you rotten bad dog, you.” There’s nothing you can do except shoot him. But the Saddams are only a small minority. Take the Middle East suicide bombers—especially the very young people. God knows, if I had the opportunity, I’d kill them without any hesitation. But I also know, as a psychologist, that they were raised in a culture in a world I can’t even conceive of. They were propagandized about the glory of martyrdom since the age of five. Whereas Leonard Peikoff might be hell-bent on calling every one of them evil, I wouldn’t. They may or may not be. All I know is: in action, one kills them, rather than getting killed by them. Lots of times, we don’t know the ultimate truth about a person. And here’s the point: we don’t need to know.

AM: So when you do judge people, does it basically come down to the age-old criteria of honesty, decency, etc.?

NB: Yeah. Lying, breaches of integrity—those are immoral. But I try to keep judgments of that kind to a minimum. And it’s pretty natural in me by now, to focus on the behavior.

No doubt anyone who reads PARC will understand Nathaniel Branden’s new focus, and they wouldn’t be wrong to substitute the word “focus” for “evasion,” either.

Compare this stance with this set of remarks later in the same interview. The interviewer has asked Branden about romantic relationships and how they have a larger range than Rand or objective understanding could ever cover:

NB: When you’re talking about long-term romantic love, as I did when lecturing for NBI, much more of who we are comes into play. But if you just focus on the sexual, the bar is lower. And that’s perfectly fine. For a certain period of time, in a certain context, it could be a wonderful, happy experience. I don’t believe that if a relationship doesn’t last forever it’s a failure. I remember a friend of mine, who was 42, met a girl who was 17 or 18 years old. And they had a great romance that lasted about a year. And they remained very good friends afterward—it just wasn’t the end of the game for either of them. You see, these are some really complicated issues.

AM: That’s where I’m getting at. It just seems absurd to believe that all of the mysteries of attraction are objectively explicable.

NB: Well Rand wasn’t entirely consistent on what she thought about these subjects. I remember once being in her apartment when Leonard was there. He had acquired a new girlfriend and Ayn asked him: is it a romance, or is it an affair, or is it an enjoyable sexual encounter? I don’t remember the words verbatim, but she gave him a choice of three. She also said it in a way that implied that any answer was acceptable. And Leonard almost fell off the sofa in shock. He said, “You mean you would approve?” Ayn said, “Why not?” Anybody who had read her books would also have fainted. You’re shocked, aren’t you?

AM: I am.

NB: So if ever I were to publish that story, the forces of evil would say it’s one more example of what a liar Nathaniel Branden is. But it happened. So there’s a lot of confusion about sexuality among Objectivists.

Yes, and that confusion started with Branden, according to Rand’s journal entries in PARC.

There are many interesting things about this exchange in the Free Radical interview. Readers of PARC, of course, know that it was Rand who had to explain to Branden that an 18-year-old girl of the right spirit could make a fine sexual match for a man Branden’s age (in his late 30s at the time), a notion that he found inappropriate, and she also suggested that he have an affair with a young Emma Peel-like woman to get his groove back, and that he should not view his marriage with Barbara as some kind of failure even if it was over. She was much less uptight about achieving some end-all ideal in romantic relationships than Branden was—she called this tendency in Branden a mistaken desire for a “Kantian-stylized universe,” which Nathaniel Branden instantly agreed with, telling Rand that she was “onto something” about his psychology.

Of course, he could have been lying to her about this since he was lying to her about the entire pretense of his psychological status during these requested psychological sessions that Rand grew so tired of. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that Branden now presents this as shocking and something the forces of evil (ARI?) would find outrageous for him to say about Rand. This is a pure case of projection—everyone will find this shocking about Rand? Not me, and I didn’t have to know her to understand that she was not a Puritan, that she held sex as a great value, and at the same time that it shouldn’t be turned into something random and valueless since we are more than animals. But that doesn’t automatically mean that sex with someone who is not your ultimate absolute lifelong ideal is bad. That kind of “Kantian-stylized” viewpoint did not occur to me (or Rand) from her position on sex and value. On the contrary, this was Rand’s specific diagnosis of Branden!

Note also, of course, that while Branden doesn’t think suicide bombers can be called evil per se, those who call him a liar comprise “the forces of evil.” Both of the Brandens’ comments are riddled with such moral pot-shots, even while they present compartmentalized arguments against moral judgment.

So it is not so unpredictable that Barbara Branden would complain about Lindsay Perigo’s tendency for moral outrage, which she did nearly from the beginning of their relationship. Yet it was less predictable that when events transpired that prompted Perigo to read PARC, Barbara Branden immediately announced that she had long suspected he would be heading toward the ARI camp!

For an exhibit of moralizing, rage, and naked, vicious threats all in one package, I will present quotes from Barbara Branden later in this article that were recently posted on a fan’s website. But this literally hairpin moral judgment by Barbara Branden about Perigo reminds me of the day Rand broke with her. That morning she was proposing to take over NBI (after telling Rand about Nathaniel’s dishonesty) and looking forward to forging a new and stronger business alliance with Rand after ruining Nathan’s chances of that. (This fact is an insight into the line Nathaniel recorded from his mind when Barbara, months earlier, had committed to lying to Rand about Nathaniel’s ongoing affair with an actress who had also been soliciting psychotherapy sessions with Rand during this period.) After Barbara had made her proposal and Rand had rejected it, Barbara Branden THAT VERY DAY began calling Rand insane and irrational. She has, arguably, made a living off it ever since.

It reminds me of the day months earlier when Barbara discussed with Nathaniel the need to keep deceiving Rand to hang on to NBI, and he thought, “We are all operators, it seems.” Nathan wrote this line into the first edition of his book, but excised it from the second. The second edition was prepared with Barbara's collaboration!

The fact that the Brandens were motivated to keep feeding Rand their slavish agreement by something other than Rand's supposedly oppressive personality is obvious from the dividends they sought and received from her. Rand wielded no stick that they could not walk away from, but she offered a carrot they did not wish to give up. It was Rand who pulled the carrot away, and it was then that they condemned her. If it was the stick they feared, they should have thanked her.

Recently on the website of one of the Brandens’ most ardent loyalists, one of her admirers mentioned that Julie Delpy, the actress who played Barbara Branden in the movie based on her book, was far too delicate and vulnerable. The real Barbara Branden was much tougher. Barbara Branden chimed in that she was, indeed, no wimp, and the filmmakers had gotten that wrong. I believe her. In fact, the whole tortured portrait she paints of a confused, bewildered and dominated young woman enthralled by the power of Ayn Rand does not ring true in the slightest. Barbara Branden is a vicious streetfighter, willing to lie and cheat to get what she wanted and to backstab and vilify her victim as soon as she found her out and ended their relationship.

The fact that the Brandens continued their profound dishonesty to Rand, revealed in their own books about their relationship with her, until it shrouded nearly all of their differences, personal lives, and business dealings, is chronicled in PARC—this was the art of flattery that they had perfected during the first careers they made off of Rand’s genius. Then came the break, when Rand finally saw through their elaborate and highly motivated misrepresentations, and the Brandens flipped the switch of their dishonesty to smears instead of flattery with great alacrity, proving equally creative (and mawkish) in this task. They even audaciously adopted all the critiques of their own ruthless tactics while milking the Rand cash cow at NBI in their very attacks against Rand herself. In the process they claim that their exuberant statements about Rand in their mutual pre-break book, aptly titled “Who Is Ayn Rand?”, were exaggerations and not to be trusted. And their smears were to be as fraudulent as their praise, and drawing on the same practiced talent.

I can't help but think when I see the grandiose vilification of Rand by the Brandens and their cult-like crew that the whole cult stigma that attached to Rand, even the whole reputation for contemptuous condescension and dismissal that Rand would inherit, came really from the Brandens, who preternaturally continue these practices, with the same resultant constituency of fans, today. Could it be that these ambitious young opportunists grafted their aggressive flatter-and-attack cronyism onto Rand herself during this activist stage that she claimed to dislike so much? Was she delivering what they encouraged? Pre-Branden and post-Branden statements by Rand would have to be compared to answer such a question. One is left seriously wondering, however, considering the works of Rand and the legacy of her entire relationship, NBI included, with the Brandens. Knowing the big picture only heightens the irony of Frank O'Connor's alleged prescient warning to his wife that Branden was “no damn good!"

And what of the "Affair"? It is freely described in the Brandens' presence as Ayn Rand's opportunistic sexual harassment of a loyal soldier exploited for his slavish devotion to her ideas, despite the nature of those ideas. But, after seeing all of the facts revealed in PARC, what was going on feels more like a clever young man's manipulation of a naturally lonely genius whose innocent sense of life rendered her particularly vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.

What PARC proves about the statements made by the Brandens in their “Answer to Ayn Rand” is that they were lies from start to finish. Branden lied about the fact that Rand had become his acting psycho-therapist, he lied when suggesting he was not focusing his time on NBI theater, he lied that Rand was lying about his financial dealings, and he lied that he had not had any ideological drift from Objectivism. And, worst of all, after a 14-year affair with Rand, Branden started the myth of a horny old Rand hitting on him in some tawdry scene of sexual harassment, and his noble sacrifice of everything in order to rebuff her unwanted advances.

Rand did not mention the affair at all in her statement and only referenced a dishonest essay Branden had written to justify his sexual rejection of her on purely “physicalist” grounds while attempting to tie in his theory to Objectivist principles. That paper has never been produced by Nathaniel Branden and the Estate of Ayn Rand reports having no copy of it, notably. There were so many other breaches of integrity and lies concerning the fraudulent psychological sessions, the promises, every utterance during those discussions, business dealings, writing commitments, etc., that there was hardly any need to drag their private relations into the public eye, since it had ended years earlier and since Rand’s own desire to continue it had equally become unthinkable to her at that point, as is revealed in PARC. By this time any desire to resume a sexual affair with Nathaniel Branden, despite all the leading on and promises and the lies that she had already found out about, had been tortured out of Rand, as is revealed by her contemporaneous journals. Far from thinking of him sexually, she had started to suspect he was dishonest and possibly evil prior to the final revelation of his dishonesty by Barbara Branden.
Nathaniel Branden, on the other hand, who claims that he was always the aggressor in his sexual relationship with Rand (because he thought that was what she “required” from a man, not because he felt like it), went ahead and mentioned the affair anyway in his “Answer to Ayn Rand” ... well, he half-mentions it, thus:

In writing the above [Rand’s statement about why she was splitting with the Brandens, which makes no reference to their affair], Miss Rand has given me the right to name that which I infinitely would have preferred to leave unnamed, out of respect for her privacy. I am obliged to report what was in that written paper of mine, in the name of justice and of self-defense. That written statement was an effort, not to terminate my relationship with Miss Rand, but to save it, in some mutually acceptable form. It was a tortured, awkward, excruciatingly embarrassed attempt to make clear to her why I felt that an age distance between us of twenty-five years constituted an insuperable barrier, for me, to a romantic relationship.

And that is how Branden dramatically ENDS his 1968 statement, by referring to the affair, which no one would assume was an affair based on this statement! We used to reserve the word “cad” for this kind of dishonorable romantic behavior.

Now, observe how this poster, Mike Lee, twists the motivations of the Brandens’ statements and posthumously-published books into a desire to protect Ayn Rand. This was posted in Nathaniel Branden’s own chat-room [Comments added]:

It's stunning to hear people say that the Brandens were waiting for Rand to die so they could hatchet her without her responding. That's the stupidest thing I've heard all month. And in my job, I hear a lot of stupid things that have nothing to do with Objectivism.

Rand lied, publicly, egregiously, viciously about the 1968 debacle. Both Brandens were a class act in their responses. They did everything possible to keep Ayn's dirty little secret, at great cost to themselves. What would have happened had the Brandens told the truth then?

Objectivism would have died then. It would have been the undisputed laughing stock champion of the world. All the O-O boobs who hate the Brandens owe their dreary Objectivist identities to the sacrifice of the Brandens in not exposing Ayn's lies. (By the way, you idiots, they didn't do it for you, but for the 99% of people who read Atlas Shrugged and are moved and changed by it and that you anathematize.)

Let's make no mistake: Rand LIED. Gimme an L, gimme an I, gimme an E, gimme a D, LIED. I've got a copy of her public renunciation and the Brandens' responses and all are pathetic. Rand because she was a big fat horrible chicken liar and the Brandens because they protected her. Along with pathetic, the Brandens were heroic. I can't imagine myself exercising the self-control, the renunciation of richly earned revenge, the parsing, tuning, shading, hiding, editing, pacing back and forth, and compassion that suffused their responses.

Good on you both, what an amazing thing under such pressure to separate the thinker from the thoughts and to protect the thoughts from public ridicule no matter what the thinker had done to you.

The Brandens had it in their power at that moment to destroy Objectivism, and they had every reason to, and they didn't. Say thank you, you O-O dipshits.

Talk about grace under pressure, the Branden responses to Rand's screech were archetypally [sic] graceful. Something for the rest of us to keep in the back of our minds in case we are ever so unfortunate as to come under similar pressure.

Think through this scary alternate history scenario: Rand noisily, publicly and in writing denounces NB, vaguely hinting at horrible moral defects, implying he's been embezzling or worse. Branden, instead of denying only to the ridiculous charges she made publicly, responds that the real reason she's so mad is that she and I have been having an affair for many years, conducted with the cooperation (or co-optation) of our spouses, and I've been trying to disentangle from it for several years now without provoking just this kind of explosion.

Imagine the newspaper stories, gleefully printing side by side shots of Ayn and NB's hot new girlfriend. Imagine the humiliation of their respective spouses, who I'm sure would also have been featured side-by-side in every paper.

Now imagine Rand's response to all this: does she keep lying and deny the affair? Does she admit it and thus reveal that her previous denunciation was somewhat, shall we say, less than candid?

Any way she turned, Rand's response qua Rand would have only made things worse, much worse. [Strangely, he notes the clever blackmail inherent in the Brandens’ charges but credits them for honesty and caring about Objectivism instead of Rand.] She would have strafed her own credibility and then bombed the rubble. Can you imagine her having to go out in public and deal with this? She was no Howard Roark when it came to ignoring public shaming (otherwise, she would have told the truth in the first place, wouldn't she?).

Imagine all the interviews with former and current members of her coterie. The reporters digging around, the "scholarly" articles hooting that Objectivism was, like we all said, just a silly fad run by amoral hedonists. Imagine this going on in an atmosphere of the mores of 1968--remember, this was pre-Joy of Sex, pre-Stonewall, pre-Harrad Experiment, pre-Open Marriage.

Without reasonable doubt, had the Brandens not bitten their tongues till the blood flowed, Rand would be known today as the kooky cult leader who got caught sleeping with her young protégé and made their spouses watch it all.

Contrast that scenario with the one that really happened: The Branden books were published after a couple of decades of cooling off. With Rand dead, there wasn't much sport in baiting and trashing her -- in fact, doing so would have been in bad taste. Ortho-Objectivists were mortified at the revelations, but everyone else came away liking Rand better than before. Suddenly, it all made sense. She no longer seemed so inhuman, intolerant and inscrutable. She seemed tortured and driven by her own demons and blind spots. [Yay! Interestingly it was Wendy McElroy, in her review of PARC, who said “Her actions are now understandable and no longer inexplicably vicious.” Apparently, there are different standards of understandability!]

Let's not forget: Rand is the one who went public with this. [Incredible!] You can make a case that the Brandens' books were a debt owed to intellectual history to make sense of a puzzling and weird event that everyone who ever watches CSI knows didn't add up the way that Rand and the Brandens initially told it.

Let's also not forget: ever since then, both Brandens have led very respectable and productive lives. I think they've both demonstrated they can think interesting thoughts without Rand pulling their strings, and from the way Rand described them, everyone should have been expecting them to end up in jail.

I have no special insight into exactly why the Brandens zipped their lips for so long. Perhaps their motives weren't as noble as I've surmised. But probably they were. Neither Branden is short of brain cells or unable to think 3 chess moves ahead. So, yeah, I think they took one for the team. [Wow. They took one for Team Rand, don’tcha know!]

What an ironic victory for Barbara and Nathaniel. Since it was their discretion that kept Rand on the bestseller lists. [Yep. That’s what he said, folks.]

I think Nathan rocks. His books, his work, his candor have all greatly enriched my life. I'm so glad he exists. He's publicly, obviously, admittedly, not perfect. And that hasn't stopped him from doing great work, making amazing contributions, like his mentor, God rest her sad, beautiful soul.

--Mike Lee

Michael Stuart Kelly, for his part, was so impressed by these statements that he decided to reprint them at the afore-mentioned website. Roger Bissell, for his part, claimed he wished that they could be printed in a full-page ad in the New York Times.

Yes, after one has read PARC and understands how horrendous these misrepresentations are one can hardly catch one's breath. It seems designed to evoke outrage—that is how precisely and utterly opposed to the facts this statement is.

The idea that the truth could have hurt Rand’s reputation any worse than his disgusting assertion about Rand’s LUST in 1968, or that the Brandens’ motives was to protect either Rand or Objectivism, is preposterous. The revealing of the full truth would have only exposed the nature of Branden’s 4 ½ year deception of Rand. What he said was designed to reveal as much about Rand as possible and as little about his own deception as possible. And for all this Brandenite’s blather about Rand’s “lying” in that 1968 statement, he cannot point to a single false statement by Rand. PARC proves that there is nothing to point at in Rand’s statement that is false.

But now, I think it is important to view the first direct and real response to PARC that has appeared in publication from either of the Brandens, posted just a few days ago. It is a perfect illustration of the working parts of the Branden M.O. and why one can’t rely on the Brandens’ commitment to truth as a primary motivation for any of their representations of Ayn Rand.

This is Barbara Branden’s reply to Ellen Stuttle, a person who was present at some of the NBI events during the 1960s and who psychologizes to an alarming extent about Rand (while denouncing her for psychologizing) and blames Rand for not being astute enough in the field of psychology to decipher what was really going on with Nathaniel Branden (even though the brilliant psychologist was spinning elaborately sophisticated psychological smokescreens designed to prolong his own professional livelihood during these phony psychological sessions that she blames RAND for not seeing through. Yes! And note that during this time, Branden’s actress girlfriend, who was having the secret 4 ½-year affair with Branden was requesting similar sessions with her).

BB: Ellen, I agree with you about Rand's lack of psychological insight, and that her psychologizing tended to be philosophical. And as you probably know, she would in principle have agreed with you, too: she often said that she didn't understand people, that she could never be a psychologist, and that she had no patience with psychology; often, she communicated contempt for people who had psychological problems. Of course, she would not have agreed with you that her psychological analysis of Nathaniel, as it finally evolved, was defective. Although, when all was said and done, she was much more comfortable with the concepts of "good" and "evil" than with concepts from the realm of psychology. When I last saw her in New York, in 1981, it was in terms of his "evil" that she discussed Nathaniel.

I wish with all my heart that her journal entries in the Valliant book had never been published. I shudder at the thought of what an objective (probably not Objectivist) psychologist who approached them cold would make of them. They are both tragic and twisted; they show Rand at her best and her worst -- her best in her desperate determination to understand, her worst in what they reveal about her own psychology, her profound repression, and her manner of dealing with and attempting to understand people And it is the worst that is predominant in these entries. If Leonard truly wanted to protect her, he would never have made them available to Valliant. But I suppose his hatred of Nathaniel and me was stronger than any protectiveness for Ayn that he might feel. Or, perhaps, he truly does not understand what these entries reveal.

And in fact, I doubt that he is truly motivated by concern for Ayn. I have long believed that he has a love-hate relationship with her memory, as he had with the reality of her when she was alive. I say this for many reasons, but the major reason is the following: If one sells one's soul to someone, one can never forgive that person. We can neither forgive nor fully love someone whom we feel has forced us to wipe our self out of existence in her name. Of all the people around Ayn, Leonard was always the most dependent; he scarcely dared to think a thought unless he knew that she would approve of it -- and it's not an accident that it took him twelve years to write The Ominous Parallels. Apart from Ayn's constant demands for substantial changes, she would have been sitting in his mind as he tried to write, a silent editor of every word he put on paper, paralyzing him.

I remember once that he came to me with a problem, as he often did, knowing that I would not report our discussion -- (which I never did, until now, when all my concern for him has vanished with the viciousness of the attacks on me which he has sanctioned and probably promoted.) He was very upset that evening, and he said: "When I watch television, or see a play, or read a book, or listen to music, I feel nothing at all; I have no emotional reaction, I'm dead inside, because I don't know what I should feel." This is the kind of thing I meant when I said that Ayn lived inside his mind.

And his praise of her went too far. Granted, we all bought into the "Ayn Rand is beyond reproach" theory -- although one or two of us had significant doubts of this at times -- but Leonard bought it wholly, no matter what her demands or her furies. In his mind, she was perfect; and if ever he didn't understand the form her perfection sometimes took, the fault had to be his. This kind of adulation, like his intellectual and emotional subordination, represented a danger to his positive feelings for her.

Again, I remember a day when it was reported to me that he had said: "If Barbara told me to take out her garbage, I would feel it was an honor." I shivered when I heard this, and I thought: Don't turn your back on this man.

I will add something that may shock you. I believe Leonard is aware of his ambivalence; it is a secret he keeps from everyone else, but not from himself. And it drives him, in some kind of pathetic attempt at atonement, to greater and greater orthodoxy. Such are the real reasons for his hatred of Nathaniel and me: he knows that we know too much about him; he knows that we know him.

I’m just glad that Leonard Peikoff is alive and not having this kind of thing pissed on his grave as did Rand. The absurdity of Peikoff, the man who resisted every idea of Rand until it actually made sense to him and not until it answered all other alternatives persuasively, was the man “ruined” by the kind of conformity the Brandens practiced to their own dubiously-confessed spiritual ruin is such a parody of projection it hardly needs pointing out.

And surely ARI, Rand, or Peikoff have never engaged in such vicious “psychologizing” as this display by Barbara Branden. She has long traded in such low-rent accusations against Peikoff and others, and it is noteworthy that neither Peikoff nor Valliant has ever engaged in this kind of psychological theorizing and condemnation about Ms. Branden.

Of course, the kind of suppression of evidence Barbara Branden calls for here in order to model a certain image of Ayn Rand is exactly what ARI has been accused of doing for many years without a shred of evidence to support this claim. And it is this kind of behavior that she is ADVOCATING. It’s also interesting to note that she is terrified by the material, just as PARC demonstrates that Mr. Branden is terrified by this material. In fact, she concedes that the notes are damaging for her and Nathaniel as she surmises that Peikoff’s motives were hatred for them over protectiveness for Ayn. Interesting that protectiveness for Ayn is for her a stronger motive suddenly than the truth. In effect, she concedes the basic thesis of PARC, in that her accounts are less than devoted to objective truth—they are shaped, motivated, made into something other than truth.

It is also notable that both Barbara Branden and Robert Bidinotto have just recently made threats of personal (read: unverifiable) evidence that they “could” reveal about their opponents, as though this were any form of answer to any part of this matter.

But there is an even more important point to be made about this remarkable post by Barbara Branden. However outrageous it is for her to claim that she is the one on Rand’s side and that Peikoff and ARI are the ones hurting Ayn Rand, I say again that it is very revealing, as well. She is claiming, now, that her account was an attempt to CENSOR the truth about Ayn Rand, that Peikoff and company are letting the damaging truth out, and that the records of this truth should have never seen the light of day. This, after claiming that her previous biographical effort, “Who Is Ayn Rand?” was hagiography and should not be considered an accurate representation but that her second attempt should be considered the truth. Now…?

The question now is: how many times does one choose to trust this woman’s version of the truth after she admits that she altered, censored and mitigated both of the versions she has given? She has just claimed, in her statement of only a few days ago, that she suppressed evidence and that ARI and Peikoff SHOULD HAVE suppressed evidence, as well! What credibility as a source of objective reporting does she have left?

Are we supposed to trust her about the smears? Are we supposed to trust her about the praise?

The truth is, Ayn Rand could have been much worse than what Barbara Branden has represented and we would still not be able to consider her a reliable source on the matter at this point. Truth is clearly not the primary goal of Barbara Branden’s statements about Ayn Rand, and she does not even weigh her comments about her by that standard, at all, and is offended at ARI for even accidentally adhering to that standard by releasing her journal notes on this issue to the public.

And, as for the site that published Mike Lee’s statement and to which Barbara Branden is an active contributor, she is on the record as raving: “I'm very happy about Michael's Objectivist Living site. It's a pleasure to find a place on the Internet where I won't be called names. I hope I'll see you there often.”

There’s something to be said about what association means and what association can be said to constitute endorsement.

Such can now be said about the nature of the associations of the Brandens: these are the comments about Ayn Rand that they host, promote, and even inspire by their presence.

I’ll leave to others what they choose to associate with, but I would suggest that they read PARC if they admire Ayn Rand.


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Blood-feud between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton

Charles Henrikson's picture

James,

Excellent analogy! After two hundred years, it is still a controversy over what happened...

Just as Well

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

James V,

I think there are Objectivists who do better on the ARI side and I think there are Objectivists who are more comfortable on the TOC side and there are some who prefer to be independent. I think that if people are going to make an intelligent decision, they need as much accurate information as possible. I think your book is part of that and I commend you for it. I've always thought that either/all of these of these choices could be right for an individual Objectivist depending on their context, their particular intellectual needs and how much weight they put on the Branden controversy.

TOC has strengths and weaknesses. I think it is a terrific place for physical scientists, mathematicians, psychologists, cognitive scientists and intelligent adults who think independently. At the moment, I don't think that it's the right place for many philosophy students with interests in advanced topics in Ethics. Many of those students would be better off at ARI because of the rigor and emphasis of their programs.

Whichever "side" an Objectivist chooses or doesn't choose, it's important that they not lose their individual voice and objectivity to either subjectivism (a danger on the TOC side) or intrisicism (a danger on the ARI side).

Jim

James Heaps-Nelsons #6

Glenn I Heppard's picture

James, you forgot the your most important point, that TOC respects religion.

#6."I took my Buddhist wife to the 2004 TOC Summer Seminar and to local TOC events. I wonder what would have happened if she even managed to open her mouth at an ARI event?"

So when she opened her mouth at TOC, what happened? She "hates" Objectivism and believes in an anti-individual religion, how did it go over?

James you seem to be losing the debate with yourself. In December 2004 #3 would have sounded like this:
"However, until and unless they produce anything along the lines of Kelley's Unrugged Individualism [PLEASE] or Reisman's Capitalism they simply don't have the intellectual standing to call themselves the "official" organization of Objectivism."

#4 this:
"[TOC had]Pinero's stirring account of the privatization of Social Security in Chile" "[ARI] have not changed their basic policies about voicing philosophical differences of any [ANY?] substance.

#5 this:
"[ARI]What have they done that is fundamentally new and even approaching the level of the first adopter libertarians they bash so much?" "if they really feel Objectivism is a closed system, why bother going into the field of philosophy?" "how do you run an effective academic program without free and open inquiry"

Now that is absurd.
Your criticism of ARI does not automatically point in favor of TOC.

Well,

Casey's picture

I'm not the one who decided the Brandens should each have a speaking slot and have joint starring roles in the Objectivist Community event this year. They are pretty prominent, and could even be called "central," to the line-up at TOC's summer seminar. TOC has apparently lost three speakers because of the Brandens' continuing involvement, so I guess the association that turned off these speakers was considered more important than what those speakers have to offer. The Brandens' hostility to Rand and ARI are well-known, so it hardly seems reasonable that the forming of a nation is TOC's goal in featuring them so prominently, federalist or anti-federalist though they might be. I think those who argue that TOC is the open and tolerant side and ARI is the stick in the mud preventing any broadening of cooperative outreach in a common cause are frankly deluding themselves.

Like it or not, Ayn Rand herself was the most successful popularizer of Objectivism. Besmirching her does not aid the cause of spreading her philosophy, no matter how couched in terms of activism or outreach TOC presents their association with her chief antagonists and besmirchers. That's pretty obvious to me. Isn't that obvious to you, Jim?

If TOC really was more concerned with spreading Rand's ideas than in their antagonism toward ARI, the most important thing they could do would be to acknowledge the false smears against Ayn Rand popularized by the Brandens. As long as they continue to endorse the Brandens, they are telling the world that their albatross belongs around Ayn Rand's neck, and people outside of Objectivist circles will feel comfortable in continuing to repeat the lies they have told about Ayn Rand. That is the impact of TOC's ongoing support of the Brandens. And since Rand is the best popularizer of Objectivism, that is the worst thing they could do in terms of spreading her ideas. So what, really, is their mission? Perhaps you can see why their decision to completely ignore this issue AND invite the Brandens in such a prominent way calls into doubt their true motivations regardless of what their stated aims might be.

Federalists vs Antifederalists

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Casey,

My exact words were no moral authority on the subject of sanction.

I'm saying that the differences between TOC and ARI are of the same quality and magnitude as the differences between the Federalists and the Antifederalists. The debate and battle was fierce, but that didn't prevent them from forming a new nation.

You've spent a lot of time arguing about how central the issues of the Brandens are to TOC's existence. I disagree. I think it's more like a blood-feud between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

Jim

James H-P,

Casey's picture

Which side has no moral authority -- the Federalists or the anti-federalists? Just curious about your analogy.

TOC Program

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Michelle,

1.Currently, I am rereading a pathbreaking new book on neurology and Artificial Intelligence: On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins. I'm going to get input on the book from Jay Friedenberg, Walter Donway, and David Kelley.

2.This year's TOC seminar is free for me since I won the drawing last year.

3. After ARI booted George Reisman for no good reason, I'm really not interested in their moral choreography. They've made it clear long ago that we're on our own when it comes to moral sanction, since they have no moral authority on the subject.

4. Why on earth would I be interested in a lecture series on Quine? Others might, but I wouldn't. I know for a fact that ARI has terrific lecturers and could put together a dynamite program if they didn't smother people with their stodgy ideas about what should go in a program.

5. I'm amused at the comparison of TOC to the Soviet Union. We're having a philosophical battle between ARI and TOC which amounts to the debate between the Federalists and the anti-federalists during the framing of the Constitution. The analogy to the Soviet Union is absurd and a non-sequitur.

Jim

Really?

James S. Valliant's picture

Jim,

Are you suggesting that you been "hectored or belittled," by someone here, Jim? May one be critical of TOC's offerings without being accused of THAT? As you know, ARI's membership has often been "beliitled and hectored" at such places as the old SOLOHQ, did THAT ever bother you? I know that the next step now is to acccuse me of being an ARI flunky, but I know you're better than that, Jim.

Re: TOC program

mcohen's picture

James H-N,

1. The Soviet Union also had some great scientists who were allowed to present their achievements to the world as long as they did not criticize the Soviet State.

2. Jay Friedenberg published a book about Cognitive Science. The title is "Cognitive Science: An Introduction to the Study of the Mind." It is not necessary to attend the TOC seminar in order to learn about the subject. The book costs $57, cheaper than the seminar.

3. The ARI seminar includes a four-part course about the philosophy of Quine. What's "historical" about that?

-- Michelle

Just as Well

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

James V,

There's a good deal more than just the cognitive science that I'm interested in. Marsha Enright's presentations on Objectivism and Children, Linda Abrams' dramatic presentation of the poetry of Berton Braley, Michael Shapiro's evening presentation on the music of Mussogursky, Joseph Rowlands' talk on Eliminating the Altruist Baggage, and David Kelley and Will Thomas' course on Atlas Shrugged as a philosophical novel.

I'm disappointed for the most part in the Brandens' presentations and I won't paper over it, just as I am very disappointed in the backward, historical focus of ARI. I could also say I'm intrigued by ARI's offerings in Applied Ethics and not much else. ARI is not my choice of organization, but there are those who derive benefit from its offerings. I don't hector or belittle those who make that choice. I leave it up to them.

Jim

Yep,

Casey's picture

I agree, Brant. It's amazing.

Actually

eg's picture

Actually, Casey, it's not the most important part of his post; you got that, but the firewalls these "defenders" of the Brandens erect in their minds are just staggering.

--Brant

Casey

eg's picture

Casey, I'm surprised you didn't pick up on the most important part of Paul's post, namely that "Judgment Day" and "The Passion of Ayn Rand" are works of fiction. Read it again; it's incredible.

--Brant

Again, Ciro

eg's picture

"Brant? I don't talk with BB, beside on MSK's forum, I don't know what she thinks of you, sorry!!!

"Ciro D'Agostino"

Ciro, for the second time, what are you talking about? What are you responding to? What am I supposed to have asked you? When? Where? Not here, not anywhere. I know English is a language you have charmingly mashed up previously, but this is incoherent. I have no idea or interest in what Barbara thinks of me if she thinks of me at all. Were you trying to say something else?

--Brant

The continuing smears of Rand

Casey's picture

Over at MSK's site, the smears of Rand continue under Barbara Branden's nose. Paul Mawdsley ends his eloquently ignorant post on Rand's supposed dishonesty thusly:

"Ayn Rand tried to remove Branden’s contributions from history and his existence from her awareness. This is not objectivity. This is trying to mold reality to fit one’s personal fictions. Rand’s personal fictions were distorted by an inability to bring a high level of awareness to her own motives, by an inability to reliably identify the motives of others, and by a bias against the need to test the reality of her views. The net result of these characteristics was for her to reverse one of the basic tenets of her philosophy. The “primacy of existence” was replaced by the primacy of her personal fictions of existence. It is these personal fictions that would have shaped what she wrote in her journals."

Let's take these points one at a time:

1) "Ayn Rand tried to remove Branden’s contributions from history and his existence from her awareness." Ayn Rand did not try to remove Branden from history. She kept his essays in her books where they remain to this day, and this will no doubt ensure his place in history far more securely than his own writings.

2) "This is not objectivity. This is trying to mold reality to fit one’s personal fictions." Physician, heal thyself.

3) "Rand’s personal fictions were distorted by an inability to bring a high level of awareness to her own motives, by an inability to reliably identify the motives of others, and by a bias against the need to test the reality of her views." Ayn Rand was being fed a pack of lies Branden constructed to conceal his true motives during the psychological counseling sessions about his fraudulent "sexual freeze." To refer to her soul-searching attempts to make sense of these lies HER "personal fictions" is the height of idiocy. In fact, it was through her testing of these false claims by Branden against reality that she unmasked the monstrous truth of Branden's dishonesty. Far from being unable to "identify the motives of others" this was how she identified the motives of Branden EVEN WHILE HE WAS LYING TO HER! It just boggles the mind how ass-backwards these critics have it in their heads.

4) "The net result of these characteristics was for her to reverse one of the basic tenets of her philosophy. The “primacy of existence” was replaced by the primacy of her personal fictions of existence. It is these personal fictions that would have shaped what she wrote in her journals." After building a foundation of sand, Mawdsley places this edifice on top. It was, in fact, BRANDEN'S PERSONAL FICTIONS (read LIES) that shaped what Rand wrote in her journals. They were notes about the fictitious personal problems Branden complained of suffering. Obviously, this guy has not read her journals on the subject and is substituting his own personal fictions for what they in fact are. The irony is so palpable it is just staggering that someone could post such a smug and condescending post about RAND being out of touch with reality. WOW.

Just As Well

James S. Valliant's picture

Jim,

Casey is not affiliated with ARI in any way; it is very unlikely he ever would be; he has never attended one of their seminars; and, he doesn't even call himself an "Objectivist," as I do. (He is, btw, a pretty good naturalist -- and Darwinist.) I was myself intrigued by the cognitive science offerings, but little else. Did Casey get those parts of the actual schedule wrong or something?

Casey

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Casey,

I guess I won't be able to give you a very complete report as I will only be attending Phil Coates' talk and Nathaniel's talk on Friday out of the ones you mentioned. However, from your comments over the last month, I don't think you know very much about TOC as an organization or the people that attend the seminars. That's just as well because for the most part with a few notable exceptions, they will never join ARI.

I'm looking forward to the cognitive science program this year as a nice counterpoint to the philosophy of science symposium last year. Unfortunately, ARI has never run a seminar with topics that interested me.

Jim

Casey!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thanks for the belly-laugh. I especially liked:

For those a bit stressed out by this schedule, a Yoga class is also on the agenda...

Sounds as though the whole thing will be one big Yoga class ... one HELL of a stretch. Smiling

Do they not mention the book-signing over the road, featuring one of their best (former) lecturers? That does surprise me! Smiling

This Stuff Count?

James S. Valliant's picture

Neil,

I generally agree with Rowlf. Let me make clear, however, that I definitely do disagree with Miss Rand's moral judgment, if that's what it was, in this instance. I think that any "conclusive" interpretation of her statement is still a very dicey proposition, as others have also suggested here.

Oh, gosh, what other kinds of differences are you looking for? I love the music of Beethoven, rock and roll, the writings of Mark Twain, the beauty of nature (at least more than Rand did), horror movies, and dark comedy. If I considered this more, the list would grow... Does any of that count? I think that a psychologically healthy woman could really want to be President (and do a bang-up job.) I think that there are areas of philosophy that still need work -- but so did Rand, I think.

But, I am in agreement with pretty much everything I think we can call "the philosophy" of Objectivism. That's why I identify myself as an "Objectivist."

Does that answer your question?

TOC Summer Seminar schedule...

Casey's picture

On another related issue, TOC released has now released its schedule of events for their summer seminar and it's interesting to note some of the subjects slated for presentation.

On Tuesday, 7/4, Barbara Branden, apparently still smarting from Rand's impeccably correct moral judgment of her, will be discussing 'Rage and Objectivism.' HER rage is the only reality here apart from her distress at any righteous anger other than her own.

On the same day, Phil Coates will keep them riveted to their seats with his lecture on 'Heroes and Role Models.'

On Thursday, 7/6, Robert Bidinotto, finding such harmony among former TOC lecturers, will talk on his subject of expertise, 'The Anatomy of Cooperation," where he will no doubt explain why certain TOC lecturers have no business complaining about their Branden policy -- and why, nonetheless, he won't allow discussion of the new evidence about the Brandens -- while still claiming to be an "open" system kinda group --and yet NOT in the Brandens' pocket. (That WILL take a whole lecture.)

That night, Nathaniel Branden AND Barbara Branden will together discuss 'Objectivist Community.' (Bring your own barf bags.)

On Friday, 7/7, Nathan will, of course, be discussing (what else?) 'The Implications of Love.' Just pause for a moment to consider the layers of irony implicated there.

So long as they aren't discussing PARC...

For those a bit stressed out by this schedule, a Yoga class is also on the agenda...

(Exactly when James Valliant's booksigning will occur up the street at Borders will be made public soon, so stay tuned.)

Dear Ciro

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You wrote:

Linz, you fear that I am not you type? Hahahahaha you liar!!! Why you told me that you love me… over the phone, hum!!!

I really, really thought I did at the time. Honest I did.

Then Jason posted his Venetian photo and ... well ... you know ...

I'm so sorry you had to find out about it this way.

I hope your broken heart mends in time for your birthday.

And that we can still be good friends.

Sincerely,

Linz

Smiling

Rand's 'Integration'

Rowlf's picture

~~ I am quite sure that Ms Logic DID 'integrate'...as to correctly or not, is clearly debateable, re this touchy subject of homosexuality.

~~ What she didn't do is 'explicate'...unfortunately. So we are all left to double-guess the 'reasons' behind her off-the-cuff response on it as being 'immoral'.

~~ An aside: I doubt that she was commenting on the 'actions' 'twixt 2 gays, so much as what she regarded as each having de-limited their own selves. That's *my* take on her meaning.

~~ Other than her ad-lib comment re 'immoral' to a questioner, the whole subject I do find to be irrelevent to her whole philosophy, mainly because there's nowhere in her philosophy that even touches on the subject of what used to be called 'philosophical psychology', hence, nothing promoted or demoted re the properness and/or improperness of any type of psycho-sexual relating. --- Still, the term 'immoral' DOES bespeak a 'connection' as she must have seen such to the philosophical branch of Ethics. Methinks THIS will be a debated subject off-and-on (like abortion within and without O'ism) lasting way past the Brandens' relationship to O'ism.

LLAP

Yep

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

I assume that when Rand made a moral judgment, she meant it. I assume that she made the "integration" before she spoke on a given issue. ARIans have even published her jottings in books ("marginialia") and tell us it is deep thought. Mayhew says she never wrote anything unfair in that book. But when it comes to homosexuality, Ms. Logic didn't integrate.

What other positions of Rand do you disagree with?

"John, Do you mind telling me..."-Ciro

Rowlf's picture

Ciro:

~~ You said "I think that homosexuality is unnatural because two persons of the same gender have the same sexual organs, which makes reproduction impossible."

~~ As I see it, your 'argument'-sorite has to be explicated as:
-1) "All sex-interactions where reproduction is impossible are sex-interactions that are unnatural." --- (IMPLIED PREMISE BY YOUR STATEMENT.)
-2) All sex-interactions between those with the same sexual organs make reproduction impossible.
-3) Ergo, All sex-interactions between those with the same sexual organs are unnatural.
-4) All homosexual (sexual-inter..)actions are 'twixt those with the same sexual organs.
-5) Ergo, all homosexual actions are unnatural.

~~ THIS is how I see your argument as explicatedly spelled out. In that case, I suggest you re-consider premise #1. To imply thereby that those who are 'reproductively'-dysfunctional are indulging in UN-'natural' sexual-interactions definitely needs to be reconsidered as a worthwhile premise. Think about it; such does not apply to ONLY 'homosexuals.' Further, ANY sexual-interactions that do NOT allow for reproduction are UN-'natural' as well, by that perspective...no matter done by whoever with whomever. --- Maybe you might want to re-think what exactly you mean BY 'natural'...other than my below 'P.S.' of course.

LLAP

P.S: re the term unnatural, I AM speaking in terms of OTHER than my previous post re the merely Statistical meaning of the term...as I presume you also are; or, am I incorrect on that? If I'm incorrect, then I took an equivocation too literally, and...sorry.

Ciro...

Jody Gomez's picture

Happy Birthday you old man. And, you can count on me and Lydia being at your grand-opening. Keep me informed.

HEH! Ciro, after that last

JoeM's picture

HEH! Ciro, after that last post...how could we stay mad at you?

Happy Birthday Smiling

Linz, you fear that I am not

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Linz, you fear that I am not you type? Hahahahaha you liar!!! Why you told me that you love me… over the phone, hum!!!

BTW, tomorrow, I have a meeting with the owner of a big shopping center. He wants to put a nice Italian restaurant in his shopping center. If he gives me a good deal on the rent, we will have the next solo conference there. The restaurant I have now is not big enough, and is pact all the time. On the grand opening day of the new restaurant, I have promised Jody that he and his wife will be the guest of honor. The restaurant is located near Dulles Airport Virginia. I will send every objectivist in the area a special invitation.

Now, to my Homosexual friends... I didn't mean to offend anyone with my posts, and I promise that if women would extinct one day, I will make love to you, but remeber, I will be the man all the time Smiling

I hope you forgive me now!

ps.

Tomorrow is my birthday, I have to prepare a nice cake for myself, Ciao.

Ciao Linza.

Re Brant? I don't talk with BB

eg's picture

Ciro, what are you talking about?

--Brant

Ciro!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Wait till we meet. It's a big slobbery one for you, amico. I'll show you unnatural. Hahahaha! Although I fear you're not my type. Smiling

I'm not gay and I'm not offended

Jason Quintana's picture

But I do think that you are mistaken in your understanding of this issue. And to be honest, I don't take Rand's sex scenes to be serious ethical arguements about sexuality.

- Jason

You write: Just curious as

Ciro D Agostino's picture

You write: Just curious as well, as an Italian, how do you reconcile all that kissing and hugging that goes on between males in the Italian culture?

 

Joe, when I do that, I make sure that the motherfucker does not carry a gun, capish!

 

Ciro D'Agostino

 

"I might be mistaken, but I

JoeM's picture

"I might be mistaken, but I fear that what has emerged from obejectivists homosexuals' many fascinating personal accounts and descriptions about sexuality serves to denude sex of its Randian majesty and meaning. Ciro D'Agostino"

Ciro, there are enough heterosexual examples that "denude sex of its Randian majesty and meaning", not the least the very example of Nathaniel Branden that this thread originally addressed! That's like saying since asylum patients masturbate, masturbation is a sign of mental illness. Don't blame homosexuality for those "denudements" simply because homosexuals engage in them when it's also common in heterosexual encounters.

So, since you prefer sex in a natural, non-manmade state (artifice), how do you feel about the black widow and praying mantis practice of eating their mates after sex? (I wonder why more spiders and mantis's aren't homosexual!). How do you feel about the supposed instinct for males to mate with as many different females as possible to "spread their seed?" How do you feel about all the single mothers raising children by themselves because the males have moved on to spread their genepool in other women?

Artifice of gay sex? Do you stay with the missionariy position, since cunnilingus, fellatio, 69'ing, etc. are distractions to reproduction? Do you shun condoms since they interfere with the natural purpose of reproduction? Your point of view almost sounds Catholic. But you can't say more about homosexuality until you address these "deviations" withing heterosexual sex, Ciro.

Just curious as well, as an Italian, how do you reconcile all that kissing and hugging that goes on between males in the Italian culture?

And when you speak of the "Randian" majesty of sex, are you referring to Roark's violent taking of Dominque, the violent ravishing in NIGHT OF JANUARY 16TH, the prostitution of Kira in WE THE LIVING, or the many numerous S and M fantasies that appear elsewhere in her fiction? Rand's view is an ideal, not the actual. Sex in nature is a dangerous proposition. Sex in humanity can become something different. Fuck nature, give me artifice! Humanity has turned sex into an "art", so to speak!

"...we must be modern." Ellesworth Toohey

Jason, again, I repete, If I

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Jason, again, I repete, If I am offending you, or anyone else, I will stop posting message on homosexuality.

I might be mistaken, but I fear that what has emerged from  obejectivists homosexuals' many fascinating personal accounts and descriptions about sexuality serves to denude sex of its Randian majesty and meaning. Ciro D'Agostino

Haha --

Jason Quintana's picture

"Objectivist Sexuality" -- I'd be interested in hearing about what this entails Smiling

- Jason

(P.S.: Ciro, if you really

Ciro D Agostino's picture

(P.S.: Ciro, if you really meant no offense, take the above a mere constructive criticism

I have, thank you Joe!!

Ciro D'Agostino

Objectivist sexuality rests

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Objectivist sexuality rests on the statement that “man is man and woman is woman” and no amount of human whim can alter this fact.

 Sex between homosexuals is artificial, and so is romantic love.

I am open to learn and change my mind, John. 

 

 

Ciro D'Agostino

Brant? I don't talk with BB,

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Brant? I don't talk with BB, beside on MSK's  forum, I don't know what she thinks of you, sorry!!!

Ciro D'Agostino

Casey you are quite right.

John M Newnham's picture

Casey you are quite right. Sounds like some kind of crap out of a romance novel. But worse, it is cheap psychologizing.

Do the Eyes Have It?

eg's picture

Casey, in fairness to Barbara Branden, I think her looking at Ayn Rand's eyes is a kind of refined metaphor for her for what she considers AR's lack of introspection based on other observations during their long association.

"Homosexuals imitate real

John M Newnham's picture

"Homosexuals imitate real sex"

This is incorrect. The thrust, if I may use that term, of your post seems a bit derogotory Ciro. If gay sex is a mere imitation of hetero sex, then that would mean romantic love between gays is also an imitation.

John

ANIMALS

eg's picture

Casey, I'm an animal.Smiling

--Brant

Ciro, since when do

JoeM's picture

Ciro, since when do Objectivists appeal to what is "natural" to define what is good? Cooking Pizza and Pasta is "unnatural", since one has to transform wheat into flour and pigs into sausage. Skyscrapers are "unnatural" since it requires men to build elevators and not use their legs. And if you've ever mastubated, you obviously are subverting the creator's will by engaging in non-reproductive emissions.

But non-reproductive sex as non-natural? Whether it is or isn't, who cares? You're suggesting that sex is created by a prime mover with this argument. Man is not an instinctual animal, he can redirect his world to suit his needs. The criteria is not whether it's natural or not, but does it promote survival, (NOT OF THE SPECIES, but of the INDIVIDUAL.) Obviously male sex is not reproductive. Neither is the activity animals engage in when they act out sexually to assert dominance. There are more reasons to sex besides reproduction. It can be an expression of values, as Rand wrote, it can bring two men or women closer physically, and you know what? When it's done right, it feels good. That's reason enough right there.

(P.S.: Ciro, if you really meant no offense, take the above a mere constructive criticism. I have no problem with the view of homosexuality as "not normal" since it suggests a statistical fact, not a value judgement. But if that turns into "unnatural" or "undesirable" based on the views of the majority, well, as an Objectivist I have to speak out against the ludicrous appeal to "nature", not in the sense of being true to reality, but in nature as a conscious anthropomorphism that we are slaves to, whether God, genes, or some earth mother. That's the same thinking that creates eco-terrorists and bible-thumpers.

And, Ciro, we are not

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Casey:And, Ciro, we are not animals. Our physical attributes, or genitals, do not drive our psychologies or sexuality.

 

Well, and then you don't believe in evolution.
Ciro D'Agostino

ps

I think I am an animal:-)

Ciro's disgusting remarks

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Ciro's disgusting remarks ???

Hey! what are you talking about? I don't think  I made any disgusting remarks.

 

Ciro D'Agostino

John, do you mind telling me

Ciro D Agostino's picture

John, do you mind telling me why my argument is wrong? I have to admit that I am very ignorant about homosexuality.

My statement above was only based on what I think, and not on something I read or studied.  

Ciro D'Agostino

BG:Italians are

Ciro D Agostino's picture

BG:Italians are unnatural

Yes, i agree with that!!!

Nope

James S. Valliant's picture

Neil,

If it were ONLY the lack of publication, you'd be right. The lack of integration, I think, shifts he burden back. I see how my view fits, for example, with 'The Psychology of 'Psychologizing,'' Rand's views on reproduction, her anti-Platonic view of sex, etc., etc., but I cannot integrate the contrary with anything in Objectivism.

I think that if we ask our

Ciro D Agostino's picture

I think that if we ask our self why men like women at the top of their fertility, we will understand the meaning of sex. But then, hey, I am not saying that homosexuality is wrong! or immoral!

Ciro D'Agostino

Nothing Open About It?

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

Peikoff says in OPAR that "some of Ayn Rand's most important ideas are expressed only biefly or not at all un her books . . . " (Intro) So the fact that she didn't discuss homosexuality in her books (or tie it in with other parts of her philosophy) doesn't prove that it isn't part of Objectivism.

You are certainly correct that Rand might have viewed the question as one of personal preference. However, I think the burden is on you to show that specific conduct Rand considered "immoral" is not part of her philosophy. Likewise, when Rand denounced something as "immoral" we should assume she tied it in with the rest of her system.

Brant,

Casey's picture

I'm glad you pointed out that ludicrous psychologizing by Barbara Branden at the other site. Deciding whether someone introspects by looking at his or her eyes is, by definition, psychologizing. To assume that Ayn Rand, of all people, was not in touch with her soul is simply astonishing. How else could she illuminate so much to others about their own souls? Honesty was her only claimed talent -- the ultimate introspection -- and the products of that introspection fueled the career of a man who would go on to become the first modern psychologist to stress self-esteem. To suggest that the self was foreign to the author of The Virtue of Selfishness is surely a new benchmark in Brandenian duplicity.

And, Ciro, we are not animals. Our physical attributes, or genitals, do not drive our psychologies or sexuality.

WHY?

eg's picture

I don't know.

Disgusting

sjw's picture

Ciro's disgusting remarks almost make me embarassed to have left the possibility open that homosexuality might not be normal. And I must say that my speculations are nothing next to the fact that what really matters is being true to yourself--that is the fundamental and will remain the fundamental regardless of whatever science has to say in the future.

Over There

eg's picture

I am happy to see that Barbara Branden is making some interesting posts over at Sense of Life Objectivists, subsequent to any Casey refered to. In one she thinks that Ayn Rand's lack of introspection meant she was blind to how she contributed to the agony she and Nathaniel were going through.

Barbara just doesn't get it. Ayn Rand thought Nathaniel was an honorable man who would not lie to her so she struggled to understand his psychology so she could help him. Once the lie was out in the open she stopped with the psychology and kicked him out. I can understand how a young Nathaniel Branden might be overwhelmed by Ayn Rand into an affair (if!), but he didn't have the gumption to be honest with her subsequently? I can believe that, BUT was he really under her thumb when he was 35? Nathaniel Branden was an extremely powerful and intelligent man who wanted to keep what he had so he lied and lied and lied--ergo, lack of gumption. Enough about the eyes of Ayn Rand that always looked out and never in! HOW ABOUT NATHANIEL BRANDEN ARROGANCE?

Barbara Branden is blaming the victim. The Brandens were under Ayn Rand's thumb because that is where they parked their truck!

--Brant

CIRO

eg's picture

I think that Italians are unnatural--because they live in a boot. I also think cooks are unnatural--because uncooked food is natural.

--Brant

The jigsaw puzzle argument...

Robert's picture

... will not fly.

All the genitals are skin filled with many nerve endings. With a bit of imagination you can stimulate those nerve-endings with just about anything that takes your fancy. So the idea that people with the same plumbing (or that it requires a minimum of two people) can't have orgasmic "sex" is just plain silly. There is a bazillion dollar mail-order industry that proves it!

Homosexuality just is. Just because we don't understand it's biological origins doesn't change the fact. We don't know how the bloody universe started either - does that mean none of us are here?

Perhaps you are all just figments of my imagination! If so then sod off! The 2006 Sport's illustrated Swim-suit models are due in soon to try out the edible underwear I've made for them.

The UN-'Natural'

Rowlf's picture

Ciro:

~~ Even Piekoff made a better argument than that...and it wasn't at all all that good.

~~ Better put on a hard hat, man. (Both places!)

LLAP
Laughing out loud

I think that homosexuality

Ciro D Agostino's picture

I think that homosexuality is unnatural because two persons of the same gender have the same sexual organs, which makes riproduction impossibile. Homosexuals imitate real sex.

CD

'Abnormal'

Rowlf's picture

~~ I've usually tried to steer clear of this topic, but, I must at this point, chime in.

~~ Like Brant, I also was at that lecture hearing Rand's words in the Q&A period, and, very ignorant moi, was merely confused. Only much later did I start understanding...a bit. I do understand MUCH more now.

~~ I and my wife are raising a Down Syndrome g'kid...with a brother who lacks this prob.

~~ One's obviously 'abnormal' due to a (several, actually) genetic 'defect'. He's clearly on the 'low' end of the Bell curve, mentally. The other's not an Einstein, but definitely a little 'whip', mentally.
Suppose the other showed, however, he was an actual 'genius'? He'd then be 'abnormal', no?

~~ Actually, this may be a bad analogy (as Shayne used), since there ARE 'abnormal' characteristics in any group that are 'health'-implication-NEUTRAL, with no hint of implication re 'defect' or 'enhancement.'

~~ Consider hair-color: Black hair is 'normal' (predominant, typical, in all races)...red hair is rare, anomolous, 'abnormal' (we're talking 'nature' here, right?); and, natural baldness didn't hurt some celebrities in sex-appeal (even in females, such as Persis Khambatta), as 'abnormal' as it is. Then there're varied sizes of female chests and/or male do-be-do-be-doos, but, I'll not belabor that example.

~~ STATISTICALLY 'normal' and 'abnormal' is all that's properly meaningful here. Anyone that speaks about such in terms of 'healthier' to be 'normal' doesn't know what they're talking about ('size matters' to some, true, but, we're talking 'preferences' [ahem] there, not 'objectively BEST'). Such should be obvious since the argument of 'normal'='best' doesn't apply to to the mental development of geniuses. Any probs the latter have are due to how society treats them. (Can one say Turing?) Hmmm...here we are seguing back to homosexuality again.

~~ All I'm saying is, let's not let 'loaded' words acquire additional baggage when they don't even need what they're already carrying.

~~ Homosexuality is not 'normal'...and neither is 'til-death-do-us-part'-monogamy!

LLAP

Off the cuff remarks.

Jason Quintana's picture

We have to be a bit careful about off the cuff remarks. Even brilliant people like Rand cannot fully think through their answers in a Q&A session in a perfectly systematic manner. Especially when the questions are random and not centered on a specific topic.

Is Piekoff back on the air with a radio show? He is someone who clearly shouldn't be making off the cuff remarks. He isn't any good at it. What happened to this DIM hypothesis thing? Isn't he supposed to be releasing a book on this?

- Jason

Nothing "Open" About It

James S. Valliant's picture

Neil,

Cultural and political issues can be separated out here. If I disagree with a "Gay Rights Amendment," does that mean that I am "opposed" to homosexuality? If I object to some dominant theme or idea in the sectarian gay press, does that make me a homophobe?

For me, whether Rand's view here is "part of Objectivism" is not a question of it being an "application" or not, but whether this idea was an integrated part of Rand's system of philosophy. Rand's is not only a highly integrated system of thought, but one explicitly demanding of such integration. Shayne is certainly right when he says that the psychological element of Rand's statement does not belong to the field of philosophy at all, and, thus, cannot be part of Objectivism anyway. But how did Rand connect this opinion to the rest of her thought? Not at all, of course. (I myself believe that a position contrary to the ideas expressed at that Q & A is more consistent with Objectivism.) In short, "Objectivism" has no position on it, even if Rand did.

Rand herself recognized the distinction between her own opinions/preferences and the ideas of Objectivism, according to multiple sources. She also clearly believed philosophy to be a distinct field of study. We cannot ignore all of this, either. Thus, something not part of her published work, and something Rand never logically tied-in to her other ideas, is something I must exclude from "Objectivism."

Linz has every right to be angry, of course, but I would still say that the greater damage here came from our psychotherapist friend, rather than from one public comment by Rand.

Sexuality

sjw's picture

Linz: I apologize for falsely assuming you were insulted--I didn't understand why you're so hard on Peikoff about his viewpoint.

It sounds like Peikoff is taking a stronger position than is warranted by the evidence and his arguments were floating, so your criticism of him makes sense. Also I agree that if Peikoff thought Rand was wrong on this issue, then it should have been clearly stated on that show that she was in fact wrong.

However I disagree that homosexuality "simply is"--at least, I don't think we know why some people end up being homosexual and some heterosexual. I think we all experience our sexual preference as if it were metaphysically given--it's impossible to imagine having the opposite orientation--but we don't know if there was some genetic cause for differences, whether it should be regarded as benign or not, whether it's a manifestation of early influences and choices on our psychology and whether those should be regarded as benign or not, I think there is evidence on both sides here and we have to be open to it coming down one way or the other.

Shayne ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

First of all I'm not "insulted." You're projecting that on to me. I was shocked to hear Rand's view & shocked to hear Peikoff's. If he wants to argue it's a defect the onus of proof is on him. Metaphysically, homosexuality simply is. His "arguments" on the radio show as to how one goes wrong & "becomes" homosexual were straight-out nonsense. Worse is the underlying grudgingness of such a position. If it is a defect, in the first instance one should try to correct it, then be resigned to it if one can't. And that's exactly the position Peikoff ends up taking—if you're convinced it's so deep-rooted that you can't change it, then I guess it's OK to run with it. I think I'd prefer Rand's honest bigotry.

The other thing is that Peikoff should have come out & said straight up that Rand was wrong on this matter. The orthodoxy (& TOC types as well) has had to be dragged kicking & screaming on this one.

(This might be

Reidy's picture

(This might be redundant.)

To the short list of Rand's treatments of homosexuality we could add her medium-nasty fag stereotype in Ideal (Effeminate Young Man in the artists' party scene). It's a good antidote to the claim that Devil Branden made her do it.

She worked in wardrobe at one of the movie studios in those days and probably knew lots of ditzy queens like EYM.

I'm always skeptical of these claims that this or that (homosexuality, cigarettes, woman president) was "not part of her philosophy." This is what people say when they come across some Randian position that they aren't prepared to defend. In this case, her talk of "corruptions...unfortunate premises...[and] immorality" establishes that she clearly thought it was, and she enjoys a certain authority in the matter of what Ayn Rand believed. She said it in public at an occasion where she spoke, and had been invited, in her capacity as a philosopher. Finally, in one of her letters to Hospers, after he had invoked the distinction between personal opinions and statements qua philosopher, that she never spoke in any other way than the latter. I see only two alternatives here. One is that you agree with her, and the other is that you say she was wrong.

Peter

Defect?

sjw's picture

Linz: I agree--Peikoff's view IS that it's a defect of some sort. I still don't see what's insulting or evasive about it. On the contrary, since he's said it's not a moral issue there's no insult that can be logically taken. Further, if you just glance at nature I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that heterosexuality appears to be the normal case. I wouldn't rule out arguments for either case based on what little I know about it. I think it's a perfectly reasonable position, and I think that anyone who would be upset by it is too touchy about it.

The fact is: the issue is NOT self-evident, it's very complicated; a scientific mind must be open to the possibility that it IS a defect of some sort. And it would be no more insulting to homosexuals to claim it's "abnormal" in this sense than it is to claim that it's "abnormal" to be colorblind or deaf.

Now it's true that a bunch of religious zealots might take such conclusions and use them to make a moral argument against it--but that would be an abuse of the science and not a reason to avoid doing the science.

I agree that it was abnormal and immoral for me to try to have a conversation in that noisy club--should have just left Sad But--I can still hear pretty good, in spite of the background ringing Smiling

Shayne ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Your examples say it all. Colour-blindness & hearing loss are defects (hmmm. Maybe colour-blindness is arguable). Homosexuality is not a defect. Underlying the Peikovian view is that something has somehow "gone wrong" somewhere. This is very clear from his elaborate exposition in his radio show (where he talks unconscionable nonsense, btw).

Headbanging caterwauling, by contrast, is clearly abnormal AND immoral. If you damaged your hearing from it, serves you right!! Smiling

Objectivism is a *philosophy*

sjw's picture

Neil: "Applications" of Objectivism aren't part of her system precisely because they are *applications*. At most, these applications serve to clarify the principles. To the extent that they clarify her explicit principles, they are part of her description of the philosophy but not part of the philosophy; to the extent that they do not clarify they are merely her personal applications to some issue, they're neither description of or part of her philosophy, they're just Ayn Rand's opinion on this or that (and we may personally think we can make the explicit connection, but then that's *our* connection not hers).

I would say that Rand's views on copyrights & patents are definitely not part of her philosophy, but that her views on intellectual property definitely are (copyrights & patents are just an application of her views on intellectual property). For instance, one might agree with Rand's views on intellectual property, and yet think that contracts are a sufficent legal basis on which to protect them.

I don't think by "tabula rasa" Rand meant "without identity". I don't think she would have said that it meant that people aren't born with certain personality traits or tendencies. It just means that you don't know anything. So I think you've misread her.

Peikoff's view on homosexuality

sjw's picture

Linz: Since Peikoff has said it's not a moral issue then why take offense? Since he claims it's not a moral issue--not open to choice--then it's really not fair to accuse him of being collectivist, and if people try to force themselves to fit Peikoff's idea of normal they're in fact ignoring what he said not following it.

Essentially what he is claiming is that homosexuals are not normal in the same sense that a baby born colorblind isn't normal. Now a colorblind adult might take umbrage at being told they're moral but not normal, "it's entirely normal for *me* to see the world this way", but I don't see why they should.

I listened to too much loud music as a kid and so I'm not "normal" either--my ears ring--but it doesn't offend me to have someone claim that my hearing isn't normal.

Open System Issue?

Neil Parille's picture

Shayne,

But why are "applications" of Objectivism which Rand specifically made not part of the system?

For example, Rand (unlike some other libertarians) approved of intellectual property (copyrights and patents). Is this merely an "application" of property rights?

I don't think arguing that it is simply a psychological issue is correct. What about Rand's view that human beings are tabula rasa or that the mind form concepts in a certain way? Are these fundamental ideas subject to revision based on an increased knowledge of psychology?

Rand/Homo

Lindsay Perigo's picture

When I first heard her comments on tape I was disgusted. It took a lot of talking to myself to persuade myself not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. She was allowed her flaws ... & her outright stupidities. Hearing such ignorance from someone I admired so much was a terrible shock. The O'ist movement in its early days was dreadfully homophobic, as Chris underscores in his monograph. Now, the word from Peikoff is that homosexuality is "moral, but not normal." Well, it's entirely normal for the homosexual (& this is *not* Kantianism or such like) & a lot of people have been made very miserable by trying to be "normal" in Peikoff's collectivist sense.

There are other issues with this that can't be gone into publicly, but the orthodoxy still needs to sort itself out on it. My mission with Chris' monograph was to drag the homophobia out of the closet & expose it to the light of reason. Of course, some of it, such as the phamous anti-phag Phirehammer's, wasn't even *in* the closet! Smiling

Not an "open system" issue

sjw's picture

Neil: Rand's views on homosexuality are not her philosophy they are her applications of her philosophy and thus irrelevant to the "open system" issue--it is *not* a "basic ethical issue", it's a derivative one and quite dependent on one's views on psychology--yet another area that is not part of Objectivism.

When "closed system" people call her philosophy "closed", they don't mean that everything Rand said on any subject is part of Objectivism (at least not the ones with the least bit of sense); they mean that her philosophy of Objectivism--the philosophy and nothing else--are closed.

Rand

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

I don't see how one can separate Rand's "cultural" comments about homosexuality from her view on the ethics and morality of it. Certianly there is nothing wrong with people disagreeing with Rand when she is wrong, even on an a basic ethical issue, but that sounds like advocating an "open system" to me. Maybe Rand's "intellectual heir" can explain it to us.

Rand on Homosexuality

eg's picture

I was at the Ford Hall Forum when Ayn Rand made her remarks. My impression was that she considered it something of an antagonistic question and that that had something to do with the severity of her reply.

--Brant

Poor Sappho

James S. Valliant's picture

Neil,

No, Rand never changed her mind, and her personal opinion of homosexuality was always quite negative. However, a negative comment about a homosexual, or about homosexual politics or even culture, is not an attack on the ethics or psychology of homosexuality as such. For this, we have only an extemporaneous answer during a Q & A after a lecture in the 70s. On that occasion she did express very negative views of it as such, but Rand's published references are political and cultural comments that do not directly address the point. While there is no evidence she ever "changed" her mind, there is also evidence that she was not a bigot in her own relationships with gays she knew.

Shame about Sappho -- my wife and I are enjoying a lot of love poetry right now, and we love her.

Very Serious

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You say Rand never "discussed" homosexuality in her published work. I think that's true if you mean she never engaged in a lengthy explanation of her views.

But hasn't Chris shown in his book on the subject that she mentioned homosexuality in a negative light in a couple articles and also approved negative references to homosexuality in the works of other published in the Objectivist? (I haven't read Chris' book, but I think that is how he describes the results of his findings.)

And I recall a negative mention of Sappho of Lesbos in Ominous Parallels (can't find it in the index though), which I believe Rand had a heavy role in editing. That's at least some proof that Rand didn't change her ideas on homosexuality toward the end of her life (OP was published in 82).

So Many Chinks

James S. Valliant's picture

Joe,

I meant no criticism of Sciabarra. He just presents the standard view of Rand well, and most of us have at some point fallen prey to some aspect or other of the Brandens' myth. I agree, those lectures in particular do tend to contradict the image of an anti-emotion/anti-integration Rand. But, I suspect, we each have our own first-spotted "chink."

Sciabarra on Rand and emotions

JoeM's picture

James, to play "devil's" advocate on your post on Sciabarra, Chris has ackowledged in his reviews of Rand's ART OF FICTION and ART OF NONFICTION that the Rand on display in these books, with her ideas on subconscious integration and learning to trust one's "instinct" in the writing process, is at odds with the depictions of Rand as being one-sided in favor of reason. Incidentally, it was those two books, I think, that started to show a chink in the Branden's armor...

Thanks for the heads up.

Landon Erp's picture

Thanks for the heads up. Soon as my finances get in order I'll probably be checking it out.

---Landon

It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

Yep

James S. Valliant's picture

Landon,

You can order it in Barnes & Noble or Borders stores, that is, if it's not on the shelf already.

Ciro, might want to wait til

Landon Erp's picture

Ciro, might want to wait til the end before you ask that. lol

Reminds me of one time on a myspace Objectivist forum where someone who'd just started reading the Fountainhead she said "I don't get how Roark is supposed to be the ideal Objectivist man, it seems more like Keating has it together and is working toward his goals"

But since I chimed in... James, do you have any distribution deals with brick and mortar stores (barnes and noble, borders)... I want to pick up PARC but I'm too afraid of spyware to go through Amazon if I don't have to.

Sorry if that comes off like a non-sequiter?

---Landon

It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

Mr Valliant, you wrote in

Ciro D Agostino's picture

Mr Valliant, you wrote in PARC that AR, like all the other great thinkers ,had flows, but you never tell us what  her flows are. Can you please comment a little about that?

CD

BTW, I am rereading PARC.

Ciro D'Agostino

Very Serious

James S. Valliant's picture

Linz,

I just reread the sections of Sciabarra's 'Russian Radical' dealing with "the Branden critique" of what is characterized as Rand's subtly anti-emotion/anti-integration bias. Chris writes that "Peikoff, too" has "moved away" from Rand's allegedly (and, admittedly, only occasional) anti-emotion, anti-integration bias, especially in his course "Understanding Objectivism."

In the process of working with Rand's notes, I became increasingly amazed by how much of "Understanding Objectivism," and important aspects of the Brandens' "new" position, simply consists of Rand's working premises in the counsel she gave others. On homosexuality, something Rand never discussed in her published work, certainly -- everyone -- is "moving" in the right direction. But on the rest of it, PARC shows how pro-emotion, pro-integration, and anti-rationalist Rand really was, and how much of "the Branden critique" can be seen as the product of "the Branden mischaracterization" of Objectivism.

These notes show how hard Rand herself had to fight Branden rationalism, intrinsicism, repression, etc. It is one of the biggest ironies that, even in their "critique" of Rand, the Brandens seem to rely on the content of Rand's private counsel to them.

Just in correcting Rand's private "bio," this material is important -- but that's just the start.

ALSO

eg's picture

I really can't add much.

Yep

James S. Valliant's picture

Linz,

I saw it, too -- and immediately identified with Reeves' experience.

Remind You of Anything?

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I've just seen an interview on Fox News with one Richard Reeves, a liberal democrat who spent 5 years researching a book on Reagan that's just been published. When he started out, he bought into the usual stuff put about by Reagan's detractors—he was stupid, manipulated, an "amiable dunce," etc.. What he found was the exact opposite, & he says so. The case was clinched for him by transcripts of Reagan's meetings with Gorbachev & the like.

Nothing like original documents for demolishing negative folklore! Smiling

Can't Wait

Holly Valliant's picture

Perfecting the art of projection, again, Shayne? A whole lecture devoted to the issues raised by PARC? Or, a whole lecture devoted to why he gets to evade those issues some more? We do need a whole new set of principles for that! Certainly more yammering.

Objectivity??

sjw's picture

"PAR is a remakable work--most remarkable of all for its objectivity"...

OK, that's just crazy-talk. But no more crazed than some of what I see coming from the PARC-thumpers. And at least Bidinotto doesn't foam at the mouth pretty much constantly. Again, the fact that he is willing to raise the discussion to the level of principles and put his thinking on the line whereas you guys all just keep yammering on the same things over and over again says it all.

And the most ironic thing of all: of all people to accuse of not taking this seriously, Bidinotto is precisely the man who IS taking it seriously--he's giving a whole lecture on the issue, stating his position on the principles behind the matter, all you guys are doing is throwing mud.

"Beat" Him, Did He?

Holly Valliant's picture

Shayne,

More inaccuracy despite your own inaccurate screeches about it? PARC is not "only" about Rand's private life, I said. (Hello?!) Who would've got your usual overkill for that one had you been the victim? (Hello?!) You complain about "shouting," but then give us the usual stream of arbitrary insults - again!

Oh, dear, did Bidinotto "beat" someone to your shared Holy Grail, perhaps a means of absolute evasion on behalf of the Brandens this time? Or, if it's the truth, would it really matter who came first?

Well spotted, Glenn.

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I assume you mean PAR, not PAC, in that last quote?

Ellen - Casey is away for a few days. I'm sure he'll respond to you when he returns.

Linz

"You wait a minute"

Glenn I Heppard's picture

Bidinotto's first "SOLO" response on PARC, 02-08-05:

"It is dismaying that a pack of parasites has found a way to produce paychecks and royalities by rummaging through and selling off the contents of Ayn Rand's attic and wastepaper basket."

2nd, 02-10-05:
"I frankly don't care what went on in these peoples private lives." & "The time has long passed to distinguish the validity of the philosophy from the personal life of the philosopher."

02-13-05:
"PAR is a remakable work--most remarkable of all for its objectivity"..."That's why PAC will stand the test of time, as these partisan efforts won't"

Kenny and Casey,

Ellen Stuttle's picture

What in the remarks of mine which were quoted do you consider "psychologizing"? (And please give the definition you're using of "psychologizing." Are you using Rand's definition from her article on the subject, or some other definition?) Also, what in my remarks are you describing as my "blaming" her?

Ellen

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