Simple Exercise

James S. Valliant's picture
Submitted by James S. Valliant on Sun, 2009-05-10 18:08

This is a paragraph from the ethics section of Wikipedia's article "Objectivism."

It's so very bad that it provides beginning students of Rand's thought with a (simple) exercise: how many misstatements of Rand's ideas can you detect?

"In The Virtue of Selfishness [Rand] attempted to derive ethical egoism from first principles. Value is relative: something can only be valuable for a particular being, and it can only be valuable if that being has a choice. Only living things are able to choose, therefore values only exist for living things, and whatever a living thing acts to gain or keep is a value for that thing. Every living thing maintains its life for its own sake, and - according to Rand - for any living thing, only its own life is valuable for its own sake. On the assumption that every living thing should do or ought to do whatever is valuable for itself, it follows that it should do whatever promotes its own life. But people can only live if they are rational. Since reason is man's means of knowledge, it is also his greatest value, and its exercise his greatest virtue. 'Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive he must act and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch––or build a cyclotron––without a knowledge of his aim and the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.' Therefore everyone ought to be rational."

My list.

1. Values require choice? Not according to Rand, who said that only conceptual consciousness is volitional. Or, is it that values require an "alternative" according to Rand? (For example, a living organism can adapt [either modifying its behavior within its own life-span or through mutation and natural selection]. Such adaptation is a kind of value pursuit that does not necessarily imply a volitional choice.)

2. Values are "relative"? Does this mean that values imply "of value to whom and for what?" That's certainly true, but it also here seems to require a state of consciousness.

3. Values are that which are pursued, sure, but, are values then subjective, i.e., "whatever" happens to be pursued?

4. Get this: "Every living thing maintains its life for its own sake"? IF ONLY!

5. Does Rand "assume" that "every living thing" should do "what is valuable for itself"? Is this idea any part of Rand's case? Isn't this precisely a circle Rand avoids -- and answers? (Talk about upside down and inside out.)

6. "People can only live if they are rational"? Say what?! As Rand knew and dramatically depicted, irrational people survive all the time -- but even for them, reason is their basic tool of survival, of course.

7. Finally, my favorite, the last "therefore" -- as if Rand's argument had just been recounted!

I've said it before and will say it again: Criticism, rational criticism, is a good thing. It sharpens that tool of survival to its finest edge. But the two sorts of criticisms which have unfortunately marred most of Rand scholarship are: 1. ad hominem, i.e., the Branden and Rothbard based lies and distractions about Rand herself, and 2. gross misstatements of what Objectivism says, i.e., the Nyquist, Whittaker Chambers, Robert Nozick, and, now, the Wikipedia, stuff.


( categories: )

Brant ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thank you for your kind offer to sing Happy Birthday to exacerbate the horror of Sun Ra. I find it inconceivable that said horror is exacerbatable, but do feel free to prove me wrong. Who knows, Prof. Campbla will possibly then write a book about you. From his homepage:

In my less mundane existence, I'm a retired jazz critic (I wrote reviews for Cadence magazine from 1992 to 1998). I have done a good deal of research on the life and music of Herman Poole Blount (better known to the world as Sun Ra). The first edition of my discography, The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra, was published by Cadence Jazz Books in 1994. The second edition (co-authored with British Ra expert Chris Trent) came out in 2000. If you have information about released or unreleased recordings of Sun Ra and his Arkestra, please contact me by email, campber at clemson dot edu. A project that I have been involved with since 1996 grew out of an attempt to understand the strange and highly fruitful environment in which Sun Ra grew to artistic maturity.

Artistic? Maturity?

Ah, Peter

Brant Gaede's picture

I hate to tell you this, but your post is number 666 on this thread, The Mark of the Beast!

Can't believe how close I came to it.

--Brant
whew!

Website: The evidence that led to Jim Peron's exit from NZ

Peter Cresswell's picture

If the Locke Foundation link is now dead, then you can easily visit this site for "The evidence that led to Jim Peron's exit from New Zealand."

?????????????????

Brant Gaede's picture

WTF?

Is to music as finger painting is to painting?

Please, relieve us with Hip Hop. I can one up this by "singing" "Happy Birthday." The last time I sang in public I received multiple death threats.

--Brant

Oh dear me!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Whoever said there's no connection between one's esthetics and one's sense of life? It's just been pointed out to me that Campbell is a huge fan of Sun Ra. One might say Sun Ra is a hero of Nambla Campbla, except that Campbla doesn't allow for hero-worship. Here is Sun Ra:

No comment by me is necessary. Nor could it be sufficient.

Yuk!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Campbell, as always, argues by insinuation and innuendo. Lacking evidence, he simply says "Mr Perigo doth protest too much" and similar. The facts are as I stated them.

Campbell is a cockroach. He is unfit to be a Professor, not least because of his dirty methods of argumentation.

Unexpected Kindness?

Robert Campbell's picture

Taking Mr. Kulak's remarks at face value, one might infer that Winston Peters did Jim Peron a favor by getting him kicked out of New Zealand.

Because otherwise, we are led to believe, Mr. Peron would have been prosecuted, tried, convicted, and jailed... at a nontrivial cost in NZ$.

But surely Mr. Perigo, in his utter furious moral indignation at Mr. Peron, would have much preferred to see him prosecuted, tried, convicted, and jailed—instead of being allowed to continue his cockroach-like behavior in the USA or some other country.

Unless, of course, there was no realistic prospect of any of that prosecuting, trying, convicting, and jailing...

Robert Campbell

Mr. Perigo Protests Too Much

Robert Campbell's picture

In his apologia, Mr. Perigo swears up and down that he didn't deliver material to Winston Peters (or to persons working for Mr. Peters) that Mr. Peters could, in turn, employ against Jim Peron.

In fact, he keeps saying, over and over, that he did no such thing, when a single denial would surely have sufficed.

And he further covers his rear end by swearing that whoever did it was performing a meritorious act. So, if it were somehow to leak out that he had done it, it would be OK anyway...

Could Mr. Perigo be protesting just a little too much?

At the end of the day, the matter of who dobbed Peron in is not the issue. Peron is the issue, & focussing on the dobber is Peron's way of deflecting attention from that. But, since the matter has been raised here, I am taking this opportunity to set the record straight: I was not the dobber. This has already been stated by Frank Perry on the Scoop website. (Frank has not disclosed the identity of the dobber, either publicly or to me privately.)

[…] But libertarianism—& much more, Objectivism—is not a license for sex with kids or the promotion thereof, & must not be seen to be. In that respect, leaving aside all rights & wrongs of immigration rules, censorship, etc., I welcome the end of the danger posed to the reason/freedom movement in New Zealand by Jim Peron. In other words, if I were the dobber, I would not be ashamed of the fact. It just so happens that I wasn't.

During his now-ended sojourn in New Zealand, did Mr. Peron ever

(a) Advocate that sex between adult men and underage boys should be legal? Otherwise excuse it or condone it?

(b) Join, work for, or promote an organization similar to NAMBLA?

Did he say or do anything that could be taken as evidence that libertarianism provides a license for pedophilia?

A reader of Mr. Perigo's apologia could be forgiven for supposing that Mr. Peron must have done one of these things.

Robert Campbell

PS. I would be offended if anyone else called me a "NAMBLAphile." I guess I've become jaded. Mr. Perigo has announced, after all, that I am the spittin' image of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad... and I suspect that even Mr. Perigo considers mass murder worse than whatever he thinks Jim Peron did. I do find it interesting, however, that Mr. Perigo reserves his blockbuster epithets for people who accuse him of being involved in some underhanded activity.

Mr Perigo never lobbied this man out of the country.

Kasper's picture

Nothing wrong with applauding Perons removal if indeed the man was what he was. It is in line with the character of Winston Peters to deport people rather than waste countless dollars and time trialing them here. If the immigration department decided to get Mr Kelly to return back to where he came from because they found him undesirable (hypothetical scenario) then I see nothing wrong with Mr Perigo applauding that too.

What are you trying to get at? Just say it for god's sake Mr Campbell.

Record Levels of Perigonian Loathing?

Robert Campbell's picture

In his cobwebby apologia, Mr. Perigo says of Jim Peron:

I regard him as the most odious individual it has ever been my misfortune to encounter

Surely, Mr. Peron has plenty of rivals for this Perigonian, er, distinction.

Mr. Perigo is plainly satisfied that Mr. Peron was banned from New Zealand.

But Mr. Perigo frequently wishes worse fates on people he detests—for instance, when he called for Barack Obama to meet the same end as Benito Mussolini.

Whether Mr. Peron really drove Mr. Perigo to record-breaking levels of it, it might be worth knowing how this loathing developed.

Presumably Mr. Perigo profoundly hated Mr. Peron before the revelations about Mr. Peron's article in Unbound magazine. So what, precisely, inspired this reaction?

Downthread, Mr. Perigo called Mr. Peron a "cockroach." Mr. Peron is far from a unique recipient of this designation. Michael Stuart Kelly was, for a time, the "Chief Cockroach."

If Mr. Kelly planned to travel to New Zealand, would Mr. Perigo lobby (sorry, applaud while others lobbied) for his exclusion from that country as a person of "unfit character"?

Robert Campbell

Does Mr. Perigo Have an Update for Us?

Robert Campbell's picture

Re-running his exercise in self-justification from 2005, Mr. Perigo declares

Not long after the matter blew up in Parliament, photographs & drawings of naked pubescent boys were discovered in Peron's Auckland bookshop.

The old post includes a long-dead link to the website run by the shell organization that called itself the "Locke Foundation."

If material that constituted child pornography under New Zealand law was found in Jim Peron's bookstore, wouldn't there have been a prompt move to prosecute Mr. Peron under NZ law?

So, was there?

Robert Campbell

Let me make it easier for the Nambla-Prof

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Jeff Riggenbach, http://solohq.solopassion.com/...

I've already learned that severe criticism of ("personal attacks" on) SOLO higher-ups is not tolerated around here, so I offer no criticism and launch no attacks (even though I'm mysteriously under moderation already, despite the number of Atlas symbols next to my name). But I wonder if Mr. Perigo is willing to comment on rumors circulating through the libertarian movement to the following effect: he's accused of going to the New Zealand government and attempting -- successfully -- to have a fairly well known fellow libertarian deported.

Tuesday, July 12 - 3:00am
Reply
Link
Edit
The rumours are false.

The person in question, Jim Peron, is being refused re-entry to New Zealand from Germany, where he's been organising the latest international anarcho-Saddamite conference, because the Immigration Service deem him to be of "unfit character." They have made that ruling because the Chief Censor—a gay, liberal man—declared a publication by Free Forum Books, when the latter was owned by Peron, "objectionable," meaning that possession of it is now a criminal offence in New Zealand. The Chief Censor examined the paedophile publication, Unbound, after it was tabled in Parliament by New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters. Peters has waged a long campaign against New Zealand's Immigration Service, saying it has allowed all manner of unsavoury characters to slip through the net & settle in New Zealand with evil agendas. He cites Peron as an example.

Unbound was unearthed by Madeleine Flannagan of the Locke Foundation. She & her husband Matt are Christian libertarians who say they were motivated to dig into Peron's background because Peron hounded & abused them for their religious beliefs whilst they were members of a student libertarian network he had set up.

But the Flannagans were not the original source of Peters' information. Neither they nor I know who was.

Because of a prior history of very bad blood between Peron & me, Peron has claimed all along that it was I who drew him to Winston Peters' attention. The claim has a certain plausibility on its face, given Peron's & my mutual detestation (I regard him as the most odious individual it has ever been my misfortune to encounter), but it's just not true. Late last year, Peters' office raised the matter of Peron with me, not the other way round, at the Press Gallery Christmas party. They already had a huge file on him & were about to raise questions in Parliament. I had the briefest of conversations with Frank Perry, Peters' press secretary at the time, which would have added nothing to their knowledge but a little to mine—& that was the extent of it till Winston Peters actually did raise the Peron issue in Parliament in March of this year.

Peters first made his allegations under "parliamentary privilege"—that is, inside the debating chamber, meaning he couldn't be sued for them. He subsequently repeated them outside Parliament, challenging Peron to sue him &/or appear with him on television. Peron has not picked up the challenge, but has instead chosen to make various allegations about me & the Flannagans under various pseudonymous guises on various blogs.

Not long after the matter blew up in Parliament, photographs & drawings of naked pubescent boys were discovered in Peron's Auckland bookshop. These, & a complete summation of the Locke Foundation's case against Peron, can be found at
http://www.lockefoundation.org...

At the end of the day, the matter of who dobbed Peron in is not the issue. Peron is the issue, & focussing on the dobber is Peron's way of deflecting attention from that. But, since the matter has been raised here, I am taking this opportunity to set the record straight: I was not the dobber. This has already been stated by Frank Perry on the Scoop website. (Frank has not disclosed the identity of the dobber, either publicly or to me privately.)

For the record also, let me reiterate what I have said in the latest edition of The Free Radical. I do not buy into the current fashionable hysteria about paedophilia. I was one of the first people to sign a petition of public figures seeking an inquiry into the Peter Ellis case (Ellis was convicted of paedophiliac abuse on the basis of uncorroborated evidence elicted from suggestible toddlers by deranged feminazis). Nor am I in any sense an advocate of sexual prudery, conservatism or Christian repression ... between consenting adults, anything should be legally permissible, whatever moral judgments one may reach about it; it's quite simply no one else's business, least of all that of the Censor or the Immigration Service. But libertarianism—& much more, Objectivism—is not a license for sex with kids or the promotion thereof, & must not be seen to be. In that respect, leaving aside all rights & wrongs of immigration rules, censorship, etc., I welcome the end of the danger posed to the reason/freedom movement in New Zealand by Jim Peron. In other words, if I were the dobber, I would not be ashamed of the fact. It just so happens that I wasn't.

Linz

Um

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Onus is on you, Prof, to identify the "untruthfulness" of my account. You can't, because my account is true. And frankly, you don't even know what it is, do you, Namblaphile?

Same Old Perigonian Dodges

Robert Campbell's picture

I said that a truthful account of Mr. Perigo's role would make for a fascinating story...

Mr. Perigo remains disinclined to provide one.

Robert Campbell

Same old Tricks from O-Liar Campbell

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Mr. Perigo can explain what his role was in getting Jim Peron kicked out of New Zealand.

I can, and I have. None.

A truthful account would make for a fascinating story...

Why is that, Prof?

Hint: Calling anyone who suggests he had something to do with it a "Namblaphile" is a dead giveaway.

Don't be coy Prof. Spell it out.

You and some of your fellow-O-Liars are apologists for a publisher of pedophile literature. You diminish Rand and smear good people yet defend a creature like that. That's why I call you Namblaphiles. Nothing to do with what role I did or didn't have in that cockroach's expulsion from NZ.

Mr. Perigo Can Explain

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo can explain what his role was in getting Jim Peron kicked out of New Zealand.

A truthful account would make for a fascinating story...

Hint: Calling anyone who suggests he had something to do with it a "Namblaphile" is a dead giveaway.

Robert Campbell

PS. Wouldn't Mr. Perigo's role earn him at least the rank of Grand Ayatollah?

Prof

Lindsay Perigo's picture

For Mr. Perigo's role in getting Jim Peron permanently kicked out of New Zealand, which title in the Shi'ite hierarchy shall we confer on him?

What role was that, exactly, Prof?

Stick to speaker-banning with your fellow-Namblaphiles at O-Lying.

Chapter 1 of Heller Bio Available Online

Jeff Perren's picture

Ayn Rand as a Unity

Ellen Stuttle's picture

There's a perfect Jungian term for the sort of "unity" I mean: complexio oppositorum. This means an integration of dark and light. Objectivists, and much of the general world, not knowing the Jungian term, tend to speak of "strengths" and "flaws" or of "good" and "bad."

Stephen Cox, in his review of Anne Heller's forthcoming biography (which I just read last night), uses "good" and "bad." He writes:

"[...] Heller finds evidence that there weren't two Rands, a bad one and a good one. Rand was always the same person, right from the start, with the same good qualities and the same bad qualities that would eventually bear abundant fruit, together."

From this and other particulars of the review, it sounds to me as if Heller is presenting something like my own view of Rand, a person whose characteristics as a total integrate were essential to her greatness. As I've sometimes expressed this: Without the supposed flaws, we couldn't have had Atlas Shrugged; the woman who wrote Atlas Shrugged had to completely believe Atlas Shrugged; she had to believe people really were as she presents, literally not just symbolically, abstractly, as archetypes.

I don't know of course how well Heller carries through the thesis, how closely her view of Ayn Rand will match mine. I haven't read the galleys. I've become very eager, from what Stephen Cox says about the book, to read the book.

 

There are some details on which I don't agree with Cox. I don't think that Atlas would have been improved by the characterization having been done with what he calls "empathy." I think the result would have been a different book, and lacking in part of what gives the book as written its force.

Cox writes:

"It is significant that Rand's failure of empathy wasn't fatal to her art. In some ways, it actually appears to have aided it, by encouraging her to perfect her distinctively stylized, intellectually symbolic characterizations -- ways of understanding and portraying people that did not depend on close and sympathetic study.

"Discussing Rand's refusal to employ ordinary forms of literary realism and to 'soften her characters' hard symbolic edges,' Heller comments, 'If form followed function, as she believed it did in literary art as in architecture, then the special, the exalted, the highly stylized was her medium and her message.' It's difficult to think of a better summary of Rand's literary approach and its justifications. [....]"

However, he goes on to say:

"On the whole, however, this absence of a certain kind of intellectual equipment was as damaging in art as you would expect it to be in life."

There I don't agree -- as regards the art part of it. To repeat, I think that Atlas Shrugged wouldn't be as great as I think it is had Rand's approach to characterization been other than it was.

I also disagree with Cox's evaluation of Galt's Speech as a "literary disaster," though I share a dislike of the "tone." I never have been keen on the tone, which she perfected in the Speech and used in her later essays. Nonetheless, I think it's perfect for the context in Atlas, and that the Speech is requisite to, not a detraction from, the book, and that on its own, it's a masterpiece of writing.

 

Cox expresses some minor points of disagreement with Heller, one pertaining to Rand's views on World War II, another to the influence of Albert Jay Nock on Rand. Judging from the little said in the review (one paragraph) on the first point, I think that Cox is probably right on that one. I couldn't say on the second, since I know of Knock mostly only by name and I haven't read Nock's "Isaiah's Job."

 

All in all, I found the review well worth reading for its own merits (I consider Cox a penetrating analyst of literature and always insight-provoking even when I don't entirely agree with him). I'm also now reallly eagerly looking forward to reading the book itself.

Ellen

More Perigonian Hypocrisy

Robert Campbell's picture

Mr. Perigo jibes:

With his penchant for campaigning to have speakers blacklisted, it's a bit rich for Campbell to be talking about "ayatollah tendencies."

For Mr. Perigo's role in getting Jim Peron permanently kicked out of New Zealand, which title in the Shi'ite hierarchy shall we confer on him?

Robert Campbell

PARC Dust Jacket

Neil Parille's picture

"It's Judgment Day for the Brandens -- Casey Fahy (2005)"

It's Judgment Day for Jim Valliant -- Neil Parille (2009)

Heller and Frank's Drinking

Robert Campbell's picture

According to Stephen Cox, who recently reviewed Anne Heller's book for Liberty, Ms. Heller agrees with Barbara Branden concerning Frank O'Connor's drinking.

Is Mr. Valliant going to produce a sequel to PARC, each time there's a new biographer to denounce?

Yep, it's time to truck 'em to the pulper.

Robert Campbell

Neil

Brant Gaede's picture

The Efron story, real or not, is congruent to her writing a letter to Newsweek magazine in 1962 regarding a rather unflattering story about AR stating something like: If you act like cockroaches be prepared to be treated as such. This illustrates what I lived and experienced regarding Rand, NBI, the NYC Objectivist scene especially, in the 1960s before The Break: extreme AR partisanship. Us against the un-us. To be in that was to be in the eye of a storm, but an eye that stayed with you while the rest of the world just didn't get it--yet. It was a bullshit world but the bigger world was even more bullshit so it was hard to tell where a sane referent was other than where you were.

--Brant

Robert

Brant Gaede's picture

Mark Skousen is an Ayn Rand/Objectivism ignoramus, as witness an article in Liberty he wrote some years back. It was embarrassing.

Rand's stature as a human being is essentially delineated by her novels. The Valliant/Peikoff/ARI axis has done more to diminish her than everyone else combined. The biggest example of that is simply how the archives have been handled and used and not used.

Rand's ultimate vindication is that the world at large is more and more the world of Atlas Shrugged. It's all coming to a head.

--Brant

Efron Story

Neil Parille's picture

"I wonder from whom Heller might have obtained that Efron story?"

It looks like she consulted Efron's papers and interviewed people.

More than Jim Valliant did, it appears.

The Ickies Come Out

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Within 6 weeks, readers will be introduced to many more unflattering facts about Ayn Rand's life and character.

And the Rand-diminishers and the humanity-diminishers will be creaming themselves. This is what they live for.

I wonder from whom Heller might have obtained that Efron story?

With his penchant for campaigning to have speakers blacklisted, it's a bit rich for Campbell to be talking about "ayatollah tendencies."

Imminent Conclusion to the PARC Wars

Robert Campbell's picture

The "PARC wars," as Neil Parille calls them, are indeed coming to an end.

Thanks to the hard work of Mr. Parille and others, Mr. Valliant's opus has been discredited in nearly every way possible. After I spoke at Free Minds 09 about the "Jerry Springer opera" in which Jim and Holly Valliant have played leading roles for the last several years, Mark Skousen opined that I had cracked a very small nut with a very large sledgehammer.

Now the Anne Heller and Jennifer Burns biographies are ready to hit the shelves. I have not yet read either of them, but from the prepublication reviews it is becoming clear that they are going to atomize any PARCian rubble still strewn about the scene.

We all know how Mr. Valliant went through ultrastrenuous exertions, both in his book and in subsequent online debates, to absolve Ayn Rand of any Ayatollahish tendencies. Either she never purged or excommunicated anyone, or Nathaniel Branden did it all behind her back, or everyone who was expelled was guilty as charged, or there's nothing wrong with it because all of the associations were voluntary ... or something.

Well, here's Jonathan Chait's review of the Burns and Heller books, from the September 23 issue of The New Republic:

In 1967, for example, the journalist Edith Efron was, in Heller’s account, “tried in absentia and purged, for gossiping, or lying,
or refusing to lie, or flirting; surviving witnesses couldn’t agree on exactly what she did.” Upon her expulsion, Efron wrote to Rand
that “I fully and profoundly agree with the moral judgment you have made of me, and with the action you have taken to end social relations.” One of the Institute’s therapists counseled Efron’s eighteen-year-old son, also an Objectivist, to cut all ties with his mother, and made him feel unwelcome in the group when he refused to do so. (Efron’s brother, another Objectivist, did temporarily disown her.)

And Chait's review is short on reports of this type. It is a polemic against Rand's political views, real or imagined, that doesn't truly review either book, just uses them as a pretext for his tedious post-Marxist rant.

Within 6 weeks, readers will be introduced to many more unflattering facts about Ayn Rand's life and character.

It really is time for the Ayn Rand Institute to discontinue sales of Mr. Valliant's book, and truck those pallet-loads to the pulper.

Robert Campbell

The PARC Wars

Neil Parille's picture

The PARC wars have been going on for over four years now, believe it or not. I think it's time for a little perspective.

James Valliant said the Branden accounts were arbitrary. He accused the Brandens of making stuff up out of whole cloth. Valliant didn't conduct any interviews. He didn't consult the over 200 hours of interviews done by the Ayn Rand Archives. Other than publishing some of Rand's journals, he didn't do much archival work.

Nonetheless, he implied that research of the kind that real scholars do (interviews, etc.) would prove him correct. We now have two authors who did this work. Although the books haven't been released, it appears that their research tends to support the Branden accounts. We haven't heard of anything that shows them to be mistaken in any major way.

I think it's time for the ARI to stop selling PARC. Rand's journals included in PARC should be published in a stand-alone book, free from Valliant's commentary.

-Neil

Aside from the contretemps

Brant Gaede's picture

the show merely presented AR as she was then, refusing to sanction a gross insult embedded in a question. AR assumed that the questioner knew she was insulting her. I personally think she was stupidly ignorant and a plant in the audience. I'd guess most questioners in Donahue's TV audiences were plants to ramp up or keep up the production values. By plant I mean Donahue's staff knew the question beforehand. Whether they wanted to insult or antagonize her I don't know.

I don't know why Rand thought so highly of Donahue; he always pandered to his audience, whether live or at home. The bigger the audience, the bigger the pander. Tom Snyder was a giant compared to that pipsqueak. Donahue was much more on Rand's side in the second show. He and his staff probably decided it was too much the other way the first time. One thing for sure: Rand was operating on the premise of refusal to give the sanction of the victim, which was terribly important to her world and human view.

There is one thing I seem to get about AR, though, that I don't recall hearing or reading elsewhere. Audiences tended in a general way to seem to threaten her and she treated audiences and people in the audiences much more defensively than she treated people in a more private, one on one setting. This is understandable since her radical views pissed off so many people. She could never know when an antagonist would pop up in all his glory: "Miss Rand, did you ever read a book through by Kant?"

All in all, AR didn't handle the situation well. It's one thing not to give the sanction of the victim. It's another to not to do that in such a way as to acknowledge or imply you were victimized--that the question got under your skin. So Donahue got to pretend the questioner was the actual victim--of Rand's intolerance. And if that was actually a plant, Donahue had to protect it and hide an essential hypocrisy.

--Brant

Pariah

gregster's picture

I've looked quickly through that lot. Nothing strikes me as helpful for your cause.

Lindsay Perigo doesn't delete links, or censor contributions, unlike Sewer Kelly, and I don't believe he's afraid of the truth.

Here It Is

Neil Parille's picture

Mr. Perigo can delete it if he wants --

http://www.objectivistliving.c...

Gregster

Neil Parille's picture

I just sent it to you.

For some reason I recall that Mr. Perigo doesn't want links to So-Called Objectivists Who Lie for a Living.

-NEIL

Pariah

gregster's picture

Then put a link. I can't be sewering around there at this time of night.

PARC Fallacies

Neil Parille's picture

Gregster,

Michael Kelly has a good discussion of the Donahue issue on his PARC fallacies thread on the Objectivist Living site (which might better be called So-Called Objectivists Who Lie for a Living).

There is no doubt that the typewriter story is wrong. The question is whether Fern made it up or heard a variation from Rand and then misremembered it. I opt for the latter.

-NEIL

Pariah

gregster's picture

Thanks for the corrections. Where would I be without you?

Neil, imagine where you’d be with me! You’d be able to sleep soundly, once all of your research leads you to the truth. And it wouldn’t then be all for nought!

You could easily claim a place as one of the enlightened. Of course, I mean this sincerely, if and when it is proven, the depravity of the terrible twosome, and that knave Fern.

Barbara's description of the Donahue incident may not be best piece of writing in the book

Well check it out again. It is that far off.

The evidence for Frank drinking too much, at least toward the end of his life, is quite strong.

In the remote chance that Frank was an alcoholic, towards the end of his life, is that the best you diminishers can muster?

And you would tend to call that alcoholism? Even without evidence.

the typewriter story

It's obviously incorrect, but it’s neither here nor there. I don’t believe the Brandens conspired on this one!

PARC's central claim is that the Brandens are lying

That’s become axiomatic, imo.

Gregster

Neil Parille's picture

Thanks for the corrections. Where would I be without you?

Any comments on the post?

Two in the intro

gregster's picture

Perigo has no book on the matter. Get your shit together man. You still can't see the forest for the trees, and these inaccuracies downgrade your worth.

Gregster

Neil Parille's picture

Because I made a typo?

"I have some areas of disagreement."

OK, all is right with the world now.

Pariah

gregster's picture

I would say that your book is probably the only decent supportive review of Valliant's book. I do have some agrees of disagreement.

Are you on drugs?

Perigo's Review of PARC

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

I would say that your book is probably the only decent supportive review of Valliant's book. I do have some agrees of disagreement.

1. The Brandens didn't tell Rand the truth because she was their meal ticket. I don't think the evidence supports this. Nathaniel's financial situation improved when he moved to California.

2. You state that Rand's journals reveal a "Rand who . . . ." Yet I think we knew most of these things from the Brandens' works.

3. Barbara's description of the Donahue incident may not be best piece of writing in the book (I haven't watched the video in a while), but I don't think it is so far off that it calls into credibility the rest of her book.

4. You claim that evidence Barbara presents for Frank's alcoholism is "flimsy at best." The evidence for Frank drinking too much, at least toward the end of his life, is quite strong.

5. Most significantly, I dissent from your claim that "[y]our [JV's] research is unimpeachable and your achievement admirable." This is not the case as I show conclusively in my essay. The argument of the first part of Valliant's book is that the Brandens' works are shown to be false based on their alleged problems, omission and inconsistencies.

When Valliant's points aren't stupid (such as the Brandens' evil is shown by attending a surprise party for Rand) they are generally wrong (for example NB doesn't admit that he practically defrauded Rand with respect to the 67 loan/transfer). That is why you have to open up their books and compare them with what Valliant says. I assumed Valliant would accurately quote the Brandens, so I can't blame you for not doing the A-B checking that I did. But now that it has been done you shouldn't ignore it.

And speaking of Valliant's impeccable research, do you think it is appropriate to accuse people of lying without actually interviewing them or consulting the interviews of people who knew Rand? It isn't just the Brandens that Valliant is in effect accusing of being liars. For example, Valliant accuses Fern Brown of making up the typewriter story. Isn't it only polite to listen to her interview at the archives?

Let's remember: Valliant isn't arguing only that the Branden books are unfair, one-sided or even contain mistakes. PARC's central claim is that the Brandens are lying, in other words writing things they know to be untrue. Did Valliant demonstrate this either in PARC or in the last 4 years?

If the early reviews of the Heller and Burns books are fair, it not only appears that The Passion of Ayn Rand is accurate, but that it is was even a bit defensive of Rand (such as with the diet pill issue).

Prof's problem ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Same as Mr. Parille's: Can't see the wood for the trees, and plays "Gotcha!" over twigs. Wants everyone else to do the same in the hope that they'll then lose sight of a heroine's heroism. Mr. Parille is a self-confessed "humanity-diminisher," remember, and Prof. Campbell is on record as saying that hero-worship is inappropriate for human beings.

Even if Mr. Perigo had no axe of his own to grind (hint: what one person, more than any other, has he continually cursed, berated, and denounced for the last 4 years?), his belated answer to Neil Parille's question is far from reassuring.

No need to "hint," Prof. You are alluding to Babs Branden. I'll stop telling the truth about her when she stops telling lies about me.

See Prof, when one is dealing with conflicting accounts of people who are dead and events that are long-distant, it's often hard to get the unvarnished truth. But let's say A writes a biography of B. C says, this bio is a smear-job, and produces B's private journals to justify his claims. D, who hitherto has believed A, reads C and thinks, hmmmmmm. Then suddenly he, D, is smeared by A. Can't blame D for thinking C might have got it right after all, can you? Especially when A's worshippers pull out all the stops to diminish B in line with A's smears. And agitate to have D blacklisted, etc.

In his deep conviction that the universe revolves around him, Mr. Perigo imagines that a review of his review of PARC will be more interesting and cogent than a review of PARC.
This I am strongly inclined to doubt, but if Mr. Perigo really wants me to review his review, I shall oblige.

I asked you a question without, unlike you, presuming to insist you were obligated to answer. Over to you whether you do or not.

Mr. Perigo's Lack of Due Diligence

Robert Campbell's picture

Even if Mr. Perigo had no axe of his own to grind (hint: what one person, more than any other, has he continually cursed, berated, and denounced for the last 4 years?), his belated answer to Neil Parille's question is far from reassuring.

The answer is: no. I didn't "need" to. I had read the Brandens' books, and repaired to them frequently, assuming them to be true. I was familiar with their content. Moreover, were it not for Rand's journals in PARC I probably would have dismissed the rest of it with the words, "Nice try."

The distortions committed by Jim Valliant are, in many cases, not apparent to a casual reader of his book. Not even to one who has carefully read The Passion of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden's memoir. One cannot rely on memory, unless one's memory for verbal detail is extraordinary. One has to put the books side by side and make the A-B comparisons. Moreover, even a skeptical reader will not normally approach the book expecting Mr. Valliant to Valliancite and Valliantquoat and play fast and loose with sources that are in print and available to most of this readers.

Mr. Perigo is admitting that he didn't make the A-B comparisons. What's more, he is obviously uninterested in the findings of those, like Mr. Parille, who have gone to the trouble of carrying them out.

In his deep conviction that the universe revolves around him, Mr. Perigo imagines that a review of his review of PARC will be more interesting and cogent than a review of PARC.

This I am strongly inclined to doubt, but if Mr. Perigo really wants me to review his review, I shall oblige.

Robert Campbell

What Mr. Perigo Needs to Do

Robert Campbell's picture

Let's net it out as a hypothetical imperative:

If Mr. Perigo wishes to live a rational, independent, honest, productive, fulfilled life....

then he needs to give honest answers to reasonable and pertinent questions about the claims he puts forward in public.

Last I heard, this was called "responsibility."

Robert Campbell

Prof. Campbell

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You say, with your usual presumptuousness, I "need" to answer a certain question. What I "need" to do in life is not for you to say. You should stick to banning speakers, burning books and attacking completely inappropriate targets like Ellen for daring to deviate from the Brandroid Party Line.

The question was:

Did you compare what Valliant claimed the Brandens wrote with what they actually wrote before endorsing PARC?

The answer is: no. I didn't "need" to. I had read the Brandens' books, and repaired to them frequently, assuming them to be true. I was familiar with their content. Moreover, were it not for Rand's journals in PARC I probably would have dismissed the rest of it with the words, "Nice try."

I have a question for Messrs Parille and Campbell: in what respects do you consider my review mistaken and why?

I believe, no doubt naively, that if you stick to this question you won't be able to play your usual "Gotcha!" games with minutiae.

Ellen ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Has it ever been definitively established that Leonard called the very idea of such a relationship a lie? I know people say that he did, but is there proof that he did?

I don't believe so. The reviewer clearly has an axe to grind.

Frank (plus)

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Frank's style of interacting with women (I'm speaking from personal experience as well as from reports by female friends) was that of a man whose sexual orientation is hetero.

Nonetheless, I agree with Linz's characterization of Ayn as "very much the type of woman gay men who choose to get married actually marry" -- and with the reservation that this "of course proves nothing" about Frank's being gay or not.

I hadn't previously seen the blog entry which was linked. I thought it was perceptive. (The misplaced commas, however, irritated me. There's even misplacing of a comma in a direct quote from Nathaniel's 1968 answer to Ayn, rendering the quote incorrectly punctuated.)

Re (from the blog entry):

"Ayn clearly preferred a sexual relationship where the man took charge, sometimes rather strenuously."

She thought she did. Eye She featured such relationships in her novels. But even her relationship with Nathaniel wasn't really like that.

A question:

CLS, the bloggist, writes: "For decades [Leonard Peikoff] denounced the Brandens, who divorced as may be expected, as liars for even hinting that such a relationship [as the affair between Ayn and Nathaniel] had existed."

Has it ever been definitively established that Leonard called the very idea of such a relationship a lie? I know people say that he did, but is there proof that he did?

The revelation of Ayn's having had an abortion "early in her career" is news to me. I don't recall, though I might be forgetting, hearing anyone even hint at this before.

Ellen

Mr. Perigo Needs to Answer the Question

Robert Campbell's picture

Neil Parille asked Lindsay Perigo:

Did you compare what Valliant claimed the Brandens wrote with what they actually wrote before endorsing PARC?

Mr. Perigo came back with another injunction to read his review of Mr. Valliant's opus.

Mr. Parille has read the review. I've read the review. Other participants on this thread have read it.

The review doesn't answer Mr. Parille's question.

Does Mr. Perigo care to answer it now?

Robert Campbell

Jim Valliant

Neil Parille's picture

I can't find the link, but this is what Mr. Valliant said a year or two ago right here on SOLO.

___

[I]f Ms. Heller's private comments -- and asking me to read the galleys of her new biography -- are any measure -- PARC has forever changed the field of Rand biography.

___

Perhaps Mr. Valliant could make a brief return to SOLO and tell us how his reading of Miss Heller's book is different from others who have posted on this issue.

Rosie

Lindsay Perigo's picture

So you think it was a coincidence that so many boys from his class were all homo?

Obviously I can't say for sure, but I doubt that anyone who isn't homo is made so by boarding school, although he may well be more ready than most to help out in an emergency.

Re your earlier comment, I trust by now you realize there's no art/sport dichotomy on SOLO. Just an awareness that Slayer is neither sport nor art—rather, filth that only boring stupid straight boys could possibly even pretend to like. Eye

Linz

Rosie's picture

So you think it was a coincidence that so many boys from his class were all homo?

Nah!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Of course there's a lot of homo-stuff that's opportunistic in boarding schools and prisons, etc. Wot's a boy supposed to do with all those raging hormones? But being authentically gay or straight or both ... that's already there.

Linz

Rosie's picture

she is probably bored by straight men.

Well, my experience is that a gay man's conversation is not dominated by sport which immediately puts him in a class of his own in terms of not being boring!

I think one is gay (or straight) from the get-go.

When I lived in the UK I met a large number of gay men. It began when I was invited to a party and, arriving a little late, entered through the open French doors that led to the garden. A male voice called out, "Ah! Enter Hermione!" I was wearing a grey linen suit that I had bought in Nice (very Kewl - thanks Paris) and knew that the voice was referring to Hermione from Women in Love by DH Lawrence. Thrilled to meet a fellow literature buff we immediately began a fantastic friendship. He was not at all effete and my "gay" detectors were not even humming. I thought he was gorgeous. We had so much fun together; up all hours of the night, spontaneous, imaginative ideas for fun things to do etc. He had gone to Rugby and I was introduced to many of his friends.

Now here is the interesting, relevant part: so many of these men put their homosexuality down to their boarding school years. They were almost all of the view that their emerging sexuality was affected by what was available - and that was other boys only. Some were bisexual. They may have been wrong but from aged 7 or 8 when they all went off to boarding school, who can say?

The argument against it is that not all boys who went to Rugby (or other boarding schools) were so affected. CS Lewis talks about his time at boarding school where he was approached by another boy and was horrified. There are other stories of husbands who had homosexual experiences at school then married. Wasn't Vita Sackville West's husband , Howard Nicholson, bi sexual - as she was? Why did some boys say yes and others no?

Could it be that the reason there is no answer to the question, "what makes someone gay?" is that there is no answer. For some it is choice, for others it is inherent and for others still it is social (and other) circumstances?

Ha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Yes. But there are so many exceptions the stereotype is not justified.

I think one is gay (or straight) from the get-go.

Linz

Rosie's picture

Very interesting description. Thanks.

What is the stereotype for gay men's mothers? Similar?

Rosie

Lindsay Perigo's picture

it is something that has happened to me a number of times in my life:

Eh??

The woman is dominant, bossy even, with a strong personality and opinions. Usually quite classy. A Diva. She is in effect the man in the relationship and the gay man is happy to be the woman. And there's an element of truth to my wisecrack earlier: she is probably bored by straight men.

Linz

Rosie's picture

Sorry to interrupt but something you have said interests me a lot and it is something that has happened to me a number of times in my life:

Ayn is very much the type of woman gay men who choose to get married actually marry

Can you tell me what you think that type of woman is?

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

I didn't say you said that. I just wanted to make it clear.

Neil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

As I've said umpty-tum times, read my review. It is quite fair and balanced, to coin a phrase. Your minutiae change nothing. And you can't get around Babs' present-day lies now can you?

I didn't say Heller believes Frank was gay. Read my post again too!

Actually Brant ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm sure Ayn would have been a fag hag, even though she would never have admitted it or realized it. So for that matter is Babs, who probably does realize it if not admit it. Eye "Fag hag" is a compliment: means attracted to and (non-sexually) attractive to superior men. Eye

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

There is nothing in the review that indicates Heller believes Frank was gay. And the focus of the review isn't Valliant and PARC.

Heller's book will apparently confirm the general accuracy of Passion of Ayn Rand.

___

But, Heller’s biography, which I have read, doesn’t contradict the Brandens on any major statement of fact.

What struck me about Heller’s biography, is that while it reveals new details, and more information, there simply was nothing there that indicated the Brandens had been deceptive.

___

Yes Linz, I think you made a mistake endorsing PARC.

Did you compare what Valliant claimed the Brandens wrote with what they actually wrote before endorsing PARC?

GAY?

Brant Gaede's picture

And Ayn Rand was a "fag hag"?

There are a lot of people of ambiguous sexuality who make a choice and that is what they become--gay or straight. There are a lot of people who are simply gay or straight.

Based on the evidence Nick Carter was probably gay and Frank O'Connor was straight.

Where does this horseshit speculation come from?

--Brant

Oh my!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Mr. Parille has just drawn my attention to a review of the new Rand books here. It suggests that Frank, Ayn's husband, was gay, as was his brother. I now await Babs' sequel to PAR in which she reveals that she and Ayn had an affair. (Note for Brandroids: that was a j-o-k-e.) Frankly it wouldn't surprise me if Frank were gay in this respect: that Ayn is very much the type of woman gay men who choose to get married actually marry. Which of course proves nothing. I would be surprised if Frank were gay given the various deceptions that would imply.

Here's the relevant para:

Frank was from a large family and his closest brother was Nick, who went by the name Nick Carter. Nick was also a close friend of Ayn’s. Nick was gay. Heller describes Frank as somewhat feminine. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not condemning Frank. Every person I have spoken to about him described him as a caring, gentle man who was kind and pleasant. No one had a bad word about him. Frank, to a large extent, and long before it was considered socially acceptable, took on the woman’s role in the relationship. He decorated their house, not Ayn. He was the one who tended the flowers, became a flower arranger, and took up painting as a hobby. Frank O’Connor acted very much like a closeted gay man. I don’t know if he was. And I don’t care if he was. Married gay men can perform sexually with their wives, but they are far less likely to be the initiators of the physical aspects of married life.

The review overall is less a review than an attack on Valliant and PARC. It says both Brandens told the truth about Rand and if anything erred on the side of being protective of her. Parille says it's not too late for me personally to distance myself from Valliant. He overlooks one salient fact: I know Babs has lied about me; why would she tell the truth about Rand?

Mr. Perigo Has Read a Book

Robert Campbell's picture

I was privileged to read the manuscript. A masterpiece. It will make a gripping movie.

So Mr. Perigo has read an entire book?

Definitely a special occasion.

Robert Campbell

Ah ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

There are a slew of reader reviews, mostly positive, and only one of the positive reviews is by Jim Valliant.

Ah, but the rest are by Holly. Unlike you to have missed that, Prof!

[Note for humorless Brandroids—the above is a joke, and not true.]

I was privileged to read the manuscript. A masterpiece. It will make a gripping movie.

Warren Fahy

Robert Campbell's picture

I see from the Amazon listing for Fragment that Casey Fahy now goes as Warren.

There are a slew of reader reviews, mostly positive, and only one of the positive reviews is by Jim Valliant.

Perhaps Mr. Fahy has found his métier.

I'm looking forward to reading his book.

Robert Campbell

Well

Brant Gaede's picture

Well, Robert, I don't like the guy, but that doesn't mean I won't like his book. He's got a lot of brains and SiFi is intriguing to me. I hope there are a lot of spaceships blasting each other although I can go for (and want) deep think too.

--Brant

Fan-Bloody-Tastic!

Robert's picture

"In short, he hit the big time. Good on him."

Excellent. Nice guys do finish first sometimes. Somebody who knows him please pass along my warmest congratulations!

I'd buy him a beer or three if he was around, so I guess I'll just have to drink them in his honor instead. Smiling

-------

Now back to the regularly scheduled pissing and moaning from the Professor and the Parille.

THX Jeff

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm going to buy and read Fragment. I understand it's SiFi. Someone on this site a while back said it was a million dollar deal. I didn't know he was working on another too.

--Brant

Gregster

Neil Parille's picture

Gregster,

Wikipedia may have an unusual way of defining reliability, but as Prof. Campbell noted, almost no one has said in print (with perhaps the exception of the Kirkus review) that Valliant's book is any good. Prof. Campbell has cited it a couple of times, but is obviously not a fan.

Of course you and Linz could come to Valliant's defense and defend some of what I contend are serious misrepresentations of the Brandens' books, but thus far you two have shown no interest.

It certainly will be interesting to see the response that ARI types give Anne Heller's bio. Jim certainly has no credibility left as a commentator on Rand's life, if he had any to start with.

Casey's Success

Jeff Perren's picture

"And what happened to his friend, Casey Fahy?"

I'll answer that one, since James isn't around. Casey sold his novel to Random House for several hundred thousand in a two-book contract that will see his next one released next year. (The first - Fragment - came out in June.) It's my understanding from reading the trades that he also got it simultaneously published in several foreign languages and there is talk of a movie deal. This is extremely rare in the publishing world (where popular novels are concerned), even more so for first time novels/novelists.

In short, he hit the big time. Good on him.

So, he's a bit too busy to defend James or his book.... for the 50th time.

Next

Brant Gaede's picture

What I want to know is how James Valliant is going to square his anti-Branden thesis with the new Rand biography coming out next month? Considering his apparent continuing poor health, I guess we'll never know. And what happened to his friend, Casey Fahy? These people came here, did their thing here, and left here. Same thing at Wikipedia, although Casey didn't seem to be involved with that. This whole thing has been a turf war, Peikoff/ARI against the Brandens. An icon versus a human being. The value of an icon is it has the vitality and usefulness of a statue, albeit one of dubious esthetics. It can't get away from you. It just is, garlanded with flowers.

--Brant

Reliability, and Other Wikipedianisms

Robert Campbell's picture

Jim Valliant won't show up to defend his own work, on a board run by one of his few remaining allies and sponsors.

That remaining ally and sponsor, in turn, can't defend Mr. Valliant's work against criticism and has given up any pretense of trying.

So in rushes Gregster, making his own hash of the issues that have been under discussion.

1. The notion of "reliable source" in play here is peculiar to Wikipedia. It is not my notion, any more than the 3 Revert Rule or the type of permission required to post a photo on Wikipedia or the prohibition against putting "original research" on Wikipedia are my notions.

2. My personal view, as I have noted more than once on this board and on Wikipedia discussion pages, is that Mr. Valliant's book should be cited more often on Wikipedia than it is at present. Has Gregster already forgotten that I have cited Mr. Valliant's book in an article and a book chapter? In fact, I am responsible for the only current citation of Mr. Valliant's book anywhere on Wikipedia.

3. The most devastating critiques of Mr. Valliant's book, by Neil Parille, Michael Stuart Kelly, and others, are considered "non-reliable," because they ran on blogs or discussion lists and their authors are "non-notable."

4. Jim and Holly Valliant got themselves into hot water at Wikipedia for refusing to respond to questions about their editing, for promoting Mr. Valliant's opus while concealing their personal stake in it, and for creating a "sock puppet" called Pelagius1 to keep arguing their case. It's interesting how complaints about their cruel treatment at the hands of the Wickedpedians keep leaving this other stuff out.

The orthodoxy has its vested interest in squashing Valliant’s central thesis. By attempting this, Rand and the reputation of Objectivism have been diminished.

Quite the contrary. The anti-Randian "orthodoxy" would benefit from portraying Jim Valliant as a representative Randian.

More attention to Mr. Valliant's book can only hurt those for whom the truth of Objectivist principles depends on Ayn Rand's moral perfection. He has failed to convince any but the already worshipful that Nathaniel and Barbara Branden were significantly wrong about any aspect of her character or conduct. And no one is going to turn to Jim Valliant for an explication or defense of any of Ms. Rand's important ideas; he has repeatedly displayed his gross incompetence in those departments. If Mr. Valliant is a representative Randian, then anyone who takes her ideas seriously can be dismissed as a blinkered zealot who has to misrepresent his opponents' views to make his own appear plausible, because, left to his own honest devices, he couldn't argue his way out of a paper bag.

a book not having been cited by scholars sufficiently so as to appear in citation indexes will be termed not “reliable,” or the author not “notable.” These terms do not necessarily relate to facts or truth.

Correct, as noted above. And irrelevant, as noted above.

Besides, if the notion of reliability were based on factuality or truthfulness, Mr. Valliant's book would be getting fewer citations at Wikipedia than it is now.

Robert Campbell

Quite so Gregster

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The Brandroids are indeed like the Global Warmongers. They have their thesis, their grubby motives and their determination to silence/discredit dissenters.

Prof. (Prof.?)

gregster's picture

It should be noted that the Wiki world shares with the Prof. certain inconsistencies and orthodoxies, one being its use of the word “reliable.” It is not the normal definition usage and is unbeholden to any particular truth.

Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available, such as history, medicine and science. Material from reliable non-academic sources may also be used in these areas, particularly if they are respected mainstream publications. The appropriateness of any source always depends on the context. Where there is disagreement between sources, their views should be clearly attributed in the text.

Mainstream? If Galileo was to publish his treatise that the Earth revolved around the Sun, Wiki too would call his account not reliable.

Valliant’s book, while in a different, one might say, less important academic sphere, also faces, for now, the same opposition from hateful characters who happen to move the world.

The orthodoxy has its vested interest in squashing Valliant’s central thesis. By attempting this, Rand and the reputation of Objectivism have been diminished.

A good analogy would be the current debate surrounding “climate change.” The orthodoxy attempts to drown out dissenters by disqualifying their research conclusions by their not having been published – in journals which support the orthodox opinion (of AGW).

Similarly, a book not having been cited by scholars sufficiently so as to appear in citation indexes will be termed not “reliable,” or the author not “notable.” These terms do not necessarily relate to facts or truth.

Before or After DIM Gets Published?

Robert Campbell's picture

Valliant has never shied from battle, Campbell.

That must be why Jim and Holly Valliant did their Wikipedia editing anonymously, and exited for good once it became clear that they were not going to get his book treated as a reliable source.

He'll be back when he's Galtdamn ready.

Will this be before or after Leonard Peikoff publishes his book on the DIM hypothesis?

Robert Campbell

You pompous A-hole!

Jameson's picture

Valliant has never shied from battle, Campbell. Stop being such a petty turd; the world doesn't revolve around the gravity of the shit you excrete here. He'll be back when he's Galtdamn ready.

Not Coming Back, Is He?

Robert Campbell's picture

It looks as though Jim Valliant has also made his exit from SOLOPassion, without saying goodbye.

If he can't defend his opus here, he can't defend it anywhere.

Robert Campbell

Goodbye

Brant Gaede's picture

Goodbye. See ya. Luck!

--Brant
retired

Money Quote

Neil Parille's picture

Here is the money quote from the LFB review of Dr. Burns' book:

____

Burns writes, “On nearly every page of the published journals an unacknowledged change has been made from Rand’s original writing. In the book’s foreword the editor, David Harriman, defends his practice of eliminating Rand’s words and inserting his own as necessary for greater clarity. In many case, however, his editing serves to significantly alter Rand’s meaning.” She says that sentences are “rewritten to sound stronger and more definite” and that the editing “obscures important shifts and changes in Rand’s thought.” She finds “more alarming” the case that “sentences and proper names present in Rand’s original …have vanished entirely, without any ellipses or brackets to indicate a change.”

____

I commend the Archives for giving Dr. Burns access to Rand's papers, but an explanation for this jiggery pokery is needed.

Prof ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

In fact, Ayn Rand never needed anyone to lie for her or to cover up for her.

On that we are in rare agreement. If we are indeed dealing with cover-ups rather than mere tidy-ups I'll be the first to be concerned.

By the way, if Mr. Valliant is no longer expected to reemerge from hiding, why is this thread still sitting on the front page?

1) He is not in hiding.

2) He has his reasons for not posting right now which are nobody else's business.

3) He'll be back in due course.

4) What I do and don't leave on the front page is my prerogative, Dr. Campbell.

On Whom It Reflects

Robert Campbell's picture

What will the folks at the Estate of Ayn Rand and the Ayn Rand Institute cite as their reasons for these editorial distortions, if they ever speak candidly on the record?

Won't they say that they were trying to protect her reputation?

In fact, Ayn Rand never needed anyone to lie for her or to cover up for her.

I have to wonder whether she would be impressed by some of the efforts that have been exerted, allegedly on her behalf.

By the way, if Mr. Valliant is no longer expected to reemerge from hiding, why is this thread still sitting on the front page?

Robert Campbell

Campbell ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It may come as a shock to you, but neither James nor anyone else is on this earth to respond to some "answer-clock" wound up by you.

At least, if what you report in this latest post is accurate, it reflects not on Ayn Rand, whom you obsessively seek to diminish, but on the ARI.

Jennifer Burns' Biography Is Forthcoming

Robert Campbell's picture

The answer clock's now been ticking for 27 days...

Meanwhile, Jennifer Burns' new biography, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, is due out from Oxford University Press in October. There are already two prepublication reviews online:

http://www.lfb.org/product_inf...

and

http://www.americanthinker.com...

It will be interesting to see how the ARIans handle it, because Dr. Burns was allowed into the Ayn Rand Archives.

And some of what she saw there does not enhance the image of the Estate, or of ARI.

From the Laissez-Faire Books review:

The result of this unacknowledged editing is that “they [Rand's published Journals] add up to a different Rand. In her original notebooks she is more tentative, historically bounded, and contradictory. The edited diaries have transformed her private space, the hidden realm in which she did her thinking, reaching, and groping, replacing it with a slick manufactured world in which all of her ideas are definite, well formulated, and clear.” She concludes that Rand’s Journals, as released by ARI, “are thus best understood as an interpretation of Rand rather than her own writing. Scholars must use these materials with extreme caution.”

The bad news is that “similar problems plague Ayn Rand Answers (2005), The Art of Fiction (2000), The Art of Non-Fiction (2001), and Objectively Speaking (2009).” Burns says all these works were “derived from archival material but have been significantly rewritten.” Rand scholars have long suspected such manipulation of documents; Burns confirms it with evidence she herself saw.

Robert Campbell

Okay Stephen

Brant Gaede's picture

Now I know what you are. Thank you.

--Brant

Peanuts

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I wasn't suggesting, Stephen, that you're not "doing just fine not bothering to read" books in which you have no interest.

I was objecting to your denigrating characterization of "these sorts of books" and of those who do find them of interest.

I.e., nuts to you.

Ellen

These

Stephen Boydstun's picture

“What sorts of books, Stephen?” Those referred to in the link provided yesterday:
[5/26/07]
“I have not read any of the biographical books that have been written so far concerning Rand. Those are not for me. I have read a few intellectual biographies, which track along the compositions of the thinker in the order of their creation. These are very nice: . . . .”

The books being discussed in that thread were Barbara Branden’s and James Valliant’s. I had also vaguely heard of another such intimately personal a book written by Nathaniel Branden. I’m doing just fine not bothering to read those books. (Really, I am. I’m gonna be OK.) To the other side, I look forward to hearing such accounts as that advertized for Nathaniel Branden here.

Now, Ellen, there was another, less snobbish saying I often heard from my parents’ generation when I was a child. “Oh, he’s just talking to hear his teeth rattle.” There’s a lot of that on the internet, even if there is no rattle. I have a lot of important intellectual work to do. So no more peanuts for now.

Stephen - "these sorts of books"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

These sorts of books on which I will never want to spend my reading time sell because of the delicious gossip, not because of an interest in psychology or philosophy.

What sorts of books, Stephen? Are you claiming, for instance, that only "people who like to gossip or [...] who do not have the horsepower to talk in a sustained way about ideas" would be interested in reading Barbara Branden's biography of Rand? Nathaniel's memoirs? PARC? The forthcoming Heller book?

You comment concerning an incident from your past when you were attending a weekend political conference and you had one of your little Copleston books with you:

A well-known Libertarian intellectual fellow began to talk with me a bit about [the Copleston] and my interests, and in a while he really began to get a bit perturbed at the vast lack of socially redeeming value in my studies.

Well... Don't you think you're doing rather the same in presuming as to the "vast lack of [qualifier of your choice] redeeming value" in other people's reading "sorts of books" which don't interest you?

I agree that:

So far as an interest in psychology goes, not everyone needs to have the same level of interest in it. The proportion of that interest that goes to psychodynamics, as opposed to cog sci can reasonably vary also.

Ellen

Delicious Gossip

Stephen Boydstun's picture

Hi Ellen,

That old saying was said in contexts in which “people who talk about people” was referring to people who like to gossip or to people who do not have the horsepower to talk in a sustained way about ideas. These sorts of books on which I will never want to spend my reading time sell because of the delicious gossip, not because of an interest in psychology or philosophy.

So far as an interest in psychology goes, not everyone needs to have the same level of interest in it. The proportion of that interest that goes to psychodynamics, as opposed to cog sci can reasonably vary also.

I was thinking just now that some people may see psychodynamics as the frame of reference for rankings of what is important—a sort of psychologism writ large—and perhaps they even suppose that they who do not share that framing are in need of therapy. I used to come across political activists (when I was an activist) who had a similarly constricted view of what people should find of interest: nothing should be talked of or read except that it have political import. I recall one evening having one of my little Copleston books with me at a weekend political conference. A well-known Libertarian intellectual fellow began to talk with me a bit about it and my interests, and in a while he really began to get a bit perturbed at the vast lack of socially redeeming value in my studies.

By the way, the book that saved my life was The Fountainhead. It surely was about psychology in the inside way that novels can be about something. Novels are different than books whose lure is gossip.

Categories (Stephen)

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Stephen:

"[Y]ou know the old saw: 'There are people who talk about ideas. Then there are people who talk about events. And then there are the people who talk about people.'" [....]

If those categories were mutually exclusive and exhaustive, there wouldn't be novelists, and you wouldn't have Atlas Shrugged for which to be grateful. Eye

Ellen

And that ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Leonard Peikoff, quoted by Campbell:

Well I see I have told you what I have to say. I think it is a terrible thing that a situation like this would be turned into food for scandal—I don’t think it is scandalous. And, uh, if there is anybody left in this country, uhhh, who is not, uh, eager to find some more mud to throw at a woman who was very able to defend herself in life and was never attacked until she died and couldn’t speak—I say if there’s anyone left, before I die, everything that she wrote is going to be published.
So you will hear the facts of her life from her side, which may after all be relevant.

And that is what the pygmy-scum like Campell/Parille cannot abide. The defenders of the posthumous attackers having the latters' mendacity exposed from beyond the grave, their own obsessive hero-diminution thereby exposed for what it is.

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