|I had just put this over as good old post 533 on the walking zombie thread known as "Ayn Rand Smeared Again", but I will put it here instead, and a link where it currently lies. It belongs over here now, and I can't think of a better place I'd like to see it than next to MSK's post:|
|I happened to be visiting elsewhere at a, er, new place someone who used to be here set up, and noticed some discourse on the topic of judgment itself. This segment was focused on Ayn Rand's comments on the "Judge not, lest ye be judged" precept, and how the morally appropriate precept was "Judge, and prepare to be judged." |
Maybe a much more useful piece of scripture to have talked about would be Jesus' "Your measure will be made by the measure by which you measure, and it shall be added to you." Personally, I find that to be the better mousetrap than the two quotes above it, for more than one reason, and I ain't talking about no afterlife...for the most part, I don't think he was either, or if it even matters. It's a good principle. If there is one area that poses the maximum challenge to Objectivists, it is that of judgment of others, theory and practice. And, they do not seem different from most other people grappling with that in that their primary failings lie not only in practice, and the effects it brings to others, but also what it brings to themselves. It is fair to say that results may vary, and objects in the rear mirror are very bloody likely closer than they may appear.
I often watch what my new friend Ciro talks about. Ciro is very Italian, and he writes in broken English. He also has a very unique gift for going deep and getting to the heart of things. I noticed that recently, his thoughts led him to the subject of vendettas. At the same time, I was thinking about Nathaniel's comment (which took its own thread-within-a-thread here) regarding preference of making an enemy into a friend. Both of these topics link to the subject of judgment of others, theory and practice. Most things in human affairs do.
Rand did not choose to write an autobiography or other book that included the time period of which we speak so frequently. The things that she did write about it outside of her journals, we know about. She could have written one, and as far as I can tell, she made an unhindered choice to not do so. The Brandens chose to write their respective accounts, which is not a suprising thing for people of that profile to do. It is also not unreasonable to expect that those accounts would be anything less than human, subjective accounts. I do not see any possibility (at least useful possibility) for a player to attempt a third-person approach- to my preference,there is more to be had doing otherwise- I leave it to the writers of such things to monitor themselves, as best they are able. The reader is not required much more than to have enough common sense to know what it means first off when reading something like that, and to know the difference. My point in bringing this view forward is simple: In such a case, I simply want the information (in this case, the journals), if it is made available. In the case of journal-publishing, the conventions are well known; little is required other than the material itself, with editorial notes, and so forth. Perhaps a simple timeline is provided.
If a third party choses to do otherwise, it does not violate my right to reassess my own views- what it does is get in my way. If that person wishes to provide commentary (in whatever style, be it prosecutorial or whatever) about that information, my expectation is that they get to write another book, or do it somewhere else, like the rest of us.
If they do not, and take the path James V. has taken, I view it as an impediment. Now, I have to consider their personal purposes. As a party who did not participate, there will be new purposes and personal agendas- it simply must be so, if the person exercises volition. In Mr. Valliant's case, I have to accept the premise that this appropriately includes establishing himself as an important author- after all, he has come out of the blocks writing about Ayn Rand, and soon will be taking on The New Testament, I am told. Both large, high-profile undertakings, for which he should be admired in terms of sheer ambition. What troubles me in his choice of action (which he has explained) is that it is built from the idea that he must, in the interest of balance (truth, justice, and the American way, even), counter into the situation with his own analyses, his own judging (or prosecution, as was the more natural path for him- stylystically, this makes sense to me on a number of levels, one of them being good business sense if you are out to sell books). In other words, he must pre-load, predigest, on our behalf. That is normally referred to as "spin", and I have no use for spin. For a player, a principal in a set of events, to provide personal "spin" is innate and virtually impossible to separate. I don't even view it as "spin". As I said, they will do as well as they choose to, and as they can manage to. Such is the case with firsthand accounts.
There are some that think that the largest affront in his choice of format is that within it lies the tacit assumption that we were not able to determine that there were subjective elements in the Branden books. In other words, he assumes a deficiency on the part of the reader, which he through his own skills and (more informed) perspective must fill on their behalf. That, due to this "gap", one that AR herself cannot (or did not) fill, he must do our thinking for us, or at least attempt influencing the public currents. This seems like acting by proxy, where there was no proxy given. Actually, it seems an awful lot like a certain variety of pragmatism, or something explained via a certain kind of pragmatism.
(Edited by Rich Engle on 9/26, 12:01pm)
(Edited by Rich Engle on 9/26, 12:05pm)