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Post 60

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 11:25pmSanction this postReply
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(sigh)

Casey,

The Post number is 46, not 346. Please edit.

Michael





Post 61

Monday, September 26, 2005 - 11:32pmSanction this postReply
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Woops! 46. Typo.

Over to you!




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Post 62

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 12:38amSanction this postReply
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A great deal of discussion focuses on that the Brandons lied about Rand.  There is no apparent disagreement on the immorality of those lies.  Clearly the extended length of the lies affects the egregiousness of the lies because of the numerous opportunities for either of the Brandons to weigh and consider the immorality of their deceit. 

When a person steals something, it is an act of theft, but does not necessarily, without more, mean the character of the person is that of a thief.  A temporary lapse of judgement, or an assertion of a perceived short-term gain, does not forever condemn the person, only the act.  The thief may not be thinking of the long term consequences to the rightful owner.

 But when a person spends years planning an embezzlement, fully aware of the consequences, with ample opportunities to back out----then the character of that person is that of a thief. 

Similarly, it is not just that the Brandons lied about Rand, it is that they did so with full awareness of the consequences, with long periods of time to contemplate and reconsider their course of conduct.  Tools of contemplation enhanced by the epistomology that Rand herself provided them.  Instead of backing out, they perpetrated an even greater ruse by asking Rand to donate her time to a fake therapy session.

I assert that it is important to contemplate the cognitive mindset of a person engaging in such a course of conduct.  These sessions were scheduled.  Brandon does not have even the insufficient excuse of a rash or impulsive lie.  It is a fair inference, perhaps the only reasonable inference, that Brandon premeditated the lies for each new session. 

It was an immoral act to deceive Rand, but to then ask Rand to participate in phoney therapy-----that is just too much like Ellsworth Toohey's goal of having the victim whip themselves. 




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Post 63

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 1:35amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Perigo

I'm new to SOLO.  I've been a free rider for some time, reading the posts of others.

In your posts, you mentioned Barbara Brandon's willingness to condemn Frank to the historical status of an alcoholic, on flimsy evidence.  It goes without saying (although I'm saying it) that such a charge should be left unstated, unless the assertion is made based on solid evidence or at least reasonable inferences from the available evidence.

However, I don't think your analysis went far enough.  In objectivist terms, to level a charge of alcoholism is serious indeed.  To drink to the point of alcoholism is to impair ones ability to perceive reality itself, and then to destroy cognition and the ability to reason.  To be an alcoholic would be the abandonment of the very ability to be an objectivist.  It is not as if Barbara Brandon made a flimsy assertion that "Frank had a pet turtle", a  matter of no consequence.  It was a flimsy assertion on a matter of consequence to any person, but of the greatest consequence to an objectivist.

Further analysis requires including the context of such a claim.  It was not an off-hand remark Barbara made at a party, or a slip of the tongue, but a well considered assertion that she published. 

However, a more significant context for Brandon's assertion of Frank's alcoholism is that it was well known that Rand valued and cherished Frank until even after Frank died.  There is Rand's famous comment to Phil Donahue that if she believed in an afterlife she would immediately commit suicide to go defend Frank.  So to claim that Frank was an alcoholic is to perforce imply that Rand valued and cherished an alcoholic.  It provides worse implications about Rand's character than the more overt assertions that Rand was jealous and short tempered.  It is to imagine Howard Roark in love with Catherine Halsey to the bitter end!

Further, Barbara's implication, is that Rand herself drove Frank to alcoholism  Therefore there is the implication that Rand destroyed her explicit and express "highest value." 

I realize that Barbara did not explicitly state the inferences that I have drawn out above.  However, I assert they are not only reasonable inferences, but they are the only reasonable inferences.  I don't think it is reasonable to conclude that Barbara Brandon's claim was a mere random thought, nor that she did not realize the logical inferences from such a comment.  My observations may be obvious, but I think the obvious often needs to be expressly stated.  It is far to easy to dismiss the obvious with statements that begin with, "Of course she was wrong about that, but..."   A great immorality reduced to a mere pronoun; "that." 

To call someone an alcoholic comes with an entire cultural set of implications, that are particularly insulting to an objectivist. 

To be called an alcoholic is a bit like calling someone a child molester-----People may not necessarily believe it is true, and may even say they don't believe it, but they probably won't be inviting you to babysit.




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Post 64

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 2:11amSanction this postReply
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I'm not particularly interested in this topic.  I haven't read any of the books in question.  I don't think it's very important either way.  Maybe historians will.

I am curious about one part.  A number of people have mentioned Barbara's huge contributions to Objectivism.  Other than the "Principles of Efficient Thinking", I'm not familiar with any of them.  But given the boldness of the claims, I assume I'm missing something spectacular.  Will one of the people emphasizing her importance go into more detail?

(Edited by Joseph Rowlands on 9/27, 2:12am)




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Post 65

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 2:33amSanction this postReply
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Lindsay:

"Still, good to see everybody paying attention."

Christ, that's funny. Satan in Hell, garnishing the recalcitrant, couldn't have put it better.

Ross



Post 66

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 3:09amSanction this postReply
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Now, Ciro, I used to drink copious amounts of Sambuca, Amaretto. In fact, once, I drank so much, the next day my caca was deep olive green. I nearly went to see my doctor.

Of course, a Sambuca is also an ancient Roman assault ladder.

Which type of Sambuca are you referring to :-)

Ross





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Post 67

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 4:16amSanction this postReply
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Peter wrote:

"I have to say, aside from the news about Barbara, I see nothing in the noisy reproachments of Linz's article -- " I don't take hysterics seriously at all" says Alec hysterically -- that wasn't already answered in the article itself.  I am surprised for example how many "last words on this subject" Alec and others have chosen to write, at all the pumped-up outrage, and also who is putting up those sanctions for it all."

Perfectly put!

I'd also add that this is one of Linz's finest articles. Too often folk here take the brilliance of his writing for granted. But of those who actually read this essay, who  - apart from Joe, that is, with his stated indifference to the topic - would deny that it hasn't given them at least a moment's pause? Linz compels us here to reconsider Rand without the hindrance of Branden-coated spectacles. And it's a view that all but the most unrepentant of cynics should delight in.

Bravo, Linz. And bravo, Mr. Valliant! 
 




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Post 68

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 5:35amSanction this postReply
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Linz,
I'm puzzled that Andy & Marty belabour the desirability of leaving all this personal stuff behind us, since that's precisely the note on which I end my review! That's a given!
Yes, it is.  Unfortunately, too many around here don't get it.  They won't move on, even when someone like yourself does a little heavy-lifting to clear a way for them.  So, I thought it was worthwhile to emphasize the "given" here.

What no one should be puzzled about is that any objective reader of your review will see it for what it is:  A fair-minded attempt to reckon with facts in highly contentious dispute.  That's why the sniping at you is a little disgusting.  All you have done is state what you believe is true after reading all of the available materials and, of course, your personal experience.  That's all any of us can do in pursuit of the truth.  The Branden partisans can, and probably should, disagree if they want.  What they cannot do justly is disparage the intellectual honesty of your review.

I believe what your review is bringing to a sharp point is the most serious divide among Objectivists.  We've already seen in the price-gouging and addictions threads.  There are those who want to round off what they perceive as the rough edges of Ayn Rand's philosophy to make it more acceptable to the namby-pamby pomo therapeutic culture we are currently mired in.  Then there are those who see the truth and the beauty in "warts and all" Objectivism.

Andy




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Post 69

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 6:24amSanction this postReply
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Damn it, Joe, you beat me to it.

"So let's correct this - deal with it with her - and move on and see the rest of who she is and what she has done for Objectivism. Look at it. It exists. "

What EXACTLY has she done for Objectivism? Other than made money off another person's ideas, and off of her intimate contact with a genius?



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Post 70

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 6:54amSanction this postReply
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Scott said:
What EXACTLY has she done for Objectivism? Other than made money off another person's ideas, and off of her intimate contact with a genius?

Gee, Scott, at least you're going at this with an open mind!  Make "her" into "his" and the question could be asked of Peikoff.  In fact, if you make the second question gender-neutral, it can be asked of quite a few people who make a living off Objectivism.
Glenn




Post 71

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 7:42amSanction this postReply
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Peter::

...as long as Objectivism is a philosophy for living, those who are living it will be scrutinised.
 
Scrutinised. Now, there's something to look forward to. Something to live for, something to wake up with.

Of all the fucking words to pick, it had to be that one.

*sigh*


rde
 




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Post 72

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 8:26amSanction this postReply
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You're right--there are alot of people that make a living from Objectivism. But I wasn't on this forum defending their great accomplishments and contributions to Objectivism. Someone WAS suggesting the Barbara should get a pass because of her tremendous accomplishments. And I repeat: What accomplishments?

I understand that 90% of success is just showing up. But 'showing up' is not much of an acheivement.

Linz, Joe and Jeff have done loads more, and they did it standing on their own two feet--not at the feet of Ayn Rand, which is where Barbara sat while the gravy train lasted, even though her husband was screwing her meal ticket, and they were all torpedoing their integrity. Makes me want to take a shower. Yuck.

Peikoff at least has worked his tail off to collect Ayn's thoughts in a cohesive way that had never been done before. I am sure it was alot of hard work, and OPAR has a value to Objectivists that almost cannot be measured. And, Dr. Peikoff has the integrity AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS BOOK to make it explicit that the ideas in the books were Ayn's, not his. That is honesty, to work so hard putting together a 300 or 400 page (I do not remember how many pages--maybe more?) book of IDEAS, not from your own mind, but to learn, digest, and be able to explain those of another person. To say nothing of his brilliant Ominous Parallels. Barbara is not in the same league as Dr. P as regards Objectivist contributions. Unless you count offering your husband up as a secret boy toy a contribution.



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Post 73

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 8:40amSanction this postReply
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Joe R,

In answer to your question, let me start off by stating that Barbara's contributions to Objectivism were enough for Ayn Rand to want to designate her as heir as second in line. If your question was a mere question, then trying to understand why Rand would want to do that would be a good starting point. (If you are fully swayed by the Valliant-Fahy arguments, then you will think that they were totally conniving and evil and the worlds greatest actors for years, probably because they were born that way [they were too young to have learned it] or because they were Canadian or something, while Rand was a sap for years - which is a version I do not buy.)

I intend to do some work precisely on this point, (not a full article on Barbara, but there is one area I am thinking about where she plays a major role. But as they say, don't give out your goodies too soon.

If the question was meant as a barb, then nothing I have to say will make any difference anyway, other than provide material for derision.

Given the context of this thread, I will keep my peace for now. I have stated several fundamental truths about Barbara so far that have not been contested - they have been ignored (except for a large number of sanctions). The bash party goes on.

Let those posters who like these things have a ball for now. Truth always has a manner of winning out in the end. Even Peikoff could not erase the affair from Rand's history nor can many powerful opponents, especially organized religions, erase the cultural impact of Rand's ideas.

Barbara's importance merely needs to be stated simply. The rest will follow. I prefer not to state these things on this thread any longer and I want to organize a bit more.

Michael




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Post 74

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 10:01amSanction this postReply
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Scott, what's above me here is absolutely it.

She was part of making what happened happen. That is the first benchmark. After that, counting books is a dog that isn't going to hunt. This isn't like, say, the situation where you have a rapper who is producing, and his posse. These people were activists, all of them. 

And, in a lot of ways, LP did the best he was capable of, and there is some goodness in it.

Because I am business driven, I tend to look at things from that perspective. If you look at it as a private enterprise (of which one remains here, if you consider that the estate is still held and intact), LP is the CEO. There were no spinoffs- a company initiates a division spinoff. What happened is the other variety, which is a series of breakoffs. 

Anyway, there are obviously different leadership styles, and it is interesting to study CEO leadership styles. Some reflect virtually none of their personalities through the enterprise, others reflect them completely- when you see the enterprise, you're pretty much seeing the personality, virtues and flaws.

LP is of the latter category. Both are valid leadership strategies, although the former is clearly more nimble, and to my mind capable of more innovation and growth speed.  It requires specific qualities from a leader. Perhaps not-so-ironically, one of the most inciteful overviews you'll ever see of  that was written by Nathaniel Branden, it is an essay called "The High Self-Esteem Leader", which appears in a book called Partnering- The New Face of Leadership.

The latter style is more direct- the entity simply is brought to resemble the person who is running it. Who that person is is the defining limiter for success.

In either case, when you look at results, you look at the leader.




Post 75

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 7:19amSanction this postReply
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Scott Do you think a genius would associate with a dick head?
Think about it!




Post 76

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 8:11amSanction this postReply
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Ross, I rather not answer question of this nature, especially when I see Derek around.
Do you remember what happened  last time when we  talked about olive oil and goats?:-)
BTW, I didn't use the ancient roman assault ladder. It was plain sambuca Romana.
I drink it by adding a coffee bean to it, or a piece of water melon.

Ciao.

(Edited by Ciro D'Agostino on 9/27, 3:25pm)




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Post 77

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 8:21amSanction this postReply
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Steve, apparently Barbara Branden's main source of information about Frank's alcoholism came from her friends and relatives who also knew Frank in his last years. I stated on another thread that if he had dementia you had to discount the alcoholism for the dementia trumps the alcoholism even if he drank a lot. So it's very possible she said what she did in good faith. BTW, alcoholism can be in no way equated with child molestation in terms of moral gravitas.

Joe, Barbara's contribution to Objectivism was in running NBI in the 1960s and TPAR. Who is claiming she made a "huge" contribution to Objectivism? The context of your question implies a contribution to the philosophy as such. Even Nathaniel Branden has stated that he is unaware of ANY contribution to the philosophy that he personally made. (I can't give the reference to this off the top of my head; it was probably one of his interviews.)

--Brant




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Post 78

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 10:34amSanction this postReply
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I guess Joe got an answer to his question in post 64, nothing. Barbara's email to michael for post 73 didn't have any more info this time. She did have something new. "Heir as second in line." What the hell is this. 


What NB said about Barbara's promiscuity cover several points. When they started their love affair it was his first and, she said, her second. NB found out she lied, and there were others like Wifred Schwartz. As they continue dating Barbara's sexual promiscuity continued in CA and NY.  Then her ex lovers start showing up in NYC.  

In Atlas, Ayn wrote a person reveals his self esteem by the person he has sex with, regardless of what he says. Since it was obvious to NB what Barbara was, he thought about the implications of this as it reflected on him.(p284)





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Post 79

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 11:16amSanction this postReply
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This is so, so far down in the barrel. It's all about the fucking, now. Big suprise. In the end, that's where the, er, "rigorous scrutiny" really ends up, when everyone (and they always do) decides to, er, dismount from the more ethereal end of things. Fundamentalists do it, liberals do it, and, without a doubt, Objectivists do it.

Such is the primacy of fucking, it seems.  

"Promiscuity". Jesus, Mary and Joseph- even for the sixties, if you consider who all these people were and what they were doing, it was a goddamn free-for-all. That's why it blew up. All to blame. Open relationships (or any variant thereof) rarely work. To the ones that do: Go With God, the divine smiles on you. The rest of us have to be content with watching our careers, finances, personal lives, personalities, and sometimes even philosophical movements get all blown to shit whenever we try it.

I'm not sure which one is more true- that fidelity is about more than fucking, or when Harlan Ellison said "Love ain't nothing but sex, misspelled.

People will rationalize their way into fucking each other, and they will rationalize their way out. They will rationalize that it was OK that they were fucking "A" and how it was different from when someone else was fucking "B" at the same time. They will rationalize the historical sequence of the fucking.

And, the most favored of all the bloodsports:  armchair quarterbacking the fucking of other people. There is no statute of limitations.

Well, c'mon, back to the action...

rde
Feels creepy when JV calls people "dude".




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