I’m afraid that Ayn Rand did say that Objectivism was ‘about her’…
“My personal life,” says Ayn Rand, “is a postscript to my novels; it consists of the sentence: ‘And I mean it.’ I have always lived by the philosophy I present in my books…”
(from Atlas Shrugged—“ABOUT THE AUTHOR”)
That is precisely why Objectivists must be scrupulously honest about any respects in which she may not have lived up to her principles. To do otherwise is to imply that some notion of personal loyalty or devotion should take priority over reality—and decimate the very foundation of what we hold dear.
No focused beginner will come away from PARC with a scintilla of respect for Objectivism as a philosophy founded upon a respect for the absolutism of reality. The book is a transparent attempt to paper over the shortcomings of Ayn Rand, and it makes Objectivism look like a bad joke.
Personally, I was hoping that PARC would have long since faded away into the oblivion it so richly deserves—and I believe it was beginning to do so. That is why Doherty’s favorable comments are so unfortunate—and why they require a prompt and succinct refutation.
Your comments about Nathaniel Branden reflect a position very similar to my own. While I am certain that we would have many disagreements about specific philosophical or ethical issues, I have had enough personal experience to say that I regard him as a man of genuine integrity. And is it not a foundational ethical principle of Objectivism that we must stand up and defend our values when they are under attack? I simply cannot remain silent when Doherty thoughtlessly lends his credibility to such an obvious exercise in calculated deceit. And even worse, he was duplicitous to have relied so heavily on the Brandens as a resource and then end the book with such a brutal and careless slap in their face.
My dictionary defines neutral as
“the position of not being engaged on either side.”
I certainly recognize that Doherty offered major criticisms of Objectivism and that these were stronger than his presentations of pro-Objectivist positions, so perhaps “neutral” does not exactly apply. He did, however, appear to make some effort to present both sides of Rand‘s philosophy, despite his obvious disagreement with it.
Thanks for your feedback. Some sort of ‘balance’ may have indeed been Doherty’s goal, given that, for most of his book, he relied heavily on the testimony of those critical of Rand. But ‘balance’ is not attained by validating the spurious conclusions of hatchet men like Valliant. Doherty is giving credence to any jackass from the street who throws mud at a wall just to see if it sticks. His effort at “balance” undermines his entire voluminous history.