|As a newcomer to this forum, who nevertheless has throughly read this thread, I want to commend Mr. Valliant on his book. Like Linz, I remained skeptical before approaching the book--mostly stemming from the fact I want to see less attention paid to AR's personal life, and more to her philosophy. However, I could not resist the temptation to hear AR's side in her own words. Admittedly, my impression of AR's personality had been negatively discolored to a significant degree by the Brandens' books.|
The book illuminated many aspects that do not bear out too well Brandens' books. For instance, the extent to which NB concocted elaborate schemes to keep AR "off the scent", and the resulting anquish she suffered along with the painstaking psychoanalysis she went through to try and make sense of it all.
Clearly, her emotional responses and her outlook were mischaracterized as well, particularly in regard to the age difference issue between NB and AR. And many more things. For this reason, although I find Mr. Bidinotto a highly intelligent man who has done some very good work, his rejection of the book sight unseen and his characterization of Mr. Valliant as a "parasite" without knowledge of personal circumstances, seems highly unjust.
As Linz pointed out, it does seem rather odd that many of the voices clamoring for acknowledgement of the Brandens' books from the ARI side and for "all the facts" to be known, many of these same people are treating this book as if there is no essential dispute to the Brandens' characterization of AR--in many cases, dismissing the book and the evidence therein without even a glance. Strange attitude indeed.
As to the drawbacks of the books, the main one I saw was that there was some liberties taken in regard to psychoanalysis of the major players, particularly in regard to NB. For instance, starting on page 349, there is analysis of NB being the "Power-seeking" type of social metaphysician, as opposed to the "Ambivalent" type of social metaphysician that AR was suspecting at the time. Well, some of these may be oversimplified as there could be multiple causes. Perhaps, some of the lying had to do with him wanting to delay the consequences, as opposed to using intellectual "coercion" as a "preferred alternative" exemplified by the "Power-seeking" type of social metaphysician.
Other parts of me also have mixed feelings about the "psychologizing" in the book, as I've been especially annoyed over the years in regards to the "warm and fuzzy" crowd at TOC & Associates. I've seen many of these same people "psychologize" AR as having a sadistic "glee", as being "narcissistic", as being "close-minded", and on and on and on. Mind you, many of these people have never even met or spoken with her. Furthermore, this is from people who claim to mold their lives around her philosophy.To hell with the anti-"psychologizers", I want them to get a taste of their own hypocritical medicine.
So to you Mr. Valliant, I thank you for robbing me of some of my illusions. As a law student myself, it was a good lesson in making judgments where there is only partial evidence.