Thanks for posting this. I just picked up Journals of Ayn Rand yesterday.
I'm fully expecting both insights into Ayn Rand and cases of 'thinking out loud,' where she is exploring ideas, perhaps without regard for how those words might look three-quarters of a century later.
A scan of Prescott's blog suggests one who'd not be favorably disposed to the most generous interpretation of Rand, put mildly.
JOAR surprised me here:
Yes, he is a monster--now. But the worse he is, the worst (sic) must be the cause that drove him to this. Isn't it significant that society was not able to fill the life of an exceptional, intelligent boy, to give him anything to outbalance crime in his eyes? --Page 38.
It surprised me, not for the reasons that Prescott implies (that she is allegedly praising sociopathic behavior), but that she is condemning society for the acts of an individual. She calls society Hickman's "ultimate cause."
I wonder if Ayn Rand would have said anything like this 40 years later, in 1967. Perhaps, but I'd be surprised.
If so, perhaps she was more balanced in her view of the forces which shape people than I would expect. If not, it's too bad that she could not have retained some of the apparent compassion she felt as a young woman for individuals and the real forces which shape them.
I think later in life she was far too simplistic in her view of what makes people who they are, such as "premises." I seem to recall Nathaniel Branden commenting along these lines.
But she, too, was in part a product of her times and circumstances. She was, many Objectivists need to remind themselves, human. A very intelligent human, admirable in some ways, but not infallible, not a goddess of reason, not even psychologically healthy at times.
I'll read JOAR with that in mind.