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Post 20

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 7:24pmSanction this postReply
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James,
No no no no, you never offended me at all. Nor did Casey.

We had our exchange at SOLOP on Peter Cresswell's PARC review thread. I went over there and copied everything. It runs 5 pages long so I won't post them here. Basically, I am not satisfied with your distinction between fact and opinion.

For example, you wrote "It remains a fact that Ms. Branden chose not to tell us the nature or extent of this counseling".
 
The counseling sessions being those between Nathaniel Branden and Ayn Rand. 
 
And I asked: "Was Ms. Branden present at those sessions? My recollection is that she was not, for the most part at least. Then why expect her to tell us the exact nature or extent of those counselings? How could she know?"
 
It is this kind of skewed assertions, plus that your editor often couldn't get basic fact straight that greatly diminished my desire to read your book. Sorry. Just my own subjective judgement.
 

(Edited by Hong Zhang on 5/24, 7:40pm)


Post 21

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 8:07pmSanction this postReply
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Hong,

As I recall, I had an answer to your last question (Ms. Branden's presence in Rand's notes as someone clearly aware of this counseling).

Even if we disagree, I trust that I was never rude to you.

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Post 22

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 8:34pmSanction this postReply
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James,
Barbara certainly mentioned those "counselling" sessions in PAR. I vaguely recall that both Nathaniel and Ayn talked to her about them. Poor woman!

"I trust that I was never rude to you"
 
Of course not! I might be a little brash myself though...but, but, can you promise that you have never been rude to me in your private correspondences?  Did you ever call me something like, um,  "Madame Mao" in your emails to X, and Y? ;-)
 


Post 23

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 9:09pmSanction this postReply
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What I see here is the difference between Barbara's mentioning that counseling of a certain kind was going on, and that she doesn't mention the nature or extent of the counseling.  I guess I'd need to see Rand's own journal notes to get some idea of just to what extent Barbara would know about the counseling.

If it's a fact that she chose not to disclose the nature and extent of the counseling, then it's something over which she had a choice -- that she actually knew about its nature and extent.  If it's a fact, then it's something that would be established by the available materials -- her own PAR account, and Rand's journals.


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Post 24

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 10:12pmSanction this postReply
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James, you wrote:
As I recall, I had an answer to your last question (Ms. Branden's presence in Rand's notes as someone clearly aware of this counseling).
Do you mean that Barbara's aware of this counseling equals to knowing the nature and extent of it?


Post 25

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 10:46pmSanction this postReply
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Yes, Hong, I promise never to say something about you behind your back that I wouldn't say to you directly and that I never have. Nor have I ever said such a thing about any of the emotionally charged foes of my book, whatever they have called me.

And, yes, I mean "aware at the time that the counseling was quite extensive."

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Post 26

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 8:47amSanction this postReply
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Ooops, James, I am afraid I can't say the same. ;-) Ooh, the things I said behind your back!! If they ever get published, I'd definitely be the most dishonest, immoral and evil person on the planet. Move over Brandens, and Sciabarra! ;-)

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Post 27

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 9:50amSanction this postReply
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James, how many copies of PARC have been sold?

And how does that compare to PAR and to the more academic or scholarly books such as Essays on Anthem or Essays on We The Living..if you know?

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Post 28

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 10:07amSanction this postReply
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Even though I was very interested in reading the biography and memoir by the Brandens, I have no intention of reading PARC and my reasons are simple.

After the split between Rand and the Brandens, Rand's desire to conceal the actual reasons for the split created a huge mystery and much confusion in people who had been associated with the Objectivist movement. All of this happened before my emersion in the philosophy so I did not experience any emotional fallout from the split, but later it did loom as a huge puzzle without any satisfactory answer. When the Brandens' books were published, they provided the missing information necessary to make some sense of what had transpired. Having a full picture of what occurred was essential for being able to comfortably accept the tenants of the philosophy whereas the unresolved mystery had created huge doubts as to how useful the philosophy was in practice if it created a situation so bad for its originator that it must be shielded from all view. In addition, despite the great many attempts to describe the Brandens' books as defamatory, I completely disagree with this characterization. I think both accounts gave great praise to all of Rand's strengths and achievements while also showing some of her very human flaws. I found both books uplifting and they did not undermine my appreciation for Rand. They simply replaced my previous reservations concerning Rand's concealment of facts by a better understanding of events and of Rand as a complex person.

In contrast, it quickly became clear from early accounts of PARC that its single-minded focus was on undermining all credibility of the Brandens. There has been much additional discussion regarding the book over the past few months and I have heard nothing that substantially alters this early appraisal. This is not a book with a positive message, it is a treatise with a theme of destruction. If the focus of the book had been on presenting new information that gave us a better understanding of Rand, then there would be no need to focus on such idiotic material as whether or not Rand got her name from a typewriter, etc., etc. The fact that the book apparently does focus on such material shows its true intent.

I might be accused of drawing too much inference from too little information since I have not read the book. However, I next point to the results that have been achieved since the book was published. I see nothing positive. Instead, it has been a catalyst for driving another wedge between the Objectivist community, polarizing factions and generating nothing but rancor. I have not heard of one report where it has created a more positive view of Ayn Rand in the eyes of the general public nor has it furthered the acceptance of Objectivism in any way. It puzzles me as to what others are deriving from it. Those that praise it seem to simply be using it as a platform to justify and bolster their dislike for other individuals. Well, I don't need that.

Thus, it is my conclusion that the book has nothing to offer in furthering my life and I don't plan to read it - and not because I simply don't care.

--
Jeff


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Post 29

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 11:52amSanction this postReply
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Many people think this is gossip.  I personally don't think so, this is not gossip at all, this is war--a war started by Ayn Rand after  the dissolution of her  partner-ship with NBI  and after the end of her friendship with the Brandens.  Was Ayn Rand wrong in starting such war against the Brandens?  Maybe not!  she had to save her face and, her philosophy above all. It seems that she failed at least in one of these  attempts.  The Brandens after  40 years have not been destroyed by what she did and said against them, and by what her followers keep doing.
I want to suggest to the people who keep bringing up  stories and write books like PARC, to put your heart at peace, and to go home. Accept your defeat once and for all, and start teaching
and spreading AR's ideas instead of losing time on an issue, which is old, and is only cause of shame, for the founder of objectivism. 
ps.
People at TOC are accused of not paying its must respect to a book like PARC?
I wonder, why then at ARI( beside some young students whose favorite color is blue,) people of importance  never say anything or, talk about the book at all.
Why?

(Edited by Ciro D'Agostino on 5/25, 2:17pm)


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Post 30

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 1:30pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff S. wrote, "Those that praise [PARC] seem to simply be using it as a platform to justify and bolster their dislike for other individuals."

It's worse than that. Most of those I'm aware of who praise it are using it as a platform for morally condemning anyone who has read the book but has not been convinced by the author's case. (I find the author's methods of argument so poor, I have trouble understanding why anyone would be convinced.)

Nevertheless, I'm glad, for a specific personal reason, that I did read the book (I've read the whole book once and the journal entries, in meticulous detail, twice): Ayn Rand's psychology interests me, and I feel that I've been confirmed in various opinions -- opinions which often differ from James Valliant's conclusions -- and that I've been led to new insights in some respects (again, generally different respects from Valliant's interpretations). Thus I personally found the book valuable for the sake of the journal entries, though I'd have preferred to acquire those as stand-alone items.

Ellen


___

Post 31

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 4:21pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Small,

Then, you have been profoundly misled. What you think is "clear" from the "accounts" of PARC given by the Brandens' friends is simply false. Rand was indeed a complex person -- but she was also the victim of a grave injustice. You might want to check out the reality of PARC before issuing statements...

As a principal victim of the "rancor" -- before the book was even available -- I have sympathy for your distress at the emotions surrounding all of this.

However, I am confident that, if you read PARC, you will see the need for such a critical analysis -- something which is inevitable, in any case.

Phil,

SOLOPassion.com is the forum on which i believe the management here would prefer this discussion to take place. I know that the Brandens have issued a request (demand?) not to post there.

Sorry.



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Post 32

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 4:56pmSanction this postReply
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James Valliant wrote:

I know that the Brandens have issued a request (demand?) not to post there.

James:

Thanks for making my point for me.
--
Jeff

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Post 33

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 5:45pmSanction this postReply
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I know that the Brandens have issued a request (demand?) not to post there.
That's fascinating!  To whom was this request (demand?) made? I never got the memo, myself. 

I'm one of the "I don't give a damn" people, because in 100 years no one will give a damn about who lied to whom.

I'm guessing that's pretty obvious. Better cash in on these scandalous cows now, dude, the Branden's ain't getting any younger!  But, who'll be left to hang after they're gone?

As long as Poobah Peikoff is alive, Objectivism won't be running short of devils to chase.


 


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Post 34

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 5:51pmSanction this postReply
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" Better cash in on these scandalous cows now, dude, the Branden's ain't getting any younger! "

Why rush? The Brandens waited until after Rand's death and milked it ever since.

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Post 35

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 6:42pmSanction this postReply
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Why rush? The Brandens waited until after Rand's death and milked it ever since.

Joe, do you really think that milking on someone is so easy, are you confusing it with sucking? :-)

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Post 36

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 7:09pmSanction this postReply
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I don't know, Ciro. Why don't you ask the Brandens, they've been doing both for years.

Post 37

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 9:08pmSanction this postReply
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> SOLOPassion.com is the forum on which i believe the management here would prefer this discussion to take place.

Jim, without an extended discussion, can you tell us how many copies your book [PARC] has sold?

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Post 38

Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 9:23pmSanction this postReply
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Then why do you keep running here, Phil? Who started the WRAPPING UP SCIABARRA thread?

Post 39

Friday, May 26, 2006 - 6:36amSanction this postReply
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Phil,

No, I don't have the accurate raw number right now, but it's in excess of other recent nonfiction books about Rand or her philosophy, but nothing like the sales numbers for PAR. Does that help?

Mr. Small,

How would the Brandens' ban on SOLOPassion "make" your point?

Ms. Isanhart,

In 100 years, I'm hoping, there will still be a lot about Rand's biography that will be of interest.



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