Here is a restored version of my PARC database from 2006. I've only changed the formatting.

The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics

In 2005, a book came out that re-ignited a terrible division in a community to which I belong. That book is The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics (PARC) by James Valliant. The community is made up of those who follow Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. The two main camps are the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) and The Objectivist Center (TOC - now The Atlas Society). I am a strong supporter of TOC. I have no issue with ARI. The division between the two groups causes me great pain and frustration. We are a tiny, marginalized group as it is. The in-fighting only serves the purposes of our enemies. The differences between ARI and TOC are well known within the community. If you don't know what they are a few Internet searches will provide hours of reading.

I began to read PARC with an open mind. From the first pages, however, I found it appalling; so much so that I began marking pages and writing in the margins. The notes were only to be for me but I soon began to read how many in the community admired and liked the book. I can't understand how anyone can like this book. So, I've decided to publish my thoughts online. There is a plague in the Objectivist community. I hope one day we find a cure. In the meantime, here is my attempt at an antiseptic.


Page 10
"...especially Leonard Peikoff, who is inadequately discussed in her biography..."
Peikoff's major role wasn't until late in Rand's life, from what I know. In any event, BB is free to focus on whatever she feels is important.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 19:10:59
Page 12
"The Brandens' reader cannot help but notice ... their motive in recounting events ... involves rescuing their own reputations."
Not me! There's a bit of that in Nathaniel's book but certainly not Barbara's. Both books present a warts-and-all portrait of themselves.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 19:23:18
Page 12
"Dishonesty is apparent ... As a case in point, we are treated to an unnecessary fabrication concerning how Rand chose her name."
The account may not be correct, but that doesn't make it dishonest. This is a prime example of the methods used in PARC. Assume the worst possible motive and then proceed as if the assumed motive is fact.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 20:51:48
Page 15
"Their mission, therefore, strikes the reader as one of vengeance and tastes of financial exploitation."
Not me! I don't get any hint of vengeance in either biography nor do I get any taste of exploitation.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 20:56:21
Page 20
"Ms. Branden would have it both ways since she reports the following ... [snip from PAR that attempts to show a contradiction in BB's reporting]"
The two excerpts don't show a contradiction at all. Ayn could be sensitive and supporting and still be "alien" to motherhood. Further, the second quote seems to me to be BB's personal reflection on Rand. PAR is both a biography and a memoir.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 22:26:32
Page 21
"... the persistent need both authors have to justify their own conduct in the events they relate."
JV may get this impression, but I don't. PARC will make editorial comments like this over and over but BB and NB's books don't give me that impression.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 22:29:35
Page 28
"Rand herself would have demanded definitions of these comments..."
I don't believe JV can assume what Ayn Rand would have thought/said. He makes assumptions for Rand throughout PARC.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:02:04
Page 30
"... Ms. Branden stretches well past the range of the evidence."
PAR is not a legal document. It is a memoir and biography. PARC treats it like it is something that will be presented in a court of law.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:05:29
Page 33
"... reiterating the same examples suggests a coordinated story ..."
The use of the word "coordinated" here is not justified. PARC takes every opportunity to suggest a conspiracy.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:08:58
Page 34
"Ms. Branden notes that Rand abhorred physical exercise. As a child she did enjoy climbing around the Alps and, in her sixties, Rand took dancing lessons ... Despite this, we are told that Rand 'loathed' physical activity from early childhood."
I'm not sure what PARC is trying to prove here. The few paragraphs after this try to come up with reasons why Ayn Rand would not like exercise. In any event, the fact that she did do some physical things doesn't exclude the possibility that she did hate physical activity. Further, as will be common in my comments, BB is open to giving her personal beliefs on what motivates Ayn Rand as she knew her intimately.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:14:32
Page 37
"... the Brandens find compelling in establishing their shared thesis."
Neither book is espousing a thesis as far as I can tell, let alone a shared one.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:18:47
Page 40
"In fact, Rand did not believe the first two propositions at all ..."
PARC is thinking for Rand again here.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:22:32
Page 40
"When we are angry, scared or sad we usually know why."
After 10 years of therapy, I am finally able to connect my feelings to their source. My experience with most people is that they are not able to do this at all times. Most people I know have many blind spots in their personality that cause emotions to occur for reasons that they don't know.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:25:48
Page 41
".. a megalomaniac ..."
I don't recall either NB or BB's book referring to Rand as a meglomaniac. PARC does not provide a reference here.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:31:47
Page 41
"Mr. Branden says of Rand: ... '[Rand] had the most profound and passionate respect for the facts.' In a contradiction worthy of his former wife, Branden elsewhere complains of Rand's 'manipulative dishonesty,' and even calls hers 'a life of lies and deceptions.'"
It's possible that Rand had a passionate respect for the facts but was in denial to herself about some things. I don't think PARC makes its point successfully here. Also, the condescending comment 'worthy of his former wife' is out of place.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:38:05
Page 43
"That Mr. Branden is every bit as small and petty as is his former wife could not be more apparent ..."
It's not apparent to me. The only thing that comes off as small and petty is James Valliant's book.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:42:29
Page 44
"Such instances not only reveal the emotional animus behind the attack, but also the degree of distortion from which their perceptions suffer."
I see no revelation. I don't see distortions.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:44:33
Page 46
"Ms. Branden alleges that dishonest grandiosity is apparent in Rand's claim that 'the only thinker in history from whom she had had anything to learn' was Aristotle."
There are several paragraphs afterwards that belabor this. This again strikes me as PARC misconstruing PAR as some kind of legal document. I don't feel it is necessary for either BB or NB's book to be admissible in court. I read both books as BB/NB's impressions of Rand as they experienced her.
By jordanz on 2006-03-26 23:59:24
Page 49
"Mr. Branden ... claims to possess special (i.e. unverifiable) knowledge ..."
I have no problem accepting that NB had special knowledge of Ayn Rand. He had a romantic relationship with her and was as close to her as anyone in the world.
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 00:08:34
Page 49
"Had the Brandens first inquired into whether Rand ... liked surprises or not, they would not themselves have been the ones who got surprised..."
Why would anyone need to check to see if someone liked surprises? I think it's safe to assume that most people like them. I've never checked in advance when planning surprise parties - it would spoil the surprise wouldn't it?
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 22:40:22
Page 50
"... [T]he Brandens ... were part of the effort to 'control' Rand's context through deception."
This is the first time I've heard a surprise party called a "deception".
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 22:42:49
Page 51
"... Ms Branden, true to form, has no problem conjuring up the image of a reclusive Howard Hughes, with uncut fingernails, fighting germs both real and imagined ..."
I never got that impression from PAR. This is a huge exaggeration by PARC.
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 22:45:06
Page 53
"If the Brandens' characterizations are to be believed, however, comparisons to the medieval church, perhaps to Stalin, are appropriate."
Is JV being facetious? I hope so. Otherwise this is ridiculous hyperbole.
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 22:50:21
Page 55
"... Branden is able to assert that what 'Rand made overpoweringly clear to us was that the ultimate test and proof of one's idealism were one's loyalty to her work and to her personally.' What Branden seems unable to make even slightly clear to his readers is how Rand did so ..."
NB was there. I take this as his impression. This is what he believes. People make things clear all the time through their body language, behavior, etc. I have no reason to doubt NB's personal experience here.
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 22:54:44
Page 55
"To the simple-minded, perhaps, this is cause to conclude all of these alleged 'implicit premises' ... [I]t was the Brandens themselves who were singing Rand's praises the loudest in those days. Are they now confessing that they were, in fact, simple minded?"
I don't agree with the "simple-minded" label. It's recursive logic for PARC to arbitrarily use this label and then accuse BB and NB of being that thing. In any event, it seems to me that the Brandens are confessing regret.
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 23:02:05
Page 56
"With Branden as our only witness, we require such corroboration."
Here, again, is the legal formulization that PARC uses over and over. Again, the biographies are not legal documents. They are biographies and memoirs.
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 23:04:55
Page 57
"...[G]iven Branden's predilection for ax-grinding and contradiction."
I don't concur with this opinion of NB.
By jordanz on 2006-03-27 23:07:11
Page 58
"Anyone who has observed group therapy can attest that the group sometimes has to come down on an individual pretty hard."
I've been in many therapy groups and being "hard" was never tolerated. The groups I've been in have always been characterized by support and encouragement.
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:01:15
Page 58
"[T]his anecdote is nearly useless to the historian ..."
Another instance of PARC turning PAR/JD into things that they are not. They are memoirs and biographies, not academic studies.
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:04:05
Page 60
"Since the Brandens both chose the very same 'trial' to present, it must represent their strongest case ..."
I don't think that BB/NB are "making a case".
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:06:00
Page 61
"Of course, most large, private organizations have a protocol for 'in-house' disciplinary proceedings ..."
I've never been part of any private organization that disciplined members in the ways described of NBI.
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:09:27
Page 61
"Unfortunately, neither of the Brandens reveals the actual nature of their complaint. Is it A) ... B) ... C) ... or D) ... These issues are all so blurred that the reader cannot tell."
I had no problem understanding the complaint.
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:11:51
Page 63
"Ms. Branden reports ... she was never able 'to tear out of myself my passionate response to Thomas Wolfe's novels.' Instead, she says, she learned to repress her true artistic tastes ... What she told Rand was 'I agree'; what her heart told herself was, 'But I don't!' In plain English: she lied to Rand about her feelings."
This is conclusion is plainly wrong. I read BB as saying that she was confused and repressed her own feelings. She wanted to share Rand's feelings and, so, repressed her own.
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:16:28
Page 64
"Why did the Brandens feel the need to repress? Simply in order to be regarded by Rand as 'one of her kind of people' ... This cannot be ascribed to any 'authoritarian' tendencies of Rand, but rather to the dishonest and sycophantic tendencies of the Brandens."
I ascribe it to a natural desire by young people to defer to and want to please their mentors. To call it 'dishonest and sycophantic' is out of line.
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:21:09
Page 70
"... Rand held her endorsement, her 'sanction,' dear."
If this true of Rand, a reference should be given. This tone that PARC consistently uses is disconcerting. PARC's prose constantly sounds like it is speaking for Rand.
By jordanz on 2006-03-28 23:26:06
Page 72
"[A]nother glaring instance of Branden suppressing important evidence."
More of PARC's legal language. Also: Simply because NB doesn't include something that JV thinks is important this is "suppressing".
By jordanz on 2006-03-29 23:50:19
Page 73
"[B]oth Brandens seem to assume that such a 'break' constitutes some form of persecution. Ayn Rand does not want to see you anymore, and, therefore, your rights have been violated."
PARC misses the point here. It's the abruptness of the breaks that is at issue. Of course no one's rights have been violated, but that doesn't make it nice. People don't expect to be treated that way.
By jordanz on 2006-03-29 23:56:26
Page 76
"Understandably, those who remained friendly with Rand did not make themselves available for Ms. Branden to interview."
This isn't so understandable to me. It depends on the reasoning. If someone I've had a falling out with was doing research on something, I still might make myself available if only to make my side heard.
By jordanz on 2006-03-29 23:59:46
Page 77
"According to [Kay Nolte] Smith, Rand expressed a worry that the picture [of Frank] would be damaged in duplication, that Smith might be robbed, and even that Smith could be hit by a taxi crossing the street with it. Smith's conclusion: '[Rand] really was paranoid about practical reality.' ... [This] alleged alienation is a rather forced explanation of Rand's fear for the photo."
If the story is true, that conclusion doesn't seem forced at all. Rand does seem a bit paranoid.
By jordanz on 2006-03-30 00:04:20
Page 79
"quoting BB: "[In a question period a] young man asked: 'How can you expect everyone to be rational and arrive at correct philosophical conclusions, if they have not been taught rationality and have not been exposed to a philosophy of reason?' Ayn exploded ... " ... It is more likely that the questioner did understand [Rand] and was simply balking at Rand's claim to have actually discovered a fully rational code of ethics."
No, I don't think that that is more likely. In any event, I don't know how JV can know one way or the other.
By jordanz on 2006-03-30 00:11:50
Page 80
"This modesty was precisely the cause of her [Rand's] indignation."
PARC is speaking for Rand again.
By jordanz on 2006-03-30 00:15:53
Page 81
"Ms. Branden's tendency for exaggeration is made clear from her descriptions of other Rand appearances. A good example is Rand's first appearance on The Phil Donahue Show. [JV quotes PAR here - then describes the scene and tries to show PAR as being inaccurate]"
I actually have this video. I felt a bit taken aback by Rand's response to this woman. I think PAR's description is fairly accurate. The woman did say something that could be taken the wrong way. But, it is a bad idea to assume what someone's context is. Rand does assume the context and acts on it.
By jordanz on 2006-03-30 00:21:20
Page 84
"What he and his former wife actually object to is the field of ethics..."
This is inappropriate hyperbole.
By jordanz on 2006-03-30 22:37:21
Page 95
"There is no question that Rand was not telling her readers everything ... [several rationalizations follow]"
When BB and NB leave something out, they are dishonest, etc. When Rand leaves something out there is a rationalization. PARC employs this double-standard throughout.
By jordanz on 2006-03-30 22:39:32
Page 96
"Branden notes what he calls Rand's 'astonishing lack of grace' in accusing him of professional exploitation in view of the enormous contribution his efforts made to Rand's 'career and the spread of her ideas.' The idea of Rand riding on his coattails is too rich an irony for serious comment."
PARC's assertion that Branden implied Rand was riding on his coattails is ridiculous. Also, as a fact, NB did make enormous contributions to Rand's career. Without NBI, I don't know if we'd have an Objectivist movement today.
By jordanz on 2006-03-30 22:44:00
Page 100
"Branden provides evidence that he had been involved in a widespread conscious deception of Rand about the state of his mind..."
The example PARC gives in no way constitutes a "widespread conscious deception".
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 00:30:24
Page 104
"For a mind such as Branden's ... it seems more likely ... that Branden was engaged in a more conscious deception of Rand ..."
No to me. Again, PARC always assumes the worst possible motives for NB/BB.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 00:34:37
Page 105
"...[I]t was surely his ethical responsibility ... to be honest with Rand about even the smallest philisophical disagreement..."
NB, as far as I can tell, was forming doubts. They weren't totally clear to him nor were they fully conscious.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 00:59:40
Page 105
"...[N]ot doing so can only be characterized as professional exploitation ..."
This refers to the previous snippet on page 105. PARC doesn't succeed in its point there so this point fails as well.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:03:10
Page 106
"[Branden's] ongoing conduct ... amounted to spiritual embezzlement."
Worthless hyperbole.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:06:07
Page 107
"...especially in the face of multiple deceptions..."
PARC now assumes the conclusion which it has failed to prove. Of course, NB did deceive Rand, but it isn't that deception that PARC is referring to here.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:08:23
Page 108
"...Branden has long denied Rand's accusation of financial exploitation ... yet, here he provides us with the details ... as he nakedly chooses a course of exploitation."
I don't see the exploitation.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:10:35
Page 109
"Whether it was a little deception - like the surprise party - or a big one - like Branden's intellectual fraud ..."
Another time where PARC calls the surprise party a "deception". This characterization is ridiculous.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:12:05
The intellectual fraud has not been shown in PARC.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:15:01
Page 109
"Rand tells us that she did consent to the loan ... This partial consent probably would have made any legal action ... difficult, but Rand had not accused Branden of an actionable crime, only dubious business practices ..."
This totally undermines PARC's assertion. It seems to me reasonable people could disagree on what was proper in the matter.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:18:38
Page 113
"One can only wonder how much else of his book, which otherwise seems to be a claim of knowledge, contains such uncredited 'intuition'."
It is a memoir, not a "claim of knowledge". Again, PARC tries to make PAR/JD into something that they are not.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:21:40
Page 114
"Soliciting Ayn Rand's help ... can, therefore, only have been part of a sophisticated and deliberate effort to stall for time ..."
Unless JV has evidence for this, it is hyperbole. He cannot know what was motivating NB.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:23:47
Page 115
"No mention was made by Branden that for the previous fourteen years such an age difference had not been 'an insuperable barrier' for him."
It seems that the age difference only became a problem as Rand approached 60. This seems understandable to me.
By jordanz on 2006-04-19 01:26:02
Page 119
"Such facts compel one to reconsider the assertion that Ms. Branden's belated honesty was even the product of ethical considerations at all. [several sentences more try to put this together]"
This is more hyperbole by PARC/JV. A motive is being created for BB out of thin air.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 20:16:43
Page 120
"[referring to a BB quote 'Ayn wants you dead'] It probably need not be pointed out that Rand never tried to have Branden killed."
BB's quote doesn't mean that Ayn was trying to get a "hit" on NB. It's a figure of speech - a reference to an emotional state.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 20:19:28
Page 124
"... Branden says that he would have been within his rights to have demanded that The Objectivist terminate publication. Legally, this may have been true, but to have done so, of course, would have constituted an even greater spiritual theft from Rand..."
This assertion is totally without merit. The Objectivist would not have existed without NB.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 20:26:56
Page 124
"... Branden was clearly acknowledging a guilt that was obvious to all those involved at the time."
How does JV know what was or wasn't obvious to those involved at the time?
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:04:52
Page 125
"[NB's] position at the magazine had been maintained for years by deceiving his business partner ..."
This is misleading. NB deceived Rand about an affair he was having. I'm not aware of any business deceptions.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:07:11
Page 126
"Morally, Branden should have signed over his interest in The Objectivist years earlier. To have asked for monetary compensation for this, in the wake of years of systematic deception of Rand about so much ..."
Again: The Objectivist would not exist without NB; The only deception I'm aware of is the affair.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:09:35
Page 127
"The Brandens were dishonest with Rand about nearly everything a person can be dishonest about ..."
Huh? They lied about exactly one thing - the affair that NB was having with Patrecia.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:11:56
Page 128
"Where the Brandens are our only source, the topic must be marked with a giant asterisk and an attached footnote reading, 'Highly Dubious.'"
I don't agree with this. PARC has not come even close to proving this to me.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:14:17
Page 138
"Branden also (deceptively) conveyed an emotional affinity with Rand that encompassed everything from their esthetic preferences to the deepest aspects of their psychology."
I don't believe NB was being deceptive. As far as I can tell, he really did have those affinities.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:16:43
Page 138
"It is, indeed, difficult to identify any dishonesty regarding the affair by Rand at any time ..."
Maybe not dishonesty but definitely stupidity. She should have known that the setup could never work.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:18:27
Page 139
"While he [NB] is obviously guessing at Rand's desires here ..."
It's not obvious to me. NB knew Rand intimately. If anyone would know her desires, he would.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:23:00
Page 141
"Despite her admitted lack of any other first-hand knowledge, Ms. Branden goes as far as to allege that 'O'Connor's drinking began to be a way of life.'"
For me, BB's own observations suffice.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:27:27
As it turns out, there are other first-hand accounts that corroborate Frank's drinking. Michael Kelly notes them here.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:31:31
Page 144
"We can only be witnessing Ms. Branden's penchant for self-serving exaggeration, if not outright falsehood, for surely such a degree of alcoholism would have been better corroborated had Ms. Branden anything of substance to report on the matter."
I don't know why PARC belabors this so much. BB makes a strong case in PAR. And, now, we have others who back up the claims. Take away the hyperbole and there is very little left in PARC (other than AR's journals).
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:38:58
Page 147
"In the end, there is no reason to suppose that Ms. Branden is not the true source of this urban legend herself."
PARC has gone on for multiple pages on this. BB provides evidence in PAR for Frank's drinking problem. Also, it turns out that others validate PAR's account.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:41:02
Page 148
"Ms. Branden forthrightly claims, 'Frank's motivations seemed to be almost identical with mine.' How Ms. Branden discerned this remains a mystery."
What mystery? BB knew Frank extremely well. They were very close friends. It amazes me how often PARC misses this obvious fact about NB and BB.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:43:23
Page 149
"In typical Branden style, it 'seemed' and he 'thought he saw a hint...'"
There's absolutely nothing wrong with this style. It's a memoir, not a legal brief.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:44:38
Page 150
"...[G]iven the conflicting reports of the two surviving witnesses, what O'Connor actually said will likely never be known with certainty."
Actually, their reports seem quite similar to me.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:45:59
Page 150
"Extraordinarily, Ms. Branden never seems to have counseled O'Connor to express any of this agony to Rand herself."
I don't know what's extraordinary about it. I wasn't there. Neither was JV. JV doesn't know enough about the context of their relationship to make a statement like this.
By jordanz on 2006-04-20 23:47:55
Page 152
"[Referring to the idea of Frank leaving Ayn] Even in those days, husbands of high-income wives could - and did - get attractive settlements."
This kind of speculation is useless (and is done throughout PARC). Maybe Frank didn't know this? Maybe he felt it would be wrong to get a settlement from Ayn regardless. Who knows? I don't. Certainly JV doesn't.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 09:16:55
Page 152
"It was one of those private conversations with Rand - 'much later,' as he puts it - which cannot be verified or contradicted and with which we are all too familiar."
The implication here is that it is a "lie". PARC hasn't successfully made this case anywhere in the book so it can't assume that conclusion here.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 09:19:04
Page 152
"'None' of their friends - zero - ever even 'suspected,' yet Ms. Branden's paraphrase of a private conversation is supposed to trump all of this. Despite her own biases, the reader is expected to swallow Ms. Branden's conclusory assertions on faith."
There is nothing to swallow. These are her recollections. No one is on trial here. Further, just because no one suspected there was trouble in the O'Connor marriage doesn't mean there wasn't any. Again, PARC fails to acknowledge just how close the Branden's and the O'Connors were.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:35:36
Page 154
"Evidence and conclusions of this caliber are vintage Branden."
Hyperbole such as this is vintage PARC.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:39:43
Page 155
"Since Mr. Branden is our only source for this, it must, of course, be treated with skepticism."
I don't know whether to laugh or scream at this. PARC is now entering the hyperbole stratosphere.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:41:05
Page 167
"[Frank] surely could have left Rand without much fear, had he truly objected to the situation."
See my earlier comments on this proposition. Additionally, it's possible that Frank was too emotionally attached to Ayn to leave. There are, in fact, a plethora of possibilities that neither I nor JV can know.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:45:26
Page 169
"[C]onsidering their relentless dishonesty since the break..."
I'm not aware of this. I don't believe this.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:46:43
Page 170
"But the Brandens, as we have seen, must be entirely discounted as witnesses to the history they relate."
PARC has not come anywhere close to proving this. However, it will now assume this conclusion.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:48:53
Page 171
"Their books can only be seen as their final vengeance upon Rand - and each other."
This is outrageous. As far as I can tell, both BB and NB revere Rand to this day. I didn't get any sense of vengeance from PAR/JD.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:50:24
Page 173
"...therein lies the problem for the usefulness of these works to historians."
JD/PAR are not academic works. They are memoirs/biographies.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:51:45
Page 173
"...which conveniently helps them grind their particular axes."
I don't believe they have axes to grind.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:52:40
Page 173
"If one day ... it is somehow established, to the surprise of the author, that Rand's callous indifference drove her husband to excessive drinking, the current analysis will stand, and the Brandens' credibility will not have been enhanced in any way."
The language of this paragraph strikes me as odd. It's almost as if JV suspects the account is true. In any event, PARC's statement here is ludicrous. If the account that BB/NB give turns out to be true, of course it demolishes PARC's analysis. Of course it enhances their credibility.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:56:11
Page 174
"... the Brandens' viciously crafted legend."
More hyperbole. Also, so very incorrect.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 18:59:26
Page 177
"...the Brandens' central thesis..."
There is no central thesis in PAR/JD.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 19:00:27
Page 178
"The Brandens, too, know this of themselves."
JV cannot read minds.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 19:01:06
Page 193
"... Rand's private journals expose several glaring ... 'oversights' in the Brandens' biographical efforts."
Rand's journals are, in essence, a memoir (though a private one). PAR and JD are also memoirs. Look how PARC treats Rand's memoir as containing facts and NB's and BB's as containing lies. What all three contain are the recollections of the authors (PAR, additionally, contains biographical interviews, etc.).
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 19:06:18
Page 195
"Rand is clearly well aware that only the extraordinary man Branden had for so many years claimed to be ..."
In Part II of PARC, JV repeatedly pre and post analyzes Rand's journal entries. Why not just let her words speak for themselves?
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 19:10:22
Page 196
"Branden's ethical standing was never on the line with Rand on the 'age' issue, despite the claims of the Brandens."
This proves nothing. The Brandens were not privy to Rand's journals. They had no way of knowing that Rand didn't consider NB's feelings about her age to reflect on him badly in an ethical sense.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 19:12:19
Page 198
"[Quoting Rand] '... the premise of "church on Sundays" ... ' [PARC inserts a note here explaining this]."
PARC's editorial explanation is so unnecessary. PARC wants to leave no possibility of interpreting Rand other than how PARC wants her to be interpreted.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 19:14:49
Page 206
"One of the creepiest aspects of his psychology is revealed..."
This editorializing is childish. It also treats the reader like a child. PARC cannot help but make sure we get to the conclusion desired by JV. It will never let a Rand quote stand by itself.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 19:17:58
Page 222
"... so completely did he pretend to reflect all of Rand's values ..."
I don't believe he was pretending. How does JV know this?
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:06:11
Page 223
"Objectivism was never a description of reality for Branden, it was 'theory' disconnected from acting - except the act that he was putting on for Rand."
Specious hyperbole.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:10:27
Page 224
"The Brandens blame Objectivism and Rand for 'making' them lie so much. Objectivism somehow says that one is 'bad' for loving Patrecia. See how absurd Objectivism is? 'I had a right to lie in the face of this absurdity,' Branden seems to be saying."
Actually, the quote says "Ayn's philosophy" which isn't synonymous with Objectivism (I realize that the two O'ist camps disagree on this).
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:15:27
PARC puts words into Branden's mouth that NB never said and that aren't consistent with the facts.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:16:55
Page 224
"Branden should love Rand ... So, he acted the part as best he could."
I believe that NB really did love Rand. He was not acting.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:18:16
Page 226
"Patrecia may well have been a better match for Branden, but he was certainly never really Rand's soul-mate."
This isn't necessarily true. He may, at one time, have been her soul-mate. But, he changed.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:20:02
Page 232
"...[W]e have already seen from Rand's own journals that a 'total' break still meant only a romantic one to her."
As before, this proves nothing. NB was not privy to Rand's journals so he didn't necessarily know this.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:23:12
Page 235
"... revealed Branden to be a dishonest man ... [O]ne who was habitually immoral."
NB was dishonest about his affair with Patrecia. But, this doesn't mean he is a complete dishonest man, let alone habitually immoral.
By jordanz on 2006-04-21 23:25:46
Page 244
"[Quote from Rand that mentions breaking with NB but still seeing him 'functionally,' on business] ... so Branden's self-portrait of having 'his back to the wall' must be seen as pure fantasy. "
Rand didn't know about Patrecia at this time. NB's belief is the more accurate one given the information Rand was missing.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:17:46
Page 250
"... Rand's 'doubts' about Branden apparently date 'from the beginning' of their relationship ..."
The Rand quote only says "the beginning". It doesn't not specify what that beginning is. Again, JV is putting words into Rand's mouth.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:19:50
Page 250
"The Insanely Jealous Rand of the Brandens' tale is not easy to find in such entries. In fact, these notes contradict the entire Branden portrait of Rand at this time ..."
Rand's journals are not the sole and complete statement of her emotional state at that time. It's improper to draw such a significant conclusion such as PARC does.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:23:29
Page 262
"A fair reading of Rand's notes suggests that this kind of disillusionment on her part could not have led to this."
There is more to Rand than just these journals. It's not proper to draw conclusions from the journals alone.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:25:03
Page 263
"... Branden's indecision is a remarkable display of moral cowardice ..."
Finally, something JV and I agree on. So much pain and suffering were caused by the bad decisions NB made at this time.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:26:26
Page 263
"Branden's request that Rand have 'faith' in his motives is the line of a con-artist in this context."
Typical PARC hyperbole. I'm willing to believe that NB was being sincere.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:27:20
Page 264
"Branden's failure to 'end it' with Rand immediately ... can only be seen as sadistic torture of both women for his own financial and professional ends, if not worse."
Of course, this is ridiculous. Branden's true motivation, I'm sure, is far more subtle and involved. Accusing Branden of being a 'sadistic torturer' is beneath contempt.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:40:32
Page 271
"[Excerpt from Rand's journal] Rand is suggesting ..."
Rand's journal entries are astonishingly clear and precise (this is one of the few values of PARC). JV's restatements and editorials are unnecessary and, frankly, insulting.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:43:20
Page 288
"[Quote from AR's journals referring to ideas of Christian trichotomy and how they might relate to NB] Branden is unable to integrate his work ... rendering [his] personality similar to the classical Christian division ..."
Here again, JV takes a perfectly clear AR quote and unnecessarily (and in an inferior way) regurgitates it.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:47:18
It's not possible to come to any accurate conclusions about NB from AR's journals. He was lying to her. All of her conclusions and analysis are based on incorrect information.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 14:49:32
Page 298
"Can you believe this guy? His attempt to placate Rand has Branden actually saying that his feelings for Rand are 'so intense' that he was compelled to repress them!"
I have no trouble believing this.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 15:04:05
Page 302
"... this still dubiously credits Branden with actually sharing Rand's values."
I don't think it's dubious. It seems that, for the most part, Branden did share her values. It's not all or nothing.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 15:06:01
Page 303
"This is the charge that stings the most - the one the Brandens saved up for such a special occasion as the obfuscation of their own dishonesty."
PARC is becoming synonymous with hyperbole. Of course the Brandens were not wringing their hands with an evil laugh and saving up special attacks.
By jordanz on 2006-04-22 15:08:17
Page 378
"That such a mind was for so long thus occupied simply in order for the Brandens to keep their business interests intact ..."
This is one of many points that PARC failed to prove. The summation here is without merit.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 01:09:29
Page 378
"Branden had, at first, play-acted the perfect 'mirror' of Rand's convictions and values."
Another conclusion not proved by PARC.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 01:10:32
Page 378
"In light of the new insight gained from Rand's notes ... On this matter, too, the Brandens have profoundly misled their readers."
Again - the Brandens (as far as I know) never read her journals. So, they couldn't have known their content. Thus, they didn't mislead.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 01:12:38
Another instance where PARC treats Rand's journals as fact but treats NB's and BB's memoirs as lies.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 01:14:02
Page 379
"... his extreme claims of passionate love for Rand ... were shown to be a fraud."
I don't think NB was fraudulent in this regard. He was very confused, etc.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 01:17:04
Page 379
"... [T]he last several months of grueling psychotherapy ... was all an elaborate, extensive and professional fraud."
I'm not sure what a "professional" fraud is. In any event, I'm not sure NB was completely fraudulent in these sessions. My understanding is that he was deeply confused about his life.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 01:19:50
Page 380
"In the familiar claim to specialized knowledge that often signals one of Mr. Branden's more dubious assertions ..."
NB's claims to specialized knowledge (if he, indeed, makes them) are reasonable given how close he was to AR. Further, dubious assertions are to be found in PARC, not PAR/JD.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 01:22:11
Page 381
"...[W]e can now see the motive for Branden's unfair accusations against Leonard Peikoff ... It was simply part of a wider fear of what her other notes might contain."
This is completely manufactured. NB has not said anywhere that I'm aware of that he was afraid of her notes.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 19:59:10
Page 382
"For those of us who would be physically incapable of this kind of sexual deception..."
This condescension is revolting.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 20:01:49
Page 382
"As a professional prosecutor with over fifteen years of experience with this category of criminals, this author is able to identify at least one aspect of Branden's character clearly: Branden's psychology shows a striking similarity to the psychology of a rapist."
This is base. This is appalling. This is contemptible. PARC has stooped to a point lower than I thought possible. I'm disgusted by this.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 20:05:32
Page 382
"[PARC continues with the rape accusations. At one point mentioning men who rape 'quite elderly ladies']"
Does JV have no shame? This has no place in serious discussion. These few pages, by themselves, denote PARC as trash - foul and putrid.
By jordanz on 2006-04-23 20:08:18