|Michael—it pains me as much as I'm sure it does you to spend time on this stuff, but since PARC seems destined to have an impact similar to PAR (I hope historians have fun with the acronyms) on the Objectivist movement it behoves us to be especially scrupulous in dealing with all relevant matters, central or peripheral. I'll take you at your word on your first two points, but the remainder contains distortions you must know are distortions. Let me dissect:|
I don't see anything wrong with having a bias, though. You obviously have yours. That should not interfere with objectivity in examining facts, however. So to be clear, let's just say that I refuse to lend my mind to the following:
1. Just because Barbara declared that you drink too much (and I will even agree with you that this is solely your own business), I will not go along with your complete rewrite of her history, eliminating all the good and painting her as an evil lying back-biting bitch while inciting others to do the same.
Now you know full well that she didn't simply claim that I "drink too much." She endorsed the proposition that I am an alcoholic. An alcoholic is someone helplessly dependent on, & routinely, seriously impaired by, alcohol. That's a very serious thing to say about the head of an Objectivist organisation and someone who is a public figure independently of that as well. Especially when it's not true. Confronted with unsolicited testimonials from friends that it's not true, she refused to retract or reconsider in any way, shape or form. Did she stop to think for a second what might happen if the New Zealand media picked up on her allegation? (Probably not much, as it happens, since my fondness for red wine is well known, but no one has suggested that I have a problem with it. However, she wasn't to know that.) Or, imagine that someone said a similar thing about Ed Hudgins. Every time you read one of his posts, you'd be asking yourself what stage of inebriation he was at. (In actual fact, of course, Ed's problem is that he doesn't drink nearly enough.) That sort of thing can seriously dent the credibility not just of the person but the organisation. And BB at the time, remember, was a SOLO staffer supposedly looking out for the good of SOLO.
On its own, her allegation would have been puzzling; coupled with the very pertinent questions PARC had raised about the reliability of her similar claim about Frank O'Connor, it became positively sinister.
As for the back-biting, you yourself have acknowledged this part of her modus operandi to me in private—and I have the e-mails to prove that.
Have you forgotten the product you still sell - your interview with her? I doubt that the evil lying back-biting bitch evaluation is in that thing. I know my own history with her shows her to be a vastly different person.
Nope, I haven't forgotten it, nor the good times with BB generally. I've written about it & them wistfully since the estrangement occurred, as you well know. Do you think for a second that I didn't treasure my friendship with her, that it was easy just to drop my "bias" (the same one as yours at the time) & acknowledge I'd been wrong about the Valliant book? Think again, my friend.
btw - If anybody ever tried to do to you what you have tried to do to her, I would be all over them. Once again, check out my posts on Solo for evidence. I have done that. I also have e-mails to prove it.
I haven't tried to do anything to her. This was all her own work, alas.
2. I will not go along with characterizing Barbara as sympathetic with pedophilia - or insinuating such like you do, even yesterday - just because she would not chuck out a 20 year friendship from one minute to the next. I did what nobody else did back then. I sent her material to read.
I am not at liberty to speak for her on this, but I will say that she expressed thoughts to me that are vastly different than she had before she read the material. She simply would not be swayed by the "I WANT YOU TO CHANGE YOUR MIND NOW - IMMEDIATELY!" approach that you demanded at the time.
Again, as you well know, I haven't said BB is sympathetic to pedophilia. I faulted her for defending a promoter of it when the evidence that he was was on the Flannagans' web site for all to see, well before you sent her any material. Mr. Cresswell rather trenchantly reminded her of it at the time, as I recall. If she has backed away from defending him, she hasn't said so publicly as far as I know.
3. I will not seriously entertain absurd notions like a painter using empty booze bottles as part of his artistic equipment.
I have no view on that, except that empty booze bottles don't prove alcoholism. They merely indicate someone drank the booze.
4. I will not make light of the work of an eminent writer and founder of the Self-Esteem school of psychology, having sold over 3.5 million books in 18 different languages (according to the blurb on the back of the 32nd anniversary edition of The Psychology of Self-Esteem, presumably by 2001). You should see how Valliant belittles this in PARC, or have you forgotten?
As you know, I don't give a damn about that stuff. It's for Californian cripples with more money than sense. But my view on it has no bearing on my view of PARC.
5. I will not agree with the one-sided approach presented by Valliant in PARC (which, incidentally, eloquently presents the "Rand perfect, Brandens evil" position that you consider to be a ridiculous caricature).
I believe I made my own observations about "Prosecutor Valliant's" approach. His case is strong nonetheless—and it doesn't rest on a "Rand perfect" foundation.
6. I will not agree that erasing the voices of the Brandens on historical recordings and selling them that way is rational or good.
Neither will I, as I made abundantly clear & as you know full well. Why lump me in with the voice-erasers? I called them "Stalinists" did I not? Do you seriously think I admire Kremlin-style history-rewriters?
7. I will not chuck out the magnificent lyricism of PAR and wonderful things Barbara said about Ayn Rand in it.
Neither will I. But I can see now that's not the full story.
8. I will not call Nathaniel Branden a rapist.
Er, the term was psychological rapist, was it not? I think it's a pretty good term for the comprehensive mind-fucking of Rand Branden did with his years & years of the most appalling lies.
I could go on and on and on, but the list is too long.
I don't need to do any of that stuff - nor blank-out contexts like people are now fond of doing now - to empathize with Ayn Rand's pain on being deceived.
What happened to her was horrible.
Get it right, Michael—what they did to her was worse than horrible.
If your idea of truth is needing to subject your mind to those kinds of things, then we have vastly different standards for objective truth. Coming from standards like that, a "zilch credence" evaluation of my position is fine by me. I bear it with honor.
Well, bear it with honour, then. But to my mind what I've quoted here is ample illustration of why you have a credibility problem with me.
(Edited by Lindsay Perigo
on 11/22, 9:04pm)
(Edited by Lindsay Perigo
on 11/22, 9:11pm)