]]]]]]]]]]]]    THE PASSION OF AYN RAND:  MY REPLY      ]]]]]]]]]]]]]] 
     My evidence does not come from Mrs. Branden; it comes from Ayn 
Rand. In THE NEW LEFT (Foreword), a reader made the suggestion to 
publish such a book. ``As a rule I don't like practical suggestions 
from readers. But this was such a good idea..." [that she overcame her 
distaste]. In the Ayn Rand Letter she often passed dogmatic judgment 
on matters of taste, for example, on folk-dances ("Once you have seen 
one, you've seen them all.")  Asked in an interview whether there were 
other sources on which she built her philosophy, she finished her 
answer with "But in the end there is only me and only me." In her last
taped lecture (New Orleans), someone asked some question about her 
philosophy. Instead of answering it, she said (I quote from memory) 
"This is a ridiculous question, and I know exactly where such junk 
comes from." Further examples will be found again and again in her 
writings. If that is not conceited and intolerant, what is?
     This jibes with Brandon's description of her personal characte-
ristics, so I believe her; and I do not believe Peter Schwartz, whom I 
caught covering things up. For her work, I do not need either Brandon 
or Schwartz, for I can read it myself, and the point that I made was 
that it is Rand's work, not her personal life and human frailties, 
that are important -- which appears to be a dreadfully heretic 
opinion.
     As for the individual letters, I found the one by Miriam Schwartz 
(no relation to Peter) a testimony to the atmosphere that pervades all 
groups whose members seek intellectual crutches with religious fervor 
and abhor anything that might raise suspicions of heresy.
     It is Harry Binswanger's privilege to subscribe only to journals 
with whose book reviews he agrees; but he is mistaken in believing he 
can send me a letter and then direct me how I must use it.
     Mr P.O.S. puzzles me, for I am in complete agreement with his 
statements on philosophy vs. psychology, so I am not sure what we are 
quarreling about. Similarly, the other Swedish gentleman chides me for 
irreverence, yet goes further than I in saying that in Rand's case her 
personal life DOES matter. Apparently both Swedes doubt whether Rand 
did have an affair with a man who could have been her son and whose 
wife was her good friend, etc. I do not: the circumstantial evidence 
seems overwhelming to me, and there would be plenty of specific de-
nials if it were untrue. But again, it is her work, and not her sex 
partners that are important to me.
     C.J.S.'s letter: I do not put much faith in psychology -- either 
Brandon's or her opponents. However, I can't help noting that Mrs. 
Brandon, in the passage quoted by Mr. C.J.S., freely admits that she 
is guessing. Yet C.J.S., in estimating Rand's reaction, is guessing no 
less: he tells us not what Rand did, but what he thinks she ought to 
have done.
     J.P.R.'s letter: I cannot defend opinions that I do not hold. I 
did not, as he claims, state that "Mrs Branden used my reputation to 
buttress her credibility," and as for sincerely believing "that Rand 
could not and did not have any integrity" -- do I have to answer what 
has been put in my mouth?
     It is true that I am on a long list of people whom Mrs. Brandon 
thanks for their help, though I have never met her or corresponded 
with her. However, she was a subscriber for some years and (as I 
realized after writing my review) she might have meant the general 
help she got from the newsletter. Or there might be some other reason, 
not excluding an honest mistake. Without other plausible reasons, why
immediately jump to the devious? 
     Such other plausible reasons, I am sorry to say, are clearly 
present in the case of Peter Schwartz. I like to hear both sides of a 
case before I form an opinion, and I was very careful to read 
Schwartz's review of the book, which he inserted as a separate sheet 
in the Intellectual Activist. I found the absence of any reasonable 
arguments fishy, but what truly shocked me was one of the unreasonable 
ones. The book contains some pictures, including some family pictures 
with Ayn Rand (then Alice Rosenbaum) as a baby. Most other members of 
the family on the photograph are identified, but one uncle only "with 
reasonable certainty." That phrase is what Schwartz jumps on conclud-
ing that the rest of the book is equally unreliable. If Schwartz could 
not find any better reasons for attacking Brandon's book in a half-
page review, then clearly it is because he is bankrupt of other argu-
ments.
     But beyond that, and regardless of the book, stooping to that 
kind of argument is dishonest. So are many other of his statements, of 
which I have reproduced a few. He has, for example, sleazily twisted 
my words into allegedly claiming that all who condemn Brandon's book 
do so out of a religious desire... etc.  
     If Nader were to write my biography, as he suggests, it would 
very probably be unflattering and full of his customary distortions. 
But I would not recommend to subscribers to avoid it, especially if I 
had not read it myself; and if in a half-page review my rebuttal would 
have to include the case of two missing commas, it would be a clear 
indication that there cannot be much wrong with his book. 
     Some years ago, one Peter Schwartz whom I had never heard of, 
called to say he would like to start a pro-capitalist journal and 
would I be on the board. I replied that I had no more time to give to 
any editorial boards, but if he merely needed my name, he was welcome 
to use it. Now, it appears, he did me the great honor of including me 
on his board, but of course that was before he doubted my commitment 
to science.
     If this is an intellectual heir of Ayn Rand, he has nothing of 
her intellectual integrity; what he mainly appears to have inherited 
is her money and her arrogance. 


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