]]]]]]]]]]]] 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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