Sunday, April 06, 2008

Is The Passion of Ayn Rand "Valueless"?

James Valliant says in The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics that the Brandens' books are "valueless" to historians. Here is a list of allegations that were first made in PAR that have since been confirmed. Of course, not all are earth-shattering and Peikoff and the Sures have disputed Branden's description of Rand's anger, but I think all this is worth pondering.

1. Nathaniel Branden had an affair with Ayn Rand. Although Peikoff at first questioned this, even he now admits it.

2. Nathaniel Branden and Rand obtained the consent of their spouses before starting the affair. Confirmed by Britting in Ayn Rand.

3. Nathaniel Branden and Rand first became lovey-dovey during a ride to Toronto. Rand mentions this ride in her diaries as excerpted in PARC.

4. Barbara Branden met Rand in 1981. Confirmed by the Archives, although Valliant initially implied this was a lie.

5. The Collective threw the surprise party for Rand to celebrate Atlas Shrugged. Confirmed by the Sures in Facets of Ayn Rand.

6. Rand used diet pills. Confirmed by a letter sent by Isabel Paterson to Rand quoted in Cox, The Woman and the Dynamo.

7. Rand had anger management issues. Confirmed by Leonard Peikoff in “My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand.”

8. Rand occasionally became angry in response to questions. Confirmed by the Sures.

9. Rand’s habit of expressing public disapproval for things she didn’t like. Confirmed by the Sures.

10. Rand’s typing kept her Chicago relatives up at night. Confirmed by Britting.

11. Rand didn’t like surprise parties. Confirmed by the Sures.

12. Detailed recollections of Dr. and Mrs. Blumenthal concerning Rand as quoted in PAR. Not disputed by Valliant.

13. Rand’s disappointment with her sister Nora during visit to US in 70s. Confirmed by Britting.

14. Cult-like nature of the Objectivist movement in the 60s. Confirmed by Valliant (although places the blame on Nathaniel Branden).