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The Rewriting of Ayn Rand's Spoken Answers


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#1 Robert Campbell

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:09 PM

... is now available here:

http://hubcap.clemso...writingrand.pdf

Robert Campbell

#2 Michael E. Marotta

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:33 AM

Well... In the word(s) of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, "Ba-zinga!" 70+ pages! I am always amazed at the way you young people can knock out the content. Myself, I worry over every word...

Be that as it may (might, ought, should or could) I searched for "gun" because Ayn Rand's opinion that no one should own a handgun except the police is ideologically important to me. (It is my own personal opinion. Adding the authority of Ayn Rand to my arguments allows me to perplex conservatives.)

There is a remainder theorem analog here, though, Robert... I mean I lived in Ann Arbor 2005-2010 and I was not aware that anyone accused the University of Michigan Gerald Ford Library of doctoring his public statements. Though, as you note, the unexpurgated Mark Twain only now appears, and I add the Oxfordians joust with the Stratfordians over the identity of "Shakespeare" we must wonder at what the Ayn Rand Institute or Dr. Leonard Peikoff is attempting to achieve. Your own monograph is a countervalence,

Now what?...

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#3 Brant Gaede

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:30 AM

Well... In the word(s) of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, "Ba-zinga!" 70+ pages! I am always amazed at the way you young people can knock out the content. Myself, I worry over every word...

Be that as it may (might, ought, should or could) I searched for "gun" because Ayn Rand's opinion that no one should own a handgun except the police is ideologically important to me. (It is my own personal opinion. Adding the authority of Ayn Rand to my arguments allows me to perplex conservatives.)

There is a remainder theorem analog here, though, Robert... I mean I lived in Ann Arbor 2005-2010 and I was not aware that anyone accused the University of Michigan Gerald Ford Library of doctoring his public statements. Though, as you note, the unexpurgated Mark Twain only now appears, and I add the Oxfordians joust with the Stratfordians over the identity of "Shakespeare" we must wonder at what the Ayn Rand Institute or Dr. Leonard Peikoff is attempting to achieve. Your own monograph is a countervalence,

Now what?...

"No one should own a handgun"? Can you reference this?

"Now what?" The Leonard Peikoff Institute!

--Brant
owns a Colt Python .357 Magnum

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#4 Robert Campbell

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:05 AM

Michael,

Here's one of Rand's comments about gun control, right here on this site:

http://www.objectivi...indpost&p=84157

Ford Hall Forum 1971

Q&A, 40:29 through 41:14

Q: What is your opinion on gun control laws?

A: I do not know enough about it to have an opinion. I only do believe that it’s not of primary importance. I do not believe that forbidding or reg, guns or registering them is going to stop criminals from having them, nor do I believe that it will be a great threat to the private citizen if he, uh, I mean, non-criminal citizen if he has to register the fact that he has a gun. I don’t know, it’s really not very important unless you are ready to prepare a private uprising right now—and I don’t think that’s very practical.


I didn't mention it in the article because Mayhew's editing was, for once, minimal.

Robert Campbell

#5 Robert Campbell

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:10 AM

I know of just one other comment on gun control. If memory serves, I was not able to hear the original recording, so I can't judge the reliability of Mayhew's rendition.

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#6 Selene

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:13 AM

Folks:

It does not matter what her uninformed, self admitted, opinion is on the right of a citizen to own a hand gun.

She was wrong about her registration position.

Each individual has the natural right to own a weapon and that weapon can be a hand gun.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#7 Robert Campbell

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:18 AM

Adam,

Well, she admitted to being uninformed.

I'm actually surprised that she didn't get asked this kind of question more often.

Robert Campbell

#8 Selene

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:30 AM

Adam,

Well, she admitted to being uninformed.

I'm actually surprised that she didn't get asked this kind of question more often.

Robert Campbell


Robert:

I noted that.

I am also surprised that she was not asked, but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years..

Wow, there has to be something wrong with a sentence with that many commas in it!

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#9 Brant Gaede

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:17 AM


Adam,

Well, she admitted to being uninformed.

I'm actually surprised that she didn't get asked this kind of question more often.

Robert Campbell


Robert:

I noted that.

I am also surprised that she was not asked, but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years..

Wow, there has to be something wrong with a sentence with that many commas in it!

Adam

I'm not so sure, in my limited experience, of her being "vicious," except unaware that she might as well have been--that is, everything seemed so moral-intellectual with her. She claimed above all to be a moralizer, according to, if I recall correctly, Nathaniel Branden. That seemed to be the crux: she kept evaluating questions morally which is why almost everyone put their questions in writing. Nathaniel was another matter. I saw him in 1968 ridicule a man who stood up and asked him a question involving psychology. NB was on the stage with a mike and he loudly declaimed to the audience: "Did you hear what this man just said?" Etc. In fairness to Nathaniel, in the summer of 1968 he was under a lot of stress, to say the least, of which I was unaware, and I had only just started observing him in person and my data was a small sample. He came across much better to me in the 1970s and 1980s in how he interacted with people--much, much better.

--Brant

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#10 Selene

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:32 AM



Adam,

Well, she admitted to being uninformed.

I'm actually surprised that she didn't get asked this kind of question more often.

Robert Campbell


Robert:

I noted that.

I am also surprised that she was not asked, but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years..

Wow, there has to be something wrong with a sentence with that many commas in it!

Adam

I'm not so sure, in my limited experience, of her being "vicious," except unaware that she might as well have been--that is, everything seemed so moral-intellectual with her. She claimed above all to be a moralizer, according to, if I recall correctly, Nathaniel Branden. That seemed to be the crux: she kept evaluating questions morally which is why almost everyone put their questions in writing. Nathaniel was another matter. I saw him in 1968 ridicule a man who stood up and asked him a question involving psychology. NB was on the stage with a mike and he loudly exclaimed to the audience: "Did you hear what this man just said?" Etc. In fairness to Nathaniel, in the summer of 1968 he was under a lot of stress, to say the least, of which I was unaware, and I had only just started observing him in person and my data was a small sample. He came across much better to me in the 1970s and 1980s in how he interacted with people--much, much better.

--Brant


Brant:

That's a fair evaluation of Branden's evolution.

I know what I saw early on at NBI when Ayn would answer questions. As Heller also noted, she was more and more insulated by Nathaniel, as the organization [cultish movement] grew, to the point where she would answer only written questions, as you noted, and then, to not appearing at all to answer questions.

She had, what I perceived, a truly nasty part of her personality that displayed itself in sharp contrast to her warm aspects. So be it. I understood, early on, that she was a real human, with real emotions and needs.

I was perfectly fine with it.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#11 Brant Gaede

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:50 AM




Adam,

Well, she admitted to being uninformed.

I'm actually surprised that she didn't get asked this kind of question more often.

Robert Campbell


Robert:

I noted that.

I am also surprised that she was not asked, but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years..

Wow, there has to be something wrong with a sentence with that many commas in it!

Adam

I'm not so sure, in my limited experience, of her being "vicious," except unaware that she might as well have been--that is, everything seemed so moral-intellectual with her. She claimed above all to be a moralizer, according to, if I recall correctly, Nathaniel Branden. That seemed to be the crux: she kept evaluating questions morally which is why almost everyone put their questions in writing. Nathaniel was another matter. I saw him in 1968 ridicule a man who stood up and asked him a question involving psychology. NB was on the stage with a mike and he loudly exclaimed to the audience: "Did you hear what this man just said?" Etc. In fairness to Nathaniel, in the summer of 1968 he was under a lot of stress, to say the least, of which I was unaware, and I had only just started observing him in person and my data was a small sample. He came across much better to me in the 1970s and 1980s in how he interacted with people--much, much better.

--Brant


Brant:

That's a fair evaluation of Branden's evolution.

I know what I saw early on at NBI when Ayn would answer questions. As Heller also noted, she was more and more insulated by Nathaniel, as the organization [cultish movement] grew, to the point where she would answer only written questions, as you noted, and then, to not appearing at all to answer questions.

She had, what I perceived, a truly nasty part of her personality that displayed itself in sharp contrast to her warm aspects. So be it. I understood, early on, that she was a real human, with real emotions and needs.

I was perfectly fine with it.

Adam

I don't know how they comported themselves earlier. Before 1968 I think they had classes in hotel rooms, so it would have been more intimate and perhaps less threatening to class members. Considering what I read about the Branden/Ellis debate in 1967, which I couldn't go to, that must have been the epitome of bad behavior all around, including Ellis's. (I wonder where the tape of that is--it's the great missing thing from those years.) I did notice that the bigger the forum, aside from the aforementioned, the more likable Rand came across as, as when on TV or at the Ford Hall Forum. I wonder if she was sub-consciously aware that something was really wrong with her relationship with him and if she associated students of Objectivism more with him than with her and if she expressed anger to them that was displaced anger toward him.

--Brant

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#12 Selene

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:56 AM

I wonder if she was sub-consciously aware that something was really wrong with her relationship with him and if she associated students of Objectivism more with him than with her and if she expressed anger to them that was displaced anger toward him.
--Brant


Hmmm...

Now that is a possibility.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#13 whYNOT

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:27 PM

Adam, Well, she admitted to being uninformed. I'm actually surprised that she didn't get asked this kind of question more often. Robert Campbell

Robert: I noted that. I am also surprised that she was not asked, but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years.. Wow, there has to be something wrong with a sentence with that many commas in it! Adam

Adam, Well, she admitted to being uninformed. I'm actually surprised that she didn't get asked this kind of question more often. Robert Campbell

Robert: I noted that. I am also surprised that she was not asked, but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years.. Wow, there has to be something wrong with a sentence with that many commas in it! Adam


No, Adam, to my critical, but, I admit, not expert, grammatical eye, there
is not a single, superfluous, or, missing, or, misplaced, comma, in this sentence.

Keep up the good work.

Tony ( OLCOP - OLComma Police)
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#14 Michael E. Marotta

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:11 AM

I know of just one other comment on gun control. If memory serves, I was not able to hear the original recording, so I can't judge the reliability of Mayhew's rendition.
Robert Campbell


When I opened the discussion on this here in Politics, I cited two quotes from the Ford Hall Forums, including this:


"Handguns are instruments for killing people -- they are not carried for hunting animals -- and you have no right to kill people."
http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11624
But I accept that your concern is with the editing by Mayhew, not the content which stands as stated. I do not want to argue guns here.

Here, though, as noted, the editing seems to be intellectually dishonest. Based on your excellent work, I would go so far as to say that the re-working is a case of academic fraud. Perhaps the adjective we need is "orwellian."

Mike M.
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Website: CSI: Flint (2011)
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#15 Michael E. Marotta

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:55 AM

... but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years..


... I don't know how they comported themselves earlier. Before 1968 I think they had classes in hotel rooms, so it would have been more intimate and perhaps less threatening to class members. ...


I took the NBI class in Cleveland in a hotel room and it was not conducive to open discussion. In fact, we were not to discuss anything, actually. The hosts said that they had no authority to speak for the NBI and could not answer questions. Before and after the talks, there was nothing like an open discussion of anything. If people went over the material among themselves, they did so on their own time at their own place.

Realize that I was a teenager (just turned 17 a few weeks in to the lectures) and I was the youngest person there, so I was not at all in a position to question much, even if I wanted to. I did ask one question of the hosts before a presentation, but was acutely aware that though facing two people, everyone was listening. ("How do you know if you have self-esteem?")

Also, at about that same time, Ayn Rand was interviewed on a local radio show with Q&A. (She was in New York, not Cleveland.) One of my classmates wanted to ask about friendship, about our need for friendship. He opened with Roark's relationship with Austen Heller and Mike Donnegan and Ayn Rand cut him off saying that she had no interest in hearing a synopsis of her work by a teenager. I do not remember what she said after that because I was empathetically thunderstruck, with blood rushing in my ears. He was my friend, at least, I knew him from school, and it was as if it had been me.

And then it was my turn... I asked if Wagner was an individualist as for instance, he refused to put a ballet in the middle of Rienzi -- and that's as far as I got. I wanted to ask about other Romantics in addition to Rachmaninoff, but that did not happen and (no surprise), I have no idea what she said in answer, except that Wagner was not individualist even though he wrote some beautiful passages. (I think that's what she said.)

So, yes, you would have had to have been at their level to face them well. By the nature of the NBI and the cult of Ayn Rand, that was largely unavailable to millions of us. That was fall and winter 1966-1967 and in the spring, I visited colleges and attended two NBI lectures as a guest of the local clubs - posters were easy to find in the student unions - and it was pretty much the same for them, as far as I could tell. On the train to the talk, students reviewed their notes. The one guy who asked questions was an outsider to the group, though, admittedly, part of the group going to the lectures. I heard a Basic Principles that I missed and I heard Barbara Branden on Principles of Efficient Thinking.

Mike M.
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#16 Brant Gaede

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:28 AM


... but to a degree, I am not surprised, as I personally witnessed, in those early NBI days, the condescending, and flat out vicious put downs of certain questioners, which, sadly, took its toll on questioners over the years..


... I don't know how they comported themselves earlier. Before 1968 I think they had classes in hotel rooms, so it would have been more intimate and perhaps less threatening to class members. ...


I took the NBI class in Cleveland in a hotel room and it was not conducive to open discussion. In fact, we were not to discuss anything, actually. The hosts said that they had no authority to speak for the NBI and could not answer questions. Before and after the talks, there was nothing like an open discussion of anything. If people went over the material among themselves, they did so on their own time at their own place.

Realize that I was a teenager (just turned 17 a few weeks in to the lectures) and I was the youngest person there, so I was not at all in a position to question much, even if I wanted to. I did ask one question of the hosts before a presentation, but was acutely aware that though facing two people, everyone was listening. ("How do you know if you have self-esteem?")

Also, at about that same time, Ayn Rand was interviewed on a local radio show with Q&A. (She was in New York, not Cleveland.) One of my classmates wanted to ask about friendship, about our need for friendship. He opened with Roark's relationship with Austen Heller and Mike Donnegan and Ayn Rand cut him off saying that she had no interest in hearing a synopsis of her work by a teenager. I do not remember what she said after that because I was empathetically thunderstruck, with blood rushing in my ears. He was my friend, at least, I knew him from school, and it was as if it had been me.

And then it was my turn... I asked if Wagner was an individualist as for instance, he refused to put a ballet in the middle of Rienzi -- and that's as far as I got. I wanted to ask about other Romantics in addition to Rachmaninoff, but that did not happen and (no surprise), I have no idea what she said in answer, except that Wagner was not individualist even though he wrote some beautiful passages. (I think that's what she said.)

So, yes, you would have had to have been at their level to face them well. By the nature of the NBI and the cult of Ayn Rand, that was largely unavailable to millions of us. That was fall and winter 1966-1967 and in the spring, I visited colleges and attended two NBI lectures as a guest of the local clubs - posters were easy to find in the student unions - and it was pretty much the same for them, as far as I could tell. On the train to the talk, students reviewed their notes. The one guy who asked questions was an outsider to the group, though, admittedly, part of the group going to the lectures. I heard a Basic Principles that I missed and I heard Barbara Branden on Principles of Efficient Thinking.

I was thinking of the course given live in NYC. I took it by tape in Tucson. The same routine. If you had questions they were to be sent to NY through the representative. The rep. said Barbara Branden said certain questions were off limits, like why do you (Rand) smoke? Philosophical questions were okay.

Let me tell you why I think Rand had that nasty attitude you described, cutting that kid off the way she did. She wasn't getting laid. It also explains why Nathaniel Branden was lying his head off to her. You see, He met her as a teenager and in a way he was still a kid when everything finally blew up. Then there is the question of ineffable guilt for Rand. The affair was built on lies and fiction and contrivance. A real mix up of psychology, philosophy and novel writing. And we'll never know the role of any amphetamines she was taking. Young people take a lot of shit. They are very flexible. It has to do with growing up and survival until adulthood. Father knows best, or, you'll have to live and deal with Father's best, whatever he thinks that is. Rand dominated those around her because of the age difference and her smarts and accomplishments and because of the deserved admiration and deference she received. She expanded into that and it made her even bigger than she should have been--bigger in the wrong way.

--Brant
that story about Rand not wanting to hear a synopsis of her novel from a teenager really set me off

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#17 Robert Campbell

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:00 AM

When I opened the discussion on this here in Politics, I cited two quotes from the Ford Hall Forums, including this:</p>
"Handguns are instruments for killing people -- they are not carried for hunting animals -- and you have no right to kill people."
http://www.objectivi...showtopic=11624
But I accept that your concern is with the editing by Mayhew, not the content which stands as stated. I do not want to argue guns here.

Here, though, as noted, the editing seems to be intellectually dishonest. Based on your excellent work, I would go so far as to say that the re-working is a case of academic fraud. Perhaps the adjective we need is "orwellian."


Michael,

Exactly.

The 201 items in Mayhew's book that I was able to check have given me a well-founded distrust of his editing on any of the 169 that I wasn't able to check.

Including the portion of the 1973 Ford Hall Forum Q&A that has never been made available to the public. The second remark on gun control is one of 8 answers that Mayhew published from FHF 73 for which the original is inaccesible.

Robert Campbell

#18 Peter Taylor

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 12:30 PM

edited out
Semper cogitans fidele,
Independent Objectivist,
Peter Taylor




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