Jerry Biggers

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Posts posted by Jerry Biggers

  1. A few observations on Anne C. Heller. I have had some occasion to see her at three of the Atlas Society's summer conferences, and one sponsored at the CATO Insitiute in Washington, D.C. (with which she shared the podium with Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, which was published around the same time) including some opportunity to ask her questions after several of her "presentations" (which in every instance, she deferred to just take Q&A from the attendees). One of these, held in Alexandria, I also had an extended conversation with her, along with several other conference attendees, at lunch.

    Not surprisingly for an author on tour to attract interest in her just published biography, Miss Heller's answers in interviews are carefully tailored to the presumptive audience. As far as I could tell, she never contradicted any previous statement, but definitely was quite aware of who the likely audience was. So, for liberal audiences, she would sometimes answer in a manner which could best be described as veiled (or not-so-veiled!) sarcasm about Rand's personality and her books; while with audiences presumably favorable toward Rand, her responses were more neutral.

    In at least one case that I recall, she was asked by an interviewer that as Rand's biographer if she would have liked, if Rand was still alive, to have had the opportunity to meet and interview Rand. Her retort was, "Well, NO!" (usually accompanied by laughter from the studio audience) Now, for a biographer searching for as complete a picture as possible of her subject, I found that a rather astonishing, if not incredulous, reply. So, in the Q&A session at the Atlas Society/Free Minds conference in Alexandria in 2009, I asked her. Attendees had been pitching "softball" questions at her, and she seemed startled that anyone would ask her such a thing! Her reply was brief, along the lines of "I had enough information."

    Later, during lunch, I asked her what she had thought about the recent article on Alternet that severely condemned Rand for the short story (unpublished and unknown even by Rand's closest associates prior to its posthumous publication in The Journals of Ayn Rand, ed. by David Harriman) The Little House, asserting that it showed Rand's admiration for serial killer, William Hickman, and citing Hickman as the model for her whole philosophy and as the real source of inspiration for her later novels. Heller replied that that was grossly overstating its importance to Rand's later works. But now, however, in her book review of Ideal, in Time magazine, Heller has reversed her opinon and now agrees that serial killer Hickman was the motive force for all of Rand's later works, illustrating her hatred of the common people.

  2. I do not think that there is any evidence of anything more than a rudimentary language among the Neanderthals, nothing written down (cave paintings are not conducive to presenting Objectivist epistemology and Ayn would have to drag Michelle Marder-Kamhi though the time-warp to help them "get" Objectivivist esthetics). She would have a much better chance with their competitors, the Cro-Magnons, who were essentially homo sapiens. Besides, they exterminated the Neanderthals, although maybe breeding with a few (really ugly offspring!)..

  3. Question:

    How does Ayn Rand proceed?

    She gathers a group of adoring Neanderthals to sit at her feet and gush as she reads from the latest chapter of her unpublished novel, Prometheus Laughed. The most servile of the flatterers she takes as her bedmate.

    Yeah, but what about the skinny little runt scheming to be her favored?

  4. Selene, re the mirror graphic - hilarious - and accurate!

    I hope that one day, Nathaniel's birthday will be an occasion to recognize and honor his very significant contributions both to psychology and to Objectivism as a philosophy.

    Additionally, his contributions (primarily through speeches and oral presentations at conferences) to efforts to reconcile the differences between libertarianism and Objectivism, as a movement.(as contrasted to the substantial philosophical differences between the two).

    Unfortunately, there still are occasional references in online forums and in social groups (i.e., Facebook) to the 1968 break, with condemnations of the Brandens as if the dispute had just occurred.

    I have mentioned the Landmark Education seminars as being helpful for folks.

    One aspect that is fundamental to "transforming," [seems to be the new "ok" word of today's culture] is to place the past where it always has been...the past.

    Not a single one of us can change one event that happened yesterday let alone 47 years ago.

    A...

    Obviously you're not an historian.

    --John Brant

    Ah Churchill...

    I would prefer being a historian that did history not "changing" it to fit an agenda.

    Some would call it being an honest historian...

    A,,,

    Speak of the devil.....Some rational Objectivist wandered over onto one of the FB groups claiming to be Objectivist. He posted something like, "Why is this obssession with the Brandens still going on?" And got hit by a shitstorm of epic proportions, with...you guessed it....Jim Valliant posting to "set the record straight". At least he was polite (but wrong), but others vented their hatred with highly intellectual arguments, such as referring to the Brandens as well, literally, shit under their shoe. So almost 50 years later, some just can't get rid of the Branden odor,...er legacy. My guess though is that most shreiking their hatred were not even around at the time and have not bothered to read any of the three biographies, and certainly not the despised Passion of Ayn Rand by the malodorous (to them) Barbara. Of course, Nathaniel's memoirs are untouhable. .

    What this reminded me of was the ritualistic and frequired "Five minute Hate"seesions which citizens had to do in Orwell's 1984.

  5. I must have been napping. Hillary Clinton's Twitter account has had this item retweeted fifty thousand times:

    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    I'm running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. –H https://t.co/w8Hoe1pbtC

    — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 12, 2015

    Yeah, yeah! You guys up in Canada don't have to worry about "Evita" - but we do! :o Sure, you have your own problems,....wanna trade?? :rolleyes:

  6. Selene, re the mirror graphic - hilarious - and accurate!

    I hope that one day, Nathaniel's birthday will be an occasion to recognize and honor his very significant contributions both to psychology and to Objectivism as a philosophy.

    Additionally, his contributions (primarily through speeches and oral presentations at conferences) to efforts to reconcile the differences between libertarianism and Objectivism, as a movement.(as contrasted to the substantial philosophical differences between the two).

    Unfortunately, there still are occasional references in online forums and in social groups (i.e., Facebook) to the 1968 break, with condemnations of the Brandens as if the dispute had just occurred.

  7. If it ends up coming down to a choice between Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton, all the libertarian and Objectivist purists are certainly free to vote for Hillary Clinton, or not vote at all and thus help Hillary, because Rand Paul is obviously not pure enough.

    :smile:

    Michael

    Does every Objectivist know this, or am I just cynical, cantankerous, (fill-in-the-blank)? Know "what?" Know that no "pure" Objectivist could be elected to any important state or national office. :sad: Certainly NOT for President. Any association with Ayn Rand is and will continue to be for a very long time, the "kiss of death" for any candidate. Even if he or she presents the philosophy clearly (as against the MSM caricature, which seems to have a lock-hold on describing Ayn Rand), it will not substatntially change the degree or amount of negative reaction by the public and particularly the MSM (but also many innovaters,successful businessmen, such as many Silicon Valley types who are very leftwing, Progressive, etc, Go figure!) that the Objectivist candidate would receive. The church-going establishment has hardly begun to attack her. Nothing like the avalanche of opposition he would face if they (the Christians of any stripe) thought that an opponent and non-believer was going to be, or at least had a chance, of actually being elected. :wacko::angry::angry2:

    As far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong), no self-described atheist has ever been elected to high public office in this country. A "closeted" atheist might have a chance, but he would have to, when discovered, deny his previously stated beliefs and any interest of agreement with Ayn Rand and certainly any agreement with atheism.(as the Republican candidate for Vice-President in 2012 quickly did).

    This should not come as any surprise when one thinks about how radical Objectivism really is. This was best summarized by Rand when she announced that she was challenging the "last 2,000 years of Western cultural beliefs"' (or words to that effect).

    So no "real" Objectivist (someone practicing and actively advocating Rand's philosophy) could be elected. Maybe, I'm wrong, but I would like to see this tested in real life. So if self-described Objectivists are looking for a "pure" 100% compatible Republican candidate,....they are going to have a very, very, long wait!

  8. To say that David Kelley does not have a rep as a "dynamic" speaker and is "soft-spoken" (desirable in certain academic or personal conversational situations, but not as a program moderator) ) is a gross understatement. At the Branden Memorial Service, on at least one and possibly more occasions, he forgot to introduce the next speaker! The producer, Duncan Scott, certainly knows this. I happen to regard him as an Objectivist hero, but in this case, his streaming of the program was a disaster. Not only in sound quality, but in the streaming where many commercials where inserted during the program, the result being that what was said by the speakers at that time was lost.

  9. Unable to attend the Memorial program in Los Angeles, I took advantage of the "streaming" online version. I don't know how the acoustics were in the hall, but on streaming it was abysmal. David Kelley was at times inaudible, and speaking just right - if you were standing right next to him!. Some of the speakers were not announced. One presenter, (couldn't get his name,...a Judge something) tried to play a portion of Nathaniel's lecture on Ayn Rand and Romantic Love, but instead of using a recorded version on CD or tape, he attempted to play the excerpt by sticking his wife's iPhone next to the microphone. The result, predictably, was once again, inaudible. One of the comments running along side the streaming image, noted that the bad sound was probably from their using the podium microphone for the hall, rather than the microphone for the streaming, which was apparently not "On." :unsure: Then, to top it off the presentation was interrupted about every ten minutes wth "Pringles" commercials. :angry: The speakers were not aware of the commercial breaks and kept on talking, but the streaming audience missed whatever they were saying.

    Duncan Scott, a professional film maker, was listed as the producer. Somehow, he was not aware of the acoustics problem and apparently no one at the hall was monitoring the streaming session. :blush:

    I am sure that any ARIan devotee was delighted.

  10. I received a post from Roger Bissell today, indicating that the event will also be streamed, Sunday, Feb. 22, at 4:30 PM, EST (1:30 PM, Pacific time): see below, including the streaming link

    Posted Today, 08:36 AM

    I received this yesterday from Leigh Branden:

    A friend, Duncan Scott, who will be video taping the service, has found a way to stream it in real time. If you would like to join us remotely, please use this link. No worries if you cannot join us this Sunday, Feb. 22, as we will provide a link to the video of the service some days later.

    http://tinyurl.com/B...enMemorial-Live

    Memorial service begins at 1:30 pm (Pacific). Broadcast begins a few minutes beforehand.

  11. Well, George, Happy Birthday! I see that you are only 65. And you have your whole life ahead of you...and a good thing, too, seeing as how now it's up to you. Barbara's gone. Nathan's gone. Hitch is gone, many other greats. "The last man standing",...still churning out those essays as if you're in your 20s. A veritable "Saint George," slaying the dragons of collectivism - political and religious. :blush:

    Well, anyway - enjoy your birthday!

  12. Kyrel Zantonavitch has suggested that TAS video record this event. A significant number that might have wanted to attend, but will be unable due to time and distance constraints, would be interested in at least seeing the event on video. Although it was planned to only be an afternoon event, I have heard that it may be expanded. Regarding the video request, anyone interested might want to send a note to The Atlas Society.

    By the way, attendance was listed as limited. Anyone interested should go to the Eventbrite link and register, a.s.a.p.!

  13. Good point! A significant number that might have wanted to attend, but will be unable due to time and distance constraints, would be interested in at least seeing the event on video. Although it was planned to only be an afternoon event, I have heard that it may be expanded. Regarding your video request, you (and anyone else interested) might want to send a note to The Atlas Society.

    By the way, attendance was listed as limited. Anyone interested should go to the Eventbrite link and register, a.s.a.p.!

  14. The Atlas Society is sponsoring a Memorial Event for Nathaniel Branden, in Los Angeles, Feb. 22. Below is a partial screen capture of the details of the event. If interested, you must register as soon as possible. See the direct link to the "Eventbrite" announcement in my post in the "Nathaniel Branden" section.

    nathaniel3.jpg

    Please join us for a memorial gathering to honor Nathaniel Branden and celebrate his life and achievements, sponsored by The Atlas Society, John and Danis Fickewirth, and Nathaniel's family.

    The gathering will be a cocktail-style reception, with brief remembrances by those who knew Nathaniel and his work, with memorabilia from his long and productive life. Refreshments will be served.

    Nathaniel was a long-time associate of Ayn Rand and helped systematize and promote her philosophy of Objectivism. He launched the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1958. His course The Basic Principles of Objectivism was the first systematic statement of the philosophy—and the first of many courses offered through NBI. With Ayn Rand, he edited The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist magazine, where his early work on psychology was published.

    After a break with Rand, Nathaniel continued his career in psychology, as an innovative therapist and teacher of therapists. His many books and lectures earned him worldwide respect as a pioneer on the subject of self-esteem. He fought against those who identify self-esteem with narcissism—both those who denigrate self-esteem for that reason and those who promote narcissism in the name of self-esteem. Through his research, teaching, and publications, He argued that genuine self-esteem is earned by pursuing the essentially Objectivist values of rationality, integrity, productiveness, and responsibility.

    Please join his family and his many friends and admirers February 22nd to honor his memory. He opened new roads in psychological theory, and new paths in life for his many patients. We look forward to seeing you.

    Have questions about In Memory of Nathaniel Branden? Contact The Atlas Society
    When & Where
  15. Partial screen capture of the narrative describing the Nathaniel Branden Memorial event, Feb. 22, Los Angeles. To register or for more information, click on the Eventbrite link in my post, above.

    nathaniel3.jpg

    Please join us for a memorial gathering to honor Nathaniel Branden and celebrate his life and achievements, sponsored by The Atlas Society, John and Danis Fickewirth, and Nathaniel's family.

    The gathering will be a cocktail-style reception, with brief remembrances by those who knew Nathaniel and his work, with memorabilia from his long and productive life. Refreshments will be served.

    Nathaniel was a long-time associate of Ayn Rand and helped systematize and promote her philosophy of Objectivism. He launched the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1958. His course The Basic Principles of Objectivism was the first systematic statement of the philosophy—and the first of many courses offered through NBI. With Ayn Rand, he edited The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist magazine, where his early work on psychology was published.

    After a break with Rand, Nathaniel continued his career in psychology, as an innovative therapist and teacher of therapists. His many books and lectures earned him worldwide respect as a pioneer on the subject of self-esteem. He fought against those who identify self-esteem with narcissism—both those who denigrate self-esteem for that reason and those who promote narcissism in the name of self-esteem. Through his research, teaching, and publications, He argued that genuine self-esteem is earned by pursuing the essentially Objectivist values of rationality, integrity, productiveness, and responsibility.

    Please join his family and his many friends and admirers February 22nd to honor his memory. He opened new roads in psychological theory, and new paths in life for his many patients. We look forward to seeing you.

    Have questions about In Memory of Nathaniel Branden? Contact The Atlas Society
    When & Where
  16. Remember that L.A. Times obit photo of Branden? Watch this interview closely. After the first 10 to 15 minutes, Branden apparently realizes that the interviewer, Brian Lamb, is not hostile and is not shooting loaded-questions at him. He becomes more animated and loquacious. From about 22 minutes in, to around 32 minutes (If I have the times right), he is breaking into smiles after practically every answer that he gives. NONE look even remotely like the rather bizarre photo of him used in his obituary by the L.A. Times, and reprinted worldwide in other media. So is the L.A. Times photo real, or has it been altered, "Photoshopped."?

  17. Earlier, this afternoon, CNN featured a piece about Bill Cosby "pleading" that a recent interview that he gave, not be aired, with the unstated implication that he had maybe admitted to something regarding the alleged rape charges.

    Well, when they aired this segment, it turned out that Cosby did not really admit to anything regarding the charges. Rather when the interview had ended and he thought that they were no longer recording, he asked the interviewer not to show that piece. The interviewer responded that he (Cosby) had not said anything that could be constued as an admission. Cosby replied that that was true but he did not want to have said anything about the rape charges, and asked that that part not be aired and that he was appealing to the interviewer's "journalistic integrity."

    So, how did CNN handle Cosby's request? They showed the entire interview - and then also showed Cosby's request made after the interview was over!

    So much for "journalistic integrity!"

  18. To paraphrase a remark by Mark Twain, rumors of Peikoff's departure from this earthly plain are greatly exagerrated. Despite occasional comments here that Peikoff is old, half-blind, and frail, he did a rather lively sequence as the piano player in a jazz combo during evening festivities at OCON2014.

    He just recently published his opus,The DIM Hypothesis, and even if one does not buy into his analysis and classification schemes of historical trends, it did not appear to be the product of a failing mind. (I did not find some of his views convincing, but that is another matter).

    At any rate, Leonard's final departure will leave ARIans with a lot of explaining to do, and a lot of backtracking.They may try to sweep certain embarrassing events under the rug, but that is likely to fail. People are not going to just forget positions that ARI has taken on libertarianism, the Brandens and their role at NBI prior to the split, the purge of David Kelley, ARI's neo-Orwellian attempts to re-write the history of the Objectivist movement, including denying or minimizing intellectual contributions from the Brandens and others that were excommunicated by ARI for even the slightest "deviationism.".

    There seems to be the implicit assumption that, at Leonard Peikoff's death, control of ARI (he owns the Rand archives), will be released to ARI's Board of Directors. It is possible that Amy Peikoff or other supporters of Leonard's policies, will continue ARI's Peikovian years.

    I don't like to make parallels with other ideological movements which have nothing in common with Objectivist philosophy, but I'm going to anyway. When an ideological (or religious) movement, dominated and controlled by a single leader (that has used repressive policies to control dissent) finds itself no longer under the control of that leader; and they attempt to loosen-up and to liberalize and allow dissent,...what happens? The dam is breached and the new leaders find themselves drowning in dissent. And that is the end of that ideology, or religious cult or sect, as an effective movement.

    In short, I do not see how the post-Peikovian ARI will be able to either continue with his policies; or to "liberalize" without facing the consequences that have happened to other ideological movements..

  19. If Evita still hates the press/media, that does not mean that she will not run. Unless she gets clobbered again in Iowa (courtesy of Oprah's whirlwind campaign blitz into Iowa to promote Obama - after which the MSM wolves smelled blood and swarmed in to finish her off), she most likely will run. If she does not make a disastrous gaffe in subsequent primaries, and she can keep Bill off Viagra, she'll likely win the Democratic nomination.

  20. Nerian, I have a suggestion, read Neil Parille's set of articles, entitled The Passion of James Valliant's Criticism (as suggested by Neil in post #33, with direct links to the articles in Michael's post #35). And, for that matter, the other articles, reviews and commentaries in the PARC thread.

    Then, give us your conclusions in a new thread,

    an appropriate title might be, "I read James Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics - and I am suspicious as hell!" :angry::blush:

    (I'm just sayin'.....)

    Anyway, don't get too wrapped-up in this "Grand Inquisitor" scenario :unsure::wacko::rolleyes:

  21. Norian,

    You appear to think that Barbara Branden's bio on Rand was too harsh at certain points. In particular you doubt her accounts of Rand's less than hospitable treatment of certain people, her condemning those around her who did not agree with her tastes in music, art, etc.

    If you doubt Barbara's account, and think that she exaggerated Rand's social failings, then you really do need to read the other two bios on Rand by Anne C. Heller and Jennifer Burns. Because If their accounts are accurate, then Barbara's portrait of Rand was if anything, too sympathetic and laudatory; not the other way around.

    In particular, I was struck by your comment, "The Rand in the latter half of the book almost makes you wanna grab her and say 'here, read this book by Ayn Rand and get your act together.' Indeed, and that is, in effect, what those around her tried to do when she felt crushed by the hostile reviews of Atlas Shrugged and went into a deep depression for quite a while. Nathaniel Branden pointed-out to her that her own reaction to published criticism of Atlas, was not what one would have expected from the author of The Fountainhead, who created a key passage summing up her view of how a person representing her own values, should respond to hostile opposition, Howard Roark, his architectural career left in ruins, has a chance encounter with Ellsworth Toohey, the architectural critic chiefly responsible for (seemingly) ending Roark's career. Toohey, recognizing Roark, approaches him and says, "Mr. Roark, we're alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us." Roark's answer: "But I don't think of you." Unfortunately, Rand was unable or unwilling to follow her own advice.

    But, by the way,...so what? Ayn Rand was not a deity. Only a deity is capable of perfect, unerring, behavior. Some fans of Rand seem to think that if any human failing by Rand is acknowledged, that negates her whole philosophical construction. No, it does not., It merely shows that she was human. It is ironic that certain self-appointed defenders of Rand's legacy will not admit that she was anything less than perfection - which is dangerously close to buying into the same argument (a logical fallacy) that her leftist enemies invariably utilise, the ad hominem.

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