Paranoid, schmaramoid.

Rich Engle

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Over on SOLOP, Neil Parille came out with a second segment comparing how James Valliant paints things in PARC to what Barbara wrote in PAR.

It seems pretty clear what he does; he takes assertions/treatments that Valliant uses in PARC, and compares these to what Barbara Branden actually wrote in PAR. This is not rocket science, it just takes persistence, and an inquiring mind.

Incredibly, Diana Hsieh replys thusly:


I don't believe that you've combed through PAR and PARC to come up with these criticisms of PARC on your own. They're just too detailed for that. So are you serving as a conduit for Barbara? Has she alerted you to these supposed problems? If so, I would ask that you be up-front about that."

Whah? What, exactly, does she find so intricate about taking commentary in a book about another book, and comparing the description and conclusions against what that book actually says ? High school English students get assignments like that! "They're just too detailed for that." HUUUHHH? Says who ? It doesn't look real detailed to me's pretty straight up, looks like it was pretty easy for someone like Parille to handle.

But, alas, no... instead, it looks like Hsieh has to drop some poison into the well, poison that is only conjecture on her part. I thinik it's pretty skippy that someone as purporetedly by-the-book-O as Hsieh has no problem presenting unsubstantiated, unevidential suppositions like this, right out of the dang gate.

Actually, now that I think on it, it's not even poisoning. What would it matter if BB actually has been

pointing out the dead spots to Parille? If there are discrepancies, if Valliant took, er, liberties , does it really matter who starts the ball rolling? She just wants to clamp down on the Brandens anyplace/anytime she sees the chance. She's reaching, and after this I think she might be slipping, too.

What's going on in that noodle-brain? Hoofa! I'm not sure which is goofier--this thing, or her mysticism comments about NB and his tele-conference of last week,

Edited by Rich Engle
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Well, I liked the comment posted later on in that thread which seems to claim that to 'attack Valliant' (or point out the flaws in his book, which I guess is the same) is to basically support the Brandens, tear down Rand, and attack Objectivism. All at the same time.

But your comments about Ms. Hsieh are spot on...

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I was writing my own reaction to that post, but you were just ahead of me... It is indeed one of the most stupid reactions I've seen on that forum and it's also quite revealing. Apparently you're not supposed to read critically and to compare PARC's statements with PAR. No, you should uncritically swallow Valliant's lies (like: PARC: “one would never have guessed it from reading Ms. Branden’s book, but it was they [the Blumenthals] who left Rand.” (P. 75.) PAR: “I [N. Blumenthal] telephoned Ayn and said we no longer wished to see her.” (PAR, p. 388.)). And if you really dare to read critically, you must therefore be a "conduit for Barbara"!! How crazy can you get? The other reactions from the anti-intellectuals on that forum consist of shooting the messenger and downplaying Neil's findings and trying to divert the attention - old tricks, but a bit too obvious. Compare that with the blowing up out of all proportions of the story how Rand got her name as some indication of bad faith on the part of Barbara, then you see the hypocrisy and double standards of those people. They are not at all interested in the truth, they are only interested in smearing their opponents, the truth be damned!

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I've seen so many stupid reactions on SOLOP in the few weeks I've read things there, that its hard say this is the stupidist. But I did notice that no one seems to answer the simple questions of the comparison of the 2 statements, which is too typical of what I've seen there.

The matter of Rand's name is another. Ok, BB was wrong. She made a mistake. Does this make her evil or immoral? (I prefer to reserve those terms for other things) I do research with others I know. In doing research, new information will arise. What is more important is how this new information is handled. If its correct, you have to revise your views on things. For me, what would have been more telling was BB's reaction to the origin of the name. If 'Ayn Rand' was not based on a typewriter, but based on her Russian name, and if this is correct, what is BB's response to this? "No, I'm right", "Ok, I was wrong, I was misinformed", or what have you? It's one thing to come to a conclusion based on the information at hand a the moment. There is nothing wrong or evil about that. When NEW information comes along that requires a re-evaluation of the conclusions, the only wrong thing to do is cling to the old conclusion in the face of new facts. These new facts don't mean that your former conclusion was evil/immoral, nor does it make you evil/immoral for having that conclusion at the time.

Tied to that seems to be an attitude amoung most of these OOs to refuse to read either BB or NB works, and fully base their view on The Split ONLY on PARC. That's dishonest. To get the full story, to come to conclusions on your own, you must look at all sides. I think it was Ms Hsieh who even said she refused to read either PAR or MYWAR, but read PARC and based all her views on BB & NB & TOC/TAS et al on it. Sad.

There is an interesting saying in the Babylon 5 show, I think it goes like this: "Understanding is a three-sided sword: your side, their side, and the truth". That always springs to mind when reading this.

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They are not at all interested in the truth, they are only interested in smearing their opponents, the truth be damned!

Sadly, I could not agree more. Personally, I've only seen such high levels of fantastical, sustained and willful ignorance in the likes of conspiracy theorists, ufologists, jihadists, and other fanatics; to fake reality, such as "they" do, is beyond-the-pale, especially for anyone purporting to admire the work of Ayn Rand.


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Maybe someone should send them a confidential e-mail about it?



Honestly (and yes, I do see the smiley), I think that would be about as productive as trying explain to David Ike or one his followers that lizard men aren't running the planet. Hmm. What an interesting paper it would make comparing the tactics and logical fallacies employed by both...



Edited by R. Christian Ross
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Michael Brown: "If 'Ayn Rand' was not based on a typewriter, but based on her Russian name, and if this is correct, what is BB's response to this? 'No, I'm right', 'Ok, I was wrong, I was misinformed', or what have you?"

If Rand did not take her last name from a Remington-Rand typewriter, then I was wrong, I was misinformed.


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The Rand name-thing *sigh*.... :huh:

This is, in the end, small fish. Not even minnow-sized. There is no understanding attributing some kind of dark motive to Barbara simply recounting what she knew of it. It's a pen name , for crying out loud! I guess the only person that could sufficiently answer that is deceased. It's no more than interesting AR trivia, maybe a little interesting in some ways, but on the macro, no, not really. It's so weird when these things get run up the pole; it's like "Lookie, lookie! Barbara might be wrong about AR's name! Deceptive, crack in the armor, if she did that, then..."

I mean, really . This is the kind of tussle you'd see on some kind of celebrity fan site.

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I've been entertaining an alternative hypothesis about the typewriter story for a little while.

So I asked Barbara offline whether she or anyone else in Rand's Inner Circle during the 1950s and 1960s read or spoke Russian.

Her answer is no.

It could be that, surrounded by younger people who knew no Russian, Rand just didn't talk about some things that were part of her Russian background.


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Well, that's no good! It's too controversy-free! Not a lick of deceipt, evil, your usual conspiracy-laced conjecturing... :blink:

But it is one of the most sensible explanations I've heard...

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Rich & Robert; Good for both of you! It is a very small issue that covers only a very small part of a three hundred plus page book.

Well, ya know...that doesn't ever seem to stop anyone. ;)

As a matter of fact, that seems to be exactly the kind of fools gold that gets panned out.

I've seen rebuttals to that go along the lines of "lying is lying, doesn't matter the scale..." yadda yadda.

But this doesn't make any sense to me at all. Consider Barbara's account- that's what she had, that's what she recalled; I didn't see anywhere where she said that without doubt this was for sure.

For that matter, I've never seen a lick of these "agendas" or spin (or worse yet, smears and lies) in either NB's or BB's writing. As a matter of fact, consider that NB had enough concern about his memoir to redo it, and from what I saw there it involved attempting more detail, and even a bit of softening.

It's just snipy nitpick.

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What you say is all too true. I have one suggestion to Barbara Branden. Have someone prepare an annoted issue of PAR. Deposit it with Objectivist History Project for the use of scholars.

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