Some of the die-hard defenders of Nathaniel and Barbara Branden have criticized Jim Valliant for failing to interview the Brandens for his excellent book The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics. Like so many others, this criticism is a pretty weak grasp at straws. After all, the whole point of PARC was to examine the lengthy books written by the Brandens about Ayn Rand, books perfectly capable of being evaluated without additional input from the authors. Moreover, given the dishonesty of the Brandens proven by an examination of those books, the only point of interviews would have been to see if the Brandens could concoct some new dishonest rationalization for their past and present immorality. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine that any new lies would be so much more interesting or important than the old lies. Also, I can’t help but observe that the Brandens ensured that Ayn Rand couldn’t be interviewed on the subjects of their books by publishing them after her death, so just on that score they cannot rightly claim any unjust treatment. After all, they are still alive to say whatever they wish about Valliant’s book.
Interestingly, Nathaniel and Barbara Branden have chosen to remain more or less silent about PARC. Nathaniel Branden did have something interesting to say in response to a friendly inquiry about any response to the book:
No. What for? If a reader can’t see what’s insane about that book on his own, I doubt that help from me would accomplish much.
What a perfect statement of intrinisicism! Valliant’s case against the Brandens is so overwhelming that poor old Nathaniel couldn’t really say much else, now could he? All his inner children must be crying!
Better yet, Barbara Branden is positively bored by all the discussion of Ayn Rand’s private life. In response to someone who said that “I never really cared about the Rand/Branden split issue” but that she regards the basic story as “Rand got pissed off and wrote Branden out of her life,” Barbara Branden wrote:
Teresa, it was a pleasure to read your post: “Why don’t I care about this?” I am in total agreement with you. I am bored silly by the whole controversy, and I can’t understand why everyone else isn’t, also. It never ceases to amaze me that people who weren’t even born at the time of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden’s break, are heatedly taking sides and hurling moral condemnations about an issue and people they know nothing about. Thanks for your sanity.
That’s just too perfect: The author of a smear biography on Ayn Rand suddenly decided that the central topic of that work is boring and insignificant — at the very moment of its discredit!