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Letter From 1943

September 3rd, 2011 by Myrhaf · 38 Comments · Uncategorized

On Facebook Betsy Speicher links to a remarkable 1943 letter from Ayn Rand to a Reverend. The letter is for sale on eBay for $4,999.

A few questions come to mind after reading the letter. Do these thoughts represent Ayn Rand’s mature philosophic thinking? Is it realistic to believe Christianity could resolve its moral contradictions and rid itself of altruism when its metaphysics and epistemology conflict with reality? Does this letter contradict Leonard Peikoff’s recent thinking about religion? Why was this letter not in Letters of Ayn Rand?

38 Comments so far ↓

  • Grant

    My guess is that Rand was trying to trick the minister into believing that Christianity was the metaphysical and epistemological basis for individualism – by emphasising the *individualistic* elements of Christianity – so that he would eventually be emotionally equipped to accept that in fact it is not (ie: he would be able to deal with the very *personal* issue of coming to terms with the fact that what he consciously believes and what he subconsciously believes – what guides he actual life – contradict).

    A moral crisis, as great as it may be, is less difficult for an individual to deal with than is a metaphysical crisis. Psychologically, if a morally-flawed/incorrect person believes that what he has *chosen* to do with his life is incorrect, he will suffer, but he will at least be comforted in the knowledge that his choices/beliefs did not *have* to be what they were. His life – who he became and what he believes in – *could* have turned out differently. If, however, a person comes to the conclusion that what he has become and come to believe *had* to happen (ie: they *had* to be arbitrary) because of the inherently unknowable and/or non-objective nature of existence, not only will he suffer, but he will lose his capacity for pleasure (ie: whatever *correct* moral choices he made will no longer be regarded as choices – but rather determined events just like the bad choices – and he will lose *all* of his self-esteem).

    Rand was probably aware of this fact, and was seeking to get the minister to revel in what he got *right* about existence for a sufficient amount of time before he was ready to face, should he choose to do so, *why* he *actually* got those things right. Succinctly: if direct emperical evidence shows you that you are *capable* of living as a human being – that despite your conscious belief in it’s irrelevancy – you *are* able to induce (some) proper moral principles from a (subconscious) metaphysics and epistemology, you will be less fearful of renouncing not only the improper *moral* principles your (improper, conscious) metaphysics and epistemology led you to, but the metaphysics and epistemology themselves.

  • madmax

    Could you briefly lay out what Ayn Rand said regarding Christianity. I am not on Facebook.

  • Myrhaf

    Madmax, follow the link to the 1943 letter at eBay.

  • madmax

    My bad. I didn’t scroll down.

    Thanks.

  • madmax

    After reading it, I think it is safe to say that Ayn Rand did not have this benevolent view of Christianity post ‘AS’. She was 38 years old when she wrote this letter. She matured alot philosophically over the 15 years that it took her to write ‘AS’. I think this is captured in the fact that she had originally intended to have a Christian character, a priest, in AS, and have him be somewhat sympathetic. She scrapped the idea because she didn’t think it was realistic or warranted. So, she didn’t see “the greatness of Christianity” by her mid 50’s.

    I must admit it is shocking to see her write so admiringly of Christianity. It seems that she really did see it as something of an ally in the war against the Left. She didn’t hold this view when she wrote “Conservatism: An Obituary” in 1960 that’s for sure.

    Lastly, I think she was wrong about Jesus and altruism. Jesus may never have specifically stated to love your neighbor better than yourself but he says other things which are equally as self-abasing.

    “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

    Even if you interpret “hate” as meaning “to leave” this passage still is indicative of a serious commitment to altruism and self-denial, no matter how Christians try to defend it.

    Thanks for alerting me to this. It is fascinating. It remains to be seen if Peikoff will discuss it and why this letter was not included in the letters book. I can see why but the ARI and Peikoff just left themselves open to major criticism for this. I have my timer ready to see how long it takes for the Rand haters to jump all over this.

  • madmax

    I also want to add that in Galt’s speech Rand excoriates the doctrine of Original Sin. She condemns it more than once. Original Sin is Christianity’s foundation. It is the sole reason for the necessity of Christ’s mission. By explicitly condemning Original Sin and linking it with altruism, Ayn Rand got the problems with Christianity by the time of the publication of AS.

  • Myrhaf

    I think what we see in this letter is Ayn Rand’s lifelong quest to find the best within people. Obviously, something in the Reverend’s letter appealed to her. He seems to have taken her ideas seriously. Rand is responding to the values she found in his letter.
    Grant, I understand what you’re getting at, but I would not use the verb “to trick.” Rand was never one to try to trick people into holding ideas. Perhaps she was just being polite when she put Christianity in the best possible light.

    If some sect of Christianity attempted to reform the religion with an egoistic ethics, I think they would be denounced and mocked by more consistent believers.

  • Neil Parille

    As Jennifer Burns pointed out, Rand’s posthumous material as printed in the various collections has to be used with great caution.

    What Mayhew did with Rand’s Q&A is just scandalous.

  • Neil Parille

    This is from the Laissez Faire Book review of Goddess of the Market:
    ____

    One other area that I found of significant interest is Burns discussion of the various problems surrounding Rand documents made public by the Ayn Rand Institute, Leonard Piekoff’s organization. There has been a great deal of controversy over indications that ARI doctored documents. Some of this doctoring was admitted by ARI, which asserted that they merely made clarifications consistent with what Rand had intended to say. Burns, who has seen the originals, says this is not the case.

    She does say that the letters of Rand, that have been released, “have not been altered; they are merely incomplete.” But the same is not true for other works of Rand, including her Journals. Burns writes, “On nearly every page of the published journals an unacknowledged change has been made from Rand’s original writing. In the book’s foreword the editor, David Harriman, defends his practice of eliminating Rand’s words and inserting his own as necessary for greater clarity. In many case, however, his editing serves to significantly alter Rand’s meaning.” She says that sentences are “rewritten to sound stronger and more definite” and that the editing “obscures important shifts and changes in Rand’s thought.” She finds “more alarming” the case that “sentences and proper names present in Rand’s original have vanished entirely, without any ellipses or brackets to indicate a change.”

    The result of this unacknowledged editing is that “they add up to a different Rand. In her original notebooks she is more tentative, historically bounded, and contradictory. The edited diaries have transformed her private space, the hidden realm in which she did her thinking, reaching, and groping, replacing it with a slick manufactured world in which all of her ideas are definite, well formulated, and clear.” She concludes that Rand’s Journals, as released by ARI, “are thus best understood as an interpretation of Rand rather than her own writing. Scholars must use these materials with extreme caution.”

    The bad news is that “similar problems plague Ayn Rand Answers (2005), The Art of Fiction (2000), The Art of Non-Fiction (2001), and Objectively Speaking (2009).” Burns says all these works were “derived from archival material but have been significantly rewritten.” Rand scholars have long suspected such manipulation of documents; Burns confirms it with evidence she herself saw.
    ____

    You can find a discussion in the Essay on Sources portion of Burns’ book, which you can read on Amazon.

  • dismuke

    This is not the first instance I have heard of AR holding that, historically, Christianity was the first school of thought that upheld the sacredness of Individualism. Can’t remember exactly where I heard it – it might have even been in one of Peikoff’s lecture courses. Certainly to acknowledge that does not constitute an endorsement of Christianity. Giving credit to strictly isolated positives about a world view does NOT in any way imply a sanction of the world view.

    And the letter certainly does not imply in any way that Christianity is somehow compatible with Objectivism – especially given that she had not even formulated Objectivism at the time.

    I don’t think that AR’s point in the letter was so much that “my statement of man’s proper morality” is somehow compatible with religion as it is compatible with and follows from the view that man has free will.

    I think her phrase “my statement” is important. Saying that “my statement of man’s proper morality does not contradict” is more specific and not quite the same as saying “a complete and proper understanding of man’s proper morality does not contradict.”

    Keep in mind that the issue of reason verses faith was beyond the delimited scope of the story and ideas in The Fountainhead. I think there is zero doubt that in 1943 AR regarded them as incompatible as staunchly as she ever did. But that was not the specific point of The Fountainhead.

    Given that, it would have been highly inappropriate and thoroughly non-objective for AR to have entered into a first time discussion of The Fountainhead with some reader she has never met and made arguments which rested on ideas that she did not even present in the book.

    So when AR in the letter said that her statement of man’s proper morality did not “contradict any religious belief IF that belief includes faith in man’s free will” I suspect that she held the issue of WHETHER free will can be properly held and defended as an article of faith to be beyond the scope of the narrow discussion at hand and something which, in that specific context, would be inappropriate to introduce.

    And, no doubt, there ARE many religious people who DO hold a belief in man’s free will as an article of faith. And, no doubt, such a person COULD stand to benefit a great deal by learning the lessons of The Fountainhead and putting them into practice before being eventually being forced to either confront or ignore any contradictions with their wider world view.

    I am not sure when AR started using the term “mixed premises” but certainly that is how AR in later life would have described someone who was very individualistic in his behavior based on good premises that he, unfortunately, held only as a matter of faith or mere upbringing.

    I am guessing that AR did not regard bringing up the issue of faith verses reason into the conversation with this particular individual as either appropriate or productive.

    I would also guess that after Atlas Shrugged AR might have been more inclined to bring up the issue of whether free will could properly be held as a matter of faith in a similar letter because, by that time, the basis for her views on the subject were had been very carefully laid out and were a matter of public record – thus establishing an objective framework on which such a conversation could be based.

    Also, another VERY important thing to keep in mind: in 1943 AR was NOT a world famous novelist. The Fountainhead had just been published that year. At that point, selling more books was VERY much a subject of great concern and interest to her. And here is a letter from someone who apparently expressed interest in publishing a positive book review – something which any author would regard as desirable. Why alienate such a reviewer by bringing up a controversial issue that one cannot adequately argue in a brief letter and which is beyond the scope of the book in the first place? AR explained in detail why her book would be of value to a certain type of religious audience – i.e., those who believe in free will. Why alienate that audience from the get go by bringing up wider issues? Good salesmanship, philosophical or otherwise, requires finding common ground to get your foot in the door and making case from there. I have run into a lot of religious people who adore The Fountainhead and even Atlas Shrugged but are turned off by certain aspects of Objectivism. So I don’t think her salesmanship in the letter with the view of reaching such an audience was in any way deceptive to such readers. Nor does integrity require one to delve into issues in contexts where one it is not productive or where one is not adequately able to make an objective case for them.

    Bottom line, I think that the letter should be viewed through the context of both the nature of the correspondence (a complete stranger who she apparently felt had intelligently expressed genuine appreciation for her book and who was interested in promoting it to a wider audience plus the fact that only so much can be discussed in a letter) and the scope of the ideas and arguments that she had publicly made on the subject at that point in her career.

  • Mike

    “What Mayhew did with Rand’s Q&A is just scandalous.”

    Christ, give over, already! “Ayn Rand Answers” is a greatest hits album. It contains the “radio edits.” It was never presented otherwise. If you want to hear the original album cuts, you need to go to the source material. It defies probability that certain people can continue to fail to see this.

    I remember reading a message thread running into the dozens of pages on this back when the ARA Mayhew “controversy” first dusted up, and I really, sincerely want those hours of my life back.

  • L-C

    The argument against The Art of Fiction and Non-fiction books is especially nonsensical. The sources for those books were a series of lectures, so of course they had to be adapted to the written form. I’ve read them both and the editors explain quite well in what manner and for what reasons they did the editing.

    Since Ayn Rand was not alive when those works were assembled, she could not perform or oversee the work. But it is work that would’ve needed to be done even if she had been.

  • Neil Parille

    Ayn Rand answers was heavily edited. Mayhew even edited some answers that Rand later edited for publication.

    No way does Mayhew let his readers know what he did. For example, there is a question in which Rand is asked about Saccharine, Cylcamates and Tobacco. Mayhew leaves out Tobacco. This is honest editing?

    Obviously an editor should removed the uhms and false starts and I don’t think that he has the obligation of alerting readers to this.

    Remember what Rand did to the Smiths when they changed one line of Night of January 16th for one performance! I can only imagine what she would have done to Peikoff and Mayhew.

    Can anyone tell me what benefit there is to Harriman leaving out names of people (intellectuals who influenced Rand) in her Journals?

  • Neil Parille

    Here is an example of Mayhew’s jiggery pokery.

    Rand was asked about war with the Soviet Union.

    She says: “So that the Soviet citizens who are innocent I hope someday will be destroyed in a proper war along with the guilty.”

    Mayhew changes this to: “If we go to war with Russia, I hope the ‘innocent’ are destroyed with the guilty.”

  • Joe Maurone

    Not a shocker; here are some examples of Rand talking positively about religion, without endorsing it:

    Rand (in her old age) explained to Tom Snyder her appreciation of the phrase “God Bless You”: “Thank god, or god bless you, it means the highest possible, to me…”

    (youtube clip of said interview)

    She also mentions Jesus favorably in an excised portion of Roark’s courtroom speech;

    “…for example, Rand’s letter to Sylvia Austin (9 July 1946), where she notes the different moral ideas represented by Roark and Jesus, even as she admits “that both…are held as embodiments of the perfect man” (Rand 1995, 287). Interestingly, in an earlier draft of The Fountainhead , Rand included a whole passage, later cut, in which Roark, standing before a jury of his peers, sings the praises of Jesus. Jesus, like other great figures in human history, “comes[s] close to the truth,” even as his ideal is inverted. Thus, writes Rand, “Christ proclaimed the untouchable integrity of Man’s spirit [stating] the first rights of the Ego. He placed the salvation of one’s own soul above all other concerns. But men distorted it into altruism.” On the antithetical relationship between Christ and his successors (such as Paul), compares Nietzsche’s Antichrist, Chapters 39, 40, and 42 in Nietzsche 1976, 612-17. Rand argues, however, that “Nietzsche, who loved man, fought against altruism–and destroyed his own case by preaching the Will to Power, a second-hander’s pursuit” (Ayn Rand Manuscripts, box 20, folder5, 588-588a, quoted in Milgram 2001a, 18).”

    Here is the excised portion:

    “Socrates, poisoned by order of the democracy of Athens. Jesus Christ against the majority of [indecipherable] crucified. Joan D’Arc, who was burned at the stake. Galilieo, made to renounce his soul. Spinoza, excommunicated. Luther, hounded. Victor Hugo, exiled for twenty years. Richard Wagner, writing musical comedies for a living, denounced by the musicians of his time, hissed, opposed, pronounced unmusical. Tchaikovsky, struggling through years of loneliness without recognition. Nietzsche, dying in an insane asylum, friendless and unheard. Ibsen [indecipherable] his own country. Dostoevsky, facing an execution squad and pardoned to a Siberian prison. The list is endless.” (Ayn Rand Manuscripts, box 20, folder 5, 570, quoted in Milgram 2001a, 17)

  • Neil Parille

    Mike,

    I’d point out that George Reisman – who knew Ayn Rand (unlike you, I assume) – said she would be outraged at what Mayhew did. And that based on exclusively on what Mayhew said about the changes.

  • Inspector

    Meh, this isn’t controversial to me. She is finding a common ground of agreement on a fundamental principle – a technique I use all the time to talk to people. It’s a great way to discuss things and prevents an immediate degeneration of the discussion.

    A conversation anchored in points of agreement has the potential to change minds. If you start where you agree, you can try to reveal where someone is contradicting themselves. Maybe they’ll even think about it and change their mind.

    A conversation based on disagreement doesn’t often do the same, although it has cathartic value.

    Saying “neither of us believes that a benevolent God would create a universe of slaves” is accurate enough for the scope of the topic. That she doesn’t believe in God at all is actually kind of tangential to the discussion. You can only discuss so much in many venues of conversation. Sometimes, you have to put off talking about some things in order to make an effective point.

    Heck, if all modern Christians read and agreed with this letter, I daresay there wouldn’t exist a political problem with Christianity.

    Then again, this was early on. Do people expect her philosophy to have sprung whole from the head of Zeus?

  • Neil Parille

    Inspector,

    ____

    Then again, this was early on. Do people expect her philosophy to have sprung whole from the head of Zeus?

    ____

    Rand said she held the same philosophy since age 2 and a half and that no one (with perhaps the exception of Aristotle) influenced her.

    In keeping with this the ARI has removed references to other intellectuals in the printed versions of her journals.

    Does anyone think less of von Mises because he was a second or third generation Austrian?

  • Inspector

    Neil,

    She was obviously talking about her sense of life and the general essence of her philosophy. Children the age of two and a half don’t have developed treatises on metaphysics.

  • Neil Parille

    Mr. Inspector,

    I agree in part; however, if you look at some of the things Rand said about herself they were a little extreme. There was a question in one of her Ford Hall Forum lectures where she said that no writer influenced her after she came to the US.

    We also have the claims that “no one helped me” and the exaggerated claims about her husband.

    And her sense of life never changed? Look at the nutty things she said in her Journals about the child murderer Hickman, or the changes she made in the two editions of We the Living.

  • Neil Parille

    Q: In the first 20 years of your coming to thus country, were there any American writers, particularly in the field of non-fiction, who influenced your ideas?

    A: No, not a single one. I wish there were.

    Rand, 1973

  • Inspector

    In the first 20 years after she came to America – not when she was two and a half, mind you – there were no American writers that had any significant influence on her ideas. This isn’t to say she wasn’t influenced before or after that 20 year period. Or that she wasn’t influenced, before, after, or during it by any NON-American writers. Or that she wasn’t influenced before, after, or during, by anyone who wasn’t a writer. Or that she didn’t refine it based on her own introspection, experience, etc. Or that others didn’t IN-directly contribute to her thoughts inasmuch as they presented arguments which provoked her to think closely about the implications of her philosophy and therefore to develop it further.

    The statement you quote says a lot less, really, when you look at it closely.

    Er, I lost track – what was this supposed to prove again?

  • Neil Parille

    Rand came here in 26. So by 46 there was not a single American writer who influenced her? Not HL Mencken or Paterson?

    The point is that the ARI’s doctoring of Rand’s material is not accidental.

  • Inspector

    Oh, so you weren’t responding at all to what I was saying about this letter being uncontroversial to the philosophy of Objectivism – you were making an entirely unrelated point about the ARI. Gotcha.

  • Neil Parille

    Mr. Inspector,

    Do you approve of what the ARI has done with respect to Rand’s posthumously published material?

    -Neil Parille

  • Inspector

    Mr. Parille,

    I had thought we were talking about this letter and my comment about it. I don’t really have the time or energy or expertise on the subject – or really consider the issue important enough to me – to discuss with you in detail the ARI and what they publish. I will let you know if that changes, though. Good day, sir.

  • Neil Parille

    Well I was responding to the question of why this letter was not included in the published Letters.

  • Inspector

    Ah, my post was a response to Myrhaf’s original post, although I can see how it might have looked like I was addressing you. Sorry for any confusion.

  • North Bridge

    BREAKING: University researcher discovers that mass market editions of Ayn Rand’s extemporaneous thoughts, which have in recent years been widely marketed to a general audience, were not prepared to scholarly standards. At a hastily assembled press conference she warned the academic community to be “extremely cautious” with these editions. “You never know what an academic researcher might fall for, so I only thought it right to warn everybody,” she afterwards explained.

    No academic institution has yet volunteered to publish a fully annotated, official edition of the late author’s works. Some representatives of the scholarly community therefore feel that by offering edited excerpts to the general public, her Estate is actively engaged in undermining scholarly standards. “If we do not choose to touch her works, those people will just have to wait,” the Director of Publications at an unnamed university press reportedly said.

    Another observer, who asked to remain anonymous, concluded: “Since scholars have in recent years been granted unrestricted access to the Ayn Rand Archives, and are thus able to examine the primary materials first-hand, it is becoming increasingly clear how these people are engaged in a conspiracy to suppress the truth.”

    Several angry protesters, loudly exclaiming their determination to end this outrage, spent the afternoon complaining at Internet blog sites.

  • Neil Parille

    Mr. North Bridge,

    And your point is?

    -Neil Parille

  • North Bridge

    That the complaints about ARI’s editing of AR materials are so blatantly at variance with reality that they do not even merit serious discussion … as you fully understood when you read my little satire.

  • Neil Parille

    Mr. North Bridge,

    I have not seen the originals of the Journals,; however Burns has and she says that names and other material have been omitted without mention.

    Do you approve of this? If it’s true, then why are her claims “blatantly at variance with reality”

    And read Robert Campbell’s article in the most recent edition of JARS on Mayhew’s rewriting of the Q&A.

    Burns says that the Archivists and other ARI scholars are unhappy with the material produced.

    -Neil Parille

  • Neil Parille

    http://www.jenniferburns.org/blog/65-in-the-rand-archives-part-2-the-edited-letters-and-diaries
    _____

    When two Objectivist scholars, funded by the Ayn Rand Institute, arrived at the archive, I was again circumspect. Then I heard loud sighs of disgust arising from a nearby scholar. He, too, was comparing the different versions, and he, too, was outraged.
    _____

    -Neil Parille

  • Mike

    Neil,

    Are you conflating whatever Burns alleges with the publication of “Ayn Rand Answers” by Prof. Mayhew? Because these are two separate issues. What Mayhew did was not of academic consequence, however you and others amplify your objections. If there was corruption of original master source material, though, as in the Burns allegation, that would be a serious matter.

    I’m not an insider for any clique in this issue — no, I did not know Rand personally, but then again I don’t use an appeal to authority as the basis for my arguments — yet even I can’t help but notice that it’s the same thing over and over again, attempts by those who broke from the base years ago over matters various and sundry but in at least some cases entirely personal, doing anything they can to suggest wrongdoing by those that remained with the ARI. That reduces the credibility of those allegations to below the threshold for people like me to give them consideration.

    If the ARI destructively edited source material, they have committed an academic mortal sin, and there will be hell to pay. But if the best you can do is conflate naked allegations of such acts with criticism of a publication that was, from the outset, designed and intended to be a mass-market ADAPTATION, stop wasting my time and everyone else’s, because you’re comparing apples to chainsaws.

    Look, I don’t give a rat’s ass which clique wins, as long as the source material is kept intact. Until credible evidence proves in process that this has not occurred, there is nothing to discuss. I don’t even care if the ARI makes comic books, video games, or a “Dora the Explorer” episode about Objectivist epistemology — nothing of that sort would have any effect on the archive, so there would be no scholarly concern about it.

  • Neil Parille

    Mike,

    1. The problem with Ayn Rand Answers is that Mayhew does not let his readers know the extent of his changes. Again, I’d like to know what you think about omitting the portion in the question and answer which mentions tobacco. What is served by that? And look at the change in the answer about war with Russia. There are two changes in the answer, both of which change the sense of Rand’s answer. Why not keep it the way Rand said it?

    What’s wrong with a more accurate transcription? Sure, omit the uhms, false starts and all that, but keep the answers as Rand gave them.

    2. Who broke with the ARI? Reisman and Peikoff had a falling out. Reisman, so far as I know, hasn’t become chummy with the Brandens.

    3. We know that Rand had a high regard for the accuracy and completeness of her material, as the Smith situation with respect to her play indicates.

    -Neil Parille

  • Mike

    Neil,

    1. Are you seriously suggesting that the changes be reviewed on a one-by-one basis? I edit manuscripts (among other things) for a living. My work could not be done if I had to allow someone who isn’t involved in the scope or context of an entire project to second-guess individual editorial decisions. Mayhew exercised his editorial judgment for every change within the scope of the entire project, and the project was, from first to last, an adaptation, never promoted as a verbatim transcript. Seriously, I don’t see what sort of further explicicity you expected out of him. If you don’t like his adaptation, don’t buy it, and don’t recommend it to others. But don’t misrepresent the author’s intentions when the document speaks for itself and is clearly not a transcript, nor ever claimed to be. If I had to guess based solely on parallel experience, I would speculate that there was a guiding philosophy in the Ayn Rand Answers project to deemphasize anything that would draw focus away from the issues and onto corollary, extraneous, or even controversial side-issues that generally reflect more on Rand herself and not on the issue being addressed. A new or casual reader doesn’t care about that kind of thing anyway. Anyone interested in learning more and exploring further will eventually experience Rand in all her abrasive glory — she left behind abundant evidence for us. The Master himself (Alfred Hitchcock) emphasized above all other things that writing should be crafted to the expectations of its intended audience. What I’m seeing in Ayn Rand Answers, even in the examples you cite, is consistent with that.

    2. I wouldn’t know, because I don’t care, because all of that personal bullsh*t is completely irrelevant to a study of philosophy in general and Objectivism in particular. In fact, most things about Ayn Rand herself fall into this category. I am asked by leftist trolls sometimes whether I agree with this or that behavior that she exhibited or this or that thing she did to whatever other person. And the answer is: Who cares? Frankly, I doubt she and I would have gotten along. At times, she comes off as having been a bit of a b*tch. But just as I don’t care whether my carpenter was unsociable as long as the wall he builds is solid, I don’t care whether my philosopher had a coarse personality as long as the epistemology she developed is sound. And it is.

    3. We also know that Rand stated outright that she doesn’t care what happens to her work after she dies. (shrug) My interest in seeing at least some master archive kept pristine is an academic one, not born out of any fidelity to Rand the person or Rand the individual. Like I said before, if there’s something to the Burns allegation, I’d like to see it proven and I think it would be a serious matter. But to conflate that with a complaint over the particulars of Mayhew’s adaptation is intellectually dishonest and misleading.

    -Mike

  • Neil Parille

    Mike,

    1. I’m surprised that you think it’s ok for Mayhew to add sentences Rand didn’t say, make changes to the edited versions of the Answers that Rand herself prepared for publications, and make Rand say the opposite of what she said.

    2. I think the “intended audience” would like to think they are reading what Rand said and not what Mayhew thinks Rand meant.

    -Neil Parille

  • Mike

    Neil,

    That’s what an adaptation IS.

    It’s not the same as the original.

    I think we’re done here.