He drives home to the jury the pattern of the Brandens’ supposed turpitude, a pattern he establishes by demonstrating how every alleged lie or deceit relates to every other one presented. Matters both small and large become threads in the pattern. For example, Valliant exposes in repetitive detail the minor and not-so-minor discrepancies that exist between the Branden’s two de facto Rand biographies as well as the discrepancies between Nathaniel Branden’s first and revised edition his book.
Personally, I dislike The Passion’s legalistic style. I do not enjoy curling up with a legal brief or a court transcript, and the book reads like one. I also think Valliant’s legalistic approach damaged the credibility of his arguments as much as it strengthened them in places.
Thus, the discrepancies between the biographies become evidence of conscious dishonesty. This approach weakens his argument. All of us know that there are often natural discrepancies ? even important ones ? between two people who remember an event from their unique perspectives. Perhaps each of the Brandens does remember events in a self-serving manner; even this would not constitute dishonesty. Human memory is flawed in the best of circumstances.
But this defense of the Brandens easily becomes an offense. Even if the many discrepancies between the biographies Greeley eros escort are not due to dishonesty ? even if they constitute tricks of memory, a differing interpretation of events, or simple carelessness ? they still call the accuracy of their portrayal of Rand into question. In short, the discrepancies introduce a reasonable doubt as to whether the biographies present Rand accurately.
In its place, Valliant attempts to present a far warmer portrait of Rand as a woman of humor, charm, compassion, and loyalty to friends.
More than this, he reviews the arguments to date in order to integrate each new piece of evidence into the overall argument
But, again, I stumbled over an aspect of Valliant’s approach. It was not the legalistic style but the framework of Objectivist theories of psychology, with which I am in significant disagreement. In short, I balked at much of the cognitive analysis of psychological motives which was offered by The Passion. For example, Valliant writes in analyzing Nathaniel Branden’s underlying motives or psychology, “‘Rationalism,’ as Rand used the term, is not to be found in the standard texts ? being first identified by Objectivism ? and it is a relatively rare phenomenon, most common among intellectuals. Hence, the ‘rationalist-repressor’ is a relatively rare species of repressor.”
In short, Valliant’s attempt to psychoanalyze the Brandens was not convincing and ? given how much of the book the attempt absorbed ? it constitutes a major flaw.
Consider one of the criticisms leveled at Valliant’s style: he gives the Brandens no benefit of the doubt but, instead, consistently ascribes ill motives to their actions
Nevertheless, The Passion accomplishes one of the psychological goals Valliant intended. To a significant degree the book restored to me and (I believe) others a better opinion of “Rand the woman.” For one thing, it was important to me that NBI, a beacon of light in the cultural darkness, had not been shattered by a pathetic aging woman who had taken a fancy to a younger man. Her actions are now understandable and no longer inexplicably vicious. Also, as a result of Valliant’s arguments, I no longer accept certain previously assumed facts that had lowered my opinion of “Rand the woman.” For example, I find no reason to believe Frank O’Connor was an alcoholic ? a condition to which many people presumed “the affair” had driven him or made more chronic.