It turns out she treated her ‘top value’ like shit, which really should come as no surprise: She treated everyone like shit, especially the people foolish enough to submit to her vituperative blasts of rage.
A Cautious or Incandescent temperament in power will always move toward Cautious tyranny – with amplifying compliance displays where escape is blocked. Pope Sneakoff, as one reprehensible example, desperately wanted to be The Big O’s Intellectual Error, so he took a daily bath in Sister Mary Elephant dung. None so deserving.
I take no end of grief from people because I tend to regard all testimony as being unreliable. Until I know from experience that your word is good, I assume it isn’t. Nothing personal, but you are naturally tendentious and poorly educated, the perfect recipe for over- and under-statements.
But mere unreliability is less misleading – and more easily corrected-for – than is overt, intentional deception, so it pays to have a lens for predicting another person’s probity – for judging the relative reliability of the testimony of people you don’t already know well.
Testimony about personal prowess or competence seems like a useful proxy. If you have occasion to judge someone, you have some basis for judgement. An inquiry as simple as, “Tell my why you think this is a good resume” can tell you everything you need to know.
Take a look at this matrix:
Whatever it is we’re talking about, are you any good at it? That’s the columns, evaluating your ability to account for your own efforts.
Whichever answer you gave, do I think your response was accurate? That’s the rows – and if I can’t judge your competence, more fool me.
If you’re good at the task and you know that, your testimony is highly-likely to be reliable.
You say you’re not so good and I concur? At least you’re capable of telling the truth.
You say you’re not good but I know you are? Don’t call me, I’ll call you.
You insist you’re the best of the best at marriage because all happy husbands drink themselves to death…?
Ayn Rand’s testimony about her marriage could not be less reliable. She was lying and she knew it, and so did everyone else around her – most especially Pope Sneakoff.
So: Since we know Rand was lying about her marriage, the question any rigorous mind should ask next is this one:
What else was Ayn Rand lying about?
Cum taces, clamas. When you say nothing, you say everything.