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Judgment Day For The Brandens

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'The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics' - A Breakthrough Book Puts Ayn Rand's Critics To The Test.

On the 100th Anniversary of Novelist Ayn Rand's birth, a new book will be released with never before published essays from Best-Selling Author Ayn Rand's private journals about her former lover, Nathanial Branden.

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Edited by GreedyCapitalist

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The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics by James Valliant will be released in February 2005.

Along with Valliant's in depth analysis of both biographies it will have almost all of Ayn Rand's private journal entries about the Brandens.

Press Release: www.emediawire.com/releases/2004/8/emw151733.htm

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Rand's never-before-seen diary entries are used along with the only in-depth analysis of the biographies written by psychologist Nathanial and his former wife Barbara Branden--the most widely read sources of information on her life

When I first started researching the likes of Branden and his exploits I felt that the damage he had done was somewhat blown out of proportion, seeing how he is such a blatant clown. But after reading this statement in that press release I would have to seriously rethink that assumption. It seems he has succesfully sold his little illusion to all those that hate the great for being great and hunger for something to substantiate their hatred- despite how hollow and improbable it seems.

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Thanks for the heads-up, Don. I'm glad to see someone take those people to task. Way too much time is spent having to deal with their foolishness. Branden gets worse all the time (if that's possible). This is long overdue.

Nate: You are right to think that this is too silly to even think about, but these people have managed to gather way too many malcontents under their anti-Objectivist wing. They are all about personalities, slandering Ms. Rand and Objectivism while claiming to be proponents. The subject won't die and it needs to be addressed, even thought it doesn't deserve such attention.

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I saw a 4-5 page article by Valliant on the subject a coulple of years ago online. I can't find it anymore (Now I understand why - He decided to make it into what will be a great book!) It will be a total refutation of all the nonsense (if you can actually refute the arbitrary).

Also, I am happy to find this site. The "Objectivist Singles" msn forum is adequate in some ways, but at times is overrun by everyone with any viewpoint whatsoever - including actual insults of Rand. I can take almost anything - but not THAT. I've browsed this site for about a week now, and am pleased that it is actually (strange to say), reason oriented and pro- Rand. So now I've decided to join.

Hello!

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Also, I am happy to find this site. The "Objectivist Singles" msn forum is adequate in some ways, but at times is overrun by everyone with any viewpoint whatsoever - including actual insults of Rand.  I can take almost anything - but not THAT. I've browsed this site for about a week now, and am pleased that it is actually (strange to say), reason oriented and pro- Rand. So now I've decided to join. Hello!

Hi Durande! (Love that screen name, btw.) Why not post something about yourself in the "Introductions" forum?

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. . . with never before published essays from Best-Selling Author Ayn Rand's private journals about her former lover, Nathanial Branden.

This is interesting because Ayn Rand denied that she and Nathaniel Branden had ever been lovers.

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(URL to Branden's site deleted.)

Uh, you're kidding right? THAT'S your evidence?! Testimony of God's malignancy from the Devil himself, no less...hehe. That's a good one.

Next.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Uh, you're kidding right? THAT'S your evidence?! Testimony of God's malignancy from the Devil himself, no less...hehe. That's a good one.

Next.

Then we'll have to weigh this citation of Rand's denial against any evidence that you wish to offer that she made statements to the contrary (other than in her private journals).

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Then we'll have to weigh this citation of Rand's denial against any evidence that you wish to offer that she made statements to the contrary (other than in her private journals).

You mean like a statement saying that she's not denying it?! What about just not saying anything at all?

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Fine.  We'll compare the alleged denial with your claim (apparently) that she said nothing at all.

I'm just saying that it's hard to come up with counter-evidence, if she did in fact never say anything (publicly) about it.

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FURTHER TESTIMONY TO BRANDEN'S DISHONESTY

I had advance notice of the "split" in 1968, a couple of weeks before it became generally known. That's because electical engineer and inventor Jim Davidson (1930-1979), informal leader of our Objectivist group at Purdue University, was friends with several employees at Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI).

Jim had a library of almost 200 reel-to-reel tapes, and he eventually told us the story behind it. According to Jim's account (which I have no reason to doubt), it was he who originated the idea of offering courses by tape transcription, sometime around 1960; after a great deal of arguing he persuaded Barbara Branden of the practicality of the idea, and she in turn convinced Nathaniel Branden. For the first several years Jim did all the copying and mailing of the reel-to-reel tapes. (After his death I saw the records he still kept in his card file.) Sometime in the middle 1960's, not long after Nathaniel Branden had signed a contract with Jim, Branden unilaterally broke the contract when he found a firm (G.E., if I remember correctly) that could duplicate the tapes somewhat more cheaply. Jim considered suing Branden but decided not to, since he was afraid that might harm the progress of Objectivism. He later remarked that if he had gone ahead and sued, possibly the "split" might have taken place several years earlier.

I believe ARI recently acquired this tape archive from Jim's heirs.

We had only Jim's word for most of what he said, but I must say that all of us who knew him found him the man of the highest character we have ever met; knowing him was an unforgettable experience, like knowing Howard Roark in person.

Turning, now, to the "split" in 1968:

According to what Jim passed on to us from his friends at NBI, Nathaniel Branden gathered his staff together and told them he had never been fully an Objectivist, but had merely been "playing a role," adding that he had "never taken Objectivism as seriously as some of them obviously had."

Jim's comment: NB was most likely rationalizing, to avoid the guilt of having betrayed his own values.

Reportedly, Branden was "definitely suicidal" at this time, and fled to Canada for several weeks. He later switched to alternate "explanations" of his behavior, changing his excuse to suit the occasion.

Jim was in a position to confirm some of Ayn Rand's lesser charges, e.g. that NB had not updated his lecture courses as he had promised. And that both Brandens, well aware that a break was coming, had copied "The Objectivist"'s mailing list ahead of time, which they had no right to do.

Another member of our group commented (I think correctly): "Nathaniel Branden is the Benedict Arnold of Objectivism."

My copy of Mr Valiant's book hasn't yet arrived, but I welcome any attempt to redress the enormous evil perpetrated by both Brandens.

================================================

The party who alleges that Miss Rand denied having an affair, is grossly misinformed. She never made a statement one way or the other.

Edited by Bill Bucko

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This is interesting because Ayn Rand denied that she and Nathaniel Branden had ever been lovers.

What is your evidence proving that Ayn Rand denied -- to herself alone or to others in spoken or written form -- she had been Nathaniel Branden's lover?

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What is your evidence proving that Ayn Rand denied -- to herself alone or to others in spoken or written form -- she had been Nathaniel Branden's lover?

I attempted to provide evidence, but one of the Guardians of Forum Virtue removed the link.

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I attempted to provide evidence, but one of the Guardians of Forum Virtue removed the link.

Are you saying that a link is evidence of what an individual said -- or didn't say -- 50 years ago?

You don't need a link. Simply tell me the evidence. For example, does the evidence appear in her journals, her letters, or her other writings? If so, where? Please cite a page number in published works (for example: Journals of Ayn Rand, Letters of Ayn, or Ayn Rand [britting]).

Or did you yourself hear her make the statement? If so, when, where, and under what conditions? Do you have corroboration?

Or are you relying on the testimony of someone you know to be objective -- that is, both honest and reliable in his reporting of past events? If so, who?

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... one of the Guardians of Forum Virtue removed the link.

I assume this was meant to be sarcastic: like calling a garbage man "guardian of cleanliness".

If so, instead of a sarcastic remark, feel free to start a thread in the relevant sub-forum if you think the moderation guidelines are wrong or wrongly applied.

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"The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics"

I once knew a woman who professed to admire Ayn Rand. She even claimed to accept Miss Rand’s philosophy. But when Barbara Branden’s pseudo-biography came out, this woman fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

“How,” I asked, “can you believe such contradictory nonsense? Branden claims, again and again, that Ayn Rand suffered from a lifelong neurotic fear of physical reality. Yet here she describes Ayn Rand as a child joyfully climbing a mountain, on a vacation in Switzerland. And later in life, happily taking the throttle of a Diesel locomotive!”

The woman shrugged it off, as though self-contradiction meant nothing to her.

But those who respect the truth, have never accepted the Brandens’ smear campaign.

Now District Attorney Valiant, with a ruthless respect for fact, marshals the evidence. He exposes, in full detail, literally dozens of major self-contradictions, fallacies, non-sequitors, and smears in the Brandens’ works, proving beyond all doubt that they have systematically tried to distort the historical record.

He leaves the Brandens not even a fig leaf to hide behind. They stand revealed: an aging Lillian Rearden and an aging Robert Stadler, finally exposed to the public shame they have so long deserved.

And by setting the record straight, he has performed an historic act of justice.

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"The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics"

But those who respect the truth, have never accepted the Brandens’ smear campaign.

Now District Attorney Valiant, with a ruthless respect for fact, marshals the evidence.  He exposes, in full detail, literally dozens of major self-contradictions, fallacies, non-sequitors, and smears in the Brandens’ works, proving beyond all doubt that they have systematically tried to distort the historical record.

He leaves the Brandens not even a fig leaf to hide behind.  They stand revealed:  an aging Lillian Rearden and an aging Robert Stadler, finally exposed to the public shame they have so long deserved.

And by setting the record straight, he has performed an historic act of justice.

For those who have had even the slightest doubt after reading the Brandens' books, I highly recommend reading this one.

Rand's journals, when properly cross-referenced to the Brandens' memoirs, show that both the Brandens deceived Rand for years. What is more tragic is that Rand provided Nathaniel Branden with various forms of counseling for months during this period. He asked her to use countless hours of her best thinking to analyze and help him with his so-called "problems," when all along he was lying to her. And Barbara Branden went along with it.

Whatever criticisms people may make of it (and a brief search of the Internet shows that the circus has already begun), Valliant's book provides ample evidence of the Brandens' true characters. Valliant's analysis alone, without Rand's journals, did an excellent job of this.

Those who have read Valliant's book will understand the following analogy: just as Rand was able to uncover Nathaniel Branden's true character, even before learning that he was deceiving her, James Valliant was able to reveal the true nature of the Brandens' memoirs, even before he read Rand's private journals. In both cases, however, these major revelations make the issue crystal clear for the rest of us. And, in Valliant's case, Rand's journals enable him to reach further conclusions about the Brandens' characters -- particularly about Nathaniel Branden's character.

I haven't heard of Ayn Rand denying an affair with Branden. But what if she did? A love affair is a private matter. She had every right to deny it in order to preserve her privacy. (E.g., I ask you, "Are you having an affair with Ms. X?" Suppose you say "No comment." Won't that be taken as an admission? If so, you have every right to deny the affair.)

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I, too, want to add my recommendation. This is a superior job of integration of the facts with Objectivism.

An example of a lack of such an integration is the content of the page whose link was deleted on this thread.

Some explanation is in order. As a personal project I am studying the output of various authors who claim Objectivism as their "foundation" My purpose is understanding the difference between a "foundation" and an "integration" of Objectivism -- between a "recitation of words" and an honest understanding. I reason that in understanding this difference, I will be better equipped to promote Objectivism and argue its case.

I found what I suppose to be the missing link (pardon) at the site of one of these authors (whose name will remain unmentioned out of respect for the owners of this forum).

What was lacking from this quote -- besides the strong possibility that it was all a lie -- was any sense of Ayn Rand's context as well as any understanding of Objectivism beyond the "recitation of words."

I mean specifically the words "affair" and "lover." Each of these terms has an appropriate context attached to them. In the absence of that context, the words become "sounding brass, signifying nothing."

Valliant's book is a superior example of such context-keeping. The link posted here is not.

Tom Rowland

PS The relevant passage in OPAR begins on pg 121

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Valliant's book is a superior example of such context-keeping.  The link posted here is not.

Tom Rowland

PS The relevant passage in OPAR begins on pg 121

Tom,

Obviously I agree with you in recommending Valliant's book. But could you give an example from the text, saying why you think it does a good job of integrating _Objectivism_ with the facts? I mean, Valliant shows the Brandens (Nathaniel in particular) to be dishonest and manipulative. But this is a fairly simple point in terms of ethics -- many codes of ethics say it's bad to be dishonest and manipulative. So I'd be interested to read about an integration of a more unique aspect of Objectivism with the particular facts of this situation.

Also, and I don't know if this is against the forum's code of conduct, I would not mind reading more about your particular analysis of the quotation you allude to. I prefer not to go to the website in question and sift through all of that, um, stuff.

In general, I'm skeptical about being tremendously focused on the written work of others. As Leonard Peikoff often says, writings are just like signposts, pointing you to the facts of reality. Focusing too much on writings, and not treating them for what they are, will likely lead to rationalism.

"To the Dogs" (as in, that's where I've gone)

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To the Dogs,

Sure.

Everything in my post was aimed at the link I had found and which I assumed was the deleted link, as well as at the claim that Ayn Rand had denied having an affair.

I meant no more than to point out that in Rand's context (and the context of Objectivism) word's like "affair" and "love." have a hierarchy which precludes their being used in the context of what Rand came to consider a fabrication on Branden's part, and therefore meaningless.

My reference to OPAR was precisely to avoid running through a demonstration that Peikoff had already made. I was counting on his ability to "point to the facts of reality" for anyone who cared to pursue the subject further. (In fact, if the written work of others is a signpost to the facts of reality, why are you skeptical about using them to that end?)

As to Valliant's integration of the facts with Objectivism, I think the entire book is a series of such integrations, least of all in ethics and most of all in epistemology and psycho-epistemology.

To give an example, the passage starting on pg. 243, first full paragraph, begins with an explanation of the relationship between the passage from the Journals that has gone just before and Objectivism's rejection of the "theory-practice" dichotomy. In the next paragraph, Valliant goes on to point out that Rand is focused on assessing what Branden's "mental drift" means about the mind (the psycho-epistemology) and character of Branden rather than on moral anger.

At the bottom of the same page, he goes on to integrate the fact that Branden seems to be able to "tolerate extreme cognitive dissonance in his own life" with what that means in terms of the identification of contradictions which must be resolved (a principle of psychology) and further with Rand's method of mental functioning (in contrast with Branden's).

Over and over Valliant points to Rand's commitment to reason over whatever emotions she may be feeling (all the time acknowledging that she has them).

The whole of Part Two is a demonstration of what it means to "forgive errors of knowledge but not errors of morality." Valliant integrates the facts given in the Journal with this principle of Objectivism, as well as with Branden's claim that Rand is "moralistic."

The whole of Part Two is a demonstration of hierarchy and context. Rand eventually comes to the conclusion that whatever their relationship was, it was not love and it was not an affair in any sense with which she would want to participate knowing the full context. Valliant consistently points to this, leading to his biggest wallop of an integration, the argument for which begins on pg 382 and which I will not spoil for those who have not read the book.

And all of this is the context for judging the content of the "evidence" presented on the page provided by the excised link.

That content demonstrates, if such a demonstration remains necessary, that Rand never rejected her insistence that reason, not emotion, be her guide; that she was a person of almost unbelievable benevolence on an individual by individual basis; and that she held the full context of her established hierarchy of knowledge to the very end.

Tom

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