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A recent interview with Dr Nathaniel Branden

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Here is a little experiment : imagine that you pick up 'The Fountainhead', 'The Virtue of Selfishness', and 'Honoring the Self', all in one day at a bookshop - and you've never heard of these authors, Rand and Branden, before. After reading them, what will you think?

To avoid 'psychologizing' about you all, I will tell you my own reaction to this scenario: "Wow, WOW!, what a find! Not only do I have in my hand the way forward to a rational life, via the only philosophy that has ever made sense; but here, too, is a way towards my own inner development, through a psychologist who also stands for reason, self responsibility and consciousness. (In fact it's almost as though the two authors have worked together.)

This is the prejudice of many O'ists, I feel, in 'throwing out the baby with the bath water'. I am not going to answer to those critics who perceive N. Branden as immoral ( in his emotional, or his financial dealings with Ayn Rand, or his true convictions regarding Objectivism ) as it is not my place to do so. I will say one thing: that the source of most misinformation came from James Valliant's 'Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics', and this biased book has been refuted by several O'ists, some of whom, unlike Valliant, were actually there at that time.

I recently received some PM's on this topic by considerate O.O'ists who have tried to point out the error of my ways on this subject, and to them I say thank you, and I will reply in kind. No. I don't think that you are being evasive, either. I think that you are mistaken. I think that you could benefit as I have by reading everything you can find about Branden, and by him (as I did) and then see if your opinion changes.

There is too much second generational, inherited falsehood floating around concerning NB in the O'ist world, and I think that justice demands that it be corrected.

I have always had a loathing for 'statistics' - which individualist doesn't? They hide more information than they reveal, imo, but I find this very interesting:- At last count, I see approx. 1300 views of this thread; with 50 posts; by only 20 posters; including only 2 who support Branden.

1300/50/20/2 !!

What does the 'silent majority' think? And what is it about the topic that draws so many to it?

Can anything be concluded from this , anyway? Are they NB detractors,or supporters? Who can tell.

Speaking for myself - one more time - I am an Objectivist, who sees not the least contradiction in also valuing Nathaniel Branden, and not the least difficulty in integrating his work into Rand's.

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I can say I don't have enough information about the general culture of Oism, the relationship between Ayn Rand and Brandon or specifically Branden's character. I can read everything people have said, but I think the most qualified judgments of any I have read or heard are Hsieh's and Peikoff's. If I were to trust anyone's judgment it would be theirs, but I still haven't read anything by Branden himself and so I can't make a proper evaluation of him. Same with David Kelly. I have started reading Reisman's stuff but haven't gotten far enough.

But I think the better question to ask is why do so many people care about this? Does it negatively affect these peoples' lives in any direct way, rather than just being distasteful or offensive?

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At last count, I see approx. 1300 views of this thread; with 50 posts; by only 20 posters; including only 2 who support Branden.

1300/50/20/2 !!

What does the 'silent majority' think? And what is it about the topic that draws so many to it?

Important aspects of Ayn Rand's life is a topic about which an Objectivist would naturally be curious. My guess is that the your "silent majority" is comprised of people who are interested, but feel their knowledge is too inadequate to comment, and others who have seen many such threads and think "What? Still nothing new! Time to move on". I'd guess that most people satisfy their curiosity and reach a point when they realize that knowing more is a waste of their time.
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Important aspects of Ayn Rand's life is a topic about which an Objectivist would naturally be curious. My guess is that the your "silent majority" is comprised of people who are interested, but feel their knowledge is too inadequate to comment, and others who have seen many such threads and think "What? Still nothing new! Time to move on". I'd guess that most people satisfy their curiosity and reach a point when they realize that knowing more is a waste of their time.

I'm pretty much in the same boat here, I have heard much about the situation and it has been from good sources, but honestly there is so much material that Rand and Peikoff have put out there about Objectivism that there is not much reason to bother looking at what Branden and co have to offer.

I might have been interested in some of his takes on psychology if I had not read that 'Hazards' garbage that he wrote.

Edited by Axiomatic
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I'm pretty much in the same boat here, I have heard much about the situation and it has been from good sources, but honestly there is so much material that Rand and Peikoff have put out there about Objectivism that there is not much reason to bother looking at what Branden and co have to offer.

I might have been interested in some of his takes on psychology if I had not read that 'Hazards' garbage that he wrote.

Just to be clear, I didn't mean to imply that Branden's books were a waste of time. I was speaking about posts, books, articles, and (mainly -- since that was what I was relying about) forum-threads that were about his character or his relationship with Rand.
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Just to be clear, I didn't mean to imply that Branden's books were a waste of time. I was speaking about posts, books, articles, and (mainly -- since that was what I was relying about) forum-threads that were about his character or his relationship with Rand.

Do you consider his works on psychology to be of worth?

Since reading that Hazards article and the amount of psychologizing he does there, I'm not convinced that buying his works would be worth the money.

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Do you consider his works on psychology to be of worth?

Since reading that Hazards article and the amount of psychologizing he does there, I'm not convinced that buying his works would be worth the money.

I've only read one Branden book, and that was only in part and so long ago that I don't have any memory of it. So, I cannot recommend him personally. OTOH, some folks who I trust enough on book-recommendations, have told me positive things about his books. I'm not sure if this is certain specific books. However, if I had an interest in psychology, I would definitely find out more and read one of his books for myself. I know Dan Edge has sometimes posted favorably on OO.nt about some Branden books (example here)

Added: While searching the forum just now, I came across a post about the Branden's, by Diana. Even while explaining her view of NB's nature, she mentions having liked his books at one point, though she says she was not a big fan of them. So, there maybe something in them.

Edited by softwareNerd
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Does anyone know which works were given the 'OK' by Rand and which were not?

She wrote specifically endorsing the Brandon works in The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist and Who is Ayn Rand. That's it. I can tell you from what I remember of what Ed Locke said years ago from his personal experience that Ayn Rand was one hell of an editor.

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I have always had a loathing for 'statistics' - which individualist doesn't? They hide more information than they reveal, imo, but I find this very interesting:- At last count, I see approx. 1300 views of this thread; with 50 posts; by only 20 posters; including only 2 who support Branden.

1300/50/20/2 !!

1300/50 = 26 views per post

If the 20 unique posters viewed the thread upon each new post via email update, that leaves only about 6 other viewers of the thread. There are likely more than 6 because they do not get email updates of the thread, but there are not hundreds of other viewers.

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