KASS PARC Quote of the Day: What It Was All About

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Sun, 2010-04-04 03:09

Rand has been deeply hurt by the charge of being "moralistic." Again, it is Rand's self-esteem that sees through this rationalization at once. They [the Brandens] do not question the truth of Rand's specific moral judgments, but, rather, complain of her "moralism" as such. Their assertion can only mean one of two things: a confession of moral guilt or an expression of moral envy, the resentment against Rand's own moral character.

Rand, still unwilling to attribute an existential guilt to the Brandens, opts for the latter view. In these same notes from May 15, she writes:

The most awful thing to me is [the accusation of being] "moralistic": he (and perhaps [Barbara Branden]) blame me for being blameless, i.e. moral and rational. This, to me, is penalizing me for my virtues because they are my virtues. (Had I been less, he wouldn't have been afraid of me. Even the present fear is an escape from his actual guilt: the [psycho-epistemological] betrayal of his values.)

This is the charge that stings the most—the one the Brandens saved up for such a special occasion as the obfuscation of their own dishonesty. The fact that this charge is "the most awful" to Rand is itself at odds with the Brandens' accounts.

The end is near.

Pp. 302-303


I don't see

Brant Gaede's picture

I don't see moving money around between two businesses as a problem as long as proper books were kept and interest was paid on the loan. I have a hunch no interest was paid but don't know. That the loan was quickly repaid on demand makes the point all but moot because of all the craziness going on at the time. The real problem was NBI taking on that 15-year lease in the Empire State Building in 1967, which seems to have been symptomatic of how unbalanced he had become.

I once told Nathaniel apropos some psychological work I did that it showed how "a little bit of cowardice can really screw you up [later]." That resonated quite strongly with him. Years later, after Barbara's bio was published, I realized that his troubles with AR probably went back to something like that. Considering how dynamic he was way back then 50 years ago doing all the big things from teaching to writing to helping Ayn with her depression, he probably didn't properly focus on or think through what he was doing when he first lied to her. Then it snowballed for lies are easy and the truth can be hard, but never so hard as when you realize your world has become an unstable artificiality needed constant maintenance. Unfortunately, he was maintaining Ayn's world too, with its naive views on romantic love rationalizing their adulterous affair from the get-go. This is Atlas Shrugged as Molock devouring its own children: those who decide to live in that world with AR its author its ironic child.

--Brant

Holzer

Neil Parille's picture

Ellen,

The Objectivist was owned by Rand and Branden 50/50. The NBI was 100% owned by Nathaniel. NB authorized a loan from TO to the NBI which Rand said amounted to "financial exploitation" (I'm going by memory).

I imagine that most people at the time read it as an allegation that NB attempted to defraud Rand. Burns says it was a "veiled claim of fraud," or words to that effect.

-Neil Parille

Henry Holzer

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Neil, apparently you didn't notice in the Holzers' recently published account of their relationship with Rand, Henry Holzer's saying that he went over the details of "To Whom It May Concern" with Rand in detail to vet it against having anything legally actionable in it. Rand does not accuse Branden of criminal activity in the statement -- exploitation but not of a criminal type. Holzer's denial of there being anything criminal is addressed to beliefs which developed that the exploitation was criminal.

Ellen

Jim

Neil Parille's picture

Is Henry Holzer lying?

-Neil Parille

Horse's Mouths

James S. Valliant's picture

Neil, when you start to identify the real (and still legal) exploitation of Rand, not some invention of your mind, we can talk.

Until then, Branden's own description being an "operator" in this context, and Ms. Branden's contemporary understanding that they should have been honest with Rand prior to extending themselves into new financial commitments, controls.

Financial Exploitation, II

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

I think we should separate out the two types potentially involved here.

1. NB fraudulently or recklessly authorized a loan from The Objectivist to the NBI either to siphon off money for his personal use or to keep a faultering NBI afloat, risking the financial soundness of The Objectivist in the process. This what Rand appears to have been getting at in her '68 statement when she discussed the transfer.

2. NB lied to Rand about the affair in order to keep his beneficial arrangement with Rand going. In other words he wasn't interested in Objectivism by this time, just enjoying the good life.

As far as 1 goes, neither of the biographers finds any reason to believe that NB defrauded or stole from Rand. Both mention Holzer's statement that there was no fraud. Your contention in PARC that NB admits to numbers that support Rand's claim appears to based on a mistake.

As far as 2 goes, I don't think the new biographers agree, although I think Heller says that NB was doing quite well in his association with Rand. (I don't have the books handy.)

-Neil Parille

Financial Exploitation

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

What evidence is there that NB engaged in the kind of finacial exploitation alleged by Rand in 1968?

As you know, Henry Holzer said NB didn't engage in financial wrongdoing.

-Neil Parille

I don't know ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... what's so hard or undesirable about calling Branden what he is: a psychopath and a skunk. Of course he deliberately created the wrong impression about The Affair, alluding to something he was honor-bound to keep secret while making it sound like a case of a dirty predatory old woman coming on to him. This "dirty old woman" whom he'd been having an affair with for years and assured repeatedly that he'd fancy her at any age come what may. This "dirty old woman" from whom he sought and by whom he was granted endless therapy about his phony "sex problem." Dirty rotten lying bastard. Soul of a rapist indeed. I doubt that he ever loved Rand at all. I doubt that he's capable of love. I think he knew exactly what he was doing in the back of that car, and there was not an ounce of sincerity in any of it. The creature is charmingly, chillingly amoral. It took Rand 13 years to realise it. That's a worry!

I know

Brant Gaede's picture

I know this thread isn't a Star Chamber, but it is an attenuated facsimile of one.

--Brant

"the promise of confidentiality"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Jim (#86194):

"And let's not pretend that the promise of confidentiality wasn't violated by the Brandens [my correction: by Nathaniel Branden] in 1968. At that point, from Rand's perspective, if he went this far, he might as well have told the whole truth -- Rand would have looked far better if he had."

 

I agree that confidentiality was already violated by what he said, and that Rand would have looked far better if NB had straight out revealed that there had been an affair, that this wasn't a situation of her chasing him wanting to initiate an affair.

Here is the full concluding part of NB's October 16, 1968, statement -- the part of the statement which people I knew talked about and speculated about the most during the often-heated post-Split disputes about the rights and wrongs of the respective claims.

Conclusion

I believe it is apparent, to any thoughtful reader of Miss Rand's article, that, whatever the truth or falsehood of any of her specific charges, the real and basic reasons for her condemnation are not given in that article. There is too obvious a discrepancy between the significance of the alleged facts she cites and the intensity of the emotional violence the article reflects. It is not Miss Rand's normal policy to write in the same style and by the same method as most of the antagonistic reviewers of her books. A major part of the story is obviously missing.

She does provide one indirect clue - and I must confess I am astonished that she chose to include it.

She writes, "About two months ago (at the beginning of July), in an apparent attempt to terminate the discussions he himself had initiated, Mr. Branden presented me with a written statement which was so irrational and so offensive to me that I had to break my personal association with him."

In writing the above, Miss Rand has given me the right to name that which I infinitely would have preferred to leave unnamed, out of respect for her privacy. I am obliged to report what was in that written paper of mine, in the name of justice and of self-defense.

That written statement was an effort, not to terminate my relationship with Miss Rand, but to save it, in some mutually acceptable form.

It was a tortured, awkward, excruciatingly embarrassed attempt to make clear to her why I felt that an age distance between us of twenty-five years constituted an insuperable barrier, for me, to a romantic relationship.

Suppose that he had written the final phrase with either of the bracketed insertions thus:

"...why I felt that an age distance between us of twenty-five years constituted an insuperable barrier, for me, to [the continuance of] a romantic relationship."

alternately:

"...to [the resumption of] a romantic relationship."

The picture of Rand's behavior would have been altered to having a plausibly reasonable basis instead of making her look like a foolish old woman "coming on" with unwelcome advances to a much younger man and then breaking with him when the advances were rebuffed.

Ellen

Hardly

James S. Valliant's picture

No, Neil, he did not admit to his ACTUAL deception. "Withholding information" is not deception unless one has a positive obligation to disclose that information. The "falsehood" appears only to have been implicit, going by his 1968 account.

Had NB admitted to an affair with Rand, he would have disclosed the reason behind this ethical obligation to tell Rand.

In 1968 NB gave us no reason to think that Rand had any right or business to care about his private life. It was THAT omission which makes his assertion so deceptive in this context.

After first reading this myself, I assumed that Rand "came onto" him, that he rejected her advances and that, as a result, he had to keep his feelings for another woman secret. Mad, jealous, irrational Rand with bizarre claims over his personal life, is the impression he intentionally left me.

Yet, had he admitted the affair, Rand's position would have been far more understandable. This is why he did not disclose it, of course.

We must add to this his overt deceptions in the context of the psychological counseling he solicited from Rand, as well, another thing he was less than honest about in 1968.

So, he did not just "withhold information" -- he overtly and explicitly lied to Rand, point blank and repeatedly, when asked about Patrecia, as Rand's notes prove conclusively. It was no implied falsehood, but numerous, clear and overt falsehoods.

And I hate to point this out to you, yet again, but NB's account in his memoirs reveals financial exploitation. Listening to BB explain why Rand should be kept in the dark precisely so that they could maintain their business relationship with Rand, he reports thinking, "So. Well, well, well. We are all operators, it seems."

To my mind, this aspect of their exploitation of Rand is far worse than what she did allege (and what she did allege happened to be true.)

All I Want is the Truth, Just Gimmie Some Truth

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

Nathaniel did admit that he deceived Rand.

***

Several years ago, I found myself in an agonizing personal dilemma, which I saw no way to resolve. The solution I ultimately chose was wrong, because it involved resorting to a falsehood. It entailed, among other things, withholding from Miss Rand certain information about my personal life — specifically, my relationship with a young woman, with whom I was and am deeply in love

***

He told his NBI staff that Rand was right to break with him, if I recall correctly.

Rand looks worse than Branden, wrongly accusing him of financial misdeads for example.

I think NB should have spilled the beans on the affair.

-Neil Parille

How About the Truth?

James S. Valliant's picture

Of course one can easily understand Branden's desire to defend himself against wild speculations.

Sure, but then why not stick to the truth? Let's see, how 'bout this: "For a number of years, I lied to Rand about personal matters." Or, "Although I solicited psychological counsel from Rand, I lied to her throughout its course." This would have kept the affair private and not mislead his readers. He had a number of other, more honest options, as well.

But, of course, he would have had to admit to wrongdoing if he had told the truth.

And let's not pretend that the promise of confidentiality wasn't violated by the Brandens in 1968. At that point, from Rand's perspective, if he went this far, he might as well have told the whole truth -- Rand would have looked far better if he had. Ah! Maybe that was the reason why he misled his readers, as Neil now concedes he did.

Instead of arguing against Straw Men of his creation, NB could have issued blanket denials of Rand's other charges, as well.

As for Rand, she told the truth.

And she had no obligation to tell the world everything.

The Letter

Neil Parille's picture

Mr. Klein,

You are correct. In addition, let's remember that the Brandens and the O'Connors agreed to keep the affair secret. By phrasing things the way he did, NB was able to get around this agreement.

Remember also that Barbara writes that based on the things Rand was saying people were starting to wonder if NB was an alcoholic or child molester. NB had a right to defend himself and let his readers know that there was a bit more to the dispute than Rand was letting on.

-Neil Parille

Just a Thought

Brant Gaede's picture

You do your writing and I'll do mine--in my time.

--Brant

The Letter

Don E. Klein's picture

James S. Valliant wrote Fri, 2010-04-09 03:46: "Just consider Branden's knowingly false assertion in 1968 that it was Rand's one-sided desire for an affair with him which caused their break."

I thought he only brought up the contents of The Letter because she had brought up its existence publicly, without saying what was in it. Rand descended to innuendo, and he struck back. Neither side adequately explained the dispute.

An Accountant

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

If I were to give NB's numbers to an accountant would you expect him or her to conclude that it's more likely than not that the cash reserves of The Objectivist were depleted as a result of the loan?

-Neil Parille

Still More Word Games

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You write:
__

I indicated in PARC that I had no access to any such financial records, as you have just observed, and since I did have access to the Archive, you should've been able to conclude that no such records are there. Not only did I not see them there, I explicitly asked Mr. Britting if there were, in fact, records of this kind preserved and he said no.
___

Why should the reader conclude that? In PARC you wrote “[o]f course, the numbers cannot be verified by the author . . . .” (PARC, p. 108.)

As I said:

___

Why “of course”? Does Valliant mean that the Archives do not contain The Objectivist’s financial statements, that there is insufficient information to determine the accuracy of the statements, or that he did not even consult with the Archives?
___

I asked you if you read Fern Brown's interviews and others. You said you didn't. So why should I conclude that you searched for the records and none were extant?

You also write:

___

Once more, I never claimed that NB admitted to financially exploiting Rand, just to enough facts to establish such exploitation.
___

While there is some difference between the first and the second, NB does not admit to facts showing he engaged in financial exploitation of Rand. Based on the numbers he provided you can't even say that it's more likely than not that the cash reserves were below $1000.

Three to four months prior to the transfer there was approximately $34K in cash. The transfer according to NB was $22.5K. The Objectivist was profitable (more money coming in then out) so it's more likely that the cash went up.

-Neil Parille

More Word Games?

James S. Valliant's picture

Once more, I never claimed that NB admitted to financially exploiting Rand, just to enough facts to establish such exploitation. You're caught playing yet another silly game, once more, in your very reply.

It is this sort of gross misrepresentation on your part that makes anything you allege against PARC seem trivial indeed.

I indicated in PARC that I had no access to any such financial records, as you have just observed, and since I did have access to the Archive, you should've been able to conclude that no such records are there. Not only did I not see them there, I explicitly asked Mr. Britting if there were, in fact, records of this kind preserved and he said no.

Word Games

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You are incredible. You say that Branden is devious and dishonest, but at the same time think he publicly admitted that he financially exploited Rand.

You had complete access to the archives. Why didn't you tell us what the financial records Rand relied on indicated?

Since you've read Burns and Heller, you must know that Henry Holzer said that Rand's charge of financial misdealings were baseless. (By the way, in the revised PARC do mention that the Holzers recently made it clear claim that Rand booted them out.)

-Neil Parille

Sheesh

James S. Valliant's picture

I will not play silly word games with you, counsel. His numbers are only corroborative of Rand. So, I guess he did have some records after all...

Nathaniel's Numbers

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

Nathaniel says he was using the "audited" statements which I assume would be quarterly or yearly.

In PARC you said that looking at Branden's numbers he, in effect, admits the truth of Rand's claim (almost complete depletion of the cash reserves). Now you said that the numbers "suggest" Rand was in "the right ballpark."

Which is it?

-Neil Parille

No, Neil

James S. Valliant's picture

I think it's you who are confused here. If NB had no records himself, then where did his numbers come from, the ones he did give us?

?

James S. Valliant's picture

NB stated that as of March 31, 1967, "cash in the bank" was $33,881, and that on March 31, 1968, "cash in the bank" was $17,438. Money, one must presume, is coming in and out all the time, so something between 17k and 34k appears to have been cash in the bank for any given month during this period, with 25 thousands being somewhere in the middle.

Thus, an assertion that the cash reserves at some point in between these two dates were something like 16.5 (or 22.5, depending on which Rand meant) makes sense. The loan, all by itself, would have represented about half of the magazine's cash even at the highest end of the scale provided by N.B. If the real figure was closer to the low end, the loan, all by itself, would have taken nearly all of them. If Rand was referring to the 22.5 figure, the median between the two of about 25 would have been swallowed up by 22.5, as well.

Instead of providing us with the real number, NB gives us numbers showing, as I say, that Rand was at least in the right ballpark.

Well

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

NB transferred his interest in The Objectivist to Rand, so I think it is likely that by the time of the 68 statement he didn't have the complete records (which would have become Rand's property).

Rand made the assertion, so why didn't she give the numbers, or make them public after NB denied her claim?

If you have evidence to support Rand's claims of serious financial wrongoing on NB's part why don't you present it? (Your discussion in PARC appears to rest on a confusion concerning the date of the loan.*)

-Neil Parille

*****

I’m no accountant, but I am at a loss to see how Valliant reaches this conclusion.(41) While we don’t know the cash in the bank at the time of the loan, approximately four months prior it was $33,881. Valliant doesn’t mention this amount. Approximately eight months after the loan was made (but before it was paid back) it was $17,438. (Valliant mentions only this later amount, and gets it slightly wrong.) What is the evidence that this loan depleted the cash reserves of The Objectivist? Perhaps Valliant believes that $17,438 contains funds from the repaid loan ($17,438-$16,500= $938), but the loan wasn’t repaid until months later. It is also possible that Valliant has confused the date of the loan and thinks it was made in July 1968 instead of July 1967.(42)

________
41. Valliant writes, “[o]f course the numbers cannot be verified by the author . . . .” (PARC, p. 108.) Why “of course”? Does Valliant mean that the Archives do not contain The Objectivist’s financial statements, that there is insufficient information to determine the accuracy of the statements, or that he did not even consult with the Archives?

42. This appears the most likely explanation for Valliant’s confusion. He says, “Branden does not then explain why he initiated repayment on his own so soon . . . .” (PARC, p. 109, emphasis added.) It wasn’t repaid “soon,” but approximately one year after it was made.

Well...

James S. Valliant's picture

He was the sole owner of NBI and half owner of The Objectivist. Do you think that his accountants hid his own bank statements from him or something? Smiling

Again

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

You write:

___

In any case, while NB does deny this claim, he simply fails to provide us with the evidence which he had and which might have refuted Rand, namely the actual cash reserves at the time of the loan. Instead, he throws out figures which are largely beside the point.

___

How do you know that Branden had the actual figures?

-Neil Parille

Jim's Fuzzy Math

Neil Parille's picture

Jim just now:

___

Just as PARC indicates, Neil, NB does not explicitly admit to this aspect (the amount of the magazine's "reserves" the loan represented).
___

Jim in PARC (p. 108):
___

In attempting to dispute Rand's claim that the loan "represented the entire cash reserve of this magazine," he actually admits its truth.
____

The screenshots aren't working (at least in my browser), but here is my discussion:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

-Neil Parille

Just a Thought...

James S. Valliant's picture

Published writing, even on the web, is for when you not only know "what you mean" yourself, but are prepared to communicate this to others.

Ask the Archive Yourself

James S. Valliant's picture

Just as PARC indicates, Neil, NB does not explicitly admit to this aspect (the amount of the magazine's "reserves" the loan represented). And it is a relatively minor aspect of this matter, in my view, as it shows mere aggravation, not her main point of exploitation. In any case, while NB does deny this claim, he simply fails to provide us with the evidence which he had and which might have refuted Rand, namely the actual cash reserves at the time of the loan. Instead, he throws out figures which are largely beside the point. Curiously, those very numbers do seem to suggest that Rand was in the right ballpark, at the very least. So, why didn't NB give us the figure that would've shown his point, as opposed to those other numbers, that is, if they actually did show that point?

Well, James

Brant Gaede's picture

I know what all this means and from my perspective I say "shallow" on you too. But to continue this conversation on a rational basis, I'd first to have to write my essay.

--Brant
please respect me to this extent--that is, to be continued

I'm

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm intrigued enough, Ellen, to review Wynand in TF. Very soon.

Brant

67 Loan

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

NB admitted that the loan depleted the "entire cash reserve" of The Objectivist as Rand claimed? Where?

Does evidence in the Archives support Rand on this?

-Neil Parille

Yes

James S. Valliant's picture

You ask, Brant: "But I have to ask you: Would you like to live in the human world of Atlas Shrugged? Do you know what that means?"

Yes and yes.

So, yes, "shallow."

Tissue of Lies

James S. Valliant's picture

Well, shut my mouth! NB was "misleading" the public, was he? Of course, we then have that other, closely-related deception: both he and Ms. B. explicitly stand by that misleading 1968 statement, of course.

To take another example: NB admits in 1968 that the loan in question was of an unprecedented size and that Rand did not learn about this figure until after the fact, just as Rand had claimed. Or, take this one: NB denied that his relationship with Rand had become exploitatively therapeutic, as she had claimed, and as her journals demonstrate was the case. Etc.

No

Brant Gaede's picture

I've not written an essay about Atlas as such, so it's quite premature to judge my understanding of Atlas, James, as "shallow." There is nothing simple about this novel or its impact and the impact that will keep impacting this culture and people for many generations to come. I'm sorry to say that right now I've not the luxury of writing or attempting to write such an essay, which should probably be a book.

--Brant

Tissue of Lies

Neil Parille's picture

Jim,

I do consider what NB said about the affair misleading.

I do not believe that theBrandens' responses were tissues of lies. For example I think NB's claims that he didn't do anything underhanded with the 67 loan and BB's claim that lecturers for NBI were not financially treated were correct.

But please tell us what your archival research has shown.

-Neil Parille

"Make Mallory...

Ellen Stuttle's picture

... the main, dominant figure in The Fountainhead and--what might happen?" (Brant)

Well...I'd venture to say: not the success and enduring hold of the book as written.

Ellen

Sad

James S. Valliant's picture

The list of Brandenian-deceptions is so long it takes a whole book to describe them. Just consider Branden's knowingly false assertion in 1968 that it was Rand's one-sided desire for an affair with him which caused their break. Not only did he mislead his readers into thinking it was a one-way thing, Rand's notes show conclusively that her regard for Branden had been shattered many months previously, if not eartlier. We also know that Rand was trying to salvage their professional relationship after knowing that their romantic one was finished. No, in 1968 NB simply slimed and dodged around what he knew to be his own fault, his dishonesty to Rand, the real cause of their break.

And both Branderns continue to defend that 1968 tissue of lies.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Neil to acknowledge this simple fact, he won't, he can't... but he can raise a separate issue to distract us for a moment until this one slides off the radar screen.

One might conclude that Neil merely suffers from ADD if it wasn't obvious that such topic-skipping is his strategy.

Neil's own dishonesty renders argument with him hopeless.

More interesting are Brant's responses: the world of Atlas Shrugged is that unreal to him, as is Galt, and his understanding of Atlas just that shallow.

Well

Brant Gaede's picture

Just goes to show. But here's a thought exercise: Make Mallory the main, dominant figure in The Fountainhead and--what might happen? All kinds of different interesting things and possibilities. Roark was a one-trick pony because he had the mentality, really, of an engineer, not a creative genius like FLW. But I'd not imagine Mallory as an architect, but as he was in TF.

--Brant

Wynand

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Brant: "What I don't understand, though, is what anyone real could have a conversation with Wynand about because he's so artificial."

Wynand reminded me a great deal of a real-life man I knew at the time I first read TF (spring '63), a person with whom I had a number of conversations and a person in whom I saw nothing artificial. (He was a horseman who owned a jumping string which was boarded at a stables where I rode during the week at college.) I responded to Wynand ignoring the details fitting him into the categorization Rand was creating. I think the character escapes from those boundaries, that Rand tapped into something bigger about the life force than was contained in the novel's requirements.

Ellen

Way off

Brant Gaede's picture

I hope you didn't take offense. I was focused on Wynand in TF and not you. And if you recall--I'm sure you do--Wynand told Keating he should have slapped his face and Keating giggled. What I don't understand, though, is what anyone real could have a conversation with Wynand about because he's so artificial. Take him out of TF and he stops working. This isn't true of Mallory or The Wet Nurse in AS.

--Brant

"the price" - Brant

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Brant to Linz: "Would you like to live in the human world of Atlas Shrugged? Do you know what that means? That was the price of being a close friend and associate of Ayn Rand while it was being written and after the novel's publication: people twisting themselves into facsimiles of Randian heroes, creating that special place which was most powerful in New York City represented to the public by NBI."

This echoes what Barbara writes in a segment of Passion which I've come to think of as the "core" of the indictment against Rand. I posted excerpts here (post #85995). See that post for the context of this statement:

Passion, pg. 271-72

"[...] had the attitude of [Rand's] friends been different, it is likely that she would have renounced them and surrounded herself with people who would give her what she needed. It was not chance that her chosen friends were so many years younger than she--as it was not chance that her lover was so many years younger than she."

Is there any evidence of Rand's trying to form -- or even wanting to form, if she weren't hampered by the logistical impediment of the then-rural locale -- a circle of admirers at the California ranch? Or of her having any intention prior to her meeting Nathaniel of relocating to NYC (where a circle of admirers was easier to develop) until after she completed Atlas? Or of her instigating the formation of the original "Collective" and eventually of a small surrounding society? Where are the grounds for thinking there'd have been the same sort of constellation with a different cast of characters if not for Nathaniel's and Barbara's, especially Nathaniel's, entering her life?

Ellen

Way off, Brant,

Ellen Stuttle's picture

in your Wynand comment.

Ellen

Gail Wynand, Ellen?

Brant Gaede's picture

Yeah, that yacht. That art gallery. But I'm afraid your husband would slap his face.

--Brant

Ifs...

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Linz: But if Nathaniel *hadn't* thought The Fountainhead was "his kind of book," and if Rand *hadn't* "for so long thought he was her kind of man"...

What would have become of her post-Atlas? And would there have been Objectivism as we know it?

NB provided the impetus and the forum, the circumstances in which the Newsletter and then The Objectivist could be published. Would there have been the speeches and articles she wrote without those?

Also would Leonard Peikoff ever have met her without the connection through Barbara Branden? Whatever the drawbacks of ARI and Estate policies, at least Peikoff has been dedicated to carrying on her legacy -- and I think it's looking as if the Archives will eventually be a quality research set-up.

I always wonder, was it better or worse, for her -- and for the future of the world -- that she and Nathaniel met and she became attracted by him?

Ellen

PS: Re: "Reinforces me in my view that I could never stand dinner with Roark, but would date Steven Mallory in a heartbeat."

I'd have gone for Gail Wynand.

Coincidental

Brant Gaede's picture

I said "coincidental," Kasper. It's merely somewhat interesting to me. 1968 was one hell of a year. It has to do with a fundamental attitudinal shift.

--Brant

Brant

Kasper's picture

.... and, Nathaniel Branden's deciet of Ayn and the whole break has to do with Vietnam and changing political attitutes in America how exactly?

What has that got to do with catching fish?

Wow!

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm glad you got that out of your system, Linz, but I'd still take a vacation.

Mallory was one of Rand's best characters. So was the Wet Nurse. We the Living was her best novel for real, human characters. But I have to ask you: Would you like to live in the human world of Atlas Shrugged? Do you know what that means? That was the price of being a close friend and associate of Ayn Rand while it was being written and after the novel's publication: people twisting themselves into facsimiles of Randian heroes, creating that special place which was most powerful in New York City represented to the public by NBI. It was culturally very useful at the time. What happened in 1968 with "The Break" had a coincidental analog with what happened to the United States because of the Vietnam War and Lyndon Johnson throwing in the towel. Everybody's perspectives were changed and things got really nasty for a while, as at the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

--Brant

Cultist crap

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Relentless ad hominem assault" Brant? Your cultist Brandroid slip is showing. The relentless ad hominem assaults were those by the Brandens on Rand, when she wasn't here to defend herself, the contemptible cowards. PARC simply, belatedly, corrects the record.

Re-reading Rand's extended journal entries has chilled me. Nathan was/is a textbook psychopath. Conscienceless, capricious, conniving, remorseless, emotionless, shallow, serially deceitful, able to turn the charm on and off at will. The worry is that he thought The Fountainhead, which he memorised by rote, was his kind of book, and that Rand for so long thought he was her kind of man. Reinforces me in my view that I could never stand dinner with Roark, but would date Steven Mallory in a heartbeat. Perhaps if Rand hadn't made her heroes so autistic she wouldn't have attracted sociopathic monsters like Branden. But that doesn't excuse the creep.

Yes, Ellen

Brant Gaede's picture

Nathaniel is the "big" target of PARC's relentless ad hominem assault. The idea is beat up on him to drag Barbara into the mix for the real target, her biography of Rand. In this silly scheme of things, the "big" target is only lagniappe justifying the embarassing half of the book Valliant didn't write except for his annoying interjections.

--Brant

PARC's Points

Neil Parille's picture

Ellen,

PARC is a lengthy book and makes (or tries to make) a number of points, the most significant which is that theBranden accounts are "monuments of dishonesty" and that Rand's "critics" have been building on "a foundation of historical sand."

Since I imagine that Valliant would concede that people tend to look to Barbara's biography as the more balanced source, I'd say that indirectly his main target is Barbara.

-Neil

Read, Brant.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"You don't know of any."

That isn't what I said.

I responded so as to prevent your editing your what I'd call silly summation, which is a brief form of a summation you've expressed many times.

You're fixated on Barbara, Brant. What leads you to conclude that James Valliant's fixation was Barbara? Or is it that you think that the reason Leonard Peikoff let Valliant use the diaries was because *he* was fixated on Barbara?

You do miss, for one thing, that Nathaniel Branden is the far bigger target in PARC. Also that defending Rand is the not-directly-stated "point" of the book. (Took me awhile to come to that conclusion myself.)

Ellen

Oh, Ellen

Brant Gaede's picture

You don't know of any. Well, the entire book is scholarly trash essentially bashing one Branden to get at the other Branden aka TheBrandens to discredit an essentially correct if not overly sympathetic biography of Ayn Rand. It's a prosecutor's brief, that's all.

--Brant

Brant

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"You mean, Ellen, there could be postings from PARC that aren't 'on target'? Why don't you quote some?"

Yeah, Brant, there could be. Probably most of them could have been posted and discussed ad infinitum already. If you want such passages re-re-re-hashed, why don't you quote some yourself? Neil might be pleased, since he's still stuck, endlessly, on the same done-to-death issues. See his post below, for instance.

Ellen

You mean, Ellen

Brant Gaede's picture

You mean, Ellen, there could be postings from PARC that aren't "on target"? Why don't you quote some?

_____________

I'll tell of a hunter whose life was undone
By the cruel hand of evil at the setting of the sun
His arrow was loosed and it flew threw the dark
And his true love was slain as the shaft found its mark

c: She'd her apron wrapped about her and he took her for a swan
But it's oh and alas it was she, Polly Von.

He ran up beside her and found it was she
He turned away his head for he could not bear to see
He lifted her up and found she was dead
A fountain of tears for his true love he shed

c: She'd her apron wrapped about her and he took her for a swan
But it's oh and alas it was she, Polly Von

He bore her away to his home by the sea
Crying "Father, oh father, I murdered poor Polly
I've killed my true love in the flower of her life!
I always intended that she be my wife"

"But she'd her apron wrapped about her
And I took her for a swan
And it's oh and alas it was she, Polly Von"

He roamed near the place where his true love was slain
He wept bitter tears, but his cries were all in vain
As he looked on the lake, a swan glided by
And the sun slowly sank in the grey of the sky

c: She'd her apron wrapped about her and he took her for a swan
But it's oh and alas it was she, Polly Von.

_____________

Oh, woe!

--Brant
Peter, Paul and Mary, early 1960s--Mary's estranged father, Robert Travers, was my Dad's best friend at Antioch College in the very early 1930s: he wrote a few mediocre novels after serving in the Merchant Marine in WWII and became an editor

Shooting Blanks

Neil Parille's picture

Ellen,

Jim's point is that theBranden books are "monuments of dishonesty"; that is theBrandens are lying and know it.

How do these excerpts from PARC help Jim make his case? Assume for the sake of argument that theBrandens disasgree with Rand about moralism, rationalism or the power of philosophy (things that Linz has excerpted from PARC). How is any of this relevant to Valliant's claim that Barbara is lying when she says she heard the typewriter story from Rand or that Rand told her she considered divorced in the 40s?

-Neil Parille

Bullet holes be as they may, Brant,

Ellen Stuttle's picture

the passages Linz has been posting from PARC are ones where Valliant's and Rand's points (in the included excerpts from her diaries) are on target.

Ellen

Brant

Neil Parille's picture

Numerous times I've asked Perigo to defend the specific points of PARC; he refuses to do so.

So he's really a Pomo Wonker who uses PARC to justify his "meta narrative." Truth is secondary for him.

-Neil Parille

PARC

Brant Gaede's picture

Riddled with bullet holes, Linz won't stop giving it CPR.

--Brant

Dozens Then

Neil Parille's picture

Ok, let's see your list.

-Neil Parille

Ant Parille Desperado

gregster's picture

Ant Parille wants examples of significant mistakes from two recent books [no matter their content] .

Are you joking? The Heller is Babs Branden on speed. The Burns has numerous errors which are not so intentional. I will furnish not five, there are dozens.

5 and 5

Neil Parille's picture

Gregster,

Perhaps it would help if you, Jim, Linz or others list five significant mistakes of fact and five significant erroneous conclusions in the Burns and Heller books.

-Neil Parille

reasonably accurate?

gregster's picture

"in light of the Burns and the Heller"

The Burns was almost there but she demonstrated a lack of understanding of Objectivism. Heller is garbage.

As your early report cards told you Neil "Must try harder, and tends to fantasize."

Chapter By Chapter Valliant Destroys The Lies

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

What are the lies in theBrandens' books? They seem to come across as reasonably accurate chroniclers in light of the Burns and the Heller.

The only good part of Jim's book are the journals, which he almost destroys by inserting all his garbage comments in the middle. Nonetheless, I don't think he did Hull and Mayhew style editing.

Happy Easter. It's Ground Zero for us HDrs.

-Neil Parille

BTW, Where is Jim?

"The end is near"

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What is now palpably obvious is that the Brandens' beef with Rand is of a type as old as the hills and much less attractive. Hills have height after all. Nietzsche said Christianity was a rebellion of that which crawls on the ground against that which has height. That is what the Brandens' memoirs were against Rand. Rotten souls rebelling against a pure one, who was their meal ticket and whom they had deceived in the most conniving, low manner possible. Their memoirs are a last desperate attempt at historical vindication. Won't happen. Their lousiness cries out at every turn. They were incalculably privileged to be befriended by an historic genius; they chose not to grow as they might have but resentfully to rebel against that very genius. Since it died they have sought to "blacken goodness in its grave." They nearly got away with it. Valiant Valliant to the rescue. I still passionately despise things like the rewriting of history and the Hull letter for which James, tragically, is an apologist, but he gets a free pass from me for doggedly pursuing the truth in the face of the Brandens' lies (while cowards like Binswanger stuck their noses in the air).

The end is near indeed. The Brandens will be sub-Salieri to Rand's super-Mozart.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.