BB's last meeting with AR

Chris Cathcart's picture
Submitted by Chris Cathcart on Sun, 2006-05-14 03:29

Maybe this has been discussed to death already, but I was wondering how those making the case against the Brandens (led by Valliant's PARC) viewed the portrayal of Rand in their final meeting together in Barbara's PAR -- the one in 1981. Is it the view of those critics of the Brandens that Barbara doesn't have enough credibility to make this account believable (that they had a meeting at all, much less a reasonably happy one), or is it granted as one of those times that Miss Rand is shown in a very positive light? Rand is portrayed as a very warm person, warm enough to put aside past differences enough to the extent of spending a pleasant day together. I'm also thinking of the account provided by Devers Branden in her meeting with Rand -- that Rand, instead of angrily turning Devers away at the door, was trusting enough to eventually invite her in and have a civil conversation.

I gather from both accounts, though, that she wouldn't trust NB again, nor want to see him again. But in the portrayals given by BB and DB, there's no meanness on AR's part directed towards them. She came across as friendly and kind towards them.

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Probably Amazon.

Casey's picture

It usually takes only a few days.

Not yet.

Olivia's picture

Right now I'm job hunting. Borders didn't have it. What's the swiftest route?


Casey's picture

Thanks for those comments. I think you can see why it has boggled my mind and boiled my blood to see some of the things people still say about Rand and Branden after PARC. Are you reading it?


Olivia's picture

Just the thought that a scrap of her precious time on this earth was given to him in counsel, whilst the very best he could do was pathetically hide his real issues... fills me with intolerable disgust.

Out of love on her part, he had the formidable mind of Ayn Rand applying herself to his problems and what does he choose to DO? Maximize on her trust and intentionally deceive her! That is the act of an enemy - calculated, malevolent exploitation. A vampire who values not the LIFE in front of his hungry eyes.

Since Never

James S. Valliant's picture

Exactly, Claudia, Branden "evened things up" through systematic deceit.

Since when does weakness justify deceit?

Olivia's picture

Smarter, older, more experienced, and more psychologically powerful people can still be exploited by someone who routinely lies well.


eg's picture

Your Rand to Branden ratios are screwy. The difference in brains and psychological power was much less than you think. She had no interest in a weakling wimp.



Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I read PARC a long time ago. But I read it objectively and intelligently.

Rand was much smarter, older, more experienced, and more psychologically powerful than Branden. In my judgment, she dominated and controlled him in almost every way from Day One. No where else in Rand's life was she weak, foolish, and exploitable. Why imagine such a magnificent contradiction in her love life?  


Olivia's picture

" So neither NB nor AR was exploiting or being parasitic off the other, and both were central to the rather large 1960s Objectivist movement".(Andre Zantonovich)

Like you I have not read PARC yet - but it is clear to me already that NB indeed exploited Ayn in the worst possible way. Intellectually, emotionally and sexually, the worm.

Holly ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You rock, gal! I can see we're gonna get on just fine! Smiling

I was there

eg's picture

By that mean I was in New York City (actually nearby New Jersey) and was in the midst of that Objectivist culture and experienced the four principals pre- and post-break. Andre's account is simply conventional pre-PARC with an extra nasty emphasis which is now wishfull thinking. I can say a ton of good things about Nathaniel Branden, even Barbara, and I intend to in the not so distant future, but it won't wash away PARC. Ayn Rand, however, is a mixed bag too in regard to "To Whom It May Concern," but she gets a hell of a lot more slack now from me than she did for that. (I have a complicated story in that I took Rand's side until 1972.)


Too Kind

Holly Valliant's picture

I'll respond!

Check with your buddies, Sciabarra and David Kelley, on whether they think Rand did anything immoral -- and check out what the real consensus even out there is. As far as I'm concerned, the only potential immorality on Rand's part was in possibly being too kind to the bastard. Everything she said in 1968 was true -- and almost everything Branden said to the world about it in 1968 was a lie -- and PARC proves it.

Branden was taught by the best teacher, she then helped him pack 'em in by her very presence at the Q & A's, but only after getting them in the door in the first place by reading her books -- like nearly all of them already had.

Grow up. Read PARC.

Andre, you are the worst when it comes to ugly and reckless smears and childish name-calling. And not once do you provide us any substance.


James S. Valliant's picture

I am very sorry if my post left the impression that I would respond to you.

The Early Objectivist Movement

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Pretty much everyone admits that Nathaniel Branden was instrumental to the creation of today's Objectivist movement. He was evidently a go-getter, gung-ho, businesman-type in a way which Rand wasn't, and had no interest in becoming. Branden started up a very successful lecture course, as well as, eventually, the rather stunning Nathaniel Branden Institute. He lectured a lot, and wrote a lot for 'The Objectivist Newsletter.' He seems to have been the driving force in much of early Objectivism, as well as a great source of personal friendship and strength (plus some anguish, like all former lovers) for Rand. So neither NB nor AR was exploiting or being parasitic off the other, and both were central to the rather large 1960s Objectivist movement.

As regards the melodramatic split, Rand indeed was guilty of smearing both Nathaniel and Barbara, as best I can tell from this distance. She blackened their reputations among vast mutual personal and professional aquaintances, and attempted to visit considerable personal evil upon them -- exactly as she did with her many ex-friends who "betrayed" her. Of course, I wasn't there, and to a certain extent the accounts seem genuinely disputed and uncertain, but Rand seems to have treated her former best girlfriend and the former love of her life with palpable coldness and cruelty. I take no real sides in the breakup -- other than an intransigent dedication to truth and morality -- but from my perspective, Ayn Rand seems to have been guilty of considerable immorality and injustice.


James S. Valliant's picture

Let's see:
1. It goes without saying that Ayn Rand's sanction has always been of enormous value to the Brandens -- both in starting their careers -- and subsequently;
2. Rand's denunciation of them as liars in 1968 (btw: was SHE engaged in a "smear"?) could not have been more final, complete, and devastatingly thorough (see "To Whom It May Concern");
3. The Brandens rely on the intellectual community associated with Rand, and her "sanction" is vital to their reputation within that community (uh... I don't know of anyone ~ outside ~ of that community who thinks the Brandens are honest...)
4. The substance of what may have been said at BOTH of these meetings is beyond anyone's capacity to corroborate;
5.. Both Brandens have lied to and about Rand in public and in private for many years -- demonstrably so in their more recent biographical works on Rand (see PARC);
6. Rand's sanction is STILL of great value to them (notice how both continue to invoke these stories for that very purpose).

Should we then just take on faith these self-serving accounts, without any possible corroboration, considering what's at stake for these proven liars?

What does "Nathaniel Branden

Landon Erp's picture

What does "Nathaniel Branden is no longer associated with me. My philosophy of Objectivism or the Objectivist (formerly the Objectivist Newsletter)" mean to you?

To me it means that any sanction she may have given either at one point was thusly withdrawn.


Inking is sexy.

The Three Musketeers

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

There's another reason why all these loose smears are absurd: any attack on Nathaniel and Barbara is an attack on Ayn. Barbara was her best girlfriend; Nathaniel was the love of her life. Considering the unequalled closeness of Rand's relationship with these two, any moral condemnation of "the Brandens" reflects directly and profoundly on Ayn Rand herself.

Follow the money

Landon Erp's picture

Seconded. Or to be more accurate just re-read PAR or anything else either of them has written with the idea in mind that they had a lot to gain from Rand being portrayed negatively.

Being denounced matters a lot less if you were denounced by a crackpot who had a lot of nutso ideas anyway.


Inking is sexy.

Speak for yourself, Andre

Adam Buker's picture

There has been more than enough proof to establish them as liars. Read PARC.


Standard Bizarro-World Claim

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Fred Weiss, employing the usual casual slander, calls Nathaniel and Barbara "pathological liars." But outside the ARIan universe, I'm not aware of a single person who regards them as even minor liars. Of all the people -- Objectivist and otherwise -- that seem to have known them personally and well for these past twenty or thirty years, not one would agree with the above statement. I don't think they would even find it comprehensible.


eg's picture

Going thu my storage locker a few weeks ago I came across a letter I had written to Barbara Branden in 1981 which I never sent her in which I stated that I had heard she had recently met with Ayn Rand. I have no clear idea where I got that information (probably from Nathaniel), but it was 5 years before PAR was published and it lends some serious credibility to Barbara's claim.


Fred Weiss's picture

Since the Brandens are pathological liars you can't give credence to any aspect of these stories, including if they even occured at all.

So, after dismissing the accounts (pending credible verification), that only leaves one remaining mildly interesting question - assuming Edith Packer in absentia will allow me to apply some psychology despite my lack of a degree in the field.

What do they gain by it? What do they gain by it, even at the expense, I might add, of having to portray Ayn Rand in a manner thoroughly at odds with the one they had portrayed in their books?

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