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Post 80

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 11:07amSanction this postReply
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Barbara Branden's course on Efficient Thinking was my favorite from the NBI days. There was a pamphlet she wrote which I have never read entitled something like "The Moral Conflict Between Capitalism and Socialism." There were articles and reviews in "The Objectivist" and "The Objectivist Newsletter."

--Brant




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Post 81

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 11:11amSanction this postReply
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Gee, I thought sex was for fun; now Barbara Branden gets taken to task for "promiscuity." If she were a guy her critics would probably be keeping their yaps shut on this particular subject. I think this is just the same old double standard men have been foisting off on women for eons in order to control them.

--Brant




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Post 82

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 11:53amSanction this postReply
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Ciro:

Geniuses sometimes hang out and like dickheads for a long, long time before they realize that they are dickheads. Sometimes, they never realize that a 'friend' is a dickhead.

I do not think Barbara is a dickhead. I just do not think she deserves a pass because of ther 'tremndous accomplishments.' I would never out a friend over a private matter, like supposed alcoholism. I have probably stated things too harshly on this thread. I haven't read the book, but I will. She is an adult, she can live with her decisions, just like the rest of us. But, as adults, we have every right and responsibility to judge and be judged. I do not think her choices would have been mine.

I agree that Barbara's name will be forever entwined with Ayn's and NB's because of the entire sordid situation. Whether this marks her for greatness is for posterity to decide, I suppose.

And for clarity, I do not care one whit about her alleged promiscuity.



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Post 83

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 11:55amSanction this postReply
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Not that I care on the macro level, but I was trying to remember how many times she appeared in The Objectivist. I used to have bound up copies of almost all of them (snagged at a library sale, go figure), but they were badly damanged and I only have one left. I know you can get them but I wouldn't be investing in those right now. They aren't online anywhere (of course) are they?



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Post 84

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 12:13pmSanction this postReply
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I don't care about the promiscuity either -- but when Barbara Branden preciously describes the deep pain of the Affair, it's notable that she herself had affairs behind Nathaniel Branden's back for years. Something she failed to mention in her book.



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Post 85

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 1:51pmSanction this postReply
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So you don't care about the "promiscuity" after all. Good to know, you shouldn't. If there was "infidelity" or "adultery" on her part during the thick of it (I am not going to dignify the pre-marital part of this dirt-fest, because it is so purely pointless, ridiculous and pedestrian, even by the standards of where this discussion now lies), it doesn't mean squat. The barn door was wide open the second NB, BB, AR and FO'C agreed to the arrangement they agreed to. At that point, you are way out of the territory where words like those bear any specific meaning. I don't even care if the arrangement was dreamed up solo, duo, or if somebody came up with it from an advice column. All parties were equally responsible for results. The "arrangement" should have been rejected by all parties. The proper arrangements would have been separations, and/or divorces. Being friendly within the ranks after that would have been preferrable, but optional. But no one did that, and it blew itself to shit. It doesn't matter if you think (as I do) that the senior dog in charge should have not only not formulated the idea, but been the first to have discouraged it, not only in their own mind but in the mind of anyone else that brought it to them. Everybody did otherwise, and it blew itself to shit, like it virtually always does. Pragmatically, it is a rotten gamble, even if you think you are rational, reasonable, mature, and/or elevated enough to handle it. It is a rationalization, and it goes against the reality of how human beings typically operate and what they can and can't handle.

None of this matters, because they went for it. All four of them. The repercussions, the ramifications, the payback, the ugliness, the damage, the guilt are bloody well sufficient for all of them, I am certain.

Now, if you think that BB disqualified herself from experiencing pain from that Affair<tm> due to the reasons you give, you do not accept that things don't add up all neat and properly reconciled like that in the typical human psyche, which is not a spreadsheet. That kind of pain is entirely real, believe it. There is nothing "precious" about it.

(Edited by Rich Engle on 9/27, 1:54pm)

(Edited by Rich Engle on 9/27, 1:57pm)




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Post 86

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 3:16pmSanction this postReply
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Dude (Rich),

Then it's your position that the slow torture that Mr. Branden put Rand through for those years was the perfectly just result for Rand because of her honest affair?

As for "dude," I grew up in Southern California. Here, it is usually a term of affection. It is always so when I use it, rest assured.

Just for the explicit record, and to be completely repetitive:

1. Yes, Rand's critics -- all of them -- would have still hated her ideas with or without the Brandens;

2. However, the trashing of Ayn Rand by the Brandens for the last 20 years has turned some off from reading Ayn Rand, especially among the young, and the Brandens' accounts have been used by the enemies of Objectivism for some time now (see the evidence for all this on this thread);

3. No, all evil does not stem from the Brandens;

4. Of course, my book has little or no bearing on the merits of the other contributions to Objectivism for which the Brandens may be responsible;

5. While her ideas are far more important, Rand deserves an objective evaluation -- as a human being.

Do any of the Brandens' defenders have something more to add, other than what's listed above?


(Edited by James S. Valliant
on 9/27, 3:31pm)




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Post 87

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 3:24pmSanction this postReply
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James, you forgot one:

6. James Valliant is a hate-filled, malice-driven, ARI crony out to destroy the Brandens taking advantage of a very personal situation for his own private financial gain, cherrypicking only those sections of the journals that suit his theory.

We don't need to cover that ground again, either...

(Edited by Casey Fahy on 9/27, 3:26pm)




Post 88

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 3:29pmSanction this postReply
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I, painting from myself and to myself,
know what I do, am unmoved by men's blame
Or their praise, either. Somebody remarks
Morello's outline there is wrongly traced,
his huge hue mistaken; what of that? or else,
Rightly traced and well ordered; what of that?
Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for? All is silver-gray
Placid and perfect with my art: the worse!
I know both what I want and what might gain,
and yet how profitless to know, to sigh
"Had I been two, another and myself,
Our head would have o'erlooked the world!"
No doubt.

From Andrea del Sarto (1855)

(Edited by Ciro D'Agostino on 9/27, 5:01pm)

(Edited by Ciro D'Agostino on 9/27, 5:02pm)




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Post 89

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 3:41pmSanction this postReply
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Its not about promiscuity, its about lies, making things up.

Also "Brandites" say we should take the Brandens word on Ayn Rand on faith. But if you quote NB on BB about something not pretty, then your accused of smashing idols in their church.

According to NB, in May 1963, Wilfred Schwartz, one of the men Barbara cheated on NB with(before they were married) moved with his wife and kids to NYC, Barbara got him a job and spent a lot of time with him. Surprisingly she asked NB if she could have an affair with WS. NB said no for a couple months until he started one with Patrecia while doing marriage counseling with her and her husband. So Barbara was having affairs while married.   





Post 90

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 4:21pmSanction this postReply
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OK, now I'M owed a retraction. Michael? Is one forthcoming?



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Post 91

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 4:50pmSanction this postReply
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So that the record is clear:

Nathaniel Branden writes that Ms. Branden's secret affairs happened when they were "committed" (his word) but not yet married. On pages 110-111 of J.D., for example, he describes the pain caused by the revelation of one of these. Ms. Branden did not tell us about her having cheated on Mr. Branden prior to his more honest relationship with Rand, but she has confirmed it in an interview. Branden has been quick to add that his wife did not have other affairs, to his knowledge, when he began his affair with Rand. Now, of course, since the Brandens are the only source for any of this, it must be treated skeptically, but the circumstantial evidence of its truth is strong: first, Ms. Branden leaving it out of PAR, despite its direct relevance to her theme, followed by her qualified admission to it (and it is an "admission against interest," as we lawyers say, admissible despite the hearsay rule) after Branden made this known in his own memoir.

(Edited by James S. Valliant
on 9/27, 4:52pm)




Post 92

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 4:53pmSanction this postReply
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I don't know of enough justification for Nathaniel Branden's deception and lying to Ayn Rand. He hurt her badly and said so. See Judgment Day.

--Brant




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Post 93

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 4:55pmSanction this postReply
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These threads on the smearing of Ayn Rand have made me seriously question the reliability of the claims that Mario Lanza was a drunk. Isn't it about time for a book entitled "The Passion of Mario Lanza's Critics" which would challenge Lanza's "supporters" who have claimed to "love" him and his work, yet who have tended to be the primary sources of the evil rumors that he was a depressed alcoholic?

I think Mario Lanza's music would be adored by billions of more people today (and, as a result, we'd be living in a much better culture) if certain "fans" of his hadn't smeared him in books, speeches, magazine articles and on Objectivist websites with the rumor that he was a heavy drinker. In a speech published right here on SOLO, Lanza's "biographer" Armando Cesari claimed, without presenting any evidence, that Lanza "constantly" drank and over-ate. Are we really supposed to believe that Lanza drank and ate "constantly" -- every minute of every day, including while he was sleeping? That's ridiculous!

Has anyone who isn't a known liar verified the "sources" of those who have claimed that Lanza was a drunk? When it comes to considering "witnesses," alleged quotes from Lanza himself, or documents which allegedly show that he experienced health problems due to his hard drinking, are we seriously supposed to take the word of known liars who have tried to convince us that Lanza drank "constantly"?

Personally, I now suspect that Lanza didn't drink at all, and that the reason he may have been seen often with liquor and may have smelled of alcohol was that he had discovered a secret method of using it for singing. I bet he was just gargling with the booze (without swallowing it) to soothe his vocal cords.

It's time to set the record straight. It's time for Lanza's "admirers" to be exposed as the evil Lanza-bashers that they really are.

J
(Edited by Jonathan
on 9/27, 4:57pm)




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Post 94

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 5:21pmSanction this postReply
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Jonathan, if you could argue convincingly that the evidence of Mario Lanza being a drunk isn't credible, that would be worth hearing.
(Edited by Daniel O'Connor on 9/27, 5:22pm)




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Post 95

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 5:32pmSanction this postReply
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Jonathan,

I'll take that as a "no" to the question I posed in post 86 (above).

Lanza's music, of course, would sound as sweet whatever we thought of him personally. (It's hard even to commit the fallacy of ad hominem in the case of a singer, eh?) But would Ayn Rand's ethics of personal behavior sound so sweet to the uninitiated if she were really a hypocrite and a monster? Can you really tell the young person thinking about picking up Atlas, "As logicians we know that would be ad hominem, so that would be technically an error, so ignore all of that and consider Rand just as credible as you otherwise would have..."?

I hardly think so.

And, if Lanza had actually been unfairly maligned, it would be worth defending him and the truth and the reputation of someone who gave us all something precious and beautiful, right? No, it would not change the power and majesty of his recordings, but it would be worth doing, don't ya think?

I must thank you, Jonathan, for pointing out why such an endeavor is important, and why it is even more important in the case of Ayn Rand.

(Edited by James S. Valliant
on 9/27, 5:38pm)




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Post 96

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 6:24pmSanction this postReply
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James Valliant, nothing that has been said here has caused me to doubt your character or good motives.

But when you start to use the word "dude" as a form of address on a website...well, certain things are beyond the pale.



Post 97

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 7:17pmSanction this postReply
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Very well, Phil, I stand chastised.



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Post 98

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 9:09pmSanction this postReply
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Scott,

I don't know whether you've listened to any of Leonard Peikoff's history of philosophy lectures, or to his lectures on Objectivism from the early 1980s, so I don't know whether you're in a position to compare Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand with Peikoff's previous work on the same subject.  I certainly don't want to say that everyone is obliged to hunt down all of the oral tradition on which Randians still tend to rely.

But having listened to many of Peikoff's 1970s lectures, and some from the early 1980s, I found OPAR a significant disappointment.  Flaws apparent in his earlier work were magnified; strengths often reduced.  Too often in OPAR, I find sclerosis settling in.  And the book rather consistently preaches to the choir, instead of trying to appeal to thoughtful readers who are not converts to Objectivism.

That said, I don't question Peikoff's hard work on OPAR:
Peikoff at least has worked his tail off to collect Ayn's thoughts in a cohesive way that had never been done before. I am sure it was alot of hard work, and OPAR has a value to Objectivists that almost cannot be measured. And, Dr. Peikoff has the integrity AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS BOOK to make it explicit that the ideas in the books were Ayn's, not his. That is honesty, to work so hard putting together a 300 or 400 page (I do not remember how many pages--maybe more?) book of IDEAS, not from your own mind, but to learn, digest, and be able to explain those of another person.

But since when is self-effacement an Objectivist virtue?  Since when do you deserve maximum credit, for never generating a single idea of your own?  Peikoff was in a trap of his own making when he finished OPAR. Under a strict interpretation of the doctrine that he had been propounding for some years, that Objectivism is a "closed system," there was one Objectivist, her name was Ayn Rand, and there wouldn't be any more.  Peikoff and his disciples could claim to be Objectivists only insofar as they were taking ideas already established by Rand and applying them.  In fact, Peikoff is consistent enough in his preface to withhold canonical status from his own book--though I doubt that anyone in the ARI orbit actually heeds the disclaimer.

Problem is, Peikoff did have ideas of his own, some of them good and some not so good.  And he was a far more diligent student of the history of philosophy than she ever was.  (For instance, his essay on the analytic-synthetic dichotomy develops Rand's theory of concepts in some rationalistic directions that are more characteristic of Peikoff than they were of Rand.)  Distinctly Peikovian ideas show up in his earlier writings (which means that Rand approved them--not that she invented them) and they are in OPAR as well.  But to admit that he had any ideas of his own, or that these play any role in what he is putting forward as Rand's philosophy, would undermine his own claim to intellectual, if not moral, authority.   Which, I think, is one reason why no serious account of Rand's intellectual development will ever come out of ARI.  (The involvement of Nathaniel Branden in her intellectual development is another.)

I also disagree with your evaluation of The Ominous Parallels as "brilliant."  I find the early versions of some of the chapters, which appeared in The Objectivist during the 1969-1971 period, better than the treatments of the same issues in the 1982 book.  And The Ominous Parallels is steeped in the extreme cultural pessimism of so much of Rand's 1960s and 1970s writing; some of its dire predictions lack credibility today.

Robert Campbell




Post 99

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 9:08pmSanction this postReply
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First, we feed all the lawyers ...

--Brant




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