I just listened to the PRODOS interview with PARC’s author, in which he states:
(1) “The break had nothing to do—nothing to do—with Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden’s affair coming to an end….Ayn Rand was not a particularly jealous person.” [End of quote]
PARC asks the reader to believe that, for Ayn Rand, the romance with Nathaniel Branden was over as of January, 1968. Rand does state (July 4, 1968) that when, in January of that year, Branden started saying “I don’t know” in response to her questions about his feelings for her, that “as far as I was concerned, this was the end.” Their sexual relationship had apparently been going through a brief “renaissance” for the two months prior to that. But does the (apparent) end of their sexual relationship in any way imply an end to her romantic feelings for him? Of course not. In fact, Rand states that she “could not break with him, as long as any hope remained.” She states: “I broke with him one night—and he would not let me.” She gave him another chance, because his “agony” seemed so sincere. This does not sound like a woman who had put a romantic relationship behind her.
During the period between January and July of 1968, their personal relationship appears to have revolved around frequent discussions of what is described as his “sex problem.” It seems clear that Rand is doing whatever she can to clarify the problem and help him resolve it. She even asks him if their age difference is a problem, and he denies it. On Monday, July 1, 1968, in a telephone conversation, Rand discovers that Branden had spent the previous Sunday in the country with a student rather then “thinking about his problem, as [she] thought he intended to.” She writes: “That was that. I told him that this could not go on.” This refers to her belief that “neither his own problem, nor I, nor his torture of me had any importance to him or any reality.” Two days later, on July 3, he gave her the paper in which he admitted that the “problem” did, in fact, have directly to do with their age difference.
In her response to his paper, where he described his problem as one of “physical alienation,” Rand writes: “Why didn’t he think it out before he used it to destroy me and our relationship. . . No matter what he feels for me, in fact, in reality, on earth he ended our relationship by means of an offensive, irrational, mindless piece of intellectual trash…What is he giving up, and for the sake of what?”
In a subsequent discussion with Branden, Rand demanded that he have no further “friendship” with Patrecia Gullison. She states “No one of that sort is to profit from this tragedy…” It would be another month before Rand would learn of the affair with Patrecia—and the final break would ensue.
Of course, PARC makes every effort to obscure the foregoing account, throwing in obfuscation and interpretation to the effect that, after January of 1968, Rand was simply struggling to clarify the issue of Branden’s innocence or immorality. That is why the perpetrators of this malicious insanity could not simply publish Rand’s journal by itself. But Rand’s words are clear—and the conclusion is transparently obvious. Rand ended their relationship when it became clear that there was no longer any hope of resurrecting their romance. Rand had stated in her notes of July 4 that Branden was engaging in “conscious dishonesty” and “conscious immorality.” Conscious deception alone was not, therefore, the issue. It was what he had specifically deceived her about—an affair with someone else—that made all the difference.
(2) Another quote from the interview: Nathaniel and Barbara Branden’s responses to “To Whom It May Concern” were “to put it nicely, a pack of lies. For example, Nathaniel Branden said that, although he had had an affair with Ayn Rand that had lasted for years, he said that the age difference was an insuperable barrier to any sort of romantic relationship with Ayn Rand and that that was the cause of his break with Ayn Rand. That’s a pretty despicable falsehood in my view. So not only did they lie to Ayn Rand for years, they lied to the world about the break.” [End of quote.]
Here are the last two paragraphs of Nathaniel Branden’s “Answer”:
“That written statement was an effort, not to terminate my relationship with Miss Rand, but to save it, in some mutually acceptable form.In PARC (pp. 96-97), the author states that Branden is hereby implying that he “would never, could never, have such a relationship with Rand.” In fact, of course, Branden is making a deliberate effort to protect Ayn Rand. He phrases this in a way that leaves open the question as to whether such a relationship had been attempted. If he had stated that he was declining to continue their relationship, it would have bolstered his position enormously—and done tremendous damage to the reputation of someone to whom he had been so devoted for so many years. The only “lie to the world” involved is Rand’s: the public perception of the relationship between herself and Frank O’Connor. Both Nathaniel and Barbara Branden refused to disclose the full truth while Rand was still alive. Yet PARC transforms their benevolence into an indictment, twisting the truth into its exact opposite, making their virtues look like intentional evil.
“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.”
After reading this book, I have a pretty good idea what intentional evil really looks like.
(Edited by Dennis Hardin on 7/09, 3:27pm)