john42t

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"[Rand] demanded that her followers denounce her second-in-command for reasons she refused to divulge" - D. Flynn. [Post 148]

Hang on a minute:

I don't have her essay in front of me, but didn't she offer reasons that would seem plausible to readers - pattern of deception, financial irregularities, loss of committment to Oism? Is my recollection incorrect?

And did she demand everyone break with him, or was that Peikoff regarding those who bought NB's tapes not being admitted in his courses?

Now there's an original thought for someone who has been around the Objectivist world for almost half a century.

I wonder why nobody's ever thought of asking this stuff before...

I swear, I get tired of the same old rationalizations used to sell a false view of Rand-The-Perfect to the public at large. Coming from a newbie, OK. The newbie might not know the different positions as they evolved over decades within the subcommunity. But from an old-timer who has participated in countless discussions of this stuff? Some of which occurred right here on OL? (Gobs, I might add.)

Gimmee a break!

Michael

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> a false view of Rand-The-Perfect

Who was it that was saying she's perfect?

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> a false view of Rand-The-Perfect

Who was it that was saying she's perfect?

yawn...

I'm sick of that game, too.

It's all bullshit.

This game--true believers pretending they are only seeking truth--is probably the closest thing to Peikoff's notion of the arbitrary (i.e., statements and questions without cognitive content) that I can think of.

What's worse is that their attempts at manipulation are so God-awfully obvious and incompetent you want say, "I see you. So you might as well give it up."

But they never do. They never get tired of the same old rationalizations and mind games and always present them as if they were new.

Michael

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Following her essay in The Objectivist ("To Whom It May Concern"), several former NBI lecturers (Peikoff, Greenspan, Blumenthal, Sures) signed a statement under the heading: "For The Record." The statement said that they "condemned and repudiated" the Brandens "irrevocably" and "terminated all association with them."

Do you suppose Ayn Rand had anything to do with that?

I don't know and probably neither do you.

Phil,

But one can rationally assess what is more likely, given the context.

The signed statement is clearly the result of the break between Rand and NB. That is, had there been no break, no such statement would have been written.

So there exist two possibilities:

1) The undersigned mirrored Rand's stance on the issue.

2) The undersigned had come to their conclusions independent of Ayn Rand's influence.

In case you assume 2) to be the case, you will have to ask yourself how likely it is for such loyal disciples like Peikoff & Co, back then, ever to have done anything connected to Ayn Rand without being influenced by her?

So how likely is that? Extremely unlikely, I'm sure you will agree.

Thank you for answering the question (and for doing so with commendable patience, reason and self-restraint).

I'm glad somebody did. I do have my limits.

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Back to front, and circular - concepts grow from verified facts, and "real reality".

One thousand disconnected facts mean nothing and can't be grasped.

In the last act, facts must decide principles.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Eureka! Now we've ended up on the same page.

While you are in such a concessionary mood, can you not find it in you to admit

you've been unjust to a certain Greek gent who you have judged solely by his empirical

output, and hardly by his discovered principles?

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Following her essay in The Objectivist ("To Whom It May Concern"), several former NBI lecturers (Peikoff, Greenspan, Blumenthal, Sures) signed a statement under the heading: "For The Record." The statement said that they "condemned and repudiated" the Brandens "irrevocably" and "terminated all association with them." Do you suppose Ayn Rand had anything to do with that?

Dennis,

That's a rhetorical and ironic question, right? AR put pressure on LP et al, I assume.

Tony,

Yes, it was rhetorical. Any suggestion that the four signatories to "For the Record" acted independently of Ayn Rand's explicit direction is utterly laughable. Can you imagine Alan Greenspan doing such a thing on his own? It's possible that Peikoff acted as her intermediary. Who knows the exact scenario that may have been involved? But it was obviously Ayn Rand who wanted a clear statement of their loyalty as a precondition of any continued association with her.

Also, as far as I know, Barbara was blameless in the matter. It seems shameful that she was lumped together as "the Brandens."

For once and all, I'd like to settle whether Nathaniel at all 'used', or deceived Rand (apart from the obvious - his affair).

Every so often I still read condemnatory reports about him, usually by young-ish Objectivists. Though less often now, which is interesting.

The most easily refutable one is that NB - who aided her in her formulation of the philosophy, was energetic in its dissemination, and very quickly went on to his own career - cynically rode on her coat-tails for his own advancement.

But I'd like to put to rest my last, lingering doubts about his so-called 'betrayal' of her.

The conservativist moralizing involved was, and is, distasteful, in the least.

Older, and wiser, we know that when it comes to a man and a woman, we can all be vulnerable and human - no matter our intellects.

Is it actually as simple as it seems: that Rand attempted a radical experiment, which blew up on her (as it had to, in reality) - and she couldn't handle the fall-out?

Tony

I totally agree with your assessment. Rand should have known the huge risk she was taking and the potential consequences.

She wrote:

". . .Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me certain ugly actions and irrational behavior in his private life, which were grossly contradictory to Objectivist morality and which she had known about for two years."

Suppose Rand had said:

". . .Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me that, for the past two years, he was having a love affair with a younger, married woman."

Would anyone have bought her argument that this was a breach of morality deserving of permanent ostracism from Rand and the Objectivist movement? Of course not. Her decision to conceal the truth of what had really occurred amounted to a refusal to take any responsibility for her own choices and her own suffering.

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Her [Rand's] decision to conceal the truth of what had really occurred amounted to a refusal to take any responsibility for her own choices and her own suffering.

I think to admit that she was emotionally suffering would also have put Rand in a difficult situation: for emotional suffering (if not all suffering) was often played down in the Objectivist philosophy as having no power over the 'rational' individual.

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At some point concepts have to be checked against the real reality. In the last act, facts must prevail.

Ba'al Chatzaf

A famous case of a concept not conforming to reality is "Indian", used by Columbus for the inhabitants of the continent he had discovered, which he wrongly believed to be India.

Despite the error having been discovered later, for centuries, the term "Indian" continued to be used for native Americans.

That is, a 'false' audiovisual label, a 'false' term, - ('false' being understood here as wrongly referring to something as a fact) - can still be in use for a long time, despite facts having provided evidence falsifying the prior assumption on which the concept had been based).

But Rand would not have called "Indian" (referring, at her time, to native Americans) an "anti-concept" I assume.

But still, the idea providing the basis for this classification was clearly false, based on an error.

Even the (for reasons of disambiguation) added "American" to "Indian" does not change the basic error.

An "American Indian" still does not originate from India.

The terminology used in everyday communication is a good deal less precise and less contradiction-free than scientific terminology. Imo this is an issue that has has not sufficiently been covered in the Objectivist theory of concepts.

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At some point concepts have to be checked against the real reality. In the last act, facts must prevail.

Ba'al Chatzaf

A famous case of a concept not conforming to reality is "Indian", used by Columbus for the inhabitants of the continent he had discovered, which he wrongly believed to be India.

In the last act the fact that Colombus mis spoke has prevailed. We now know what is what. Thank you for proving my case.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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> Any suggestion that the four signatories to "For the Record" acted independently of Ayn Rand's explicit direction is utterly laughable...it was obviously Ayn Rand who wanted a clear statement of their loyalty as a precondition of any continued association with her.

Dennis, I've already explained to you that it's not obvious at all. It may be so; it may not. You are claiming knowledge about a situation where you were not present.

That's simply not very objective!

(And another thing: Why would you assume Greenspan was the instigator saying "I think we should make a statement". *Obviously* it could have been one of the others.)

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Ayn Rand wrote:

". . . Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me certain ugly actions and irrational behavior in his private life, which were grossly contradictory to Objectivist morality and which she had known about for two years."

end quote

Dennis Hardin responded:

Suppose Rand had said, ". . . Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me that, for the past two years, he was having a love affair with a younger, married woman."

end quote

Excellent thinking. If Ayn Rand and I we were friends or associates in a relaxed setting I would ask her why not put out the facts? I Know, Ayn, it is deeply personal. You did not think your affair was salacious enough to keep from your husband Frank and his wife Barbara, so to them why not just say how hurt and disappointed you are about Nathan’s behavior? You do realize that Frank and Barbara have been hurt and disappointed in you. Apologize to them. In private tell Mr. Branden you hope his balls roast in hell or some such thing. Get it out of your system. Then tell all the Students of Objectivism that you are splitting with Mr. Branden on the financial and intellectual front but that you think “The Movement” should not be hurt by this.

Too fanciful? Not for an Objectivist.

Peter

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Would anyone have bought her argument that this was a breach of morality deserving of permanent ostracism from Rand and the Objectivist movement? Of course not. Her decision to conceal the truth of what had really occurred amounted to a refusal to take any responsibility for her own choices and her own suffering.

Dennis,

Sounds crazy.

I was so far out of the loop, by time and locale, that it was in this forum 3 years ago when I learned

anything at all about the episode. There were lots of details and inferences posted, but nothing conclusive.

It has been a burr under my saddle since then. My trust in your perception and integrity has now concluded

the issue for me. I appreciate your response, and I can close the book on it.

Tony

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Back to front, and circular - concepts grow from verified facts, and "real reality".

One thousand disconnected facts mean nothing and can't be grasped.

In the last act, facts must decide principles.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Eureka! Now we've ended up on the same page.

While you are in such a concessionary mood, can you not find it in you to admit

you've been unjust to a certain Greek gent who you have judged solely by his empirical

output, and hardly by his discovered principles?

That Gent did not bother to check his work empirically. I do not pardon him at all. His "no check" attitude carried on by his followers retarded genuine natural science in the West for between one thousand and two thousand years.

I forgive him the errors brought about by incomplete knowledge. In every time and age we are all subject to that problem. But not checking? No forgiveness.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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> Any suggestion that the four signatories to "For the Record" acted independently of Ayn Rand's explicit direction is utterly laughable...it was obviously Ayn Rand who wanted a clear statement of their loyalty as a precondition of any continued association with her.

Dennis, I've already explained to you that it's not obvious at all. It may be so; it may not. You are claiming knowledge about a situation where you were not present.

Phil,

You have not 'explained' that it is not obvious. You merely stated that you "don't know" and claimed that DH "probably" doesn't know either:

[replying to Dennis Hardin]:

I don't know and probably neither do you.

But does one always have to personally 'present' in a specific situation as an eyewitness to draw rational conclusions?

If that were the case, our knowledge of the world would be very limited, to put it mildly. :smile:

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> Any suggestion that the four signatories to "For the Record" acted independently of Ayn Rand's explicit direction is utterly laughable...it was obviously Ayn Rand who wanted a clear statement of their loyalty as a precondition of any continued association with her.

Dennis, I've already explained to you that it's not obvious at all.  It may be so; it may not. You are claiming knowledge about a situation where you were not present.

You have not 'explained' that it is not obvious. You merely stated that you don't know and that DH "probably" doesn't know either:

I don't know and probably neither do you.

I'll give an explanation of why it's not obvious that Ayn Rand "wanted a clear statement of [the signatories'] loyalty as a precondition of any continued association with her" (quoting Dennis Hardin's post #182).

Consider the particular four who signed. Peikoff and Sures were extremely loyal to Rand. Allan Blumenthal alone knew the full details. Alan Greenspan....? I can only guess there. My guess is serious dislike of Nathaniel Branden. Consider that neither Allan Blumenthal nor Alan Greenspan was willing to patch things up with Nathaniel Branden later, though both eventually patched things up with Barbara Branden. Allan Blumenthal even resigned from his advisory position at IOS when Nathaniel was invited to speak there in 1996.

Consider further that the signatories represent only about maybe a third of Rand's close associaties at the time. If Rand wanted such a signed statement as "a precondition of any continued association with her," how do you explain her continued association with associates who weren't among the signatories?

Ellen

PS: Boy, is this subject a digression from the thread's topic. I'll get back to posts on that when I can next week.

___

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I'll give an explanation of why it's not obvious that Ayn Rand "wanted a clear statement of [the signatories'] loyalty as a precondition of any continued association with her" (quoting Dennis Hardin's post #182).

Consider the particular four who signed. Peikoff and Sures were extremely loyal to Rand. Allan Blumenthal alone knew the full details. Alan Greenspan....? I can only guess there. My guess is serious dislike of Nathaniel Branden. Consider that neither Allan Blumenthal nor Alan Greenspan was willing to patch things up with Nathaniel Branden later, though both eventually patched things up with Barbara Branden. Allan Blumenthal even resigned from his advisory position at IOS when Nathaniel was invited to speak there in 1996.

Consider further that the signatories represent only about maybe a third of Rand's close associaties at the time. If Rand wanted such a signed statement as "a precondition of any continued association with her," how do you explain her continued association with associates who weren't among the signatories?

Ellen,

Would you agree that the signatories, via the signed statement, gave a clear signal in terms of their loyalty toward Ayn Rand regarding the issue? (That's what it really is about, isn't it?).

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Ellen,

Would you agree that the signatories, via the signed statement, gave a clear signal in terms of their loyalty toward Ayn Rand regarding the issue?  (That's what it really is about, isn't it?).

I'd agree that Peikoff and Sures were giving a clear signal, but for one thing I think you aren't taking account of how much resentment of Nathaniel there was. I'd say it was "about" more than loyalty to Rand. For another, you don't explain, if signing the statement was a "precondition" of continued association with Rand, all the missing signatures of other associates (including even Joan Blumenthal, Allan's wife).

Ellen

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Would anyone have bought her argument that this was a breach of morality deserving of permanent ostracism from Rand and the Objectivist movement? Of course not. Her decision to conceal the truth of what had really occurred amounted to a refusal to take any responsibility for her own choices and her own suffering.

Dennis,

Sounds crazy.

I was so far out of the loop, by time and locale, that it was in this forum 3 years ago when I learned

anything at all about the episode. There were lots of details and inferences posted, but nothing conclusive.

It has been a burr under my saddle since then. My trust in your perception and integrity has now concluded

the issue for me. I appreciate your response, and I can close the book on it.

Tony

Tony,

Thanks very much for the kind words. I really appreciate it. And I'm glad I could bring some clarity to this issue for you.

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How about more than four signatures would be overkill for an article of that size? Or for the importance Rand wanted to give to Nathaniel and Barbara at that moment?

There are all kinds of explanations other than whitewashing Rand's bad behavior. Let the woman be human for God's sake. Let her get mad enough to seek revenge. Let her get so wound up she didn't want to explain herself even as she wanted everyone to trash those who hurt her. She was a human being, not a goddess.

One of the really good things I am grateful to witness up close is how this kind of nit-picking reasoning is gradually being discredited big time. (Look at what is happening with the Valliant book. Not even ARI is selling it anymore.) What makes it especially pleasurable is this is happening at the same time Rand's reputation and influence are growing in the mainstream and in the political sphere.

Her history and public image are finally outgrowing the manipulations of both her whitewashers and her bashers.

Michael

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I'm not "whitewashing Rand's bad behavior," Michael. I doubt there's anyone who thinks she made a worse mistake with "To Whom It May Concern" than I think, and thought at the time, she made.

Dennis Hardin claimed, however, that it's obvious that Rand required signing a statement as a precondition of continued association with her. No, it isn't obvious. There are counterindications. I doubt the statement was Rand's idea. My belief is that either Peikoff or Holzer thought of it, but that's just a hunch.

Ellen

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Ellen and Phil,

Any suggestion that the four signatories to "For the Record" acted independently of Ayn Rand's explicit direction is utterly laughable...it was obviously Ayn Rand who wanted a clear statement of their loyalty as a precondition of any continued association with her.

Both of you refuse to see the obvious, for reasons best known to yourselves. I’m not going to engage in a lengthy exchange about this.

Briefly:

(1) So what if his former associates disliked Branden? Their dislike was probably based largely on resentment and envy, and no doubt they were delighted to see him “dethroned,” so to speak. Both Peikoff and Blumenthal give every indication of a lifelong inferiority complex toward NB. This has no bearing on anything. As hurt as she was, Rand would not have approved a statement “For the Record” just so they could display their animosity. She wanted an unequivocal loyalty statement from them. Period. End of story.

(2) Rand probably chose those four because they were all names which the readers of The Objectivist would most easily recognize. The handwriting was on the wall for the rest of her associates—and her readers.

Further discussion of this is a complete waste of everyone's time. If the two of you refuse to see what I think is brazenly obvious to everyone else in the universe, nothing I say is going to make any difference, so please excuse me from the conversation.

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(And another thing: Why would you assume Greenspan was the instigator saying "I think we should make a statement". *Obviously* it could have been one of the others.)

For the record: This is a misinterpretation of my post. Greenspan was obviously just tagging along with the other three.

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Ayn Rand wrote:

". . . Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me certain ugly actions and irrational behavior in his private life, which were grossly contradictory to Objectivist morality and which she had known about for two years."

end quote

Dennis Hardin responded:

Suppose Rand had said, ". . . Mrs. Branden suddenly confessed that Mr. Branden had been concealing from me that, for the past two years, he was having a love affair with a younger, married woman."

end quote

Excellent thinking. If Ayn Rand and I we were friends or associates in a relaxed setting I would ask her why not put out the facts? I Know, Ayn, it is deeply personal. You did not think your affair was salacious enough to keep from your husband Frank and his wife Barbara, so to them why not just say how hurt and disappointed you are about Nathan’s behavior? You do realize that Frank and Barbara have been hurt and disappointed in you. Apologize to them. In private tell Mr. Branden you hope his balls roast in hell or some such thing. Get it out of your system. Then tell all the Students of Objectivism that you are splitting with Mr. Branden on the financial and intellectual front but that you think “The Movement” should not be hurt by this.

Too fanciful? Not for an Objectivist.

Peter

Peter,

I concur with much of your wise retrospective advice to Miss Rand. She should have simply stated that she was splitting with Branden for personal reasons and left it at that. It's entirely possible that the Objectivist movement could have survived intact if she had taken her share of the responsibility.

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Ellen and Phil,

[....]

Both of you refuse to see the obvious, for reasons best known to yourselves.  I';m not going to engage in a lengthy exchange about this.

Briefly:

(1)   So what if his former associates disliked Branden?  Their dislike was probably based largely on resentment and envy, and no doubt they were delighted to see him "dethroned" so to speak.  Both Peikoff and Blumenthal give every indication of a lifelong inferiority complex toward NB.   This has no bearing on anything.  As hurt as she was, Rand would not have approved a statement "For the Record" just so they could display their animosity.  She wanted an unequivocal loyalty statement from them.  Period.  End of story.

Now it's Rand's approving a statement, not telling them to write one?

As to people's dislike of Nathaniel, I think he well deserved it. Frankly, my own first thought when I learned the news of a break was, "Oh, good, she's seen through him." And I don't agree about Blumenthal's giving indications of any "lifelong inferiority complex toward NB." I think there have been indications in Peikoff's case but that Peikoff's issues as time went on became much more than that.

(2)   Rand probably chose those four because they were all names which the readers of The Objectivist would most easily recognize.  The handwriting was on the wall for the rest of her associates -- and her readers.

The handwriting wasn't on the wall for me, one of her readers who was living in NYC after the break, or for a number of others I knew. I never hid my opinion of "To Whom It May Concern" from the start.

And you're presuming that your thesis is correct, that the statement was Rand's idea.

Maybe it was, Dennis. I don't know it wasn't. But you do not know it was and you have no basis for accusing anyone who questions your presumption of denying the obvious.

I agree that further discussion is non-productive. How did this subject come up on the thread anyway? I haven't traced back to see. Never can anticipate the vagaries of threads.

Ellen

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