Alfonso Jones

Nathaniel Branden response to Sidney Hook NYT BOok Review attack on FTNI

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Does anybody know of an online copy of Nathaniel Branden's ad he took out in the New York Times (full-page) in response to Sidney Hook's review of For The New Intellectual? The ad is briefly mentioned in MYWAR, page 248.

Bill P (Alfonso)

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Bill; I would suspect large libraries have the NYT book review back even to the 60ths which was when the review and the ad appeared.

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I forgot to mention that the reason the ad had to be brought was the NYT refused to print Nathaniel Branden's long letter is reply to the review.

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I forgot to mention that the reason the ad had to be brought was the NYT refused to print Nathaniel Branden's long letter is reply to the review.

NB indicates in MYWAR (page 248) that "I knew it would be too long for the Times's Letters to the Editor column, so I raised money from Ayn's friends and admirers and took out a full-page Times ad."

Are you indicating that you know that NB actually submitted it as a letter and was turned down by the NYT?

Bill P (Alfonso)

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Bill P., I thought there was something in the ad about the Times refusing to print the letter. I don't think the Times would allow an ad which said something that the Times knew was not true, ie. that the letter had not been submitted to them.

Edited by Chris Grieb

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Bill P., I thought there was something in the ad about the Times refusing to print the letter. I don't think the Times would allow an ad which said something that the Times knew was not true, ie. that the letter had not been submitted to them.

I'm hoping a copy will turn up to resolve this in addition to seeing what the discussion is. I don't have access to physical archives of the NYT here in Shanghai. I'm presuming it's just one page, possibly in paper form, possible microfilm, . . .

Bill P (Alfonso)

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Hello,

Sorry to dig up this old thread, but I'm looking for this article by Nathaniel Branden. Is it available somewhere on the Internet? In the archives of the New York Times website?

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1 hour ago, gio said:

Hello,

Sorry to dig up this old thread, but I'm looking for this article by Nathaniel Branden. Is it available somewhere on the Internet? In the archives of the New York Times website?

Not a clue. I looked in my files. Sorry. Peter

Question: Well then, Dr. Branden, how would you answer the argument of these anarchists that, since government necessarily entails a monopoly on the use of force, such a monopoly can be maintained only by force and, hence, government always involves some violation of individual rights?

Branden: This, of course, is their favorite argument and their stock argument. In briefest essentials, I would answer as follows. Let's imagine, to make it very simple, that we--this group in this room tonight-- form a society and agree on the principles to be operative in the society in a political sense. We agree upon a constitution and a government is created for the purpose of carrying out the principles laid down in this constitution. Now, let us say that somebody new is born into the society or enters it from some other country, and he says: ‘Look. I wasn't consulted, I wasn't asked my opinion about this system of government. I want to set up a competing system of government. How can you justify forbidding me from doing so and threatening me with jail if I don't go along with the present political order of things?’

And my answer is the following. And remember we are talking here about a free system, about a government which is limited in its function to the protection of individual rights. Suppose that I am the spokesman for this hypothetical government. Then I would say to this person as follows: In this society, nobody is forbidding you anything so long as you do not violate the rights of anybody else in this society. That means, more specifically, if you want to form private arbitration agencies to settle disputes among people who will become your clients, you may do so. That happens even in our present society. You can form a private club or a private organization and lay down any kind of rules you want for your members. You will not be stopped until and unless you attempt to use physical force or fraud or some derivative against some fellow member of this society. That you have no right to do.

If you ever attempt to use force, let us say, in retaliation against a criminal, which you may have to do if the police are not available, you will be obliged to justify later your use of force and to demonstrate that it was, in fact, necessary. If you can justify it, you're in no trouble, any more than any other citizen of a free country is in trouble. So that so long as you don't infringe somebody else's rights, you can form any kind of organization you want. You can have your own arbitration committee, you can have your own system of penalties and fines and so long as the people who go along with your organization voluntarily agree to pay them, you have no problem. Your problem begins when you attempt to use force to get your way.

Therefore, in conclusion, I argue that in the system we are advocating, the individual is not having his rights violated because he is not allowed to set up a competing government. end quote

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I’m not trying to mess with you . . .  but I looked again for FTNI and could not find it. More from the cookie jar. Hey I still have two more days of rent paid on my condo, and an old letter from BB is cool. Look how she signs it. Peter

From: "William Dwyer" To: <Atlantis Subject: ATL: Rand's Definition of Reason (Was "Re: Bissell") Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 16:54:12 -0700. Ellen Moore wrote, "There is no evidence in Bissell's list of "possible(s)" that proves Branden changed Rand's definition.  It is more likely that Rand taught Branden the fallacy because she changed her definition, and then he discussed it in the early 60's."

The evidence is contained in Nathaniel's lecture, "Objectivism:  Past & Future", in which he mentions the change in Rand's definition of reason that occurred in 1961, four years after the publication of _Atlas Shrugged_.

He says that, during a question and answer period, a young man asked why Ayn Rand defined reason as the "faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses".   The questioner said that he didn't understand what the word "perceives" was doing in her definition, and that he thought reason should be defined simply as the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses.

According to Branden, Rand responded that "perceives" is an important part of the definition, because all knowledge is grounded in the evidence of the senses and because you cannot have knowledge without a sensory base.  Branden said that the man's question prompted him to reexamine Rand's definition.

So a month or two later, he approached her, and said: "Ayn, I was thinking about the way we define reason, and, you know, we don't perceive the evidence of our senses; we perceive reality by means of the evidence of our senses." He reported that there was a long pause, after which she said, "That's true".

Branden then said to her, "Think about it, Ayn.  Taken literally, what does it mean to say you perceive the evidence of your senses?  No, you don't.  You perceive chairs and tables and smoke and mirrors by means of the evidence of your senses."

To which Rand responded, "That's right, I don't need the word 'perceives' in my definition of reason; it doesn't belong there; it should be 'identifies and integrates'."

Unfortunately, Rand never publicly acknowledged the change, even though Branden asked her pointedly: "Shouldn't you have a footnote or something for your more careful readers explaining that you've changed the definition slightly from Galt's Speech and you've corrected it, because some people really read you very, very carefully and will be puzzled by this change of language."  Branden said that he had the feeling, which he couldn't prove, that she didn't want to say in print that she'd made a mistake.

Consequently, many students of Objectivism may be unaware that there are two different definitions of reason:  the original one appearing in _Atlas Shrugged_ (1957), and the revised definition which appears in _For the New Intellectual_ (1961).

Without speculating on Rand's motives, I would say that she erred in not notifying her students of the change.  If the definition of reason in _Atlas Shrugged_ contains an error, then it does not serve the cause of Objectivism for Rand's students to be repeating the old definition, on the mistaken assumption that it continues to be part of her philosophy. Bill

From: NRoarkofConn To: Atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Rand's Definition of Reason (Was "Re: Bissell") Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 20:21:54 EDT. Ellen Moore wrote:  >"There is no evidence in Bissell's list of "possible(s)" that proves Branden changed Rand's definition.  It is more likely that Rand taught Branden the fallacy because she changed her definition, and then he discussed it in the early 60's."

I appreciate very much Bill Dwyer's comments following:  > The evidence is contained in Nathaniel's lecture,  "Objectivism:  Past & Future", in which he mentions the change in Rand's definition of reason that occurred in 1961,  four years after the publication of “Atlas Shrugged. . . .”

Bill, I will let you handle Ellen M's probably objections to this evidence that you have offered. Since it's testimony by Nathaniel whom (along with me) she brands an unreliable liar, you will have to figure out how to assure list members that it really does count as evidence.

Don't be surprised if you don't see any more posts by me on this list. I don't feel like contributing to a list when I am continually branded a deceiver, a liar, and a sophist. Best regards, Roger Bissell

From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: EMBS, chapter 1--the arbitrary Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 02:38:39 EDT. Roger B wrote: << . . . it is ~much more~ than barely possible that Nathaniel actually did recommend this change in Rand's definition [of reason]. Indeed, it is ~highly likely ~ that he did. The fact that we have no direct testimony beyond his own word to go on is unfortunate.  >>

You now have direct testimony beyond Nathaniel's own word. I was present at the discussions between Ayn Rand and Nathaniel, and I can attest to the fact that he did recommend that she change her definition of reason in precisely the way that she later changed it. Barb

From: Ellen Moore <ellen_moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Barbara's direct testimony, and questions Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 13:01:36 -0500

Barbara, You were "present ... and can attest to the fact that he [NB] did recommend that she change her definition of reason in precisely the way that she later changed it."

Wonderful!  Now we know that NB discussed with Rand the suggestion made by that unknown man of the Q&A period that NB identified as the one who originally offered Rand the idea that her definition of reason should be changed to, "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses."  We can certainly agree that all three discussed her definition.  And she changed her definition later.

To whom should the credit for the Objectivist definition of reason be due, to the unknown man, Nathaniel Branden, or the philosopher, Ayn Rand?  Pick your own preference(s) - one, two, or all three.

Now, I hope that Barbara can answer two other questions for us.  We see that in editions of VOS the copyright date by Ayn Rand given for her essay 'The Objectivist Ethics' was 1961, and 1964 is also stated.

Here is the first question: As Bill Dwyer stated, the first edition hardcover of VOS published in 1964 included Rand's revised definition of reason.  By what circumstance did the first edition paperbacks, published in Dec., 1964, still contain the early definition with "perceives"?

It appears that both 'The Objectivist Ethics' and 'For the New Intellectual" were copyrighted in 1961, but only the FTNI first edition was published in 1961.  Then in 1964, when VOS was first published with her revised definition, according to Bill, the paperback first edition, Dec., 1964, still included the early definition.

In which ~paperback~ edition which publishing date, 1961 or 1964, or later, changed the definition of reason to her new revised definition?  If Barbara, or anyone, can offer us testimony from the books on these events I, for one, would appreciate knowing the facts about this piece of publishing history. Ellen M.

From: "George H. Smith" Reply-To: "George H. Smith" To: "Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: Barbara's direct testimony, and questions Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 14:48:14 -0500  Ellen Moore wrote: "It appears that both 'The Objectivist Ethics' and 'For the New Intellectual" were copyrighted in 1961, but only the FTNI first edition was published in 1961.  Then in 1964, when VOS was first published with her revised definition, according to Bill, the paperback first edition, Dec., 1964, still included the early definition."

Ellen is working from the assumption that the hardcover version of VOS was published *before* the paperback version, but this was not the case. The paperback was published first.

In the "Objectivist Calendar" of "The Objectivist Newsletter" (Nov., 1964), we find the announcement: "In December, New American Library will publish *The Virtue of Selfishness* by Ayn Rand --- and this blurb continues, "In paperback only."

This clearly indicates that the paperback version of VOS was the authentic first printing, and that the hardcover version appeared later. As to why the change (in Rand's definition of "reason") was not made until sometime after the *second* printing of the paperback version -- this is probably because NAL was anticipating brisk sales and so ran off the pages for several printings at the same time. (Publishers are typically quite free in how they use terms like "first printing," "second printing," etc.)

This should clear up the major confusion about the sequence of events. Rand obviously made the change sometime *after* the paperback version was already in press, so it appeared in the later hardcover version. And this change was then incorporated into *later* printings of the paperback. Ghs

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