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Last month or this month is the 50th anniversary of a "debate" between Albert Ellis and Nathaniel Branden in the New Yorker hotel. I think it was at 34th St and 8th Ave. Maybe 1200 showed up, only a few hundred at most Ellis fans. Ayn Rand was there and likely the entire New York Objectivist community to speak of. Not me; I was still in Vietnam.

There was a huge contretemps centered on a thoroughly pissed off Rand, according to Elllis is his retaliatory book called Is Objectivism A Religion?

This was the height of the Objectivist sub-culture which was centered in NYC. Back then if you were an adherent of the philosophy you were on the side of right with nary a night in sight much less on site. You knew absolute philosophical basic truths and just about everything Rand hung on that tree. And the center of THAT was morality, formally expressed in "The Objectivist Ethics."

It was extremely in-the-head powerful. There were Ayn Rand-Objectivism college groupings all around the country. Tape transcriptions of NBI course locations numbered about 80. There was no intellectual opposition. The conservatives were a joke. The liberals practiced the art of ignoring Rand. College profs didn't want Rand papers.

Then came 1968. The height of the Vietnam War protests and Chicago riots. The liberals turned their backs on intellectual endeavors and went to force. NBI blew up. Americans lost faith in their county's leadership and so did Objectivists in theirs. That was the year everything changed.


there--NYC there--when it happened

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I had an answer tor anyone who contradicted Rand, but I wasn't part of a religion or a cult. And I agree that some of the fire went out when the Branden's were disassociated from Orthodox (joke) Objectivism. It was a movement that continues with ARI and if you go to their forum you will be shunned by the Orthos if you don't speak the correct jargon.     

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Oddly enough, one of NB's practices from that lecture came back to bite him on the butt.

For awhile, in the Objectivist materials the orthos promoted, everything by NB and Barbara were omitted. This got to a ridiculous point. For example, their voices were omitted in the audio lectures by Rand on fiction writing. On the audio (still sold by ARI), when one of them asks a question, a robotic-sounding voice covers it and says: "One student said..." and so on.

I wondered where the creativity came from to do that. The orthos at the time were narrow-minded enough to do that, but not creative enough (from what I have seen) to come up with the idea. Then I remembered reading Ellis's book years ago. When NB supplied him with a taped copy of the talk, he blanked out everything but Ellis's voice. I recall Ellis almost scratching his head in his writing about it. Sort of thinking, who would do such a thing? :) 

Ah... to have been there... :) 

I used to tease Barbara about this just to watch her get pissed. :evil:  :)  But she always knew it was in good fun.


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