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Valliant vs Branden & Branden
James Valliant talks about his book, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, and sheds light on The Manchurian Candidate Effect


  • What is the "Manchurian Candidate Effect"?
  •  Objectivism – in judging the philosophy does it matter what kind of life Ayn Rand led?
  •  Murray Rothbard’s essay, “The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult”
  • Have the Brandens really been dishonest? During their time with Ayn Rand? After the split?
  •  Did Ayn Rand behave as “a woman scorned” when her romantic relationship with Nathaniel Branden ended?
  • What do Ayn Rand’s own private notes reveal about her emotions and judgment on the Brandens?  About her alleged "moralistic" and "authoritarian" character?
  •  “Because I must first understand.”
  •  Why is it important to scrutinize the Brandens’ books and claims, and to get Ayn Rand’s input from her journals?
  • Doesn’t the Objectivist philosophy stand on its own, regardless of how Rand lived her life?  Yes.  But ...
  • Was it wrong, in principle, for Ayn Rand to have an affair with the consent of her husband and the consent of her lover’s wife?
  •  The concept of “visibility”.
  • Nathaniel Branden’s brilliance - its nature and its perversion.
  •  “Social metaphysician” – did the term apply to Nathaniel Branden?
  •  Why did James Valliant decide to write this book? 
  • Did the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) put him up to it? His conversation with Leonard Peikoff. What about the allegation that Dr Leonard Peikoff and ARI are milking Ayn Rand’s unpublished notes for financial gain through this book?
  • Did Ayn Rand create or foster a cult? What about those Rand fans who behave like cult followers?
  • Fuzziness.  Misdirection.  Slight-of-hand.  Trojan horses.  The cult of the Brandens.
  • What motive might the Brandens have to paint Rand as authoritarian and intolerant - if she was not?
  • A brief look at Nathaniel Branden’s “The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand.”
  • Why Prodos recommends “The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics”, even to those who aren’t particularly interested in Ayn Rand.

 Understanding the Manchurian Candidate Effect

Through powerful, hypnotic brainwashing, the really, really, really
good-looking Derek Zoolander is transformed into a crazed killing machine.

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Below, is a collection of DVD's, most of which star
comedian, Ben Stiller (pictured above) who played Derek Zoolander.


From Ayn Rand's private journals
Here are two excerpts from early 1968, a few months before breaking off with Nathaniel Branden.

These entries were both BEFORE Ayn Rand learned (from Barbara) that Nathaniel had been having an affair with another woman for several years.

... I think and feel strongly that our relationship was a mistake from the start—that there was and is no way to implement it in practice. But I do not know any solution other than a total break (leaving only a functional relationship.) [Prodos: I believe by "functional relationship" AR means maintaining their business relationship] We were right to attempt it originally. But we should have broken it about 8 years ago. We might have found some form of friendship then (though I am inclined to doubt it.) [8] Today, it is impossible—and it is these last 8 years that have made it impossible ...

... If I know that I cannot accept his present attitude, why don’t I break with him now? Because I do not understand his attitude. Because I must first understand. Because I do believe he loves me in some abstract, subjective manner of his own. And, in view of today’s conversation, I think that his breach with reality is growing wider, not healing. I sense (for the first time and very dimly) the beginnings of something immoral—of rationalization. (If I am wrong I apologize for it.) ...

[Prodos: Please note that Ayn Rand is "apologizing" to herself here.]


(Intended for futher study. Not necessarily as an endorsement.)

The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against the Brandens

By James Valliant

In the May 1968 issue of The Objectivist (which didn't actually hit the streets until months later) Ayn Rand announced her break with Nathaniel and Barbara Branden in a message dated September 15, 1968, titled To Whom it May Concern.

Here's how it begins:

This is to inform my readers and all those interested in Objectivism that Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden are no longer associated with me or with my philosophy.

I have permanently broken all personal, professional and business association with them, and have withdrawn from them the permission to use my name in connection with their commercial, professional, intellectual and other activities.

I hereby withdraw my endorsement of them and their future works and activities. I repudiate both of them, totally and permanently, as spokesmen for me or for Objectivism.

You can read The Objectivist magazine and nearly all of Ayn Rand's fiction and non-fiction - including the Letters of Ayn Rand's - her correspondence to all sorts of people over many years by purchasing Phil Oliver's Objectivism Research CD-ROM

Read Nathaniel Branden's Answer to Ayn Rand -> click here

Some excerpts:

... On Mrs. Branden's parents' copy of Atlas Shrugged, Miss Rand wrote the following inscription: "To Reb and Johnny — the parents of a girl who has the spirit, the ambition and the talent of the best characters in this book — Affectionately, Ayn."

When Mrs. Branden was interviewing Miss Rand, in preparation for the writing of Who Is Ayn Rand? (the interviews were tape-recorded), Miss Rand made the following statement:

"As far as you're concerned, career-wise, the turning point was when I saw the first few pages of that short story which you started and didn't finish. It was those pages that convinced me that you're going to be a great writer, and, as you see, I was right. . . . Up to then, I thought that you were very intelligent, and since you talked about writing intelligently, that you probably would be a good writer, but one has to see the real work. And it's those pages that made me think that this is something of enormous size." ...


... one of my most sincerely regretted injustices against Mrs. Branden, in the twelve years of our marriage, was the extent to which I permitted our lives to be subordinated to Miss Rand's personal interests and needs. ...

Read Barbara Branden's Answer to Ayn Rand -> click here

An excerpt:

... I observed the intensification of an attitude in Miss Rand that had been troubling me progressively during the past weeks: the emotional violence of her attacks on Mr. Branden was growing more and more intense; she was grossly exaggerating the nature and moral meaning of the mistake he had made; she began hurling accusations against him that had no factual foundation whatever. It seemed as though, from the time she had decided to break with him, she felt a growing need to persuade herself, and to communicate to others, that he was a monster.

Another excerpt, refering to a tape made many years before the break:

Here is what she [Ayn Rand] said about him [Nathaniel Branden] in one of our tape-recorded interviews:

"As to Nathan, I thought he was a genius from the first evening. And I really mean genius. In that sense, I have never pronounced that judgment on someone I know, not that immediately, not that objectively... From intelligence alone, it's not yet enough for the title genius. You know what's necessary there? It's a creative intelligence, it has to be an initiating intelligence, not merely philosophical or abstract or quick to understand or being able to deal with abstractions... When you conclude that someone is really a genius, it's total independence, the first hand look of a creative mind, a mind that is constantly active on its own power."

Read Nathaniel Branden's
The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand -> click here

Some excerpts:

... the destructive moralism of Rand and many of her followers, a moralism that subtly encourages repression, self-alienation, and guilt.

... She could be abrasive, she could make sweeping generalizations that needed explanations that she did not provide; she made very little effort to understand someone else's intellectual context and to build a bridge from their context to hers.

... A further difficulty lies in the fact that she was a novelist and chose principally to present her philosophy in fiction ...

... a novelist as powerful and hypnotically persuasive as Ayn Rand.

... anything that challenged her particular model of reality was not merely wrong but "irrational" and "mystical" — to say nothing, of course, of its being "evil," another word she loved to use with extraordinary frequency.

... she was enormously opposed to any consideration of the possible validity of telepathy, ESP, or other psi phenomenon.

... It would have been wonderful ... if she had encouraged us to develop a more open-minded attitude and to be less attached to a model of reality that might be in need of revision.

... Other people's model of reality might be in need of revision. Never hers. Not in any fundamental sense.

... In encouraging among her followers the belief that she enjoyed a monopoly on reason and the rational, she created for herself a very special kind of power ...

... I have reason to believe that Galt has a great many imitators around the country and it's driving spouses and partners crazy! ...

... Another aspect of her philosophy that I would like to talk about — one of the hazards — is the appalling moralism that Ayn Rand herself practiced and that so many of her followers also practice.

... I don't know of anyone other than the Church fathers in the Dark Ages who used the word "evil" quite so often as Ayn Rand.

... What she was saying, translated into simple English, is: Everything I have to say in the field of philosophy is true, absolutely true, and therefore any departure necessarily leads you into error. Don't try to mix your irrational fantasies with my immutable truths.

... Prior to our break, Ayn Rand credited me with understanding her philosophy better than any other person alive — and not merely better, but far better. I know what we were in a position to prove, I know where the gaps are. And so can anyone else — by careful, critical reading. It's not all that difficult or complicated.

One of the things that happened in consequence of her death is that I am free once again to speak comfortably and openly about what I admire in her work.

What is greatness?

George Castanza?

Founder of Vandelay Industries.
Architect, Marine Biologist, importer/exporter

Listen to how George became
a marine biologist

Listen to George ending his career
as a marine biologist

Listen to George desperately trying to preserve Vandelay Industries - which
he single-handedly created

Listen to how George works towards achieving his life-long dream of becoming an architect.


Nathaniel Branden?

Founder of Nathaniel Branden Institute. As a teenager was able to quote extensively from The Fountainhead. For many years had a business and romantic relationship with Ayn Rand - who was over 20 years older than him - with the full knowledge and consent of his wife (Barbara) and Ayn Rand's husband (Frank O'Connor).

In his 1984 essay/speech, The Benefits and Hazards of Ayn Rand's Philosophy, Nathaniel warns us about:

"... reading a novelist as powerful and hypnotically persuasive as Ayn Rand."

He complains that Ayn Rand:

"... was enormously opposed to any consideration of the possible validity of telepathy, ESP, or other psi phenomenon."

And that, according to Ayn Rand:

"... in 1960 Nathaniel Branden
was the closest thing on earth to John Galt."



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Transcriptions are greatly appreciated!
To volunteer a transcription please
Thanks to Solomon G Egziabher for offereing to do a transcription
of this interview by some time in January 2006

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