On Nathaniel Branden

Posted on OWL on 25 October 1995

Note: This post is reproduced here for historical reasons only. For my present views, please see my collection of writings on The False Friends of Objectivism.


Date: Wed, 25 Oct 1995 02:37:35 -0800 
From: "D.M. Brickell" <dmbricke@artsci.wustl.edu> 
To: <objectivism-l@cornell.edu> 
Subject: Re: Judgment Day & Branden 

On Tue, 24 Oct 1995, Kirez Korgan wrote:

> [Branden] just seems like the most tremendous - and honest - person in
> the world, when it comes to appreciating his work.
>         But I've run into many sources of information over the past year or
> so that, building up and corroborating themselves, tend to discredit him.
[...]
> One of the most disturbing was a man at the IOS seminar who was very
> familiar with Branden's work, and with Branden himself, and had been for
> about 25 years, but who swore that Branden was not merely dishonest, but a
> compulsive liar.  

I think that there is a possible false dichotomy brewing here.  :-)  

I don't think that all the Branden writes in JD can be taken at face
value.  Not only is there the problem that substantial portions of his
presentation are contradicted by other highly credible people, but also it
has been many years since the events occurred.  To top it all off, I think
that one must *automatically* suspect the objectivity of someone who left
Rand on such bad terms. 

This isn't to say that he's being *dishonest* per se.  It might well just
mean that he has been selectively remembering things over the years, and
that has affected his presentation in JD. 

In other words "hero" and "compulsive liar" aren't the only two options. 
(I don't think that Kirez was saying this BTW.)

I'm not quite sure what to think of Branden, based on what I've seen from
him.  When I went to one of his Intensives in Chicago last year, I got the
impression from his interaction with the group (30 some people) that he
was a very warm, outgoing, caring person.  But when we (the Objectivists
that went) had lunch with him, he seemed distant and completely
uninterested.  

It seemed to me that much of his psychotherapist persona was a sham.  I 
was quite disappointed.  

He is giving a talk at Cato on Nov. 2, so I'll see how he acts then.  

diana.

-=- Diana Mertz Brickell -=- Washington University -=- St-Louis, MO -=-
   "Happiness, [Ayn Rand] said, is a state of non-contradictory joy.  
  Joy is the emotional content, but reason is our means of eliminating 
    internal conflicts among the sources of joy..." -- David Kelley
-=- diana@artsci.wustl.edu -=-=- http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~diana -=-