Friday, December 05, 2014

Nathaniel Branden is dead

Just as I'm completing the first full draft of my play DARK MARKET, about Ayn Rand's influence on Alan Greenspan, and indirectly, the 2008 economic meltdown, I find out that Nathaniel Branden died on December 3.

Reason, the magazine for libertarians and therefore, worshippers of Rand, said this:
Then, after Rand broke from him and all "official" Objectivists were required to revile him, Branden was a living example that intelligent admiration for and advocacy of Rand's ideas need not be tied in with thoughtless fealty to Rand as a person, or to the pronouncements of those who controlled her estate, with all the attendant flaws and occasional irrationality: that one need not be an official Randian to spread the best of Objectivism. As late as 2010, Branden published print versions of his NBI lectures helping systematize her ideas under the title The Vision of Ayn Rand. 
Branden was a friend to Reason over the years. An interview he gave to the magazine back in 1971 was vital in breaking the then very-small-circulation publication up into the thousands in circulation.
And of course Branden was Rand's boyfriend for several years and she broke with him and cursed him and destroyed his Nathaniel Branden Institute, which was devoted to promoting her work, when he refused to resume having sex with the apostle of reason. According to his memoir:
"Getting tired of a serious, philosophical life?" she asked sharply. "You're on your own now in every way that counts. Unless you mean you want to be rid of me." 
"Free of you? I want us to be friends forever." 
"Friends is not what I'm talking about! What new irrationality is this? Do you think I would have dedicated Atlas Shrugged to a friend? I've told the whole world that you are Objectivism. Do you think I would say that about a friend? What's the matter with you? Don't you attach meaning to the words you speak? Where has your mind gone?" 
The message was clear - if I were not in love with her, that meant my mind was gone and I was a traitor to our philosophy. This was Ayn's notion of giving me every chance to withdrawal from our "romance."

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