Hit & Run

Sheldon Richman on Nathaniel Branden and the Pursuit of Happiness


Nathaniel Branden

This has been a rough year for the freedom movement. We've lost five luminaries: Leonard Liggio, John Blundell, Gordon Tullock, Tonie Nathan, and now Nathaniel Branden, at age 84. Branden, writes Sheldon Richman, became known to the world as the man who helped systematize and present the philosophy dramatized in Ayn Rand's novels, especially Atlas Shrugged. The Objectivist movement became an integral part of the budding libertarian movement in the late 1950s and '60s. After his break with Rand, Branden moved from New York City to Los Angeles, where he made a name for himself through a series of books about the role of self-esteem in the pursuit of happiness, work he had begun while he was Rand's associate. The binding together of "perfection" (virtue, or excellence, in the Greek sense) and liberty (internal and external) with the pursuit of happiness is noteworthy.