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The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in…

The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America (1982)

by Leonard Peikoff

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I am currently about 2/3 of the way through the book and find it fascinating reading. Though I am a fan of Romanticism (at least the literary movement) I cannot help but be intrigued by the argument that Romanticism, as the "enemy of Reason," is dangerous. Certainly I could always see the danger in losing oneself in sublime fantasy, but not until being introduced to Ayn Rand, and subsequently Peikoff, had I ever considered the the possibility of Romanticism being "Nazi Dangerous."

Though aware of the Nazi's use (or perversion) of the romantic and the spiritual, it had never occurred to me to see such an explicit connection between Romanticism and dictatorship before discovering the works of Ayn Rand. Peikoff writes like he must be Rand's star pupil (or disciple). Both of them are very persuasive, logically impeccable writers. The fact that I don't necessarily buy into their masterfully crafted arguments, but absolutely love reading them, and even getting caught up in the message, is testament to the respect I have for their take- no-prisoners, rhetorically utilitarian writing style -and yes, there is definitely a style, just not for its own sake.

Something I would like to thank Peikoff for in particular is the crash course in philosophy through which "The Ominous Parallels" takes the reader. Not having been a Philosophy major (but still something of an enthusiast) I am able to appreciate this book in part as a bibliographic essay in the major schools of Western Philosophy (particularly German).

In pursuing the works of Plato-Kant-Hegel, Aristotle, etc., I may find that I do not necessarily agree with Peikoff's assessment of their worth, but having such a concrete starting point from which to venture towards my own conclusions is immensely helpful.

Most "Intro to..." philosophy books are so noncommittal in terms of assessment or evaluation that it is difficult for the lay philosophy student to come away with anything more than a list of vague bullet points about their subject that might be helpful on the matching section of a class quiz, but not particularly useful in acquainting the student with the philosophers or philosophies themselves. ( )
  KCato | Dec 9, 2009 |
Subtitle: The End of Freedom in America

Nazism, Dr. Peikoff argues, was made possible by the German philosophers who advocated unreason and self-sacrifice—and whose ideas now rule American universities.

"The Ominous Parallels offers a truly revolutionary idea in the field of the philosophy of history. (It) is clear, tight, disciplined, beautifully structured and brilliantly reasoned."—AynRand
1 vote | rob.sfo | Dec 5, 2006 |
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