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The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought (1989)

by Ayn Rand

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355456,687 (4.07)1
In the years between her first public lecture in 1961 and her last in 1981, Ayn Rand spoke and wrote about topics as different as education, medicine, Vietnam, and the death of Marilyn Monroe. In The Voice of Reason, these pieces are gathered together in book form for the first time. Written in the last decades of Rand's life, they reflect a life lived on principle, a probing mind, and a passionate intensity. With them are five essays by Leonard Peikoff, Rand's longtime associate and literary executor. The work concludes with Peikoff's epilogue, ?My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand: An Intellectual Memoir,? which answers the question ?What was Ayn Rand really like?? Important reading for all thinking individuals, this collection communicates not only Rand's singular worldview, but also the penetrating cultural and political analysis to which it gives rise.… (more)
  1. 00
    The Decline of American Liberalism by Arthur Alphonse Ekirch (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Cited in 'The Voice of Reason'
  2. 00
    Aristotle by John Herman Randall (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Reviewed by an essay featured in 'The Voice of Reason'.
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This relic of my university years is a strange kind of comfort food to be sure, but so it is. I appreciate revisiting Ayn Rand's straightforward view of the world in which everything in it is clearly right or wrong. It is at least half disagreeable to me now, but it is easy to remember what it was like to be under the spell of believing the combination lock on all the world's inner workings had been cracked open by this woman and laid out to dry in the sun for clear inspection.

Ayn Rand was a far cry from a fascist or a thousand other misapplied names that critics have tried to assign her over the decades. But as is displayed by the contents of this book, like any extremist she indulged in a lot of controversial opinions. She believed that people can only knowingly behave illogically or irrationally (or at worst, are lying to themselves.) She saw zero value in mysticism or religion as forces for good; just the opposite. Altruism she labelled as man's (always "man's") greatest enemy. No rational woman would wish to be President. Environmentalism was an invention of fools and con men. This volume, carefully manicured by her protégé, owns up to all of that and more, endorsing all of her opinions as virtuous. They are sold as one unquestionable, united bill of goods, sewn together in an internally consistent philosophy.

This book's audience is the converted, more than newcomers to Ayn Rand's philosophy. Those are expected to begin with her fiction, an innocent-seeming portal into viewing the world through her eyes. I've retained partial agreement with some of her views, but have long since become what she called a fence-sitter (as good as turning to the dark side, in her books.) The foot I keep on her side still likes to revisit now and then, for that nostalgic glimpse of when the world made perfect sense. ( )
1 vote Cecrow | May 15, 2021 |
It is no surprise to me that I only gave one star to yet another Ayn Rand book. The mystery is why I keep subjecting myself to inferior literature and ideas. I am happy to report that I am done trying to make sense of the author's nonsensical world. But I am even happier that after reading this book, I now realize what is so off-putting about her writings.

She thinks she can base her philosophy of objectivism in the object of rationality. However, humans are not rational animals. They can strive to be rational but will always fall short. And the greater the number of humans, the less likely that rationality will prevail. Ayn Rand didn't understand human nature enough to see this glaring flaw in her inferior thinking and what made her so annoying is her projection of intelligence as she pushed her unintelligent ideas.

Ironically, it was while reading Peikoff's (Rand's lackey) essay that the nature of their philosophy became clear to me and thus its primary flaw--human nature. Rand in all her babblings was unable to effectively communicate her own ideas. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
A collection of essays by Ayn Rand elaborating her Objectivist insights with regard to Philosophy, Culture, and Politics. Selected and compiled by Leonard Peikoff with supplementary Chapters to round out each of the three sections. ( )
  David_Summers | Jul 4, 2008 |
As much as her big novels introduced objectivism, I expect essays such as these were the reason the philosophy continued to get support. In this collection, she applies her theories to the events of the 1960's. Much of it was convincing to me, even if I don't wholeheartedly agree with all of her premises. Many of her observations at that time are similarly relevant to events today. ( )
  jpsnow | Apr 27, 2008 |
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(Introduction by Leonard Peikoff): This is the final collection of Ayn Rand's articles and speeches that I plan to publish.
At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot.
Quotations
"If I am giving you the kind of intellectual ammunition I had so desperately waited to hear in my youth, I'm glad. I can say I know how you feel." - The Lessons of Vietnam
"For thirty years or longer, the newspapers had featured nothing but disasters, catastrophes, collapsing civilization .... Now, for once, the newspapers were announcing a human anchievement, were reporting on a human triumph, were reminding us that man still exists and functions as man." - Apollo 11
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In the years between her first public lecture in 1961 and her last in 1981, Ayn Rand spoke and wrote about topics as different as education, medicine, Vietnam, and the death of Marilyn Monroe. In The Voice of Reason, these pieces are gathered together in book form for the first time. Written in the last decades of Rand's life, they reflect a life lived on principle, a probing mind, and a passionate intensity. With them are five essays by Leonard Peikoff, Rand's longtime associate and literary executor. The work concludes with Peikoff's epilogue, ?My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand: An Intellectual Memoir,? which answers the question ?What was Ayn Rand really like?? Important reading for all thinking individuals, this collection communicates not only Rand's singular worldview, but also the penetrating cultural and political analysis to which it gives rise.

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Book description
Collects the following essays:
"Introducing Objectivism"
"Review of Aristotle by John Herman Randall, Jr."
"To Young Scientists"
"Who is the Final Authority in Ethics?"
"The Psychology of Psychologizing"
"Altruisim as Appeasement"
"The Question of Scholarships"
"Of Living Death"
"Religion vs. America" by Leondard Peikoff
"The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age"
"Our Cultural Value-Deprivation"
"Global Balkanization"
"How to Read (and Not to Write)"
"The Lessons of Vietnam"
"The Sanction of the Victims"
"Through Your Most Grievous Fault"
"Apollo 11"
"Epitath for a Culture"
"Assault from the Ivory Tower: The Professors' War Against America" by Leonard Peikoff
"The American School: Why Johnny Can't Think" by Leonard Peikoff
"Representation Without Authorization"
"To Dream the Noncommercial Dream"
"Tax Credits for Education"
"Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason"
"The Pull Peddlers"
"About a Woman President"
"The Inverted Moral Priorities"
"Hunger and Freedom"
"How Not to Fight Against Socialized Medicine"
"Medicine: The Death of a Profession" by Leonard Peikoff
"Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty" by Peter Schwartz
"Epilogue: My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff
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