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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic essays
These 31 pieces include magazine articles and lectures spanning twenty years, from 1961 to 1981. Four of the chapters are by Leonard Peikoff and one each by John Herman Randall and Peter Schwartz, and the book concludes with an epilogue by Peikoff.
Part One: Philosophy, consists of chapters elaborating on Rand's Objectivist philosophy. These include a discussion of...
Published on 18 July 2004 by Pieter Uys

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Rand despite contributions of Peikoff and Schwartz
This collection of Ayn Rand's essays includes some hard-to-find classics ("Global Balkanization," "The Sanction of the Victims," and "Apollo 11," for example) and a couple of duds (notably "About a Woman President"). The biggest duds, however, are the additional essays provided by Leonard Peikoff and Peter Schwartz, who...
Published on 27 Dec 1998


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Rand despite contributions of Peikoff and Schwartz, 27 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Voice of Reason: 5 (Meridian) (Paperback)
This collection of Ayn Rand's essays includes some hard-to-find classics ("Global Balkanization," "The Sanction of the Victims," and "Apollo 11," for example) and a couple of duds (notably "About a Woman President"). The biggest duds, however, are the additional essays provided by Leonard Peikoff and Peter Schwartz, who apparently couldn't leave well enough alone. Peikoff's essays aren't terrible, but his placing them next to Rand's simply makes obvious what a pretentious and derivative thinker he really is. And Schwartz's ill-considered ravings against "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty" (particularly his attacks on the late great Murray Rothbard, compared to whom Schwartz is a gnat), far from meriting description as the "voice of reason," do not deserve to be published here or anywhere else. Buy this book for Rand's essays, but read around the extras thrown in by a couple of mediocre hangers-on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic essays, 18 July 2004
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Voice of Reason: 5 (Meridian) (Paperback)
These 31 pieces include magazine articles and lectures spanning twenty years, from 1961 to 1981. Four of the chapters are by Leonard Peikoff and one each by John Herman Randall and Peter Schwartz, and the book concludes with an epilogue by Peikoff.
Part One: Philosophy, consists of chapters elaborating on Rand's Objectivist philosophy. These include a discussion of the ideas of Aristotle, discussions on ethics, psychology, the ethics of altruism and a criticism of religion.
Part Two: Culture, investigates intellectuals, the culture vacuum, the flaws of liberal pragmatists, conservatives and businessmen. The death of Marilyn Monroe and the flight of Apollo 11 are discussed here. This section ends with a look at anti-Americanism in academia and the anti-conceptual methodology in the education system.
Part Three: Politics, explores various political issues like antitrust legislation, foreign aid, socialized medicine, women in politics and includes a scathing attack on the political movement called Libertarianism. The epilogue is the editor's memoirs of his 30 year association with Ayn Rand.
Each chapter begins with information indicating the original source of the article or lecture. In some instances there are references in brackets within the text itself or otherwise they appear as numbered footnotes at the end.
In my opinion, the best pieces are The Sanction Of The Victim (Chapter 15), Apollo 11 (Chapter 17), Assault From the Ivory Tower: The Professors' War Against America (Chapter 19), Medicine: The Death Of A Profession (Chapter 30), while the worst is About A Woman President (Chapter 26) in which Rand claims that the office is no place for a woman. Perhaps Ayn Rand would have changed her mind had she lived long enough to witness the achievements of Margaret Thatcher.
Whether one agrees with her philosophy or nor, Rand was a brilliant writer and prescient and original thinker. All her work remains stimulating today and much of it now seems prophetic. Not all of these pieces are great but they are all worth reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent collection, 4 April 2013
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P. Nelson (Halifax, west Yorkshire.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Voice of Reason: 5 (Meridian) (Paperback)
Ayn Rand is perhaps one of the most mis-quothed and misunderstood thinkers ever. That is no exaggeration. Her ideas are often taken out of context, misapplied and then burnt and ridiculed for the straw-men they are.

Few of her critics in academia, journalism or the lay-public at large have ever read beyond Atlas Shrugged (even then they read it in secondary school and we all know how THAT can suck the life out of any great piece of literature), but frankly if you want to truly understand Rand you have to read beyond the fiction. Only the most dedicated of thinkers could pry out the essentials from her novels in toto and really, who wants to do that? Who has the time to devote hours upon hours dissecting John Galt's epic monologue? Or d'Anconia's speech on Money (as excellent as those two bits of prose are...)?. No, what people need and want is the bare-bones of her argument presented succinctly and then fleshed out.

Books such as The Virtue of Selfishness, and Capitalism; The Unknown ideal are examples of her more well-known essay collections, but others such as The Romantic Manifesto and The Return of the Primitive are less well known. The Voice of Reason is perhaps her least known collection of essays, which, unfortunately, is a great shame since it remains one of the easiest introductions to her thought and fleshes her ideas out amongst a number of different but interconnected topics.

Objectivism is not an easy philosophy to know, many have been lulled into a false sense of knowledge believing her to be simple; to some this appeals to the adolescent desire for clarity and black and white, to others this serves only to prove their prejudices correct - to them she really is a one trick pony. Namely many get stuck on her treatment of ethics and politics, she proposed egoism and laissez-faire capitalism respectively. The problem of course being many people "know" what Egoism and Capitalism entail (hedonism and greedy bankers, monopolies and cartels, right?).

To the youthful radical her egoism appeals to the egocentric nihilism of youth. A desire to care only for oneself. A natural reaction to the often suffocatingly vapid enforced altruism of state schooling we are all subjected to. The Capitalism side appeals to a desire to shirk all responsibility for others and simply pursue ones desires free from other people. This, of course, is a shallow, childish view of her philosophy and is akin to saying Aristotle said we should all use logic - and leaving it at that!

Unfortunately many of her critics choose not to move beyond this analysis - having learnt all they needed to reinforce their own philosophies (or lack thereof) they type-cast her as some sort of crypto-fascist nut job and wash their hands of her! Big mistake! A deeper, more honest and committed analysis of Rand reveals a layered, nuanced and subtle philosophy that is a far cry from the hedonism of youth.

Though this book stays away largely from her metaphysics, epistemology and aesthetic theory it does touch on it in important ways (though I recommend Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology for a deeper view of her Epistemic Theory - it's mind blowing!), but most importantly this book will give you concrete examples of how her sometimes complex theory can be applied.

I recommend this book to those who have read some of her fiction and essays and want to broaden their repertoire, but I also recommend this book for those who write her off as a hack. This book might change your mind about her approach.
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Voice of Reason: 5 (Meridian)
Voice of Reason: 5 (Meridian) by Ayn Rand (Paperback - July 1990)
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