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A parasite rearranges and dilutes Rand's work
on 2 January 1999
This book both rearranges and has material added to Rand's original NAL (Signet) paperback work, "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution." Although this edition includes Rand's original work, it is fundamentally fraudulent.
Rand carefully arranged the order of her non-fiction essays, when they entered her anthologies, and such choices weren't trivial. She progressed from the more theoretical points -- with more generally applicable principles -- to more particular and detailed aspects of irrational practice. Schwartz has disrupted this progression, for no apparent productive reason.
Rand constantly practiced and upheld this effort of guiding the reader by means of a conscious support of the human conceptual faculty. Distinguishing cultural phenomena with a faulty, irrational framework of analysis gets one nowhere. She carried out her approach -- principles to specifics -- in a half-dozen anthologies. "The New Left" was an example intended specifically for young people, and concentrated largely on issues of education and ecology.
Unfortunately, Schwartz has joined with Leonard Peikoff (who did a similar dilution of Rand's approach with his own essays in "The Voice of Reason") to stamp his own imprint on Rand's work. This is the effort of an intellectual mediocrity to tap the fame of another name that had genuinely earned its respect.
Schwartz's own essays don't deserve comment in this context. Apart from their sometimes baroque weaknesses of reasoning, they are inserted merely to add to his own royalties.
Rand's focus is diluted. Her intended audience has been altered. Even the title has been made much less specific, ignoring its historic emphases. All that garners two stars for this book are the original essays ... but the book Rand intended is still available in many locations, so purchase of this is not necessary.
Don't support someone such as Schwartz, who has turned his dilution and repackaging of Rand into a sinecure at the Ayn Rand Institute, and who has been a singularly inept public supporter of Rand's ideas.
Read, instead, the nonfiction that she shaped -- from "For the New Intellectual" through "Philosophy: Who Needs It." Go to the source.