Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Unique defence of freedom
on 5 November 2005
This riveting compilation of 26 essays includes contributions by Alan Greenspan, Nathaniel Branden and Robert Hessen. It is primarily a treatise on the moral aspects of capitalism. The themes revolve around human nature and mankind’s relationship to existence. Capitalism is advocated because it is the only system compatible with the life of a rational being.
Rand claims that the classical defenders and modern apologists of capitalism are by default responsible for undermining it. In her view, they are unwilling or unable to fight the battle on moral-philosophical grounds.
The essays provide a plethora of gripping insights and novel angles. Rand detests the idea of using altruism to defend capitalism. She proposes rationality instead, with a ruling principle of justice.
I do not necessarily agree with her on this but I enjoy Rand’s scathing criticism of conservatism’s perceived fallacies. Her vitriolic dissection of the 3 conservative strains is highly amusing! She identifies and attacks the Religious and the Traditionalists but really unleashes the sharp edge of her scorn on those who defend capitalism from the argument of mankind’s depravity.
In the essay Requiem For Man, she savages the encyclical Populorum Progressio by Pope Paul VI, in which she also rips apart the reactions to it by publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine.
The book consists of two parts. The first is Theory And History, which includes essays on inter alia war, the persecution of big business, antitrust, gold and economic freedom, property status of the airwaves, and patents and copyrights.
Part two: Current State, includes essays on the anatomy of compromise, the art of smearing, rule by consensus as a form of fascism, and the student rebellion. The final two essays: Man’s Rights and The Nature Of Government, appear in the appendix.
Whatever the flaws in Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, this book remains a brilliant and unique defence of freedom and capitalism. Moreover, history has proved Rand a prescient thinker who was correct in many of her analyses.
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal ranks among the very best of her non-fiction works. It is highly engaging, thought-provoking and often quite amusing. The book concludes with an index and a bibliography listing titles by Henry Hazlitt, Isabel Paterson and Ludwig von Mises, amongst others.