The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought

Overview


Between 1961, when she gave her first talk at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston, and 1981, when she gave the last talk of her life in New Orleans, Ayn Rand spoke and wrote about topics as varied as education, medicine, Vietnam, and the death of Marilyn Monroe. In The Voice of Reason, these pieces, written in the last decades of Rand's life, are gathered in book form for the first time. With them are five essays by Leonard Peikoff, Rand's longtime associate and literary executor. The work concludes with Peikoff's ...
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Overview


Between 1961, when she gave her first talk at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston, and 1981, when she gave the last talk of her life in New Orleans, Ayn Rand spoke and wrote about topics as varied as education, medicine, Vietnam, and the death of Marilyn Monroe. In The Voice of Reason, these pieces, written in the last decades of Rand's life, are gathered in book form for the first time. 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, Rand's later writings reflect a life lived on principle, a probing mind, and a passionate intensity. This collection communicates not only Rand's singular worldview, but also the penetrating cultural and political analysis to which it gives rise.

Here is the final collection of articles and speeches by the bestselling and world-renowned novelist, essayist, and philosopher.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rand's strident right-wing rhetoric is on display in these posthumously collected essays. Upholding egoistic self-interest as the wellspring of capitalism, she derides liberals ``crawling on their stomachs to Moscow'' and targets ``psychologizers'' who excuse the behavior of ``college-campus thugs'' and criminals; in her estimation, the modern arts are a ``sewer.'' Novelist Atlas Shrugged and self-styled Objectivist philosopher, Rand, who died in 1982, staunchly opposes a ``mixed economy,'' a term which seems to stand for anything contrary to unregulated monopoly capitalism. Liberals should appreciate her diatribe against the Catholic Church's opposition to birth control and abortion. Her eulogy of Marilyn Monroe is sentimental and silly, while her argument to the effect that no psychologically balanced woman would want to be U.S. president is old-fashioned. In supplementary essays, Peikoff, an Objectivist follower of Rand, condemns the New Right's religious zeal and attacks socialized medicine. Jan.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452010468
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/28/1990
  • Series: The Ayn Rand Library
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 942,241
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 7.92 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand is one of the rare writers who not only drew in readers with her novels, but created a philosophical movement with them. Her seminal Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, cornerstones of her individualistic Objectivist world view, can be viewed as literature, self-empowerment texts, or both.

Biography

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read and two years later discovered her first fictional hero in a French magazine for children, thus capturing the heroic vision that sustained her throughout her life. At the age of nine she decided to make fiction writing her career. Thoroughly opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture, she thought of herself as a European writer, especially after encountering authors such as Walter Scott and—in 1918—Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired.

During her high school years, she was eyewitness to both the Kerensky Revolution, which she supported, and—in 1917—the Bolshevik Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to the Crimea, where she finished high school. The final Communist victory brought the confiscation of her father's pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she immediately took America as her model of what a nation of free men could be.

When her family returned from the Crimea, she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history. Graduating in 1924, she experienced the disintegration of free inquiry and the takeover of the university by communist thugs. Amidst the increasingly gray life, her one great pleasure was Western films and plays. Long a movie fan, she entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screen writing.

In late 1925 she obtained permission to leave Soviet Russia for a visit to relatives in the United States. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she was determined never to return to Russia. She arrived in New York City in February 1926. She spent the next six months with her relatives in Chicago, obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter.

On Ayn Rand's second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his movie The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O'Connor, whom she married in 1929; they were married until his death fifty years later.

After struggling for several years at various non-writing jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO Corporation, she sold her first screenplay, Red Pawn to Universal Studios in 1932 and saw her first stage play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and then on Broadway. Her first novel, We the Living, was completed in 1933 but was rejected by publishers for years, until The Macmillan Company in the United States and Cassells and Company in England published the book in 1936. The most autobiographical of her novels—it was based on her years under Soviet tyranny—We the Living was not well-received by American intellectuals and reviewers. Ayn Rand was up against the pro-communism dominating the culture during "the Red Decade."

She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935. In the character of the architect Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the kind of hero whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as "he could be and ought to be." The Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers but finally accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. When published in 1943, it made history by becoming a best seller through word-of-mouth two years later, and gained for its author lasting recognition as a champion of individualism.

Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. Working part time as a screenwriter for Hal Wallis Productions, she began her major novel, Atlas Shrugged, in 1946. In 1951 she moved back to New York City and devoted herself full time to the completion of Atlas Shrugged.

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was her greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatized her unique philosophy in an intellectual mystery story that integrated ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex. Although she considered herself primarily a fiction writer, she realized that in order to create heroic fictional characters, she had to identify the philosophic principles that make such individuals possible. She needed to formulate "a philosophy for living on earth."

Thereafter, Ayn Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy—Objectivism. She published and edited her own periodicals from 1962 to 1976, her essays providing much of the material for nine books on Objectivism and its application to the culture. Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

Every book by Ayn Rand published in her lifetime is still in print, and hundreds of thousands of copies are sold each year, so far totaling more than twenty million. Several new volumes have been published posthumously. Her vision of man and her philosophy for living on earth have changed the lives of thousands of readers and launched a philosophic movement with a growing impact on American culture.

Author biography courtesy of The Ayn Rand Institute.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alice Rosenbaum (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 2, 1905
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Petersburg, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      March 6, 1982
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Table of Contents


Edited and with Additional Essays by Leonard Peikoff

Introductionby Leonard Peikoff
Part One: Philosophy
1. Introducing Objectivism
2. Review of Aristotle by John Herman Randall, Jr.
3. To Young Scientists
4. Who Is the Final Authority in Ethics?
5. The Psychology of Psychologizing
6. Altruism as Appeasement
7. The Question of Scholarships
8. Of Living Death
9. Religion vs. America - by Leonard Peikoff
Part Two: Culture
10. The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age
11. Our Cultural Value-Deprivation
12. Global Balkanization
13. How to Read (and Not to Write)
14. The Lessons of Vietnam
15. The Sanction of the Victims
16. Through Your Most Grievous Fault
17. Apollo 11
18. Epitaph for a Culture
19. Assault from the Ivory Tower: The Professors' War Against America - by Leonard Peikoff
20. The American School: Why Johnny Can't Think - by Leonard Peikoff
Part Three: Politics
21. Representation Without Authorization
22. To Dream the Noncommercial Dream
23. Tax Credits for Education
24. Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason
25. The Pull Peddlers
26. About a Woman President
27. The Inverted Moral Priorities
28. Hunger and Freedom
29. How Not to Fight Against Socialized Medicine
30. Medicine: The Death of a Profession - by Leonard Peikoff
31. Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty - by Peter Schwartz
Epilogue: My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand: An Intellectual Memoir - by Leonard Peikoff

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Simply Great

    This should be required reading in every college.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2007

    This one completes the essay collection series

    Rand became a writer in order to do novels, not nonfiction. She could maintain interest in nonfiction subjects over the space of an essay time after time but detested the idea of writing long theoretical volumes, and in fact never did. So the only two nonfiction sources of Rand's views would be either Leonard Peikoff's 'Objectivism' book, which she was co-editing at the time of her death, or the now-common essay collections published in the 1960's and 70's. These collections brought together disparate pieces on common subjects like ethics, capitalism, art or general philosophy. VOICE OF REASON is best seen as the last of those collections. VOR, like the other collections, draws from many sources: in this case, newspaper columns, short essays in Rand's early self-published newsletters and her speeches at Boston's Ford Hall Forum. The material is organized into three categories, Philosophy, Culture and Politics, a scheme which provides an organizational benefit. The first category presents matters of the highest importance and least option, and the latter two serve to keep separate lower-order matters of application, of interest in order to observe how Rand's mind worked in specific rather than in broad contexts.

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