In the 1960s and early '70s, the most prominent, vocal cultural movement was the New Left, a movement that condemned America and everything it stood for: individualism, material wealth, science, technology, capitalism.
While the New Left achieved limited political success, it brought about vast cultural changes that remain with us to this day. The reason is that while its representatives faced some political opposition, they faced little-to-no fundamental intellectual opposition.
Ayn Rand was the exception. In her essays from this period, anthologized in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, she opposed the New Left as no one else did. The audience for the book, she wrote, is "all those who are concerned about college students and about the state of modern education" and who are seeking "a voice of reason to turn to".
In her essays, Ayn Rand identified the essential evils of the New Left and their cause. Where most viewed the New Left and its violent college protests, its worship of untouched nature, and its orgiastic mob celebrations as some sort of inexplicable, youthful rebellion against the "establishment", Ayn Rand identified these "rebels" as in fact dutiful, consistent practitioners of the ideas taught to them by their teachers.
Return of the Primitive is an expanded edition of The New Left. It features the entire contents of the original edition authorized by Ayn Rand, plus two of her other essays, "Racism" and "Global Balkanization", which are highly relevant to today's campuses and world. Additionally, it features three essays written after her death by Peter Schwartz, analyzing some of the ideologies that the New Left helped spawn, such as multiculturalism and environmentalism.
For those who seek to understand the state of American culture today, Return of the Primitive is required reading.
©1999 Peter Schwartz; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Ayn's razor sharp depiction of the mind set underlying the anti progress progressive green movement is a must listen. Schwartz's essay are passable, though perhaps less intellectually rigorous. Keep in mind this is not an entertaining audiobook. It is a glimpse at a political movement, it's conceptual foundation and the circumstances surrounding their "revolution"
If you want to get an understanding on why progressives and liberals spend their lives denying reality you must read "Comprachicos" and "The Age of Envy". I think these are two Ayn Rand's best essays. And this is saying a lot!
This is the best non-fiction book by Rand that I have ever heard or read. It is more accurately a collection of essays. They are more personally written than most she has written and display an insight into human psychology that is no less than profound. This book lays to rest any claim that she was a detached intellectual that lectured from her idealistic, unrealistic ivory tower and instead shows she was sensitive, thoughtful, and in tune with others' feelings. Rand's goal was to advocate a philosophy that can rescue Western Civilization from itself - should we choose the very un-altruistic path of standing up for it.
5 stars - books that I will listen to again and again. 4 stars - books that I might listen to again someday. 3 stars - books that I probably won't listen to again. 2 stars - books that I know I will never listen to again. 1 star - books that I should have never listened to in the first place.
This book is as relevant today (actually, more so) than it was in the late 60's. I just wish I would have read it sooner! An intellectually damning indictment of the New Left and Progressive Movements that have corrupted the U.S. educational system from kindergarden to grad school. Not to mention the deleterious affects this has had on capitalism and American society. Ayn Rand gives a penetrating explanation of the faulty logic used and perpetuated by specific groups to maintain their hold on considerable numbers of people. Forming their attitudes from childhood and thus conditioning their dependence well into adulthood. Leaving the responsible people to pick up after and support an ever growing population of unenlightened, mis-informed, self-centered, and depressed people.
The Audible version is flawless and I'm sure to listen to it again and again. Highly Recommended!
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