"Let me say at the outset that this is a brilliant and extraordinary book which narrowly misses greatness. It is brilliant in the perceptiveness, the incisiveness, the power, the scope of its analysis that presents—in carefully chosen, dramatically illuminating essentials—the history of man's long quest for freedom, from ancient Greece to World War II. It offers an unforgettable experience: a panorama of the centuries, as seen from the elevation of a truly grand intellectual scale." —Ayn Rand
In this profoundly insightful work of political theory, Paterson seeks an answer to the question: What type of social structure makes productive activity possible?
She describes the problem in terms of engineering—i.e., in terms of devising the machinery by which the energy of human production is not "short-circuited." She shows that the system man needs in order to function properly—the system of a dynamic energy flow—is laissez-faire. By contrast, she writes, "the collective society is static. Whatever productive machinery it contains must be inherited or borrowed from the primary field of freedom elsewhere, a free economy. (B)ut it can't be invented."
In the chapter "The Humanitarian with the Guillotine," Paterson examines the seeming paradox of wholesale oppression and slaughter perpetrated in the name of the collective good—and concludes: "The humanitarian in theory is the terrorist in action."
Once you have skipped past the plodding, confused Introduction (by Stephen Cox), you will find this book—despite its occasional, almost gratuitous, attempts to link capitalism and religion—an invaluable, thought-provoking work on the social requirements of human life.
(Softcover; 308 pages)