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Ominous Parallels

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  460 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Ayn Rand chose Leonard Peikoff to be her successor as the spokesman for Objectivism. And in this brilliantly reasoned, thought-provoking work we learn why, as he demonstrates how far America has been detoured from its original path and led down the same road that Germany followed to Nazism. Self-sacrifice, Oriental mysticism, racial "truth," the public good, doing one's du ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 1st 1983 by Plume (first published 1982)
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Feb 22, 2012 Matt rated it did not like it
Utter crap.
JJ Liberty
Mar 12, 2017 JJ Liberty rated it it was amazing
An amazing and revolutionary philosophical analysis of Pre-Hitler Germany and the ominous parallels of America today. If you believe that philosophy has no significance and basis in reality then this book is a must read. Peikoff brilliantly displays how philosophy destroyed the Weimar Republic, the same philosophy that gave rise to Nazism and the slaughtering of millions of innocent men, women and children. The same philosophy that gave rise to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Mussolini in It ...more
Jonathan Bolton
Oct 24, 2009 Jonathan Bolton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This is philosophy and history at its best--intellectual history that I have never seen equaled. This demonstrates--in precise, gripping, penetrating, inspiring prose--how philosophy is the cause behind a culture's thought and action. It is also an illuminating comparative history: it shows the similarities and differences between present day America and pre-Nazi Germany.
Dec 27, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing
Fascinating! The parallels are even more evident today than when this was written. I can see why changing the direction of the country will not be successful via politics. More foundational philosophic changes must be achieved first.
Jesse Schexnayder
Sep 20, 2012 Jesse Schexnayder rated it really liked it
A prolific atheistic denunciation of collectivism by a disciple of Ayn Rand that excels when it retains its focus on the real threats to man's freedom, Collectivism and Statism. The embrace of natural rights may stem from different sources, though Dr. Peikoff would not agree. Even so, a denunciation of them leads always to the same horrific conclusion.

America is unquestionably on a path that leads to some sort of Nationalistic Socialism (Nazism). The only way to turn it away from this monstrosit
Kelly Murray
Jun 06, 2009 Kelly Murray rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who is interested in history/philosophy
Shelves: non-fiction, sp
I'd give this book a million stars if I could! Phenomenal. Peikoff did a great job showing how the German people were able to be so accepting of Nazism- what philosophies, ideologies, religions, etc made it possible for the horrible totalitarian take-over. Well thought-out explanations were given as to how a country's philosophical/ideological base is the seed from which EVERYHING else stems. If the philosophers and intellectuals of a country/culture endorse and spread chaotic, disembodied, irra ...more
Maybe I did myself in with this one, by reading two books very similar in their main ideas one right after another. But indeed, of itself and especially in comparison to Liberal Fascism, The Ominous Parallels was tiresome and empty, full of unexplained generalizations, unsupported inferences, crude speculation, irrelevant moralizing, philosophical polemics, and long lists of things the author dislikes. I really want to like Leonard Peikoff, but when I'm confronted with something like this, I jus ...more
Dec 27, 2013 Don rated it it was amazing
A timely warning when it was written, and even more so now. The take home lesson is that the fear of the United States becoming a communist state is overblown. The real problem, lies in creeping fascism. The current spectacle of Big Government getting into bed with Big Business to the detriment of almost everyone else is proof that they were right about so much. Back then, it was a warning about what happens "if this goes on". Now, it will help you understand what is happening "right now!" Can't ...more
Aug 20, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
Peikoff's thesis -- explaining the similarities between the current American political landscape to that of Germany's before Hitler came into power -- is strong. He gives compelling examples of cause and effect, and how philosophy plays a major role in shaping a nation. His writing, however, is sometimes muddy and hard to follow, and his conclusion that Ayn Rand's Objectivism is the way to "save" a country from the threat of Fascism is far-fetched and biased (he is her "intellectual heir"). Othe ...more
Oct 12, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing
I've read about the Nazi concentration camps before, but I never understood their true purpose or how it came to be that humans could treat other humans that way, until now....
John Sharp
Oct 14, 2012 John Sharp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very intriguing book. Most of the analysis is still valid. I recommend.
D. B.
Jan 04, 2015 D. B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peikoff makes a clear and compelling argument for his theory that post-WWI, Weimar-era Germany was much more influenced by Kantian philosophy than later philosophers (most prominently Nietzsche). The combination of historical, psychological, and philosophical insights present plausible explanations for reasons behind such seemingly unreasonable, maddening behavior.

Where the book falls short is in Peikoff's sky-is-falling comparisons to the U.S. Perhaps this is because the examples are dated, and
Roberto Guzman
Apr 11, 2016 Roberto Guzman rated it it was amazing
Everyone learns about Nazi Germany in high school: the Nuremberg Rallies, the book burning, the annexation of Poland, the concentration camps. We are told that the Depression or the Treaty of Versailles, or antisemitism, or Prussian militarism led to the creation of the Third Reich, and each of these contributed of course. What we are not taught is the philosophic cause of the Holocaust. Leonard Peikoff's book discusses the philosophy of early 20th century Germany and makes the claim that it was ...more
Aaron Meyer
Feb 20, 2011 Aaron Meyer rated it it was amazing
A really informative look at the root causes which led to the opportunity for the Nazi's to take power in Germany. I believe that the author shows rather convincingly that the development of the philosophy of the nation was the key ingredient to the ease which the Nazi's were able to take over. During the time I spent reading I really had to grapple with myself and many things I had believed philosophically. I had always wondered about my fascination with the Nazi's and this book shows that the ...more
Oct 04, 2013 Helmut rated it really liked it
Hey, he more or less hit the point. Look at the date of publication and where we are today. Consider that the Nazis had not been the source of nazism in Germany, but nazism brought upon the nazis. The grounds of this (nazism) are called by another name, replicable in any country in this world with any desirable outer appearance, but common in spirit and principal results. Peikoff got it right. It had been partly virtues, which let to the situation. But not philosophy and virtues themselfes, rath ...more
Dec 06, 2011 Nathan rated it really liked it
This book conclusively shows the mindset of the populous of Germany and the whole of Europe that led up to the most despotic times of the 20th Century. With so many historians, authors, and movies depicting the rather obvious reasons why the time was ripe for a totalitarian leadership, this book takes things to a much greater understanding of how a peoples gave up their rights.

Leonard Peikoff describes perfectly how the mindset of collectivism has crossed the Atlantic and has planted its seed w
Cassandra Troy
Oct 04, 2008 Cassandra Troy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Cassandra by: The Objectist Center
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Connolly
Peikoff expands on Ayn Rand's idea that the German philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel are to blame for both Nazism and Communism. It does seem unlikely to be a coincidence that both right-wing totalitarianism (Nazi Germany) and left-wing totalitarianism (Karl Marx) both arose in Germany. Peikoff does not explore the origin of the Communist side of totalitarianism, perhaps because that story is so well known. But Peikoff provides ample evidence that Kant and Hegel and th ...more
Dr. Peikoff analyzes "The Ominous Parallels" between the fundamental history of Germany, and America. He was pinpointing the primary causality of Nazism, and how its basic ideas now heading towards America, and it slowly annihilating the world. A subjective evidence of today's cultural background.....the essences of Nazi's concept which worship the unreason, the demand of self-sacrifice, and state being above individuals.

Christopher Hurtado
Nov 21, 2009 Christopher Hurtado rated it really liked it
Peikoff's Ominous Parallels wasn't as thoroughly gripping as Hicks' Explaining Postmodernism, a comparable work. However, it was as thorough and as telling. I recommend it to anyone seeking to understand the basic principles at the heart of liberty and tyranny, and the role of philosophy in illuminating and defending them.
Mar 29, 2012 Johnrh rated it really liked it
OMINOUS indeed. Chilling. Particularly on dehumanization in the Chapter 13: The Concentration Camps. Almost equally as chilling is Mans' "willingness" to give up his own Will and self responsibility.
Beth Haynes
Chilling analysis of the parallels between the philosophical tenets promoted by the American left and pre-Nazi/Nazi Germany.
Jeff Yoak
Nov 26, 2012 Jeff Yoak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-1991
This work analyzing similarities between America and Nazi-era Germany by my favorite philosopher was a big book for me in college. I must read this again.
Jul 20, 2010 J.A. rated it really liked it
Recommended to J.A. by: Leonard Peikoff Podcast
An in depth look at pre-Nazi Germany and the philosophical bastardization that lead to the rise of the Nazi party. Last few chapters compared Germany's previous path with America's current path.
Jan 18, 2014 Cuneyt rated it really liked it
Good historical analysis of Germany before and during Hitler era, comparisons with the USA philosophical and at the ideological level less practical snlysis but still easy to follow and well written.
Feb 25, 2009 Tyas rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Well... perhaps I need to read this book again to write a better judgment... *scratches head*
Sep 02, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
I mainly used this book to frighten people when I was in the military.
Mar 04, 2014 Steven rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
It opened my eyes to Nazism.
Cameron Egbert
Cameron Egbert rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2016
Srynerson rated it really liked it
Feb 29, 2016
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Leonard S. Peikoff (born October 15, 1933) is a Canadian-American philosopher. He is an author, a leading advocate of Objectivism and the founder of the Ayn Rand Institute. A former professor of philosophy, he was designated by the novelist Ayn Rand as heir to her estate. For several years, he hosted a radio talk show.
More about Leonard Peikoff...

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“The process of spreading a philosophy by means of free discussion among thinking adults is long and complex. From Plato to the present, it has been the dream of social planners to circumvent this process and, instead, to inject a controversial ideology directly into the plastic, unformed minds of children—by means of seizing a country’s educational system and turning it into a vehicle for indoctrination. In this way one may capture an entire generation without intellectual resistance, in a single coup d’école.” 2 likes
“Statism and the advocacy of reason are philosophical opposites. They cannot coexist—neither in a philosophic system nor in a nation.” 2 likes
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