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Are Capitalism, Objectivism, and Libertarianism Religions? Yes! Paperback – January 10, 2007

2.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

About the Author Dr. Albert Ellis was born in Pittsburgh and raised in New York City. He has been a psychotherapist, marriage and family counselor, and sex therapist for sixty years; and continues his practice to this day. Currently the president of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York, Dr. Ellis is the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the Cognitive Behavior Therapies. Ranked 'one of the most influential psychologists of all time' by American and Canadian psychologists, Dr. Ellis has written or edited more than seventy-five books, published more than eight-hundred scientific papers and articles, and created over two-hundred audio cassettes. His widely-regarded books include How to Live with a 'Neurotic; The Art and Science of Love; How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable about Anything-Yes, Anything; Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy; Relational Emotive Behavior Therapy: It Works for Me-It Can Work for You; Feeling Better, Getting Better, and Staying Better; The Road to Tolerance and the Myth of Self Esteem; as well as Is Objectivism a Religion--the original version of this book. Since earning his doctoral degree in psychology from Columbia University, Dr. Ellis has served as chief psychologist for the state of New Jersey, and held an adjunct professorship at Rutgers University. He was president of the Division of Consulting Psychology for The American Psychological Association, as well as for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Dr. Ellis is recognized as a Diplomat in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has received numerous awards, from the American Psychological Association, the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, and the American Counseling Association.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace; 1st edition (January 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434808858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434808851
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,667,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hoo-boy. Albert Ellis retracted most of the book at the end of his life and promised leading libertarians w he would correct it, though he died before that. So read it in that spirit. The book is like digging up something Biden said years ago and never formally retracted to attack Obama, ignoring what is actually going on.

What happened? First, IMHO Ellis has some good things to say as a psychologist and sometime social analyst. Next, he raises some valid questions in the book (though doesn't realize they've been addressed because--cardinal sin for a scholar--he didn't know the literature or do field research). Result: The book would be great if it actually addressed the topics. It addresses caricatures (as do many of the naïve commenters below). How did this happen? The problem is Ellis was questioned for some of his techniques by an Objectivist who was one of his students back in the '50's, Ellis took it personally (though he was not mentioned by name) when his business dropped off, started accusing psychologists related to Objectivism of ripping off his ideas which was basically laughed away by the local ethics board when he tried to bring an action (he never did formally), and since that time Ellis became increasingly unhinged on all things even vaguely related to Objectivism, according to people there at the time. I'm no expert on what happened, but clearly at some point Ellis, the founder of rational-emotive therapy, got emotional and reason flew out the window, and this seems to be reflected in the tone of the book.

Some basics on how this book fails from the get-go:

>Objectivism is secular Aristotelianism, and is not a faith or cult but focuses on reason and not harming others.
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Format: Paperback
If you suspected there was something seriously wrong with the rationality of Ayn Rand's world view but only felt a gut revulsion, or are a recovering Objectivist, then you should read this book. Ellis dismantles her thinking, especially her psychology, economics and philosophy. But for a more comprehensive discussion of her philosophy, on which all of her thinking rests, it's better to go to Scott Ryan or Greg Nyquist, if you're philosophically inclined.
Ayn Rand is very important. . She is one of the architects of today's America. She created a secular religion with its own cult and her disciples today are in Congress, the big corporations and on Wall Street. One of them, for example, was Alan Greenspan, former head of the Federal Reserve. Being head of the Fed gives you more power over the country's economy than has the president of the United States. The Fed decides how much money is released to the country, which has an effect on inflation, it sets the interest rates and to a large extent controls credit. That's where the bank bailouts came from. As a good Randian, Greenspan successfully torpedoed any attempt to put any restraints on Wall Street's poisonous derivatives. He now has the honor of being among the four or five primary movers and shakers in America who pushed its economy over a cliff.Another big fan of Rand was Chris Cox, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ayn Rand has mostly gotten a free ride from any serious criticism for almost half a century for two reasons: people who dealt with novels of high literary quality or were expert in in philosophy and economics considered her ideology and statements ignorant, naïve and simply irrational. But they made a big mistake in ignoring her.
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I highly recommend this as a most enlightening and entertaining book. My only complaints are that the editing could have been better, and Dr. Ellis maybe should have put his definition of religion in Chapter 1 instead of 6. But his observations confirm what I have observed in reading Rands' works and listening to friends and others who are Objectivists.

Dr. Ellis brilliantly shows that Objectivism "is a clear-cut religious system, in the classical use of this term, involving the kind of beliefs, practices, and ethical values that at least imply (even if they overtly deny) a divine or superhuman power in the universe and that particularly comprise a faith unfounded on fact. I contend that any dogmatic, fanatical, absolutist, anti-empirical, people-condemning creed is religious because there is no factual evidence on which it is based, and its adherents, in zealously sticking to it, strongly state or imply that some higher power or order of the universe demands that their views are right--and that all serious dissenters to their views are for all time wrong...

"Most capitalists are also included here as religious in nature in that they are true believers in the 'invisible hand' of the market, a clearly religious concept, to solve all of the world's problems if the world will just set all the markets free!"

Criticisms that Dr. Ellis had in some way insulted Ayn Rand through this book or treated her views unfairly are completely off-base. In fact, he goes out of his way to give credit where credit is due. But for a self-proclaimed rational person, Ayn Rand created a philosophy that contains a great deal of irrationality and unsupported dogma that needs to be exposed.
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