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Customer Review

on February 5, 2011
Little children learn morality from their parents: things are good or bad because Mommy and Daddy SAID so. A little later, they may be taught that things are good or bad because God SAID so, in some Holy Book. And still later, when they are taught "civics" in government schools, they will be taught that things are good or bad because "It's the law." (And it's GOOD to obey the law, BAD to break it.") But "the law" is just whatever politicians SAY it is.

A person becomes an adult when he outgrows the need to be given moral commandments from people he thinks of as "authorities," and learns to judge for himself what is right or wrong. This is a book to read to discover just how adult YOU really are. The book as a whole is a litmus test that will show whether the reader is an adult with independent judgment, or still a child, believing every fantasy and superstition that the "authorities" in his life have told him to believe.

You may or may not agree with Rose's conclusions, but you should be prepared to have many of your own cherished beliefs challenged and examined. This is a book to stretch your mind, and that may be uncomfortable, if your mind is out-of-shape. But like any good workout, the results are very rewarding.

The "most dangerous superstition" referred to in the title is the idea of "authority," which includes all belief in "government." No, I'm not providing "spoilers;" this is something Rose lays out on Page 2 of the book. He doesn't deny that all the legislators, police, bureaucrats and soldiers exist -- they clearly do. But the thing that makes "government" something more than a gang of thugs is the respect -- even reverence -- in which it is held by the people it rules. "Government" is commonly believed to have a RIGHT to rule us, and we commonly believe ourselves to have a DUTY to obey their commands (which are called "laws.") Rose unleashes a ferocious array of arguments proving that neither that RIGHT nor that DUTY can logically -- or morally -- exist. If that sounds silly to you, YOU need to read the book.

This is a remarkable book, remarkable for its honesty, its logic, its passion and the profound importance of its conclusions. There is also much to admire in Rose's clear, concise prose. He discusses important ideas without becoming overly-philosophical or boring. It is also a very important book, important the way Atlas Shrugged -- or Tom Paine's Common Sense -- are important. The most dangerous superstition IS dangerous because it enslaves our minds, which leads to the enslavement of our whole lives. This is a book to set us free.
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