Comment: The God of the Machine

(See in situ)

In reply to comment: thanks (see in situ)

Michael Nystrom's picture

The God of the Machine

I haven't read it. Like you, and jrd, I read Their Eyes Were Watching God in high school, and enjoyed it immensely. I have carried that book around with me ever since, though at my advanced age, I have very little recollection of what it was about. Perhaps time for a reread, but the crushing pressures of making a living tend to eat into free reading time...

The God of the Machine, by Isabel Paterson. A buck ninety-nine for the Kindle. That is too good to pass up. Thank you. Just bought it.

This is exactly what I've been looking for! I'm tired of all these isms. Conservatism, Libertarianism, Anarchism. For me, they all boil down to one thing: Collectivism.

Individualism is, I believe, unique among the -isms. No one can tell you you're doing it wrong, or that you're not a true Fill-in-the-blank-ist. (Not a true one, not like they are - the one who is pounding you over the head with their version of it).

Anyway, I've been looking to read up more on individualism, and look what shows up. A random comment on the Daily Paul, pointing the way. I love this place. Thanks.

From Amazon's description:

The God of the Machine presents an original theory of history and a bold defense of individualism as the source of moral and political progress. When it was published in 1943, Isabel Paterson's work provided fresh intellectual support for the endangered American belief in individual rights, limited government, and economic freedom. The crisis of today's collectivized nations would not have surprised Paterson; in The God of the Machine, she had explored the reasons for collectivism's failure. Her book placed her in the vanguard of the free-enterprise movement now sweeping the world.

Paterson sees the individual creative mind as the dynamo of history, and respect for the individual's God-given rights as the precondition for the enormous release of energy that produced the modern world. She sees capitalist institutions as the machinery through which human energy works, and government as a device properly used merely to cut off power to activities that threaten personal liberty.

Paterson applies her general theory to particular issues in contemporary life, such as education, .social welfare, and the causes of economic distress. She severely criticizes all but minimal application of government, including governmental interventions that most people have long taken for granted. The God of the Machine offers a challenging perspective on the continuing, worldwide debate about the nature of freedom, the uses of power, and the prospects of human betterment.

Stephen Cox's substantial introduction to The God of the Machine is a comprehensive and enlightening account of Paterson's colorful life and work. He describes The God of the Machine as "not just theory, but rhapsody, satire, diatribe, poetic narrative." Paterson's work continues to be relevant because "it exposes the moral and practical failures of collectivism, failures that are now almost universally acknowledged but are still far from universally understood." The book will be essential to students of American history, political theory, and literature.

He's the man.