Monday, February 01, 2010

Conservative reading list


I'm putting this on-line just to maybe start a discussion. Eric asked about a conservative reading list (apparently he's hanging around a better crowd these days) and wanted my input. Off the top of my head I came up with this:

On-line
Nationalreview.com (NRO), weeklystandard.com are the usual suspects. There's a lot of shrill stuff out there (redstate.org), but NRO and Weekly Standard , Bill Kristol's rag, present the conservative views without screaming. My favorite conservative think tanks are Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, although I don't really agree with their conclusions from a practical standpoint.

Books
There's a ton of shrill "pundits" who should be avoided at all cost-- they are out there just to stoke anger, juice the limbic system and add nothing substantive: Beck, Coulter, O'Reilly (while he does have some good points, he is platitudinous without conclusions or remedies.)

The only modern author worth reading is Mona Charen who makes excellent points: Do-Gooders: How liberals hurt the ones they claim to help" presents the classic argument against the welfare state, and much of it is relevant. She discusses these unwashed masses who go to Walmart in their pajamas and play video games all day and how they are a creation of the welfare state, and it's somewhat planned that way by the liberal power elite. I would add that these images of the recalcitrant and ungrateful welfare recipient resonate with working class folks, and this imagery is used by the wealthy capitalist elite to turn the working class against the poor. Complex interactions.

Classical conservatives:

1. Bill Buckley (past editor of National Review)

2. Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France) is considered the father of modern political conservatism and his wikipedia entry is excellent. Although he was an ardent republican, he expressed disdain for the French revolution. Favorite quote: The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

3. Leo Strauss is an interesting character. Schooled in existentialism, he came up with the idea of the Noble Lie as a necessity for leaders to govern. He gets a bad rap about being the so-called father of neo-conservatism probably because of his Zionist views and he was a mentor of Irving Kristol (Bill's father) and Paul Wolfowitz. Strauss harkened back to the classic philosophers (Plato) and viewed the acceptance of revealed religion in the Middle Ages as a negative. Very complex, but interesting.

Those are my snapshot thoughts.

4 comments:

Eric said...

I was going:

Atlas Shrugs
the fountainhead

Common sense-- The real problem is Thomas Pain was quite the populist.. Very much believe in the Meritocracy.

I'm not sure what TP Glenn Beck is reading.

I will say that GB and TP are both bipolar... so they have that going for them.

Eric said...

I was going:

Atlas Shrugs
the fountainhead

Common sense-- The real problem is Thomas Pain was quite the populist.. Very much believe in the Meritocracy.

I'm not sure what TP Glenn Beck is reading.

I will say that GB and TP are both bipolar... so they have that going for them.

Hilary said...

Somewhat off topic, but worth mentioning, is the book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, by Max Blumenthal. I recently read it, and found it very fascinating and well-written. If you haven't all ready, I would recommend reading it.

Tony said...

Hillary, thanks, that's is exactly ON topic... I'll see if my library has it or Amazon.

I admit my conservative reading may be behind. I've read Mark Levin and Bill O'Reilly and find they don't present the conservative ideas very well.

Ayn Rand is a complete loon, as afar as I'm concerned. She doesn't understand normal human interaction and govt.

I wouldn't call Thomas Paine "conservative", especially since he advocated revolution. I know modern day conservatives have adopted him, but he would be more closely aligned with the ACLU today, IMO.