Books of interest

Do you know of a book we should all read?
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If there is a relevant book you would like to suggest that forum members read together please private message Gavin who will create a subforum for it. Thereafter you're free to create your own introduction (in which you might suggest target dates), topics for each chapter and anything else.

Re: Books of interest

Postby Matthew » 10 Sep 2012, 04:21

Gavin,

I've always been ambivalent about Hannan. He strikes me as someone to whom lowering taxes, leaving the European quagmire, and ending the NHS are vastly more important than addressing some of the less tangible cultural issues facing the West about which users of this forum tend to be concerned.

Also, I've never been able to understand his 2008 endorsement of Obama.

Any thoughts on this from other users? Do I have Hannan wrong?
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Darian » 10 Sep 2012, 05:10

Matthew,

Ah yes, Daniel Hannan, all Whig, no Tory. I've been meaning to write something about Dan Hannan but am too tired right now to do so at length.

I think he is a very well-spoken and intelligent man, and is absolutely correct in his views on the EU, but this is a man who has repeatedly said immigration to the U.K. has been a success. I don't know why be believes this, but he seems to think that Britain is, and always has been, some kind of proposition nation based on civic nationalism, with little emphasis on common ancestry. This view is not supported by even a superficial reading of history and is so laughably false that I am surprised someone as smart as Hannan believes it.

He is a (classical) liberal at heart, not a conservative. It seems to me his sensible classical liberal policies won't matter very much if Britain (and the west in general) is overrun by unassimilable foreigners (whose continued presence and migration he supports).
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Connor » 10 Sep 2012, 06:22

Last Exit to Utopia by Jean-Francois Revel

Here's a book I happened upon just recently. It's an analysis of the Western European Left and its inability to give up on the ideal of socialism. Specifically, Revel details how many Western leftists, while not necessarily outright apologists for the Soviet Union, were generally unwilling to criticize the regime or admit how disastrous the socialist experiment had become.

But here's why the book should be of particular interest to board members: it contains a preface by Anthony Daniels! It's a typically insightful and well-written essay of his, and it would have been worth the price of the book by itself. The main point that he makes in the preface is that Western intellectuals were not simply unaware of the crimes against humanity that the Soviet Union was responsible for. That idea is a myth. Rather, from the very beginning of the Bolshevik revolution, there was ample evidence of terror for anyone willing to look at reality. For too many intellecutals, however, ideology and wishful thinking clouded their judgment, and a lot of glaring, unpleasant realities were simply ignored.

The entire book, though, is a fascinating account of people who refuse to admit that they've been, well, "mugged by reality."
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 10 Sep 2012, 06:54

Matthew, my impressions of Daniel Hannan are exactly the same as yours. Our membership of the EU is to some degree responsible for some of our "street level" problems - in for example its influence over our criminal courts - but it's not the main reason. Lack of political will and corruption here at home are the main reasons - politicians could get out of the EU and sort out the other matters if they had a will do so.

Dalrymple duly critiques the EU but to the right degree, I think - it has, say, about 20% of his focus, at most. One can only imagine that Mr Hannan lives in a leafy suburb somewhere and is not exposed to the underclass every day as, for example, I am - otherwise his focus might change pretty rapidly.

He also seems to be a libertarian, which is not, I think, my own position. He speaks well and has due respect for Dalrymple - it was great watching them both in a talk a few years ago - but does not himself seem to attend to the matters of which TD writes. It's also odd how he's an MEP who wants to abolish his own job - well I suppose we need them in the heart of darkness there! I had a quick word with Mr Hannan at the time and asked him who we could vote for since there were so few conservatives in the Conservative party. He seemed in a hurry to leave but apparently took the view that one had to stick with the Conservatives and that the main enemy was Labour. He is often pressured under his column to move to UKIP.

By the way, I am not overly concerned about lowering taxes, though I wouldn't raise them too much for the rich either - why couldn't it be a simple percentage of earnings, the same for everyone? That seems fairest, unless we went to a flat rate, which probably simply wouldn't bring in enough tax considering our massive underclass. I would keep the NHS too and just sack most of the middle management and try to tackle its abuse.


Connor, that looks like a good book and a good point about how rarely the Left are critical of the evils of the Soviet Union - full blown communism, their dream come true! A system that has always failed catastrophically with massive human cost. Since we need to learn to play the emotional card more, as they love to do, I will say that they are complicit in its evils with their silence.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 02 Apr 2013, 14:53

The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 01 May 2013, 11:01

by Kenneth Minogue
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 05 May 2013, 12:44

Dalrymple recently rated Simon Leys as "the greatest contemporary essayist I know", so this might be worth a look:

The Hall of Uselessness by Simon Leys
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 13 May 2013, 23:21

Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 17 May 2013, 15:18

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 21 May 2013, 14:58

The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 21 May 2013, 23:59

The Rantings of a Single Male by Thomas Ellis
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 07 Jun 2013, 08:25

Image
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 08 Jun 2013, 14:47

Britains Great Immigration Disaster
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 04 Jul 2013, 10:54

Political Philosophy - Arguments for Conservatism by Roger Scruton
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 28 Jul 2013, 22:22

The Great Immigration Scandal
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