Resources: Books: Special Issues and Other
Updated: Sep 26, 2020
What makes me the expert on conservatism, you ask? I’m certainly not claiming to be an expert. But I do read the experts and strive to faithfully translate their writings into blog posts and podcasts for contemporary eyes and ears. If you'd prefer to go straight to the source material there are plenty of books I highly recommend from the actual "experts".
In this post, you will find links to books on a wide range of topics that are well worth your time but aren't necessarily easily classified.
Thomas Sowell's classic analysis of the opposing visions behind today's ethical and ideological disputes. Controversies in politics arise from many sources, but the conflicts that endure for generations or centuries show a remarkably consistent pattern. This revised edition of a classic analyzes the centuries-long debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power. It distinguishes between those with the "constrained" vision, which sees human nature as enduring and self-centered, and the "unconstrained" vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. A Conflict of Visions offers a compelling case that these opposing visions are behind the ethical and ideological disputes of yesterday and today.
In the classic The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, sets out to persuade his audience of the importance and relevance of universal values such as courage and honor in contemporary society. Both astonishing and prophetic, The Abolition of Man is one of the most debated of Lewis’s extraordinary works. National Review chose it as number seven on their "100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century."
Of the three dominant ideologies of the twentieth century—fascism, communism, and liberalism—only the last remains. This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism’s proponents tend to forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution. As Patrick Deneen argues in this provocative book, liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions: it trumpets equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and in its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history. Here, Deneen offers an astringent warning that the centripetal forces now at work on our political culture are not superficial flaws but inherent features of a system whose success is generating its own failure.
In Fools, Frauds and Firebrands, philosopher Roger Scruton, one of the leading critics of leftist orientations in modern Western civilization, examines the thinkers who have been most influential on the attitudes of the New Left. What does the Left look like today, he asks, and how has it evolved? Is there any foundation for resistance to its agenda without religious faith?
Scruton begins with a ruthless analysis of New Leftism and concludes with a critique of the key strands in its thinking. He conducts a reappraisal of such major left-wing thinkers as: E. P. Thompson, Ronald Dworkin, R. D. Laing, Jurgen Habermas, Gyorgy Lukacs, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, Ralph Milliband and Eric Hobsbawm.
Scruton's exploration of these important issues is written with skill, perception and at all times with pellucid clarity. In addition to assessments of these thinkers' philosophical and political contributions, the book contains a biographical and bibliographical section summarizing their careers and most important writings.