“None of the liberals had ever read or heard of _The Road to Serfdom_”

What’s the one book that explains yourself?  “Kathy” in the comments section at Marginal Revolution on her “one book” project:

Here’s a question I’ve been asking people and they were very interested in the answer – which I do not have. We (liberal and conservative relatives) were discussing the splits in the country and I was saying that we’d do better if we learned the basics of the other side’s arguments as presented in the blogs and I thought it was really only ten or twenty books.

So – What are the books powering the blogs in America – the main book, the key book?

For instance, you could understand many conservative or libertarian blogs by reading The Road to Serfdom (Hayek) and Atlas Shrugged (Rand); many environmental blogs by reading Silent Spring (Carson), feminist blogs by reading The Feminine Mystique and one deconstructionist theorizer; return-to-the-classics blogs by reading Shakespeare and a deconstructionist; anti-European blogs by reading The Wretched of the Earth and a deconstructionist. The blogs, to me, apply and develop these basic books.

None of the liberals had ever read or heard of The Road to Serfdom

This is a phenomena many others have identified — almost all conservatives and libertarians have been influence significantly by the ideas of Friedrich Hayek, and almost no one on the left knows who Hayek is or have read his work or can give you a competent account of his ideas.  Virtually no one.  And the accounts of Hayek’s ideas coming from those few in the leftist mainstream who know his name are almost universally shallow and erroneous — pathetic straw men at best, and all too often patently dishonest misrepresentations of work never read (yes, I’m talking about you, Paul Krugman).

It’s massive evidence of the pathological condition of the university establishment that work identified by even leftist academics as the most consequential of the last 70 years is not taught in the school, is not read by intellectuals, and the very name of its author remains unknown to the great masses of the leftist mainstream.

Hat tip Glenn Reynolds, who writes:  “If [I] had just one book to explain [myself], what would it be? ..  Tough call between The Road to Serfdom and The Singularity is Near.

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3 Responses to “None of the liberals had ever read or heard of _The Road to Serfdom_”

  1. rjs says:

    at 62, ive never read it…with so much available in short info bursts online, you are now in an era where very few books will be read in their entirety…

  2. David S. McQueen says:

    Paul Krugman is the perfect example of “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. He is an expert at bloviating and hyperbole, but short on critical thought. Krugman uses sound and fury, not rational thought and discourse.

  3. Greg Ransom says:

    rjs — with audio books on my Iphone and free classics on my Ipad, for me it’s more like the golden age of books for me. In these formats, I seem to read the whole thing, were with a hard copy I tend to be a “pick and dipper”.

    But like you, I like the short bursts on line also.

    rjs wrote:

    “at 62, ive never read it…with so much available in short info bursts online, you are now in an era where very few books will be read in their entirety…”

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