C'mon, I know you're out there

One of you, just one of my readers must have been curious enough about the books that I have been reading and recommending on conservative political theory to actually go out and read one.  I know, it's scary taking the time to consider another way of looking at things, but that's what we're supposed to be doing, right?  Considering both sides?  I appreciate the comments from those of you who disagree with me, but it would make this aging professor very happy to hear that someone has done the reading before speaking up.  Go ahead, make my day.  Show me that you've done the reading.


  1. For newer readers, here's what I used to be reading, just FYI: Family Matters. As you can see, I've rather changed my mind.

  2. Two questions:

    1) Is your change of heart specifically Republican, or more generally conservative?

    2) You do realize there are more than just two sides to these arguments, right?

  3. 1) More generally conservative, but that does mean I will be voting Republican next week.

    2) Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that life is complex and most people have strong views on only a few of the things about which we have to make decisions in life. And no, in the sense that there is not a "middle ground" on every position that one might take. Jonah Goldberg has a good riff on this fallacy in his The Tyranny of Cliches which I have been toying with excerpting.

  4. Why do you expect that anyone would put up with your reading list? Your entire section on "liberalism" is written by self-identified conservatives (and highly partisan ones at that). I've read enough of your authors' columns and articles to know what their ideas of what liberalism are. One might as well form one's entire idea of conservatism from the collected works of Al Franken.

  5. So what would you recommend? I don't exactly include works by atheists in my list on Christianity. I never said the lists weren't biased.

  6. Well, that's exactly the point isn't it? Your list on liberalism is analogous to a list on Christianity written entirely by atheists. If you wouldn't do one, why would you do the other? On the other hand, one could admit that while it might be useful to have a counter-perspective on a reading list about liberalism (but why not have Buckley versus, say, Ann Coulter) it might also be valuable to have a few commentaries by atheists on a list about Christianity.

  7. Why? To convince Christians to become atheists? Or to help Christians know what kind of arguments atheists tend to make? I think that Alister McGrath does a good job of distilling those. The readings in both lists are apologies (in the sense of defenses for one's position), not disinterested descriptions. Mind you, I don't believe there is such a thing as a disinterested description; I tend to quote C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers when pushed on this. You disagree with the perspective of the authors whom I list--that's fine. But I recommend the books to those who might not have read anything but George Lakoff et al. and who are looking for a different perspective. Why not have Buckley? Because I haven't read anything by him yet. I'm sure I've missed a few classics in my list on Christianity as well.

  8. I don't think that's a very good response. It would make more sense in this context if the books in this list were, in fact, positive apologies for conservatism (in which case the list should be called "on conservatism"; I incidentally think that would have been a better way to go, presenting the positive case for conservative thinking). But this list is primarily concerned with defining conservatism as 'positive' not in itself but by comparison to something (or everything, in some of these authors' case) that is deemed inherently negative which the authors have chosen to call "liberalism". If you wouldn't accept a commentary on Christianity written entirely by, say, atheists, why do limit your view of liberalism to the opinions of conservatives? It's intellectually inconsistent to accept one but not the other.

    Additionally, while I can understand the desire to broaden the horizons of people (academics perchance?) who have a fairly narrowly developed liberal perspective, why on earth would you think any of your target audience would read Ann Coulter or Jonah Goldberg? "Liberal Fascism"? That's not going to attract a lot of readers. And Ann Coulter is as free with her contempt as she is with her science, economics and history.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog post. I look forward to hearing what you think!


Popular posts from this blog

Would you sign a letter in my support?

Talking Points: Three Cheers for White Men

Mary and Martha, or What I Did in My Summer Vacation

“Piss Christ” and the Son of Allah

The Old Voice of Glad and Angry Faith