Saturday, October 17, 2009

Three Books to Change Minds

Andrew Sullivan linked over to this posting by Tony Woodlief, who is a conservative/libertarian. Woodlief, in a moment of admirable intellectual curiosity, posed a challenge:

The maddening thing about reading Hayek is that I come away thinking, “If only leftists had a proper understanding of economics and society, they would stop their infernal meddling and let people be about the business of living productive lives.”

Then I think that perhaps I’m being just as muddle-headed as I think leftists are. Admittedly, I was a leftist before I read any economics, but maybe I read the wrong kind. Maybe there’s some whole other set of thinking and philosophy out there that will bring a right-thinking person to a leftist point of view.

This got me wondering what books thoughtful leftists and small-c conservatives/small-l libertarians might recommend to one another. ...

So, here’s what I’m asking. If you are a leftist, what three books do you believe would best persuade thoughtful people who disagree with you that they are in error?
Interesting. My three choices, sticking with the economics/development theme, would be the following:

Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom
Paul Farmer, Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor
Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

Your selections?

1 comment:

andrew said...

Depends on the subject at hand.

Examples:

The long term benefit to subsidizing more education?

That's just collating as many tax reports referenced with tuition bills referenced to present value analysis as possible and dumping them in front of the opponent.

The value of CAFE?

I'm going to cheat that bad boy myself to the point of hilarity, and so is Detroit. Electrically driven AC, and power steering. The mileage will not be impacted with AC usage and if the power steering is activated by a button the EPA can't use it at all for their testing.


I prefer raw data whenever available.

Pro-choice, pro-gun, and everything else is up for discussion. Make of that what you will.