BOOK CLUBS. This is rather funny. Excited that the Chamber of Commerce's educational wing has selected Cato scholar Arnold Kling's healthcare treatise for their "Top 10 Reading Selections," Michael Cannon enthuses that "The foundation�s board is a bipartisan group of influential figures from the business, political, and policy spheres...[which] evidently agreed with Marginal Revolution publisher Tyler Cowen that Crisis of Abundance 'is one of the most important books written on health care.'�
Well that's true. But that bipartisan bit is a smidge suspicious. Here are the 10 titles on the list:
1. Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moises Naim
2. Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East by Clyde Prestowitz
3. The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy by Peter Huber and Mark Mills
4. In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State by Charles Murray
5. Our Brave New World by Charles Gave, Anatole Kaletsky, and Louis-Vincent Gave
6. The Sarbanes-Oxley Debacle: What We�ve Learned; How to Fix It by Henry N. Butler
7. An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths by Glenn Reynolds
8. The Innovator�s Solution by Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor
9. Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care by Arnold Kling
10. Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You To Believe About Our Schools � And Why It Isn�t So by Jay P. Greene
So by my count, we've got a book arguing against energy conservations, another calling for the demolition of the welfare state, a third deriding corporate regulations, a fourth by a leading conservative blogger, a fifth dismissing progressive health reforms, and a sixth attacking public education. Some bipartisan book club -- I literally couldn't make those selections more comprehensively conservative if I tried. It does remind me, though, of an anecdote from Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm, which explained how conservatives would enlist and educate students by sending them persuasive books on conservatism. I don't have my copy handy and have forgotten which titles were on the lineup, but I remember being impressed with the choices and wondering how I'd have turned out if Rand, rather than Chomsky, had served as my introduction to politics.
As a strategy, that plan always seemed sound to me -- get 'em before they can think critically, that's what I always say! Unfortunately, I'm not sure how I'd get them, which books I'd pick. So here's your question of the day: which five books do you want young liberals, or all liberals, to be reading?