A very nice essay on books. The only thing I can recommend reading this week. Books Will Ruin Your Life.
With the Republican Convention under way, today seemed like a good day to talk about the cherry picking of Freidrich von Hayek’s views to promote neoclassical policies when Hayek was anything but neoclassical in his very complex ideas about economics. In the his book, The Constitution of Liberty’s postscript, “Why I Am Not a Conservative,” Hayek distinguished his classical liberalism from conservatism. Among his grounds for rejecting conservatism were that moral and religious ideals are not “proper objects of coercion” and that conservatism is hostile to internationalism and prone to a strident nationalism. Having more than one type of tax system, as Ryan proposes, is anything buy Hayekian. One of Hayek’s central ideas was known as the “generality norm.” If any government program benefits one, it must benefit all. Medicare and Medicaid must be expanded to cover all citizens, for instance. All corporate and agricultural subsidies must be eliminated. Government housing programs must be eliminated or expanded to serve everyone. Hayek also believed that the state should provide a base income for all poor citizens and in the idea of universal healthcare. Hayek was always concerned with the welfare of the poor. He proposed a very generous welfare system and would not have allowed taxes to be cut with such a high deficit. It seems that the Tea Party is ready to embrace not Hayek, but a very misquoted version of his anti-government views which has nothing to do with Hayek’s actual beliefs. Hayek’s ideas are quite radical and it is interesting to see career politicians try to use them, although quite frightening to see how badly they misinterpret his vision.
There are many good sites for further reading, besides reading Hayek’s books themselves. His ideas on how the capitalist market works are fascinating, especially his thoughts on individual knowledge and its contribution and value in the market:
I have to thank British author Jenny Colgan for this post. Her blog about Terrifying French Children’s Books needs to be shared. Here is link to the Guardian’s report on this topic: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2012/may/30/terrifying-french-childrens-books-in-pictures?CMP=twt_gu
If only I had had a chance to read these books as a child, how much better I might have turned out! I had only the desperate loneliness and mistreatment of The Little Princess to revel in. I am going to order a few of these and read them now. (Thank goodness for my French classes! Merci Madam DuBois et Madam Watts!)
Having just finished Elizabeth Taylor’s novel Angel, I recommend it to fans of Jane Austin. New York Review Books Classics has reissued a few of her works. There are two at the Lake Forest Library, which is where I found this one. More on Elizabeth Taylor can be found in this article from The Atlantic:
Creativity comes in lots of forms. Though my kids aren’t writing prose each day on the old Smith Corona I fixed up for them, they are finding interesting hobbies, including, most recently, baking, origami and creating indoor obstacle courses that include sledding down the stairs and plenty of special knots learned in their sailing classes. Here’s the latest creation and instructions on how to make one yourself.
I have lists and lists of phrases I keep in a small notebook in the car just in case there is a chance to use them at the drive-thru window or in conversation with someone I happen to meet while out and about, but there never is. There’s hardly ever a reason to tell someone you are choked on the brambles of despair even if you are, or that someone excites your warmest sympathy. I use the same excessively commonplace phrases day in and day out. My father always said he was fair to midlin’ when people asked how he was, something I say as well, though it’s now lost in translation. Often during the day, I make singular discoveries which I can only explain by telling those around me “No, wait, I get it.” I can’t tell people that they arrested my attention or that my friend is, indeed, as honest a woman as ever stood in shoe leather, or that another is so full of cowardly braggadocio that I can’t bear his company a minute longer or that I am disinclined to anything. I can’t use ought or shan’t very easily either. No one ever speaks of anything being dappled anymore unless you’re at the barn, but half my day is surrounded by dappled things. No one screws up their courage and breathes life into what they say anymore. And as I mentioned before, neither do I. I have not the courage. Instead I use my Elmo voice to order Happy Meals for the kids at the drive-thru once a week and we all bust out laughing. My God, deliver me from the snare of my own iniquity!