In part 1, I talked about patterns.
As for the rest of this series, I have been talking about political patterns, behaviours and consequences, and how those patterns and behaviours are caused by the system’s design — the Modern Structure.
Political Re-Education for Progressives.
The Daily Beast has a recent article recommending books for progressives to read in the age of Trump. I will suggest my own list for those progressives who are confused, angry and scared in the age of Trump.
So here is a little (little!) curriculum that I have cooked up for the left-wing intellectuals and other high-status sympathisers who maybe wish to understand what’s happening and why. Perhaps, Jerry Coyne, Andrew Sullivan, Sam Altman, Ben Affleck, Virginia Heffernan and Sam Harris would like to take it up.
Sam Harris often says that he doesn’t want to be wrong a second more than he has to. A commendable attitude. Unfortunately, coming to the realisation that you are wrong — systematically wrong — takes considerable work. Doubt is a slow, often painful thing.
I have tried to include a book for every month of the Trump Presidency. However, I cheated — a little.
Every ten books or so, I include a trilogy connected by author or theme. I also included books to read right up to the 2020 inauguration, and a bonus one as well.
Reading is hard, especially books that you believe are written by people who are crazy or hateful or something. If you can’t do it all, I will include a key list of ten at the end.
The first ten books serve as a basic introduction to political science, political philosophy and political history.
James Burnham’s Machiavellians is a book that will cure you of whatever naïve idealism you hold about politics — a bad habit I had long persisted with.
Secondly, the “two cultures” of humanities and sciences are bridged via Pinker’s The Blank Slate, a gentle introduction to the reality of (gosh!) biology and politics.
The presence of Carlyle and Henry Maine should be read with a mind that considers what happened in the 20th century, which is discussed in Equality or Liberty (from a political-theory- historical standpoint).
The central question, regarding the 20th century is: who-was-right? Reactionaries like Carlyle, or progressives like Walt Whitman?
The disaster of the 20th century from a moral, historical and progressive viewpoint is examined in Humanity. This is a tough book. What happened to the Enlightenment in the 20th century? Give yourself a gold star if you finish this book.
John Gray, meanwhile, takes aim at the idols of humanistic progressivism in Straw Dogs; Gray argues that “humanism” is Christianity without Christ.
Demonic Apes, and Among the Thugs, is a study of male violence. The first is biological, the second social. It will cure you of whatever (social) creationism you have about violence.
Hans Hermann Hoppe surveys the failures of democracy from an Austrian economic and historical standpoint, a great book to top of the list.
Thomas Sowell’s trilogy, meanwhile, systematically examines left and right political visions and subjects the left-wing vision to rigorous empirical and historical critique. Conflict of Visions is descriptive and analytical; the subsequent books, which form the trilogy, is the critique.
Part 1: The Red Pills.
1: The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom. James Burnham.
2: ***The Conflict of Visions; The Quest for Cosmic Justice; Visions of the Anointed. *** Thomas Sowell.
3: The Blank Slate and the Modern Denial of Human Nature. Stephen Pinker.
4: Latter-Day Pamphlets. Thomas Carlyle.
5: Popular Government. Henry Maine.
6: Equality or Liberty. Erik Von Kunheldt-Leddhin.
7: Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century. Jonathan Glover.
8: The Demonic Ape. Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson. Among the Thugs. Bill Bufford.
9: Straw Dogs. John Gray.
10: Democracy: The God that Failed. Hans Hermann Hoppe.
Part 2: The Problem with Islam.
To understand the challenge of Islam to the progressive, liberal, democratic West, and indeed, any non-Islamic civilisation, the following books are essential. The first is political science; the second is theological and historical; the third, meanwhile, is polemical and written from the standpoint of a liberal homosexual; the fourth, however, is written from a standard, centrist conservative; the last is from a leading liberal (communist?) on the liabilities of liberalism.
11: The Clash of Civilisations. Samuel Huntington.
12: The Legacy of Jihad. Andrew. G. Bostom (ed).
13: While Europe Slept. Bruce Bawer.
14: Reflections on the Revolution in Europe. Christopher Caldwell.
15: Terror and Liberalism. Paul Berman.
Part 3: Quacks and Nostrums.
An idiosyncratic and incomplete survey of economics and the problems of contemporary economic organisation is next.
16: Basic Economics. Thomas Sowell.
17: The Failure of the New Economics. William Hazlitt.
18: Turbo-Charged Capitalism. Edward Luttwak.
Part 4: The Suicide of Albion.
The Decline AND Decline of England is our next topic, useful for Americans, because it mirrors, in a different way, their own moral and social decline.
After Virtue is a philosophical and historical work by an Irish, former Marxist now Catholic philosopher, Alistair Macintyre. Virtue allows one to see how the background philosophical and historical context of modern Europe (1500-19xx) sets the stage for the moral, social, and political decay observed in the following books.
Peter Hitchens is a tough read for a progressive, he is an acquired taste, but no one can match his knowledge of England’s history of decline and the inside story of it was accomplished.
Easy Meat should be read with the picture of Mary Wollstonecraft and Emmeline Pankhurst constantly in the forefront of one’s mind. Feminism: from suffrage to child sex slavery in less than a century.
No one writes better about the miserable existence of the underclass and the culture that made them better than Theodore Dalyrample, meanwhile.
To my mind, the following books are utterly damming of the entire progressive project: the welfare state; the importation of Muslims; the breakup of the traditional family and the Fabian socialists who made it all possible.
19: After Virtue. Alistair Macintyre.
20: ***The Abolition of Britain; The Abolition of Liberty; The Broken Compass.*** Peter Hitchens.
21: Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal. Peter McLoughlin
22: ***Life at the Bottom; Mandarins and the Masses. The New Vichy: Why Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarians.*** Theodore Dalrymple.
Part 5: Progress: from Protestantism to Progressivism.
What is the connection between Protestantism and Progressivism? John Gray, in Straw Dogs, covered this subject haphazardly. Below, however, is a more detailed set of sources. Crevald’s Equality, meanwhile, is an up to date restatement on the problem of equality.
23: Puritan Origins of American Patriotism. George McKenna.
24: Authoritarianism Socialism in America: Edward Bellamy and the Nationalist Movement. Arthur Lippow
25: The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation. Richard M Gamble.
26: Equality: The Impossible Quest. Martin Van Creveld.
Part 6: The Ruling Elite and the Great Progressive Cultural Revolution.
Social and class analysis, urban chaos and the intellectual caste is our next topic. It ends with a dated, but very relevant, historical blast against leftism by Leddhin.
I don’t see how a progressive, liberal, socialist, democrat – or whatever – can maintain a clean conscience after reading Bobos, Homicide or Slaughter. (I would dearly love to hear any apologetics.)
27: Coming Apart. Charles Murray.
28: ***The Bobos in Paradise. David Brooks; Homicide: Life on the Streets. David Simon; The Slaughter of the Cities: Urban Renewal as Ethnic Cleansing .E. Michael Jones.***
29: Middle American Radicals. Sam Francis.
30: Intellectuals and Society. Thomas Sowell; Mau Mauing The Flak Catchers. Thomas Wolfe; Leftism Revisited. Erik Von Kunheldt-Leddhin.
Part 7: The Modern Structure, the Minotaur and the Making of Modernity.
31: The following reading is on the big beast itself — USG. I also include one book on the EU. I special, bonus book I recommend reading is Philip Dru: Administrator by Colonel House, a one-time, key adviser to the prince of progressivism, Woodrow Wilson. Dru lays out a progressive fantasy of a progressive (communist?) dictator re-ordering society. (Whoops, did I say I fantasy?)
You will never be able to view politics, power, modern history or America, in the same way after grappling with the following books. I know I couldn’t. In a sense, the gestalt switch is akin to moving from seeing the world as All Things Bright and Beautiful to Red in Tooth and Claw.
32: On Power: A Natural History of Its Growth. Bertrand De Jouvenel.
33: The Ruling Elite. Gaetano Mosca.
34: Three New Deals. Wolfgang Schivelbusch. As We Go Marching. John. T Flynn.
35: Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. Carroll Quigley.
36: The Managerial Revolution. James Burnham.
37: Public Opinion. Walter Lippmann.
38: Propaganda. Edward Bernays.
39: The Power Elite. Charles Wright Mills.
40: The Secret Team. Leroy Fletcher Prouty.
41: The Invisible Government. Dan Smoot.
42: National Security and Double Government. Michael J. Glennon.
43:The Great Deception: The Secret History of The European Union. Christopher Booker and Richard North.
Part 8: The Modern Crisis and the Age of Rage, Anxiety, Confusion and Disruption.
The following books speak, in many ways, to the anxieties, problems and delusions of the modern age; essential reading for understanding the “resurgence” of “populism.”
43: Eurabia. Bat Ye’or; The Colonisation of Europe. Guillaume Faye; Who Are We? Samuel Huntington.
44: Mediocracy. Fabian Tassano. We Are Doomed. John Derbyshire. Leviathan and Its Enemies. Sam Francis.
45: Civilisation and Its Enemies. The Suicide of Reason. The Next American Civil War. Lee Harris.
46: War of the Words; Storming the Castle; The Three Conjectures. Richard Fernandez.
Then, to complete the circle, written many decades ago, is Burnham’s crisp, clear and devastating analysis of the pathologies of liberalism —what today we call progressivism.
47: The Suicide of the West. James Burnham.
If you’re lazy, however, here is the Short-Course:
1:The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom. James Burnham.
2:On Power. Bertrand De Jouvenel.
3:The Power Elite. Charles Wright Mills.
4:Coming Apart. Charles Murray.
5:Democracy: The God that Failed. Hans Hermann Hoppe.
6:Mediocracy. Fabian Tassano.
7:The Clash of Civilisations. Samuel Huntington.
8:Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century. Jonathan Glover.
9:Authoritarianism Socialism in America: Edward Bellamy and the Nationalist Movement. Arthur Lippow.
10:The Suicide of the West. James Burnham.
Hard reading for sure.
But if you despair, cheer your self-up with the following video and remember: the world may be yours but nothing lasts forever.
Vincent Hanna, Belfast. March, 2017