Which books have framed your political views? Watch
In my case, it's inevitably Machiavelli's 'The Prince'. Pretty much what shifted me from my original idealistic principles in politics to realism and a more 'morally flexible' framework. If nothing else, it's at times a neat and readable guide to how power works in modern Western politics.
i started Rousseau's The Social Contract which i love and will be using in part for my dissertation next year. exams have taken over my life though right now.
It a morality tale about the gluttony that is inherent to modern consumer capitalism and offers insight into the current obesity epidemic.
Smith's Wealth of Nations because although he's not entirely uncritical of the division of labour, he makes it plain that there's no other way to increase wealth other than through an increase in productivity and workplace efficiency. I keep my focus on those variables whenever people speak of poverty and how the NHS needs more tax revenue siphoned towards it and so on. There's one way to decrease poverty and increase tax revenue without increasing tax rates and that is through increased productivity.
The arguments he made for free trade I don't think I had understood entirely until I went to uni. But they're also based on increasing productivity through trade (namely, focusing production on those products/services in which one is best at compared to others and then trading these products/services with them -- allegedly, that will maximise gains from trade). Ricardo later made an even more important contributions to trade theory (namely, comparative advantage) but I hadn't read Ricardo until I went to uni.
Then Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson and Bastiat's essay (which Hazlitt based his book on) That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen. Both books are about applying the concept of opportunity cost throughout the economy. Hazlitt specifically targets Keynes but Bastiat ridicules older economists and politicians who thought that destruction like natural disasters could increase wealth and employment.
Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom. In general, Friedman made me a classical liberal. Although I don't perhaps hold Friedmanite views anymore, I still very much value his pro-liberty stance on many issues. Leftists who think he's devil incarnate are dumbasses who need to read him instead of Naomi Klein and other such questionable ideologues.
Hayek's the Constitution of Liberty made me, ironically, a "modern" liberal (what is called a left liberal in the atlantic sense and social democrat in the continental sense). Hayek is far more interventionist than Friedman in ways that I disapproved when I first read him. But Hayek makes it seem like those interventions are actually pro-freedom or at least, that they're compatible with liberalism.
John Rawls's A Theory of Justice just made it plain to me that the esoteric arguments of libertarians can't be publicly justified. If a political theory is to be worth its salt, it must take into account things like luck, chance and uncertainty. Libertarianism, deontic libertarianism at least, merely grants people the right to self-ownership and doesn't at all address concerns like desert, luck and uncertainty. This pluralist approach and Rawls's general methodology (the veil of ignorance, reflective equilibrium, etc) are outstanding tools for conceptualising politico-economic systems. I was already a modern liberal 'cos of Hayek but Rawls just sealed it for me. Liberty remains the most important value in Rawls but these other values also have their place and Rawls's principles of justice attempt to synthesise them and offer a liberalism that can be publicly justified and that people of a variety of political camps can accept.
Douglas Murray’s - Strange Death of Europe
And on the other side
Owen Jones - The Establishment
Look who’s back
Journalism- Rod Liddle
It also terrifying that people are out there who think that objective reality is a social construct (2+2 =5)