Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Book blogger tag

Knippenberg has tagged me.

1. How many books do I own. I own over 4,000 books. Stopped counting long ago. I used to hide them, first from my father, then from my wife. Had to stop living a lie, so I owned up to it like a real man. Mischief ensued. I stood firm, retreated to my library to look, touch, and smell my books. It was worth it. I could buy a new motorcycle if I stopped buying books (or stopped smoking). Life means chosing. I live.

2. What’s the last book I bought? Just got David Rothkopf’s Running the World, Paul Johnson’s George Washington, Richard Holmes’ In the Footsteps of Churchill, and Robert Service’s Stalin: A Biography.

3. What’s the last book I read? Johnson’s Washington; I liked it. Into Service’s Stalin; impressive study of cool tyranny, but doesn’t read as well as Montefiore’s bio.

4. What are the five books that mean most to me? From age to youth:
Plato, Phaedrus;
Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics;
Jaffa, Crisis of the House Divided;
Strauss, Natural Right and History;
F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.

The five bloggers I tag are Steve Hayward, Jeff Sikkenga, Robert Alt, John Moser, and David Tucker.

Discussions - 6 Comments

"cool tyranny"? Never a phrase that I thought that I’d hear from Dr. Schramm. A typo, I presume.

M: I meant only this: calculating, even withdrawn, quiet mostly; less blustering and yelling (cf. Hitler) than one ordinarily associates with tyrants. I remember seeing an interview with Saddam Hussein just before the first Gulf War (I think; maybe with Dan Rather) and was terrified by his calm and deliberate mode.

I understand. Thank you for the helpful clarification.

"The Road to Serfdom" is one of the greatest tomes of the modern age.

Moser’s a lightweight with lots of excuses about his poor book-buying habits. I am also in my thirties, but have accumulated close to three thousand volumes in my scrittoio. As Robertson Davies put it, my need for books is closest to the dope-fiend. I allow them to range on my shelves like the Turk his concubines, to be enjoyed more in thought than actuality, and not to be hastily de-flowered. I have certainly lied, schemed, and only occasionally stolen to satisfy my addiction. My wife is used to seeing my car at a bookshop when I had evaded her questions as to my whereabouts, or she has found the stray receipt carefully tucked away. Guiltily, I purchase books for her to cover the dozen I’ve bought for myself. Every dollar I spend for books associated with my teaching, I promise her, is one more dollar to write off of our taxes. I used to sell extra copies for even more books until I began hoarding them in my children’s closets, so that they may share the same joy of reading the Federalist Papers, Plato, and volumes on Lincoln and Washington. The days until we can share our views (or they can ignominiously sell the books) are not passing fast enough. My students who have been invited into the inner sanctum have wondered what I could buy with all the money I’ve spent on the books - they have been met with an impatient sneer and have been escorted out of the room. I am sick and need help.

Thanks for the Johnson reference - I drove quickly to pick up a copy of the delightful little book. A nice, quick read. I don’t agree with everything he wrote, but there were a couple of real nuggets in there. Not the caliber of Brookhiser’s volume, but a good book nonetheless.

By the way, I’ve really enjoying reading about the books you guys are reading, the best you’ve read, your collections, etc. I’d love to see more of this in the way of brief reviews or discussions of books that you guys blog on - that is, besides "God on the Quad." - just kidding, Joe!

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