Arnold Kling  

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The Gist of Julian Simon... Easterly Contra Galbraith...

Bryan's Myth of the Rational Voter was #3 on a list of the top ten pro-liberty books of the decade, as selected by a panel of 22 advocates of classical liberalism. Two of Bill Easterly's books made the list. Pointer from Tyler Cowen.

I have read four out of the top five, and I have no quarrel with them. I'm a bit surprised that Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism did not make the list. Not that it was flawless, but it made an important point, and it probably out-sold all the panelists' choices put together.

Off the top of my head, here are my top five:

1. Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg
2. Radicals for Capitalism, by Brian Doherty
3. Myth of the Rational Voter, by Bryan Caplan
4. The Price of Everything, by Russ Roberts
5. The White Man's Burden, by Bill Easterly

If you were to read these five books, you would assimilate a strong case in favor of decentralized markets and considerable skepticism about a powerful state.

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COMMENTS (6 to date)
mch writes:

I think your link to the list is broken.

Brian Schwartz writes:

Thanks for the list and links, Arnold. I just finished Radicals for Capitalism this week, and very much enjoyed it. A great read. Well, for a certain demographic, that is. I noted many gems, including:

Libertarians do enjoy their badboy reputation, especially among conservative ranks, for taking the personal liberty thing as far as it can go. As an old movement joke goes, "You libertarians are the types that would allow fornication in public parks!" What do you mean, public parks?" (p. 585)
FYI, the link in the post to the top-ten list is broken. Must be a typo or something in the html.

Andy writes:

I hadn't considered reading Goldberg, but maybe now I will reconsider.

Doc Merlin writes:

De Soto's book is also a masterstroke. He gives the argument for decentralized markets and freedom as the only way to actually help people. Its brilliant.

Snorri Godhi writes:

Putting Liberal Fascism on top of the list suggests that Arnold Kling puts a high value on the history of bad ideas. I share that value judgment, but in my opinion the greatest book of this kind in the last decade was The Lost Literature of Socialism, by George Watson.

Granted, Watson's book has not been as influential as Goldberg's book. Also, the 2 books cannot be directly compared, as they deal with different bad ideas. Still, The Lost Literature changed the way I understand politics more than any other book I have read, except perhaps Il Principe (by Machiavelli), The Peter Principle, The Open Society, and The Black Swan. (The last is another strong candidate for pro-liberty book of the decade.)

Jase Krugman writes:

I would add America Alone by Mark Steyn. The demographic change and transformation of Europe will be a hallmark of the first half of the 21st century.

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