Saturday, July 22, 2006

Reading recently

Been reading for work some very interesting papers on drought relief and farm poverty on which more shortly, but apart from this Isaac Deutscher's The Prophet Outcast: Trotsky 1879-1921. Odd when you read something for the first time in 20 years and you think you know the story but you are still enthralled, reflecting on this history puts everything present in perspective. You know why Trotsky never capitulated. Tom Griffith's Ecology and Empire, partially for work, apart from the Eric Rolls chapter, very good, brings out link between environmental thought and progressivism. To the ridiculous Roger Kimball's 'culture war' manifesto The Betrayal of Liberalism, confess I only got through a few chapters of this before I had to return it. The better pieces (relatively speaking) run the 'Humean' line but Keith Windshuttle, apparently presuming he was only going to be read by an American audience (of Woodrow Wilson haters?) claims the first world war was an imperialist war and was fault of social liberalism. Dear me. Also recently reread some of Hayek's work the first volumes 1 and 2 of Hayek's Law, legislation and liberty and Road to Serfdom. Insightful in parts but unconvincing, for reasons some of which have been identified by Andy Denis. Will draw on these for a paper on social and economic liberalism which will argue good reason for free-marketers to be social conservatives, an argument unclearly hinted at in my March paper to the Relaxed and Comfortable conference and even more unclealry here in my rather overstated The Road to Joh.