The Corner

The Five Best Conservative Books

Jonathan Rauch guest edited a very interesting little symposium on the best conservative books. The consensus winners were:

1. The Road to Serfdom, by Friedrich Hayek

2. Witness, by Whittaker Chambers

3. Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville

4. The Federalist, by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

5. Free to Choose, by Milton Friedman

Some very quick thoughts.

I’ve got to ponder it a bit, but it’s hard to argue against the merits of these five, even if I might come up with a slightly different list. Personally, The Road To Serfdom has always struck me as more significant as a political document than a great book (though it is a great book). I don’t even think it was Hayek’s best work, but it remains the stand-in for Hayek’s contributions generally. (Oh man, here comes the e-mail.)

Lovely to see The Federalist Papers cited as a conservative book. You’d think liberals like E. J. Dionne would pause before applying the label “conservative” to what amounts to the liner notes of American constitutional democracy.

Anyway, I’m going to poke around the interviews when I get a chance, as it looks like there’s a lot of interesting stuff here. It’s a shame John Miller or Steve Hayward weren’t asked to contribute, as this is completely in their wheelhouse.

Perhaps some more thoughts later.

Update: Woops! I guess my quick thoughts were too quick. Dionne didn’t vote for Federalist Papers. My apologies.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More