So after watching the New Hampshire Forum and the Facebook/Fox Debate this last week it comes to me that a lot of supposed conservatives don’t seem to know what capitalism, or economics or even conservatism is. So I rather than simply insult them, which so many of them deserve, I thought I would try and help them by suggesting some reading material.
For Rick Santorum:
As always Ricky seemed to be obsessed with the idea of bringing manufacturing back to America shores. To think that this is the future requires one to believe in the strong unions which held back innovation for over a century, ignore robotics, 3D printing, advances in energy production and a whole host of other advances we have made. Now while I could suggest he should read up on this thing called science, I think better than that would be a book called The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler. This book is not new, but it does make a very clear case which in the 4 decades since it’s first publication has been validated that the industrial economy That Ricky so loves is going to stay the economy of the 19th century and we’re never going back. Embrace the future Ricky, the industrial revolution is over.
For Rick Perry:
Rick seemed to not understand how the economy worked in much the same way as Ricky as he also mentioned manufacturing. But he also mentioned the jobs he brought to Texas…now he did this with things like his Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund…which are just bribes to companies to come to Texas. Good economics is not bribing people to come to your state…it’s actually making it the place to come with good policy (something Rick kind of lacks). I tend to link cronyist policy and stupid, but that may be a personal thing. I suggest he start with one of the primers for capitalism that lays the foundation of why cronyism doesn’t work. Specifically Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. He clearly hasn’t read and no one should even be in the GOP without owning a well read copy.
For George Pataki.
Pataki like the last two seemed just as clueless about economic and the benefits of free trade and why manufacturing isn’t coming back, and really shouldn’t even if that was an option…so I think for him he should read Jagadish Baghwati’s In defense of Globalization to get an understanding of why sending manufacturing overseas is not only good for America but also the entire world.
For John Kasich. I can’t tell you how much I loathe this man’s bleeding heart. He thinks that the government is there to take care of everyone, but you know I think we don’t need a 2nd act to LBJ’s War on Poverty…the real problem is how his knee jerk reaction is to talk about what government can do to help the poor and disadvantaged. Never once have I heard him talk about reducing government because capitalism and private charity are a thousand times more effective at helping people than the government could ever be…no, no, none of that. He believes in the power of big government to help people. So for this (one of this elections two LBJ wanna be’s) I suggest The Conservative Heart by Arthur C. Brookes which would show him that capitalism and private charity are what we need, not more government, because the private sector always does everything better, including helping the poor and downtrodden.
For Lindsey Graham.
No one can make intelligent ideas, like national defense, sound unspeakably stupid like Lindsey Graham. But Graham’s problem isn’t that he sounds like his speech coach is William Shatner, it’s that he only has one thing to talk about. He actually answered a question about abortion by talking about the threat from ISIS. It was strange. So I think to recognize that while ISIS is certainly up there in the danger area, he should also take a look at the collection of essays in New Threats to Freedom. I’ll admit that some of the essays in it I don’t agree with, but I think Lindsey should realize there are more problems that just ISIS out there.
For Chris Christie and Rand Paul.
Two sides of the same problem, both taking an illogical extreme. Rand talks about gathering more data, but while he has put in bills to gut the Pentagon or the NSA…he’s strangely put in nothing to improve the system, nothing to replace it with anything better. And Christie seems to recognize there is a problem that needs to be fought, but not that the government isn’t going about it the right way. I think what bothers me most is that neither one wants to bring in the very practical point that metadata doesn’t work—I think that’s more important than if it violates rights or not, that it doesn’t work should come far before any discussion of whether the program is worth the lives it saves or if it violates too many of our rights to protect us. IT DOESN’T WORK. Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about that, as conservatives I thought we cared about dealing in reality and what works. But since Christie is willing to try anything to do what he thinks might save people he needs to read The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek…and Rand who doesn’t seem to actually recognize that there is a problem needs to read Peace Kills by P.J. O’Rourke. One needs to learn that government can be evil, the other that evil is an outreach program that needs to be killed.
For Ben Carson
Then we come to Ben Carson who beyond medical issues seems to know nothing. But more than his gross ignorance on just about everything that would come across a president’s desk…or that talking about yourself in third person thing that always bothers me…is his bizarre, and I may say deluded statement “Well, I just happen to believe that people are not stupid.” Fine Ben you can believe people aren’t stupid…but Obama, got elected twice, FDR got elected 4 times. You’re entitled to your beliefs Ben but you’re wrong, and while I feel an actual history book may be a little dense for you, how about a novel, Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. Here’s the short version—Wizard’s First Rule: “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”
For Carly Florina:
A lot of candidates had the problem of saying the exact same memorized lines both at the NH Forum and the Debate. Carly is the only one who will probably make it to the second round so, she’s the only one I’m going to call out for parroting lines fed to her by advisers without thinking about them (think about it, if you believe and understand it, you can vary the words—like Rubio does in his 7000 variations of the “My parents are immigrants” story he tells, it’s a good story but if you pay attention to politics you hear it A LOT—you only parrot if you don’t understand what you’re saying). But that’s not what bugged me the most, what disturbed me the most was her comment “I am a conservative because I believe no one of us is any better than any other one of us. […] Progressives don’t believe that. They believe some are smarter than others, some are better than others, so some are going to need to take care of others.” Okay Carly a conservative believes that all people are equal under the law, but it is progressive who believe in the pure equality you were spouting there. There are people who are smarter than others, there are people who are better at this skill or that job than others, it’s the diversity of talent and idea that conservatives love…so I think you need to brush up on what a Conservative is with Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, now while I’m never thrilled with the Paelo-conservative Kirk was, this book doesn’t have much of his isolationist claptrap in it and deals mainly with the ideas neocons and paleo loons can agree on.
For Bobby Jindal
While your performance Thursday was better than Monday, it was the daft Constitutional Amendments that you suggested and the Founders would have loathed that made me think of a book you should read. Novus Order Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution by Forrest McDonald, because you seriously don’t understand what led to the Constitution.
Jeb. The man whose name sounds like an extra on The Beverly HIllibillies…and a strong grasp of policy to match. Between his bragging about how well he uses a line item veto power that I don’t think he understands is not a power of the Presidency, or his pathetic attempt to justify his “act of love” horseshit, his complete lack of understanding of history and foreign policy, his previous praising of LBJ as a president (why don’t you just praise Satan?), but it’s the underlying idea behind everything he says, it’s not just tearing out all the bad parts and reforming what can’t be eliminated it’s his attitude of “ We can fix these things.” I think he needs to take a page from history and read Coolidge by Amnity Shlaes to see what a good president does to get an economy on track (i.e. nothing). (Supposedly big brother admired Silent Cal, but the only thing he governed like Cal was the wars overseas, the one place a hands off attitude is not appropriate.)
For Teddy Cruz:
I looked for a book “How not to kiss the ass of the worst candidate on stage” but regrettably couldn’t find that. So for this shallow hack who likes to pretend to be a great man I think we need to go back to the classics and he should read Plutarch’s Lives and see not only what makes a great man, but what the usual end to a demagogue like him is (for the life that most parallel’s Ted’s I would suggest the chapter on Alcibiades).
For Mike Huckabee:
After seeing this big government loser try and defend socialism and the entitlements that come from it, I realized recommending any book on economics would go way over this De Blasio wannabe’s head. So we’re going to have to start with something a little more general, a general history of ideas…since Huckabee in everything he says and does seems to have no clue what those are. I would start with The Cave and The Light by Arthur Herman, it gives an excellent grounding of the history of philosophy, subject Huckabee knows nothing of.
For Scott Walker:
Well Scott didn’t say anything wrong really…he just didn’t say anything beyond a platitude. Walker really needs to bone up on details and specifics so for him he should read The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto because he needs to understand more than just the broad strokes of conservatism.
For Marco Rubio:
Marco, there is nothing wrong with anything you said. You were detailed, correct, inspiriting…but there is always little room for improvement. Now obviously there is nothing on the policy front that could probably improve your campaign so I will suggest Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. Unquestionably the Great American Novel, this soaring book of the meaning of life, justice, and the greatness of America might just help you take your love of America to an even higher level rhetorically.
And finally for the Donald:
Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. Perhaps then he might learn to give up the vice of rashness for courage, self-indulgence for temperance, prodigality for liberality, vulgarity for magnificence, vanity for magnanimity, avarice for proper ambition, irascibility for good temper, boastfulness for truthfulness, buffoonery for wittiness, canktakerouness for friendliness, shamelessness for modesty, and spitefulness for righteous indignation. Seriously of all the virtues Aristotle goes into, Trump does not exhibit a single one. Not one. He is the epitome of vice.