Economics

Hayek is #1…

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…on Amazon.com right now, with Road to Serfdom topping the Internet bookseller's charts right now, apparently because of Glenn Beck's program last night, where he called it a "Mike Tyson right hook to socialism." While it may wind up the most unread bestseller since The Silmarillion, let's hope not.

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  1. I read both…and loved both…

    1. No article about Hayek is complete without this link.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk

      Hayek vs Keynes Rap Throwdown

      1. “Mike Tyson right hook to socialism.”

        If it’s that good, I hope it’ll bite the socialists’ ears off too. And eat their kids! And rape ’em all!

  2. I read the Silmarillion.

    I found the ethical implications of its creation myth very interesting.

  3. I love the Silmarillion. But I am a full-fledged Tolkien dork.

    Glenn Beck’s viewers can read?

    1. I’ve watched a few of his friday history shows. They aren’t bad at all. The hyperbolic showman is a lil much for me for the other days. I do think he draws some interesting connections, I just can’t deal with the chalk board clown atmosphere.

      1. I wonder if he’d be more or less effective if he’d tone it down to human proportions. Sadly, probably less effective.

    2. Re: Brian24,

      Glenn Beck’s viewers can read?

      Can his retractors?

        1. Protractors.

              1. Used tractors.

            1. Communists?

              1. Kulaktors.

            2. Prime Factors

              1. velociraptor

  4. Road to Serfdom is great but I always prefered the Fatal Conceit.

    1. “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” — F A Hayek

    2. I’m partial to “Counter-Revolution of Science”. All this books were good.

  5. Road to Serfdom gets two thumbs up

    Silmarillion gets maybe one thumb

    1. Silmarillion is largely unreadable.

  6. The Road to Serfdom is the number 2 audiobook in iTunes, too.

    Last night it was number 5.

    1. It’s number 6 in the Kindle store.

      That’s been on my wishlist… now seems like a good time to buy. 🙂

  7. I thought the most unread bestseller of all time was The Satanic Verses.

    1. I nominate Ulysses or Finnegans Wake, though they were perhaps never bestsellers in the Top Ten of the week sense. Maybe Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. And this story on the topic from Wikipedia is funny:

      In 1985 members of the staff of The New Republic placed coupons redeemable for cash inside Strobe Talbott’s “Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control” and none of them were sent in.

      1. Foucault’s Pendulum? One of my favorite novels. Although perhaps The Da Vinci Code would be more to your liking.

        1. I read twenty pages of The Da Vinci Code. I only got that far out of respect for my mother, who bought it for me for some unknown and unknowable reason. What an awful book!

          1. I also respect your mother. Deeply.

        2. Nothing against Eco, just that it was a honking-big bestseller that I suspect many people never got through.

      2. Finnegan’ss Wake gets my vote. In absence of videotaped evidence, I assert no one has actually read FW, not even Joyce. He wrote it in a fugue state.

        1. I didn’t mean to hiss.

        2. With the exception of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, I believe that no one has ever read Joyce.

          1. I had a college professor who reread Ulysses every year. I had read and loved the then-new Gravity’s Rainbow, and asked him what he thought about it. He couldn’t get through it! It boggled my mind that someone who could handle Joyce couldn’t handle Pynchon.

    2. Don’t forget Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.

      1. I actually read that one.

        1. Me too. It was a breeze.

      2. Or the Bible.

        1. C’mon Jsub, you know people actually read that one. Even if its just to mine for quotes to backup their agendas…

    3. I am certain that the most unread bestseller of all times was A Brief History of Time, written by Stephen Hawking.

      I actually read it, but I’m an engineer with quite a bit of coursework in the hard sciences. It was not as difficult as reading Einstein’s Relativity, but not as interesting either. The latter book is a great test for any non-scientist ever wishes to test the quality of his education. Einstein contends that is merely presumes a standard of education corresponding to that a university matriculation examination. By his standard any BA in gender studies should be able to read it, but I think few could.

      If you really like exercising the brain on the topic of Austrian economics, read anything by von Mises. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom is by design Mises-lite.

      1. On pure theory, I find Mises *much* more readable than Hayek. I found both Socialism and Theory of Money and Credit much, much easier to read than Pure Theory of Capital.

  8. A casual glance at the top 100 list reveals many books which ascribe to either Glenn Beck-ish conservatism or classic liberalism. I remember several biographies of the founding fathers, a book exposing the ties between obama and socialism, along with some Rand, M. Friedman, and Hayek.

    Not a whole lot of progressive type books on the list.

    I have the silmarillion, but couldn’t get into it.

    1. The NYTimes is not a book. Why would you expect it to be on the list?

    2. It’s ’cause we’re literate.

    3. A lot of people can’t take the beginning of the Simlarillion and stop, even though the tone of the book entirely changes when it’s no longer biblical creation myth and starts being history.

      1. I loved the Silmarillion, but that book was meant for the modern age. There are so many god damn names your best shot at understanding the book is to have the character list in front of you at all times.

        1. Like War and Peace.

          1. Like Hit and Run.

  9. Duh, it’s the Bible…

  10. It’s amazing how popular this book is considering that it wasn’t intended for the general audience and hence not an easy read.

    I wonder how many people buy it just as a coffee-table book?

    The comic version, though, rocks.

    1. I thought the whole point of that book was that it was intended for a general audience….

    2. It’s short, pamphlet-like. Its arguments are cogent, concise, understandable, and persuasive. You can’t help but read it cover to cover once you get started.

      Yeah I like Hayek.

      But Geez, is The Road to Serfdom doomed to be forever preceded by “Glenn Beck-approved” in the blogosphere?

    3. I found it easier to read than the Simiwhatsipus.

    4. I found it easier to read than the Simiwhatsipus.

    5. And don’t forget the famous Reader’s Digest condensed version.

      1. he intended it originally for the British intelligensia as a warning of what he was seeiing there after WWII. The Euros ignored him but to his surprise it became a popularly read book by the US middle class.

  11. I think Mike Tyson was better known for his left hook. Specifically the double left.

    1. His left bite is more famous now.

      1. World heavyweight champions need to eat too.

    2. The hopping uppercut. Watch him in his first title run. Maybe the best single punch in boxing.

      1. Hans Herman Hopping Uppercrust.

  12. Just ’cause I can’t get enough of this.

    1. GMU gets much love.

  13. The Valar are libertarians.

    1. What does that make the Mayar?

      Not to mention the Noldor…

      1. They are as libertarian as the Jedis. It’s all about your bloodlines.

        Although why Olwe should be as or more powerful as Feanor when all he did was change his name to Thingol and party in his cave for three entire ages is beyond me.

        1. Umlaut?

        2. Although why Olwe should be as or more powerful as Feanor when all he did was change his name to Thingol

          Wrong, Elw? is Thingol. Olw? is the younger brother of Elw?/Thingol. Come on people, this is IMPORTANT.

          1. >hangs head in shame

          2. The geek is strong with this one.

            SNAP!

  14. Serfdom has Reagan cooties, but Beck’s endorsement (“Teabag Bible!”) will impress its uncitability on a younger generation of fake libertarians who aren’t properly put off by OMG RAYGUN.

    Sweet.

    1. Remember, medication before posting. This is crucial.

    2. Re: c,

      Serfdom has Reagan cooties,

      Read: I haven’t read the book, but I still say with a straight face that the book has the influences of a person that was at the time it was written just a low-budget film actor.

      1. Actually Reagan was, if not an A-lister yet, headed there around that time: e.g. King’s Row (1942).

      2. C’s argument was that due to Reagan’s and Beck’s favorable reference to it, it was inherently unattractive to those Libertarians “hip” to what’s socially unacceptable.

  15. Glenn Beck?? Really? Glenn Beck has that kind of power? That is depressing. I need a drink.

    Is there some way we could arrange a Beck/Oprah thunderdome match?

    1. At least, in this case, he’s using his powers for good not evil.

      1. Orson Scott Card books are next.

  16. Prediction: The vast majority of those sales will not be read.

  17. I keep on surfing when I see Glenn at his chalkboard, but I did see yesterday’s show and it wasn’t half bad. In fact, it was pretty good. I had a feeling RTS would spike on Amazon after the show. He endorsed Atlas Shrugged as well, not that it needs celebrity endorsements.

    1. That may be the most unreadable bestseller. I had to read it 3x for 3 classes in 3 years starting as a senior in HS. By the 3rd time, I wanted to crucify myself with Reardon-steel railroad spikes.

      1. Maybe you should have paid attention the first time.

        1. I still wake up screaming with nightmares about cardboard characters having violent, but curiously passionless sex.

          1. You can actually hear the corrugations slide against each other in some passages.

          2. You should probably see a professional about that.

      2. Reardon Metal is great for impalings!

      3. You had classes that assigned Atlas Shrugged??

        1. I’ve seen it assigned in AP high school classes as summer reads.

          1. I think Anthem is a commonly assigned book. Easier to read, fewer speeches.

  18. Only Beck viewers are dumb enough to pay for this book. You can get free versions from the Hayek center, Mises.org, the Freeman website, etc.

    It’s great book, though.

    1. I have the “free version” in my computer but I cannot for the love of everything dear to me find the act of placing my laptop on my chest, to read a book while lying in bed, as comfortable as reading an actual BOOK lying in bed.

      So they’re not as dumb as you think . . .

      1. So get an ebook reader. There are plenty of good, cheap devices around.

        1. How cheap is “cheap”? After all, it is not like you’re giving me the money.

        2. Ah, my friend, but “cheap” depends on the marginal utility of the user’s stock of cash, and the amount of utility he expects to get out of the device!

          Someone hasn’t been reading his daily Mises. 😉

    2. Only Beck haters are dumb enough to criticize book buyers. Anyway, what’s really remarkable is how much attention this is getting in the mainstream media. MSNBC is all over it, and Katie Couric has assigned lead-story status to it on tonight’s broadcast. And I kid, of course.

    3. I own the book. It’s small and readily available used, so I’m not sure why one wouldn’t acquire it.

    4. I’m old. I like books. They are easier to annotate and they don’t get lost in the paper angle of repose study that is the office.

    5. Only Beck viewers are dumb enough to pay for this book. You can get free versions from the Hayek center, Mises.org, the Freeman website, etc.

      It’s great book, though.

      Now, if they purchased an e-book for their Kindle, I have to feel for their wasted money as it easy to get online, free and legal.

      I have a large collection of Austrian School hardbacks I purchased during the 90’s, built up by traveling to used book stores far and wide. Now every dang one of them is available on line, free and legal!

    6. It’s about $8 on Amazon. There’s nothing dumb about actually buying a hard copy, cheapskate.

  19. CNBC just mentioned that Road to Serfdom was #1 on amazon’s list

  20. So a great intellectual like Glen Beck hawking an inaccurate piece of shit you libertarians consider sacred writ. Big fucking deal.

    1. Dude. You have to be more subtle to troll.

        1. Listen here Nancy.

      1. Maybe it’s premature intellectual ejaculation.

  21. I had forgotten that I gave my nephew a copy of Milton Friedman’s Freedom of Choice several years ago just before he went off to college until he reminded me when we were talking on the phone a few weeks ago. He told me it did him a world of good to understand why what he was being fed in class was wrong instead of just having a vague sense that his professors were idiots that would have been the case if he didn’t have the reference.

    Be nice if the next book Beck recommends would be that classic. It would be a great follow up to Serfdom and probably be read by more listeners who bought it which likely went into my thinking when I originally bought the copy for my nephew, what would he actually read.

    1. Even better would be to get Tom Sowell on the show, and get him to recommend viewing the PBS Free to Choose videos as well as the book. Tom Sowell was in at least on of the FTC episodes.

  22. I wonder if Beck has read Hayek’s essay Why I am Not a Conservative? I suspect that he has not, otherwise he would see that Hayek viewed the world quite differently than he does…I also remember hearing that Hayek was an atheist, so I find some irony in Beck’s newly found devotion.

    1. I also remember hearing that Hayek was an atheist, so I find some irony in Beck’s newly found devotion.

      Hayek’s work had nothing to do with theology so I don’t see the irony nor relevance of his atheism. It would be like ridiculing Catholic monks translating the ancient Greeks for their work being the product of pagans. It just doesn’t hold up logically in the form of a fully functioning line of thought.

      1. Maybe you just don’t understand irony. As to relevance, I would imagine it shaped Hayeks view of the world, including much of what was expoused in Why I am Not a Conservative.

        That said, your comments in no way addressed the core point of the post, which is that once again Beck is selectively picking and choosing writings (see one week ago, Dilling’s The Red Network) to fit with his bizzare view of the world.

        1. Of course, it all works out, since you’re selectively picking and choosing and citing out of contexts parts of Hayek in order to fit your view of the world.

          1. First, what is my world view? Second, what did I selectively pick, choose, and site? I did not pull out “parts” of Hayek; rather, I wondered whether Beck had read an entire Hayek essay. Once again, this is much different than selectively citing within a text.

            1. I wonder whether you’ve read the entire Hayek essay, which I certainly have, given that its an appendix to my copy of The Constitution of Liberty.

              Whatever type of views Beck has, he’s not a “conservative” in the sense that Hayek gives in the essay of “those who habitually resist change.” He’s not by any means a consistent libertarian, either, though, nor do I consider him a consistent “defender of the American tradition” and thus “a liberal in the European sense.”

              I would agree that his lack of fixed principles is the closest point of agreement between him and the conservative position as described by Hayek.

              Citing the name of essay and then implicitly using its title to make an argument– and doing so in a way that makes me question whether or not you’ve read the essay– is citing it out of context. The title of a text itself can be part of the text and its argument.

              1. First, I have indeed read the essay, though in The Hayek Reader, not as an appendix to The CoL.

                Second, I would actually refer to Beck more in the sense of one who habitually resists change. Perhaps this is a bit of an overstatement on my part, but your dismissal of Beck in this sense makes me wonder if you have ever listend to him.

                1. As an aside (and yes, out of context), it is passages such as this from Hayek that make me place Beck in “resist change” camp:

                  “I can have little patience with those who oppose, for instance, the theory of evolution or what are called “mechanistic” explanations of the phenomena of life because of certain moral consequences which at first seem to follow from these theories, and still less with those who regard it as irrelevant or impious to ask certain questions at all. By refusing to face the facts, the conservative only weakens his own position.”

        2. Jacob, a political pundit recommending a book they largely (but perhaps not entirely) agree with isn’t “irony.” Jeez, you’re as bad as Alanis Morissette.

      2. One other point – a more consistent analogy would have been to claim that it was like ridiculing Catholics for interpreting (which they did not do, hence the poor analogy) the ancient greeks, not translating them. Beck is hardly translating Hayek; rather, he is selectively quoting, which makes it somewhat worse.

        1. And taking Hayek’s “Why I am not a Conservative” out of context ranks up there with people citing JS Mill’s quote about conservatives to support their social democratic views.

          For that matter, pigeonholing Beck (who is, I suspect, an entertainer first) as a conservative or anything else is taking him out of context as well.

          Selectively quoting is fun for everyone, really.

          1. Again, I missed the part where I quoted anything from the article? Also, please address how I took the essay out of context. Thanks!

            1. Also, please address how I took the essay out of context.

              You cited the name of the essay. That by itself takes it out of context, because you’re clearly using the title of the essay to make an argument that is only somewhat supported by the essay itself.

              1. What argument am I making that is only somewhat supported by the essay?

                1. The fact that it was written more to refer to European Conservatism than American Conservatism, that Hayek refers to as a weird attempt to redress largely classically liberal (American) traditions in ‘conservative’ drag.

                  1. *which Hayek refers to

        2. The Catholics didn’t interpret the Greeks? Outside of the Bible, Aristotle is Aquinas’ most oft-quoted source. Both Plato and Plotinus were instrumental in shaping early medieval theology as well. Knowing and commenting on Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” was a basic task of any late medieval theologian.

    2. Ah yes, one must completely agree with everything about a scholar to see the value in his writing. Do I have to become a drunken sot with daddy issues to appreciate Hemingway next?

      1. Isn’t the phrase “drunken sot” redundant?

        1. “Become?”

    3. I remember hearing that the Founding Fathers weren’t Mormons, so I find some irony in Beck’s newly found devotion.

  23. Apparently, I can finish difficult and/or bad books if Hans K?rsch puts out concept albums about them. Touched By The Crimson King definitely got me through the whole Dark Tower series, even the last 3 near unbearable volumes. While I really enjoyed the Silmarillion on it’s own, Nightfall in Middle Earth definitely helped with the slow start to that book.

  24. I didn’t think Road to Serfdom was a particularly hard read. I got about 5 pages into the Simarillion before I skipped to the back and read a little about the characters I already knew about, then put the book down.

    1. Seriously, do not read the first chapter of the silmarillion, just skip to where there are crazy battles and intrigue and love stories and stuff. The first chapter is just the creation story, and is totally dull.

  25. At my 24 hr fitness, there is always a tv stuck on Fox News. There I get to see the closed caption re-run of the Beck Hour. I was stunned to see the fat boy tearing down the alter of FDR and referring his readers to an actual *Gasp* book explaining how the New Deal was a bad thing. Perhaps not even Faust himself is beyond divine grace? Nah couldn’t be…

  26. Y’all need to quit hating on Beck. Yes, he’s dramatic. Yes, he’s conservative and has shunned libertarians in the past. But he has done a world of good in causing havoc in Obama’s staff room.

    The Kos Krowd will always try to push the “guilt by association” angle when it comes to the great libertarian pieces of literature, but the more people that are exposed to why the political left is wrong, the better.

    1. Right. Who the fuck cares about the messenger? It’s the message that’s important, and the more people exposed to it, the better. Beck’s celebrity gives him a lot of clout, and instead of sending people to Cuba to experience Communism’s wonderful success, he’s sending them to Amazon to read Hayek. It’s a win.

      1. Wish it were Oprah. We’d be a libertarian nation in no time.

        1. I think Oprah’s Robot Hoards would have difficulty with the thesis, but yeah.

          1. Not if delivered by Oprah, they wouldn’t.

    2. Hell I shun libertarians at times. (given the circumstances) I just get tired of the charade. I understand it, and hell I applaud his ability to draw such a huge audience in that time slot. I just can’t watch too much of him no matter how much I agree or disagree with him.

      It’s kind of like watching Olberdoodle, I can’t stand his condescending tone. I just happen to detest everything that comes out of his mouth and the way it comes out. With Beck at least I agree at times.

  27. Jacob, I’m afraid your reading comprehension is a wee bit on the shallow side.

    Lookee here, your response:

    One other point – a more consistent analogy would have been to claim that it was like ridiculing Catholics for interpreting (which they did not do, hence the poor analogy) the ancient greeks

    to this:

    . It would be like ridiculing Catholic monks translating the ancient Greeks for their work being the product of pagans.

    See the error?

    Translation of Greek and Latin text to Vulgate was one of the more common functions to which scribes were employed. It was one means monastic orders filled their coffers. Some orders evolved into universities.

    As for your sloppy mistranslation of my remarks, even that is in error. The works of Augustine, Boethius, Abelard, Bernard, Aquinas, Duns Scottus, and William of Ockham are replete with interpretations of classical texts.

    Good Gravy, man, how can you not know this?
    Surely your Western Civ instructor explained the work of Aquinas as as an attempt to reconcile Aristotle and the Biblical order. That being the standard approach. Was that stricken from your curriculum? So you never learned it, it must have never occurred?

  28. Glenn Beck is a teary-eyed crying homo.
    Plus he is a mormon which is even worse. Mormons suck and everything they say sucks too.

  29. Libertarians: “I hate Glenn Beck!”

    But, um, he just recommended Hayek to millions of people.

    Libertarians: “I can’t believe that idiot recommended Hayek!”

    Oh yeah, he’s also firebombed the Temple of FDR, and turned millions of people on to the fact that the New Deal was a scam.

    Libertarians: “Yeah, but he’s still an idiot! I hate him!”

    Did you know that he’s also exposed millions of people to the cronyism between Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve and warned millions of the dangers of fiat money?

    Libertarians: “Yeah, but, other than that, Glenn Beck is worthless, because he’s a Mormon and believes in creation!”

    If y’all are trying to prove that you’ll excommunicate from the cause anyone who fails to hold every tenet of either Randian or Rothbardian atheistic libertarianism, you’re doing a *fantastic* job. You should be glad you have someone as prominent and popular as Glenn Beck turning people on to views that, until recently, inhabited forgotten niches of our society.

    1. Hear, hear. Purist libertarianism isn’t going to win any elections any time soon, so it’s stupid to diss someone who recommends and sells tens of thousands of copies of a book from your core curriculum.

    2. I think it’s more that they’re very suspicious of him and the damage he can do to their movement, given his past and his traditional conservative ties. Is he Paul or is he Constantine?

      1. Don’t worry. Rothbard did more damage to liberty than Glenn Beck ever will.

      2. I think you mean Theodosius I, not Constantine.

        Constantine made Christianity legal — Theodosius made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire.

  30. Dear babbling dumbfucks: by all means, defend beck, cuz he recommends Hayek. good. sher.

    youre also defending this crap.

    (you’re also probably fucking stupid enough to think Palin is ‘libertarian”)
    awfukit

    1. Stop roaring at the billy goats gruff trip-trapping over your bridge.

      1. By the way, I also think it was okay that Glenn Beck recommended a book by a Nazi. Did I mention that I also question the libertarianism of others while being a fake libertarian myself?

  31. I regard having pseudepigrapha in my name as a mark of honor. Puts me up there with St Thomas and Dionysius the Areopagite.

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