Holiday Reading Ideas from Law & Liberty
Yuval Levin’s A Time To Build and Matt Grossmann’s Red State Blues are first on my list because I very much want to read them and because—well, fine, I’ll admit it—I’m on deadline to review both. I refuse to start the New Year on the wrong side of editors.
Next up will be Leo Strauss’s 1952 classic Persecution and the Art of Writing. I’m drafting an essay on how Trump’s centralizing I-alone-ism has caused prominent Republicans to conspicuously go silent on decentralization and limited government. I’m fascinated by the longstanding, understandable, but not-so admirable tradition of public figures’ hiding their beliefs in order to stay in the good graces of authority. Since Strauss thought through these issues and is admired by many on the political right, I should consult—but not bow to!—his authority.
I’m also finalizing the curriculum for the new fellowship I’ve started on conservatism and policymaking—meaning I’m looking for good essays and chapters to assign. So I’ll be reading Michael Oakeshott’s Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, Greg Weiner’s Old Whigs: Burke, Lincoln, and the Politics of Prudence, and the ISI collection What is Conservatism?
Lastly, I’m increasingly intrigued by Louis Brandeis’s idea, “the curse of bigness”—that danger lurks in big government, big corporations, big international bodies. I’m convinced today’s problems don’t need consolidation and nationalism but pluralism and localism. So I’ll read Jeffrey Rosen’s Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet.