Conservative Commentary
"the blogger whose youthful effusions have won him bookmarks all over Whitehall ... horribly compelling" - The Guardian
Great Weblogs
The Enemy Within

Most recent posts ...

Saturday, August 28, 2004
Q&A Weekend 2 - Answers

Q. What are the top 5 books you would recommend to anyone interested in politics?

A. Obviously my choices here have a firmly rightist bias, so perhaps this question better answers what five books I would recommend to any conservative interested in politics. But if we're talking about strictly political works, right now they would be:

The Abolition of Britain by Peter Hitchens: a comprehensive survey of cultural change in Britain since the 1960s. Examining the educational establishment, modern television and sexual mores, the church and the loss of empire, the book argues that a slow-motion revolution has changed Britain immensely in the last forty years, and much for the worse.

Saturn's Children by Alan Duncan and Dominic Hobson: in a fantastic synthesis of conservatism and libertarianism, the authors argue that the espansion of the state in the twentieth century has devoured "liberty, prosperity and virtue".

Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple: a series of ruminant and fascinating essays on underclass life in Britain, in all its violence and aimlessness, and the muddled thinking that produces and sustains it.

Letters to a Young Conservative by Dinesh D'Souza: a very comprehensive set of essays on conservative attitudes to everything from abortion to war. Succeeds in packing powerful philosophical insights and forceful practical arguments into five or six page letters on each subject.

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt: an enjoyable series of economic fallacies, and the explanations of why they are mistaken. A very good defence of free enterprise, especially as an introduction for those unfamiliar with economics.

(I would, however, argue that an essential introduction to understanding human nature - and therefore the realities and constraints of politics - comes through understanding sociobiology, the study of the evolutionary origins of human behaviour. So under a more loose definition, I would also advise that people should start with Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, then move on to Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate and Matt Ridley's The Red Queen. I explain more about the political implications of sociobiology here.)

Great Sites
Tory Party
Reading ...