Books for Christmas

Books for Christmas

December 01, 1994
Originally published in The American Spectator

As a policy wonk, my recommended reading list, not surprisingly, is wonkish. Still, among all those dusty, boring books that make up this body of writing, there are a few gems that make it all worthwhile:

Searching for Safety, by Aaron Wildavsky. Read this book and learn why poorer is sicker and wealthier is healthier. A wonderful story teller and brilliant thinker, Wildavsky in these rabbinical tutorials on modern foolishness does much to expfain the ongoing inquisition against technological and economic growth.

Essays on Economics and Economists, by Ronald Coase. This is the latest coflection of essays by one of the few Nobel Prize economists whose work is actuafly relevant to the real world. Coase's style is delightful, saving his fiercest jabs for "blackboard economics" and the central planner's mentality.

A Rebirth of Values, by Frederick Turner. A series of essays by an under-read author who dares suggest that mankind can actually be a positive force in an evolving earth. The essay, "Towards a New Bioethics," extolling man as gardener rather than despoiler, is a much-needed antidote to the Blame-Mankind Firsters who dominate the green agenda.

Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty, by James Bovard. A modern-day Common Sense, painfully detailing the extent to which our economic and individual liberties are being eroded away by an arrogant and unconstrained Leviathan. As this book becomes more widely read, Americans are very likely to rise up in anger, making the current political turmoil seem but a tempest in a teapot.

Science Under Siege: Balancing Technology and the Environment, by Michael Fumento. A book that might be subtitled, "Lies, Damned Lies, and the EPA" dealing with the horrendous misuse of science and statistics by environmentalists over the last two decades. Fumento, CEI's 1994 Warren Brookes fellow, is perhaps the only journalist in the world able to write about epidemiology without making a fool of himself. (Another important book is Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse, by Ronald Bailey, who was CEI's 1993 Warren Brookes fellow.)

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. A trilogy that does more than almost any work I know (save perhaps the Bible) to make the case as to why each of us must struggle against the Evil Empires here and abroad, even though there are no permanent victories (or defeats) in this eternal battle.