Thursday, June 10, 2010

Glenn Beck and the Road to Serfdom

A day after Glenn Beck recommended Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, it's sold out (h/t: Instapundit). Luckily, there are a couple of alternatives available for those too impatient to wait. Sharp Elbows (a conservative blog for the A. D. D. generation) will be glad to know that there's a comic book edition (h/t: again Instapundit). Reader's Digest published a shortened version of Hayek's masterpiece and that version is available online as a PDF. Interestingly, Amazon not only has the "definitive edition" ranked #1 in books, but they have it in stock, in hardback, and downloadable for Kindle. I suppose they became the world's largest book store by squirreling away copies of what the people want before the people know they want it.

That said, I will caution readers eagerly awaiting the arrival of this great book, that it is not an easy read. I've read it twice. The first time, I didn't understand it. Hayek's formal arguments leverage a lot of classical philosophy that I was not familiar with. Before re-reading The Road to Serfdom, I discovered The Proceedings of the Friesian School. is a little difficult to navigate... I usually scroll down to "Topics and Essays" and poke around there for something to read. Between my two readings of The Road to Serfdom, I read the Friesian essays on Ancient Greek Philosophy and I believe this made Hayek's book much more accessible the second time. If you need a break from philosophy and economics, I recommend the essay on The Practical Rules of Bureaucracy.

As Glenn Beck would surely agree: Welcome to our autodidactic world!

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