My verdict: interesting, if disappointing because of the expectations Mencius Moldbug planted in me. It is more along the lines of Bryan Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter or Jeffrey Friedman’s Critical Review than a study of the media as I came in thinking it would be. I would note that it is a shame Lippman didn’t live to read Pinker’s “The Blank Slate”. Since I ended my discussion of Der Staat by noting Oppenheimer’s optimistic endpoint, I’ll do the same here. Lippman imagines advances in political science (or the “social sciences” more broadly) in line with the expertise (“technic” is his favored word) displayed by engineers and accountants. These disinterested and removed experts will diminish the silliness that characterizes politics or argument more broadly. The term we use now is “technocracy” or “technocrat”, which generally winds up being plain old bureaucracy. Politics and public discourse is just as stupid as ever today. On that note, I saw a paperback copy of James Q. Wilson’s “Bureaucracy” in Borders a few days ago for a low price, so that’s probably what I’ll get next. I haven’t decided which of the books currently on my computer I should get to next. Right now I’ve got The Unheavenly City Revisited by Edward C. Banfield, China Story by Freda Utley, As We Go Marching by John T. Flynn, Burke’s Reflections and Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist. I’m also thinking of getting one of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s books (like Liberty or Equality and Procustes: Against the Herd ) from the Mises site. In addition, Keith Preston listed his top three “desert island” books as Storm of Steel, The Ego and Its Own and God and the State by Mikhail Bakunin. I’m a big fan of the first two, so I’m considering reading the latter online though it seems quite long. If you’ve read more than one of the books listed, say which ones are more worthwhile.

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