Monday, June 11, 2007

What sort of Liberal are you? A simple test

Committed as this blog is to encouraging the intellectual wanderlust of the discerning liberal, we present to you today a simple test. It comprises one question only and it's purpose is for you to consider how you would define yourself among the embarras de richesse which is the welter of liberal traditions.

We are what we inwardly digest; we are what read. So, imagine that on your enforced sojourn marooned on a desert island, you have been allowed the company of only one political tract. You would choose, naturally, a work which reflected your own political make-up, even though in the sweltering heat and arid landscape, there is no chance of constructing a liberal society. Which book would it be? The poll to the right lists the main possibilities -- click away.

If there are alternatives that you think should be included, do begin a write-in campaign. Or, if there are works there are worthy only to kindle fire, tell me which one was not even worthy of this desert-island jaunt. Results next week.

12 comments:

Tristan said...

I'd be more tempted to take Nozick's Anarchy and Utopia or perhaps even some Rothbard (he's bound to challenge me and make me think and argue against some of his arguments and assertions).

From your list probably 'On Liberty'. It contains so much that is relevant to the central tenets on liberalism and much which needs to be elaborated upon.

Friedman's book is not meaty enough (although an excellent tract on liberalism and market capitalism) and the Hobhouse probably comes in second as its on my reading list.

Bernard said...

Wot, no Rights of Man by Tom Paine?

Stephen Tall said...

Where's the Da Vinci Code?

Paul Walter said...

Where's Jeffrey Archer? His books are excellent for holidays.

Tom Papworth said...

I'm beginning to be ridiculed for bleating on about Hayek, but as Law, Legislation and Liberty comes in three volumes and it's the one I haven't read yet, I reckon it'd make great desert island reading.

Do I also get the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare?

Ed said...

The problem is real liberals will find something to disagree with about most political thinkers making it practically impossible to name a single book. I'd need to be cast ashore in a library van to have the choice I wanted...

Jock Coats said...

Liberty, Isaiah Berlin?

Chris K said...

Collected Works of John Rawls.

Multi-purpose:
1) Very ample supply of kindling for fires, leaves for shelter, etc.
2) Good defensive material - impenetrable by anyone, let alone angry natives.
3)Best guide to practical problems of distribution of pineapples and coconuts.
4) Aids restful sleep.

David Rundle said...

Paul, if I had it my way, Archer would be buried just behind the lone palm tree. But useful to have the the omnibus Archer, as well as Dan Brown's full oeuvre, for the bonfire. As it's a desert island, it's not as much about heat as attracting attention!
I thought of Rawls, I should have considered Berlin -- but on all those suggestions, I'll write a posting when there are more response to the poll.
Thanks for the comments.

Tony Brett said...

What about Jk Rowling, or Lemony Snickett. Much closer to my intellectual level :-)

Matt Sellwood said...

'The Conquest of Bread' by Peter Kropotkin.

Hmm, I think that confirms I'm not a liberal! :)

Matt

David Rundle said...

Matt, I'm sure there's hope for you yet!