Monday, November 08, 2004

Update: Reading Choice

In an earlier post I wrote:
Clocking in at over 400 pages and no pictures (other than those on the
cover), the book [Choice] will seat on my shelves until after finals, methinks...

I was wrong on two counts: (1) The book does have pictures. One of the essays is in fact a comic strip by Peter Bagge, entitled "Observations from a Reluctant Anti-Warrior." (2) A book like this is not meant to collect dust. The other night over dinner, in a rapt of cultural consumption, I read the following:

The last one had a passage that impressed me, perhaps because I usually have a strong visceral reaction against Keynes:

REASON: In Letters to a Young Contrarian, you talk about how it was libertarians -- specifically Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan -- who did the most to end the draft by persuading President Nixon's special commission on the matter that mandatory military service represented a form of slavery. Is it the contrarians from unexpected ranks that enact real change?

Hitchens: Absolutely. Mr. Greenspan and Mr. Friedman used my mantra correctly by saying the draft would make the citizen the property of the state. To argue against them, however, I'll quote someone whom neither of them particularly likes, but whom I think they both respect. John Maynard Keynes said somewhere -- I think in Essays in Persuasion -- that many revolutions are begun by conservatives because these are people who tried to make the existing system work and they know why it does not. Which is quite a profound insight. It used to be known in Marx's terms as revolution from above.

1 comment:

Clara said...

My thoughts on Hitchens: could this saucy British whippersnapper be our new Ann Coulter? (And I mean that in a good way.) Probably not. He's a bit all over the map, isn't he? I often agree with things he says -- and LOVE the way he says 'em -- but the "Israel is racist and genocidal" thing is a bit over the top. Hitchens lost me completely when he danced on Ronald Reagan's fresh grave.

I still think he's cool, though... and extremely bright.