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Tag Archives: Book Club

The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club Commentary, Part 2

Here are my thoughts on the latest batch 0f Book Club comments.  Your words are in blockquotes; mine aren’t. Weir: If your ideology of unfreedom is open, uninfected by any vestige of tolerance, then you can’t pay lip service to some other ideology. If hierarchy is what you consciously aim at, then you can’t also delude yourself that you’re not a slave-driver. If equality is no longer an ideal to be striven after, then you openly call yourself the factory boss, and...

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club, Part 2

The TPOC Book Club continues its march through Chapter 1, “Ignorance Is Strength.” Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll do an omnibus reply later this week. After the revolutionary period of the fifties and sixties, society regrouped itself, as always, into High, Middle, and Low. But the new High group, unlike all its forerunners, did not act upon instinct but knew what was needed to safeguard its position. It had long been realized that...

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club Commentary, Part 1

Here are my reactions to your thoughts on Part 1 of the Orwell book club. David Henderson: Here’s another glaring statement that shows Orwell at his economically illiterate worst: As for the problem of overproduction, which has been latent in our society since the development of machine technique Orwell buys into the idea of overproduction. He doesn’t understand that our wants are unlimited. That may be also why, as you noted, he doesn’t worry about incentives. In his...

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club, Part 1

This is the first installment of my book club on Orwell’s book-within-a-book, entitled The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by fictional dissident Emmanuel Goldstein.  I’m going to treat Orwell as the author of the book, even though he probably didn’t agree with all of the general claims, and almost surely didn’t mean to predict the rise of his precise geopolitical scenario.  Today I’ll start with Chapter 1, “Ignorance Is Strength.”  Please put all...

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club Update

Here’s the plan for my new Book Club.  After each segment, place your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll post an omnibus response later in the week. On January 18, I’ll cover Chapter 1: “Ignorance Is Strength” up to the sentence “The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for the first time.” On January 25, I’ll cover Chapter 1 up to the sentence “This...

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club

George Orwell’s 1984 contains excerpts from a fictional book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.  Orwell provides a short passage from Chapter 1, entitled “Ignorance is Strength” and a much longer passage from Chapter 3, entitled “War Is Peace.”  Although 1984 is a work of dystopian fiction, TPOC has long struck me as a profound work of social science.   The book is a wonderful meditation on not only totalitarianism (especially Stalinism), but...

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Escaping Paternalism Wins the Szasz Prize!

This July-September, I ran a book club on Rizzo and Whitman’s magisterial Escaping Paternalism.  Now I’m pleased to announce that Rizzo and Whitman have won a much-deserved Szasz Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties.  From the prize announcement: The professional Szasz award goes to Mario J. Rizzo, a professor of economics at New York University, and Glen Whitman, a professor of economics at California State University, Northridge. Their...

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Escaping Paternalism Book Club Round-up

RELATED CONTENT By Maria Pia Paganelli Put Away the Puppets A Book Review of Escaping Paternalism: Rationality, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy, by Mario J. Rizzo and Glen Whitman.1 Are you saving enough for retirement? How do you know? How can I tell? What if there is a benchmark against which to...

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Escaping Paternalism Book Club: Rizzo and Whitman’s Final Response

This is the final response by Mario Rizzo and Glen Whitman, authors of Escaping Paternalism, for my Book Club on their treatise.  Don’t forget to review the book on Amazon! We want to thank Bryan one more time for hosting this book club, which has been entertaining and enlightening for both of us.  Although the discussion has naturally gravitated toward points of disagreement, in truth we and Bryan are largely on the same page.  It’s worth enumerating some of our many...

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Escaping Paternalism Book Club: Rizzo and Whitman Response, Part 3

This is the third of a series of responses by Mario Rizzo and Glen Whitman, authors of Escaping Paternalism, for my Book Club on their treatise. Once again, we’d like to thank Bryan for hosting this book club.  We also appreciate the many insightful contributions in the comments section.  In this post, we’ll discuss a handful of questions raised over the course of the book club but especially in Bryan’s last installment. But first, a personal request.  If you’ve read...

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