Arrived in my pile

Edmund Burke: The First Conservative, by Jesse Norman.

Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography.  I’ve browsed some of it, it looks really quite good, noting that in general authorized biographies bore me.

Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea, the Korean conflicts in broader global perspective.  Good advance reviews, looks interesting on a browse.

Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks, by Paul Frijters with Gigi Foster.


#1 It is worth mention that Burke's conservative writings have has had a huge impact on the development of post-1989 democracy movement in China. Many Chinese dissidents today see Burke's arguments against violent revolution and popular sentiments (as represented by the protesting students and factory workers at the time) as the best explanation of why 1989 Tiananmen square protest failed to produce a successful democratic reform.

Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident who won the 2010 Nobel peace prize was heavily influenced by Edmund Burke, so were most of the signatories of 2008 human rights charter:

Pay attention to the strong conservative influences showed in this charter. In particular, this charter upholds property rights and free market, it advocates reconciliation instead of persecution and "payback" to deal with ex-communist officials in a post-reform China. Also absence from this charter is any mention of wealth redistribution or redistributive political agendas based on ethnicity, gender, or minority status. We can only hope that the new generations of Chinese people learn from Burke and not making their next revolution a French one (or a Bolshevik one, for that matter).

Nit to be a crude Marist, but look at the class background of the signers of Charter 08, it is not amazing that they would be opposed to redistribution. They are fundamentally bourgouise and have the knowledge to understand their class interest. The question in China is if the workers and peasants will ever have their revolution. It is important to note that the sans-culottes didn't fair all that well in the first few French Revolutions, people should remember that the French Revolution didn't have all that much redistribution either.

The question in China is if the workers and peasants will ever have their revolution.

Hasn't that already been tried?

Jesse Norman is interesting and has perhaps changed history. He is currently MP for Hereford and led a major Conservative rebellion in the Commons against the governing coalition's plans to introduce elections to the unelected House of Lords, the UK equivalent of the US Senate. In return, the smaller coalition partner blocked plans to redistrict Commons seats in favour of the Conservatives. This will make it harder for the Conservatives to win the next general election.


Dovetailing into #2, what would you pick as the most essential biographies for charting the vast range of the human experience? High status actors and musicians, low status people mired in poverty held down by oppression, people on the vanguard of social or scientific revolutions, people from austere, puritanical times, people from hedonistic times, etc...

noting that in general authorized biographies bore me.

This explains why Cowen has asked Rosemary Rogers to write his autobiography.

Edmund Burke had the best of both conservativism and progressivism: conservative, because he understood the dangers of radical change; progressive, because he relentlessly pursued unpopular points of principle. He realised both the potential in the American Revolution and the dangers in the French Revolution; history proved him right in both cases.Along with thinkers like Smith, Hume and Voltaire, he was one of the best thinkers of the Enlightenment.

"Sheila Miyoshi Jager"

I want to note the low probability of this combination of names occuring. Can we be sure she isn't an anime character?

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