Nine Books Campus Conservatives Should Read This Year
I’m sure that you, just like me, have been unable to scroll on Instagram at any time over the past one or two years without stumbling upon some sort of infographic misleading our peers on the key issues that face our country. Very often, these infographics are posted with captions that demand that their readers “Get educated!” or “Do the work!”
This has resulted — in my estimation, at least — in a large portion of our generation feeling as though they have a firm grasp on the issues of the day when, in fact, they do not.
But, because many of those on the other side of the aisle have dedicated themselves to “getting educated,” it is time for us conservatives to do the same. The difference is that instead of reading a four-page infographic, we must take up reading in-depth and thoughtful books in order to arm ourselves in the fight for America’s future.
So, here are nine books — six which lean right, one that is neutral, and two that lean left — that you should read this year in order to “do the work” that your liberal peers merely signal about.
By: George F. Will
The Conservative Sensibility is an impressive introduction to conservative political theory. Long-time Washington Post columnist George F. Will meticulously outlines the ideology of our founders, their detractors, and how to apply their philosophy today, in a book that should be considered Will’s magnum opus.
The message of the book is simple: conservatives must aim to conserve the ideals of the American founding. These ideals include a healthy skepticism of government and the belief that governments are instituted in order to secure our pre-existing rights. Will then describes the attack on our founding principles by progressivism in the 20th Century. If you would like to understand the foundations of your ideology, then I highly recommend The Conservative Sensibility.
Economics In One Lesson: The Shortest And Surest Way To Understand Basic Economics
By: Henry Hazlitt
If The Conservative Sensibility is considered a proper introduction to conservative political theory, then Economics In One Lesson should be considered the necessary introduction to economics. Rather than arguing for laissez-faire on the basis of statistics and contemporary examples, Hazlitt simply explains free-market economic theory. This is one of the reasons the book remains timeless, as it was published in 1946. Because it does not use numbers specific to that time period, it still serves the interested reader well.
In what is effectively the introduction to the book, Hazlitt writes that the lesson of the book is that “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” The rest of the book applies that lesson to many different economic issues.
Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide To The Economy
By: Thomas Sowell
While Economics In One Lesson lays out free-market economic theory, Basic Economics goes beyond that. Yes, it details some important economic theory, but it also draws heavily on evidence from the real world. Despite the book’s length — coming in at just over 700 pages — Basic Economics succeeds in giving the reader impressive knowledge about economics without using fancy language, graphs, equations, or charts. Rather, it is a book written in plain English in order to educate laymen.
After reading Economics In One Lesson and Basic Economics, you will undoubtedly understand how the economy works better than almost any of your peers. The book’s seven parts address subjects that include the price system, wages, the national economy, the international economy, and miscellaneous subjects such as the history of economics.
Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody
By: James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose
Prior to entering higher education, most conservative students are aware of the far-left inclinations of many of their fellow students and even faculty. Moreover, many of us have witnessed the emergence of a new, thoroughly illiberal, “woke” ideology that has now consumed our culture. The origins of this new ideology are revealed in Cynical Theories.
In their book, James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose draw a direct line between postmodern scholarship starting in the 1960s, to the emergence of applied postmodern scholarship in the 1990s, to the application of applied postmodern scholarship in the real world today. If you feel as though the world around you is getting crazier and crazier, then Cynical Theories will adequately explain the reasons why.
Discrimination and Disparities
By: Thomas Sowell
Demagogues on both sides of the political divide have long used overly-simplistic narratives in order to advance their ideology. In Discrimination and Disparities, Thomas Sowell effectively debunks the idea that disparities between groups can be explained by any one factor. In doing so, he demonstrates the sophomoric thinking of those who push this idea.
Charter Schools and Their Enemies
By: Thomas Sowell
One of Sowell’s most important books to date, Charter Schools and Their Enemies exposes the barriers to good education for some of America’s most vulnerable populations. Even though certain charter school networks have been able to close the achievement gap in New York between low-income black students from the city and high-income white students from the suburbs, teachers’ unions — along with their cronies in government — have a vested interest in preventing the expansion of these schools.
The situation is truly tragic because we know that the best way to move socioeconomically is by getting a good education. However, that education is being systematically denied to low-income students across the country. If you want to understand one of the root causes behind persistent disparities, then Charter Schools and Their Enemies is an important read.
The World: A Brief Introduction
By: Richard Haass
The World is a thoroughly objective book, introducing the reader to all of the most important aspects of the world today. It briefly discusses history, gives a background on each region of the world, and then gives the reader all the basic information necessary to have a firm grip on world events.
If you are majoring in International Affairs, this is a good introductory book, and if you are not, then it is still valuable! Moreover, it is not a boring book by any stretch of the imagination and keeps the reader engaged with its semi-short chapters.
By: Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
While this book absolutely leans left, it still provides the reader with important lessons about democracy. Those lessons are not the aspect of the book to which one should object to. After all, they include basic things like mutual toleration (not unnecessarily demonizing your political opponents) and forbearance (not using all of the power at your disposal in order to crush your opponents). Rather, objections should mainly come from their analysis of the application of these principles to contemporary U.S. politics.
Therefore, if you would like to read an informative book on democracy, and how to prevent our country from falling apart, then How Democracies Die is absolutely a worthwhile read.
By: Ibram X. Kendi
I know what you’re thinking. But, yes — you should absolutely read this book. After all, its influence cannot be overstated. It has over 20,000 reviews on Amazon (to put that in perspective, Ben Shapiro’s most recent book doesn’t even have 7,000) and its reach in the culture has been massive. As a result, it is important to read.
How To Be An Antiracist is equal parts memoir and theory. Kendi writes what is undeniably an engaging book on a subject that is as relevant in America today as it has been at any time over the past 60 years. While you may cringe when he writes things like “Capitalism is essentially racist,” the understanding of another point of view is completely worth it.
Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts
By: Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner
By: Milton Friedman
By: Deborah E. Lipstadt
By: Thomas Sowell
Author: Jack Elbaum