The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book Review: Arguing With Idiots

Arguing with Idioits (AWI) is the third Beck book we purchased this year (after Common Sense & Christmas Sweater). Our sons gave their Dad "An Inconvenient Book" (AIB) for Christmas so we aren't without good reading for the holidays.

AWI is by far the most profound of the three aforementioned Beck books, and it seems keeping in style with AIB the little we've tackled so far. AWI solidly lays out the Libertarian case for politics and we find ourselves agreeing with nearly all of the Libertarian agenda although admittedly as a new convert we feel a bit stretched. That we even describe ourselves as "libertarian-leaning" is an historic political shift for us personally never before experienced. Perhaps we have become more anti-Progressive rather than Libertarian; either way it's a change for good. We do appreciate the Constitutionally-based arguments which support the Libertarian agenda and we already have AWI on our "re-read" list to more deeply guzzle truth.

Though anchored in profound political debate, the book gives a generous modern-art-paint-splat of humor, comics, and sidebar notes to illustrate points. One of our favs was the two-page spread on pp. 130/1: "How to Fire a Tenured Teacher in New York City." We shared this with our sons during a discussion them how notwithstanding their mother--as an incredibly talented teacher in a state-run "public" school--even the best state-run schools lack capitalistic competition to be efficient operators. Similar to the current healthcare debate, citizens should not be forced to hand over our money for our children's education, but rather have choice with our funds where to send them. The Utah voucher bill was a great start in this direction--we support a second try again soon, this time with a smaller voucher amount so our wonderful teachers don't feel so threatened. Good teachers will find good jobs. OK, back to the review.

AWI is hardly a rant solely about education but divides chapters into hot topics including healthcare, energy policy, the Constitution, right to bear arms, illegal immigration, and others. As a student of history, we found the Chapter 10 on Progressive Presidents fascinating as it helped us to frame our previous and current studies of politics by foregoing GOP partisanship and calling out "Progressive-lites" like McCain that exist in our own political party while at the same time shuddering at the thought of the choices during 1912 elections (at least in 2008 we had Conservative Palin!): Democrat Party progressive Wilson (our nominee for worst 20th century President), Bull Moose Party Progressive-Party founder Teddy Roosevelt, or Republican progressive Taft. With choices like this it is little wonder the horrible 16th and 17th Amendments passed during that era (and with enormous braggadocio putting forth economic wonder Utah being the sole state who actually voted to reject both Amendments!)

Criticism
While AWI fully delivers on substance, we have a suggestion with the format. AWI provides a wonderful plethora of documentation in the back complete with unmanageably long URL's (try typing in correctly this averaged-length URL citation from AWI: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=aRyHgTljlyFl")! Beck and likeminded authors should take note from twitterers and provided a second URL short & sweet for hardcover readers to type in. An additional option would be to publish the Citations electronically so readers could click on the references when in front of a computer. We have some concern that the URLs may be scrubbed in the future so concern for permanently linking these come into play although we were able to find all the references we checked. Also, to our dismay the book lacks an index which is always helpful. Lastly, AWI isn't edited flawlessly: such as needing the paragraph header on p. 290 "Public Use" moved up a paragraph to prevent confusion and there is no heading separating the "Bill of Rights" p. 287 from the other seventeen Amendments; such errors are non-substantive and in uniform with modern standards (and no worse than the editor of this blog, we might add!)

The final verdict
We had seen only a couple of Glenn Beck shows back on CNN prior to this year and Beck was largely an enigma to us. With the foray of Beck into Fox News in 2009, we began listening to Beck's radio show which has evolved into our fav. Thus it is with all unabashed bias found in the bestowal of a Academy Award (and yet to tackle Palin's "Going Rogue") we present to Arguing With Idiots by Glenn Beck the 2009 Best Nacilbupera "Reid" of the Year!

2 comments:

rmwarnick said...

What do you think of Glenn Beck's wild misreading of the Constitution? It's just one of a string of falsehoods in the book.

Beck has achieved the title of "Misinformer of the Year." He's on top of the heap, baby!

Here's the list of Beck's most outrageous statements of 2009.

Beck thanks you for contributing to his $20 million-plus income!

nacilbupera said...

rmwarnick:

We believe you have a wild misreading of the book rather than Beck having a wild misreading of the Constitution. Did you read the book or the progressive-website Mediamatters' interpretation of Beck's book? Even so, do you believe and support the title of your referred article "Does Glenn Beck support the slave trade or is he just an "idiot"?" to be reflective of either premise? How do you read that citation or any place in the book that Beck--a campaigner against socialism and progressivism and in favor of individual liberty and indeed a libertarian--supports slave trade? Do you really believe Beck is advocating slave trade???

We have read and listened to Beck much and we can assure you he isn't secretly plotting to institute slavery into America again. To further assure you, if he ever does, we will personally denounce him on this blog.

We have no problems calling out someone if they're wrong but at least try to come up without a fallacy in your premise.