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Old 03-14-2017, 09:36 AM   #101
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I read Chomsky On Anarchism before this thread and it was very good. I will get around to more of the earlier prominent and explicitly Anarchist authors if I can get past Proudhon and Bacunin wanting to kill all the Jews. But there are a ton of writers in the anarchist spectrum like Tolstoy, Rousseau, Thoreau, Emerson, Wilde, Godwin, Camu, Shelley...

ACism is the antithesis of most of Anarchism. Proudhon said "all property is theft" and ACist say everything is property.

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Old 03-14-2017, 10:45 AM   #102
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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Not aware enough of relevant in jokes
Nielsio was famous for rhetorically asking if 'X was why I can't free?' where X could be anything from gold to the War in Iraq to Santa Claus to school lunches or whatever. I assume if you look around on YouTube there's a video of him doing a 45 minute poetry slam of all the reasons why he can't be free.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:49 AM   #103
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Candide - Voltaire

I made this note about 2/3rd the way through:

"Somewhat clever and entertaining satire, but just somewhat. It's like slightly subpar Dave Barry. I wonder what people will think of him in 250 years."

At the end I warmed up to it a bit as it wrapped things up pretty well. I upgrade it to fully par Dave Barry.

I supposed if Candide were written a hundred years earlier Voltaire would have been burned at the stake for lampooning monarchs and religion. I'm not sure how bold it was in 1759, but it was pretty biting and maybe Mark Twain is a better comparison than Dave Barry, though even some of the sillier Twain takes some care for character while Candide really doesn't.

This is a good book if you want to look like you're reading something serious, but really want something fairly light.

There's room in there for some utopian socialist anti-capitalist interpretation, but I wouldn't get too carried away with it.

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Old 03-15-2017, 08:23 AM   #104
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick, by Emmanuel Carrere.

I got this as an introduction to Carrere, but it revived an old interest in scifi. I hadn't realized how much scifi (Matrix, etc.) was influenced by Dick's fixation on the sense of self and its struggle to remain distinct from the environment.

I hadn't read Dick as an adolescent, it was all Harry Harrison, Asimov, and Dune. But it turns out Dick had debilitating paranoid delusions. Carrere makes a strong case that Dick really believed he was receiving messages from God about how to launch a new age, although he could also use that delusion as a literary source by critiquing it from the skeptical side of his brain that remained.

The style is fictionalized biography. Carrere researched deeply to establish a scene, but then invented a lot of inner thoughts that he believed must have been going on. The effect is very convincing. I trusted that he was creating a reasonable facsimile, consistent with verifiable evidence.

One chapter I glossed through because it became too lit crit -- taking the ideas way too seriously. Dick is compelling as an extraordinary, autodidact pulp writer, not as a philosopher. But I really enjoyed the rest of the book, especially how a tortured psyche was integral to the stories that swirled out. You may be interested to know he only dropped acid once. Didn't need it. There's also plenty of titillating debauchery and his painfully pathetic personal life.

Now that I read the bio, I'm less bored with Amazon's Man in the High Castle.

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Old 03-15-2017, 01:19 PM   #105
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Re: Coates. I'd recommend the book 'Racecraft' too which talks a lot about how racism as a social construct leads to race. The book is a slog to read, however.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:25 PM   #106
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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His description of Cortez defeating the Aztecs is hackneyed: Aliens riding strange beasts could "produce lightning and thunder out of shiny metal sticks." Bah. Cortez won by allying with the Aztec's many enemies and because Tenochtitlan was weakened by disease. Harari does mention the devastation of epidemics, but mistakenly places it after conquest instead of before.
Wow that's bad. I did hear the mythical God theory about how Cortez beat the Aztecs when I was in junior high so it surprised me, on first reading, that several expeditions to Mexico got easily slaughtered even with advanced 'mythical technology' that was supposed to awe the Aztecs before Cortez showed up. But yea that Cortez won because of the Aztec awe at Spanish technology falls apart at even a basic reading of what happened.
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:44 PM   #107
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Walden - Thoreau
If you want more of the political side of Thoreau, I highly recommend his short essay on "Civil Disobedience," which was very influential on both Gandhi and MLK.
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:12 AM   #108
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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If you want more of the political side of Thoreau, I highly recommend his short essay on "Civil Disobedience," which was very influential on both Gandhi and MLK.
Thanks. Just yesterday I noticed that we have a copy in our house. I have 3 library books to read first though.

I just finished the audiobook of the Communist Manifesto. I think I'll either listen again or grab the book next time I'm in the library just to make some notes for a review. After the book I'm reading now, there will be a shift away from the radical and more towards liberal mainstream/enlightenment at least for a couple books. Not that anyone cares, but I've been on a streak of radical stuff and I don't want y'all to think I've gone over the bend and I guess mentioning The Communist Manifesto seems a little like a taboo.
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