Dynamist Blog

Taking Notice

In a post on Alan Wolfe's review of Dinesh D'Souza's latest book, I sarcastically concluded:

I look forward to the attention the NYTBR will lavish on such intellectually serious books as Brink Lindsey's The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed American Politics and Culture and Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. Remember the definitive review they ran of Ryan Sager's The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control the Republican Party? Neither do I.

Although the NYTBR has become considerably less blinkered since my friend Sam Tanenhaus became its editor, it is still the NYTBR.

But the Review has punctured my cynicism. True, David Leonhardt's fairly short review of Radicals repeated the old canard about Milton Friedman advising Pinochet. But at least the book got attention.

And Brink's Age of Abundance, a book more in line with my own inclinations than Brian's, receives a long review by George Will in this Sunday's section. As you can imagine, the Tory Will is not enamored with all that the Age of Abundance has wrought, or with Brink's happy acceptance of abundant choice. (He even uses the word "Piffle" in response to one argument.) But the conclusion is positive:

Lindsey rightly says that "today's typical red-state conservative is considerably bluer on race relations, the role of women and sexual morality than his predecessor of a generation ago." And "the typical blue-state liberal is considerably redder than his predecessor when it comes to the importance of markets to economic growth, the virtues of the two-parent family and the morality of American geopolitical power." In "the bell curve of ideological allegiance," the large bulging center has settled, for now, on an "implicit libertarian synthesis, one which reaffirms the core disciplines that underlie and sustain the modern lifestyle while making much greater allowances for variations within that lifestyle." If so, material abundance has been, on balance, good for us, and Lindsey's measured cheerfulness is, like his scintillating book, reasonable.

Check out Brink's Age of Abundance blog here.

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