Saturday, 3 April 2010

A list by a conservative anarchist

Daniel McCarthy, a member of a growing group of "Tory Anarchists" whose views derive largely from early twentieth-century distributism, has here written a quite interesting list of the books that have influenced him the most.

With the exception of Virgil, none of the authors are familiar to me, but I still feel a sense of interest. This is most particularly true of Houellebecq, because I know very well that the best musicians of the post-punk era can teach an aware listener that trying to conform to expectations is rarely or never the best use of one's talent.

I have provided a basic quote from his review of each book to give an idea of why McCarthy thinks as he does, without being an absolute copycat.

  1. Robert Heinlein, Red Planet (1983). "ends with the young protagonist’s Martian friend having to leave his human society and rejoin his own people — something of a cultural particularist theme, perhaps?"
  2. Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1990) "improbably helped to shape his interests in poetry by introducing him to Samuel Taylor Coleridge…a year or two later Coleridge would be important to aimless teenage efforts to attain culture"
  3. Jerome Clark, Unexplained (1993) "great preparation for life on the right, since it fostered a love of weird folklore"
  4. Virgil, The Aeneid (1995)
  5. Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World (2000) "a spiritual tonic and antidote to paleo-pessimism"
  6. Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles (2001) "a lucid commentary on the technological society, social atomism, and the failure the countercultural revolution - but from a refreshingly bitter lefty perspective rather than a smarmy right-wing one: the literary equivalent of postpunk"
  7. Andrew Bacevich, American Empire (2002). "evokes conservative and republican traditions of anti-militarism that have been long lost (and whose history is sketched in further details in Bill Kauffman’s Ain‘t My America) and the memory of a Midwestern progressivism that was all-American even as it was scathingly critical of U.S. militarism and corporate capitalism"
  8. Auberon Waugh, The Diaries of Auberon Waugh (2002) "Waugh’s capacity to mock anything in the name of judgmental freedom makes this book a bible of the Tory anarchist". The son of Evelyn Waugh, and both in real life and from astrology notably similar to his more famous father
  9. Robert Nisbet, Conservatism: Dream and Reality (2002). "gave a much better sense of how to fit things together and analyze the Right"
  10. Willmoore Kendall, The Conservative Affirmation (2008) "got him to take political theory more seriously and to look at theory and history in a new way"

No comments: