Author Archives: Cmsciabarra

Song of the Day #1807

Song of the Day: The Island (Comecar de Novo), music by Ivan Lins, Portuguese lyrics by Brazilian songwriter Vitor Matins and English lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, begins an extended Labor Day weekend of the Summer Music Festival (Jazz Edition). Notable recordings of this sensuous love song include renditions by Ivan Lins (live), pianist Steve Kuhn, virtuoso harmonica player TootsThielemans (live too!), tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, pianist Richie Beirach and vocalist Laurie Antonioli, and vocalists Patti Austin, Julie Andrews, Sergio Mendes (with vocalist Angie Jaree), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Barbra Streisand [YouTube links], and, from the album, “Embraceable You,” Joanne Barry [mp3 link] (my sister-in-law, whose birthday is today: Happy Birthday Wan, with Love!), with my brother, jazz guitarist Carl Barry [YouTube link], Mike Morreale on fluegelhorn, Tim Lekan on bass, and Mike Hyman on drums.

Tom Seaver, RIP

The great baseball pitcher, Tom Seaver, died on Monday at the age of 75. He was a legendary player and a class act all the way. One of the key ingredients to the 1969 Miracle Mets season (he went 25-7 that season, going on to win the first of three career Cy Young Awards), he would ultimately end his career with 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, and a 2.86 ERA. Remarkable.

He may have been The Franchise for the New York Mets, but he also had a Yankee connection—aside from recording his 300th victory against them as a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox to the applause of NY fans [YouTube link]. That happened on August 4, 1985—which was, of all days, Phil Rizzuto Day at the Stadium, when Rizzuto got knocked over by a Holy Cow [YouTube link]!).

Ironically, the two Hall of FamersSeaver and Rizzuto—would later be joined in the Yankee broadcasting booth, on WPIX-TV from 1989 to 1993.

For a little extra entertainment, highlighting their different styles, to say the least, check out the Hall of Fame speeches given by both Seaver and Rizzuto [YouTube links].

RIP, Tom Terrific.

7-Day Course Challenge: “Methodology of the Social Sciences” (Course #7)

My friend Daniel Bastiat tagged me on Facebook for a new 7-day challenge: Pick between 2 to 5 books that you would assign for any course of your choosing (each day) and name the course.

Day #7 Course: Methodology of the Social Sciences
(For undergraduate- and graduate-level students)

  1. Investigations into the Methods of the Social Sciences – Carl Menger
  2. The Poverty of Historicism – Karl Popper
  3. The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory – Richard J. Bernstein
  4. Dialectical Investigations – Bertell Ollman
  5. The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom – Edited by Roger E. Bissell, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, and Edward W. Younkins [oh c’mon, gimme a break—it’s the very last book recommendation on the very last day of this challenge 🙂 ]
Methodology of the Social Sciences – Selected Readings

7-Day Course Challenge: “Austrian Economics: A Primer” (Course #6)

My friend Daniel Bastiat tagged me on Facebook for a new 7-day challenge: Pick between 2 to 5 books that you would assign for any course of your choosing (each day) and name the course.

Day #6 Course: Austrian Economics: A Primer
(For undergraduate- and graduate-level students)

  1. The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics – Edited by Peter J. Boettke
  2. The Foundations of Modern Austrian Economics – Edited by Edwin G. Dolan
  3. New Directions in Austrian Economics – Edited by Louis M. Spadaro
  4. Austrian Economics, 3 vols. – Edited by Stephen Littlechild

These volumes include selections from writers across the Austrian tradition, from its founders to its contemporary exponents: Bruce Benson, Peter Boettke, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Sam Bostaph, Donald Boudreaux, William Butos, Richard Ebeling, Roger Garrison, Steve Horwitz, Sanford Ikeda, Emil Kauder, Israel Kirzner, Roger Koppl, Ludwig Lachmann, Don Lavoie, Peter Lewin, Stephen Littlechild, G. B. Madison, Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Gerald O’Driscoll, Dave Prychitko, Mario Rizzo, Murray Rothbard, Joseph Salerno, Joseph Schumpeter, George Selgin, Sudha Shenoy, Mark Skousen, Barry Smith, Friedrich Weiser, and Lawrence White, among others.

Compilations in Austrian Economics

7-Day Course Challenge: “Introduction to American Political Thought” (Course #5)

My friend Daniel Bastiat tagged me on Facebook for a new 7-day challenge: Pick between 2 to 5 books that you would assign for any course of your choosing (each day) and name the course.

Day #5 Course: Introduction to American Political Thought
(For undergraduate students)

  1. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution – Bernard Bailyn
  2. The Federalist Papers – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
  3. The Antifederalist Papers – Edited with an introduction by Morton Borden
  4. The Liberal Tradition in America – Louis Hart
  5. Ideology and Myth in American Politics: A Critique of a National Political Mind – H. Mark Roelofs
Readings in American Political Thought

7-Day Course Challenge: “The Individual and Society: Marxist Perspectives” (Course #4)

My friend Daniel Bastiat tagged me on Facebook for a new 7-day challenge: Pick between 2 to 5 books that you would assign for any course of your choosing (each day) and name the course.

Day #4 Course: The Individual and Society: Marxist Perspectives
(For undergraduate- and graduate-level students)

  1. Reader in Marxist Philosophy – Edited by Howard Selsam and Harry Martel
  2. Essentialism in the Thought of Karl Marx – Scott Meikle
  3. Marx, Reason, and the Art of Freedom – Kevin Brien
  4. Marx’s Social Ontology: Individuality and Community in Marx’s Theory of Social Reality – Carol C. Gould (pdf copy)
  5. Alienation: Marx’s Conception of Man in Capitalist Society – Bertell Ollman
The Individual and Society: Selections from Marxist Perspectives

Postcript (30 August 2020): I added this comment to the Facebook discussion:

These [books] are interpretations of Marx’s work that speak to the theme of the proposed mini-course on “The Individual and Society.” I think they are among the best interpreters of Marx’s social theory out there. Alienation by my mentor (Bertell Ollman) is the best book ever written on that subject and offers the finest, most insightful discussion of that concept in all the secondary literature on Marx. And many folks will be surprised by the themes of the other three books I’ve highlighted in the secondary literature (Gould, Brien, and especially Meikle)—which spend a lot of time uncovering an important Aristotelian dimension to Marx’s understanding of human nature. All very fine, challenging, thought-provoking books.

Song of the Day #1806

Song of the Day: Ben, music by Walter Scharf, lyrics by Don Black, was the title track to the 1972 flick, sequel to the 1971 killer rat film, “Willard.” A young Michael Jackson (born on this date in 1958) sings this song over the film’s closing credits [YouTube link]. The studio recording [YouTube link] would go on to become a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, the first of so many solo MJ hits to come. It would go on to win a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Other renditions include those performed live by Billy Gillman and by Dutch violinist Andre Rieu [YouTube links]. In keeping with our Summer Music Festival (Jazz Edition), check out this big band arrangement by Jim McMillen and Company [YouTube link] (from the album “Swingin’ to Michael Jackson: A Tribute” [YouTube links]). Tomorrow is the VMAs… where MJ collected quite a few awards over the years.

7-Day Course Challenge: “The Progressive Era: Revisionist Perspectives” (Course #3)

My friend Daniel Bastiat tagged me on Facebook for a new 7-day challenge: Pick between 2 to 5 books that you would assign for any course of your choosing (each day) and name the course.

Day #3 Course: The Progressive Era: Revisionist Perspectives
(For undergraduate- and graduate-level students)

  1. A New History of Leviathan – Edited by Ronald Radosh and Murray Rothbard
  2. The Progressive Era – Murray Rothbard
  3. The Decline of American Liberalism – Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.
  4. The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916 – Gabriel Kolko
  5. The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State: 1900-1918 – James Weinstein

(And before Rob Bradley says one word, his essay with Roger Donway is worth a look: “Gabriel Kolko’s ‘Political Capitalism’: Bad Theory, Bad History,” as is Joseph Stromberg’s response in “The Molinari Review” [Autumn 2019]: “The War on Kolko.”)

Revisionist Perspectives on The Progressive Era

Postscript (29 August 2020): I added this point to my post on Facebook:

I think that there are important questions that should be raised about some aspects of Kolko’s work, but even Bradley and Donway admit that his approach essentially changed the whole trajectory of thinking about the Progressive Era. They are concerned about some of the interpretations he offers of the data and also with his political slant, but they do credit him:

“Our reinterpretation of Kolko in light of libertarian thought should not take away from Kolko’s success in amending the simplistic Progressivist interpretation of American history.”

“Unquestionably, Kolko did valuable work in disproving the old stereotypes of Gilded Age businessmen as uncompromising pro-capitalists and Progressive reformers as do-gooders. He showed that industrialists had not been as laissez-faire or reformers as high-minded as Progressivism alleged.”

See here and here. I feature some discussion of Kolko’s work and of the broader revisionist historical perspective in an essay forthcoming in the twentieth anniversary finale issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (December 2020): “Free Market Revolution: Partial or Complete?” — a review of the Yaron Brook/Don Watkins book.

7-Day Course Challenge: “The Roads to Serfdom: Readings” (Course #2)

My friend Daniel Bastiat tagged me on Facebook for a new 7-day challenge: Pick between 2 to 5 books that you would assign for any course of your choosing (each day) and name the course.

Day #2 Course: The Roads to Serfdom: Readings
(For undergraduate- and graduate-level students)

After two weeks of political conventions, whatever your political persuasion, I think a course offering different perspectives on “The Roads to Serfdom” is in order. Your readings:

  1. The Origins of Totalitarianism – Hannah Arendt
  2. The Mass Psychology of Fascism – Wilhelm Reich
  3. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World – Barrington Moore, Jr.
  4. Nationalism and Culture – Rudolf Rocker
  5. The Road to Serfdom – F. A. Hayek
Perspectives on the Roads to Serfdom

Postscript (29 August 2020): This Facebook post led to quite a few comments and I’ll just take a few excerpts of some of the additional comments I made.

The case of Hayek is … complex; I think he certainly raised important issues about the dynamics of market processes, and the nature of both the dispersion knowledge and the importance of its tacit component (not captured by articulated “data”). Without opening up a Pandora’s box of discussion on this thread, I think it can’t be denied that at the very least Hayek’s work continues to challenge the left, and in its wake, there has been some fine scholarly work from folks as diverse as Hilary Wainwright (Arguments for a New Left) and Ted Burczak (Socialism After Hayek). Heck, even my mentor, Bertell Ollman, was a Volker fellow under Hayek at the University of Chicago–and learned much from him. It was Bertell’s encouragement that led me to author a dissertation on Marx, Hayek, and Murray Rothbard, the first two parts of which resulted in my own Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (SUNY Press, 1995) and the Rothbard portion of which appeared in expanded form as the second part of my Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Penn State Press, 2000). And while we’re at it, check out the recently published Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom.

I think that Road to Serfdom was Hayek’s most “popular” and therefore most polemical work. The more dialectical themes in that work are his insistence on an organic relationship between political and economic freedom. But his chief dialectical sensibility shows up in his critique of utopianism, which shares much with Marx’s own critique of utopian socialism, and of course, his understanding not only of the role of knowledge (which … is as applicable to large corporations as it is to the state; even Rothbard said something similar with regard to the “One Big Firm” and its calculational problems)… but also his fine take-down of conservatism (“Why I Am Not a Conservative”).

I also think the Hayekian impact on contemporary left-libertarian anarchists can’t be emphasized enough.

Nevertheless, I’ve come to veer away from the -isms… I long ago rejected using the term “capitalism” (given its “known reality“): … and I’m pretty sure that at this stage too many folks are talking past each other because the -isms are so historically loaded. The “communism” of the USSR, in my view, had little or nothing to do with Marx’s vision of communism, and the “capitalism” of the US had almost nothing in common with Ayn Rand’s “unknown ideal.” I have thought more in terms of how relations of power manifest themselves across several dimensions (as I’ve argued in my “Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy”: the personal, the cultural, and the structural), and though, as a social theorist I focus much on the statist aspects of those relations of power, I have long argued that those extra-political aspects of oppression are both preconditions and effects of the broader statist system that I oppose.

7-Day Course Challenge – “The Socialist Calculation Debate” (Course #1)

On Facebook, my friend Daniel Bastiat has started a new 7-day challenge: Pick between 2 to 5 books that you would assign for any course of your choosing (each day) and name the course. You can use the same book on multiple days if it pertains to the topic.

I was going to tag folks the way Daniel tagged me… but too many of the folks I was going to tag are preparing for the beginning of the new semester.

So, without tagging, I will create my own Course titles and provide the texts for the course.

Day #1 Course: The Socialist Calculation Debate
(For graduate-level students)

The only “textbook” for the course is the magisterial multi-volume series edited by Peter J. Boettke: Socialism and the Market: The Socialist Calculation Debate Revisited:

Volume 1: The Natural Economy (selections by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Bukharin, Neurath, and others)

Volume 2: Collectivist Economic Planning (Hayek’s edited work)

Volume 3: Economic Planning in Soviet Russia (Brutzkus)

Volume 4: Marginalist Economics and the Socialist Economy (selections by Taylor, Knight, Dobb, Lerner, Durbin, Lange, and others)

Volume 5: Socialist Calculation and the Market Economy (selections by Hayek, Robbins, Mises, Bergson, Roberts, Vaughn, and others)

Volume 6: Rivalry and Central Planning (by Don Lavoie)

Volume 7: The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism (by Peter J. Boettke)

Volume 8: Mechanism Design Theory and the Allocation of Resources (selections by Lange, Lavoie, Stiglitz, and others)

Volume 9: The Current Status of the Debate (selections by Prychitko, Shapiro, Arnold, Schweickart, Cottrell & Cockshott, Horwitz, Caldwell, and others)

The 9 volumes of Socialism and the Market: The Socialist Calculation Debate Revisited

Postscript (31 August 2020): I added this comment on one of the Facebook threads pertaining to the course and text selections, given some of the criticisms of my choices along the way. Since it’s a general statement, I include my comment here for the sake of readers looking at the entire seven-day course challenge:

“I would truly like to include 10 or 20 books in each course, but with this 2-5 book maximum, I’m going with texts that I think are either foundational to the course, or I’m cheating, by including compilations that cover more ground than the outlines of the challenge. I know that I’m leaving out so much, with regrets. After all, my bibliography for Total Freedom alone runs nearly 50 pages. But the lack of inclusion of any important work is not a sign of negative judgment and the inclusion of a work is not a sign of positive endorsement. My selections are just being guided by works I think essential to the topic of the course… and I’ve slapped my head several times along the way and said: “You shoulda, coulda, woulda included X!” Perhaps when this is little challenge is over, I’ll return to it—when my deadlines and circumstances allow for it—with all new course topics and all-new selections. Until then, I’m prepared to be scolded! 🙂 ”