Culture

Could You Become An Assassin-For-Hire?

Editor’s Note: We’re launching some new discussions and debates this winter in dialogue with the new fiction publishing company Liberty Island. See the previous installments: David S. Bernstein on November 19: “5 Leaders of the New Conservative Counter-Culture,”  Dave Swindle on November 25: “7 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Will Be My Last Day on Facebook,” this collection of discussion starters from Monday: “60 Questions to Provoke Debates About How to Fix Our Popular Culture.”  Also see “My Growing List of 65 Read-ALL-Their-Books Authors” for more description of the method behind the madness of this work-in-progress book collection. The goal: 365 books total, 7 lists of 52 each, organized thematically by day. What books should make it onto the final list? How should the organization structure be revised? Your input and suggestions are most valued. Please join the discussion on Twitter (@DaveSwindle) and Instagram (@DaveSwindlePJM) and your responses might appear in future installments.

Episode 1, December 2, 2014: “I Need Your Help Assembling the Ultimate Reading List For My Brother

Wednesday: Technology: Tools of Self-Transformation

Wednesday: How does technology transform our lives? And by “technology” I don’t just mean computers — writing is a form of technology. One’s diet is a technology. These are practical tools one should master.

Writing, Poetry, and Comics

  • Strunk and White The Elements of Style
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Break, Blow, Burn by Camille Paglia
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore
  • Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman
  • Testament by Douglas Rushkoff
  • Six Walks in the Fictional Woods by Umberto Eco

Novels And Genre Fiction

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Film and Television

  • Fantasia by John Culhane
  • The Birds by Camille Paglia
  • Scorsese on Scorsese
  • Magnolia, a screenplay, by P.T. Anderson
  • Crackpot by John Waters
  • Midnight Movies by Hoberman and Rosenbaum
  • Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger
  • Hollywood Babylon II by Kenneth Anger
  • Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left by Ron Radosh
  • Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV by Ben Shapiro

Economics

Education

Art and Media Theory

Internet and Technology

  • An Army of Davids by Glenn Reynolds
  • Program or Be Programmed by Douglas Rushkoff
  • Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff
  • The Wikipedia Revolution
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson

Pets

  • What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend by John Homan

Diet and Drugs

  • High Society: Mind Altering Drugs in History and Culture
  • Sex, Drugs, and Magick by Robert Anton Wilson
  • The Peyote Cult by Weston La Barre
  • Romancing Opiates by Theodore Dalrymple

Generational Theory

  • Generations by Howe and Strauss
  • The Fourth Turning by Howe and Strauss
  • Generation X Reader by Douglas Roushkoff
  • Millennials Rising by Howe and Strauss
  • Queens of all the Earth by Hannah Sternberg

Futurism

Marriage and Monogamy

  • Men and Marriage by George Gilder
  • The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  • Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America by Jonathan Rauch
  • What to Expect When No One’s Expecting by Jonathan V. Last

Some Twitter discussion yesterday with those skeptical of some authors recommended in yesterday’s list:

Thursday: Conservative Ideology Past, Present, and Future

Thursday: How and why do ideological movements change and evolve over time? The word “conservatism” and the goals of the movement it describes have changed a lot. Here I try to untangle some of the conflicting currents of the ideology and point toward the thinkers within it I most appreciate. My intent is to build on the scheme established here last year.

Conservatism 1.0 — The Anti-New Deal Coalition – “The Old Right”

  • For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard
  • The Betrayal of the American Right by Murray Rothbard
  • Liberty Defined by Ron Paul
  • Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement by Justin Raimondo
  • An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard by Justin Raimondo
  • Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism by Ronald Radosh
  • The Irrepressible Rothbard, edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Conservatism 2.0 — The Anti-Communist Coalition – “The New Right”

  • William F. Buckley Jr.’s Getting It Right
  • The Reagan I Knew by William F. Buckley Jr.
  • Reagan in His Own Hand
  • Frank S. Meyer’s In Defense of Freedom: A Conservative Credo

Conservatism 2.5 – Corporatist Neoconservatism – “The GOP Establishment and Fox News Right”

  • Neoconservatism by Irving Kristol
  • Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet
  • Charles Krauthammer’s Things That Matter 

Polemics and Ideas To Inspire Conservatism 3.0 – “The Next Right”

Page 320 of Red HorizonsThe True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa

Friday: Extraordinary Lives – Biographies and Memoirs

Friday: What lessons can we learn from extraordinary lives? I’m trying to pick 52 biographies and memoirs ranging from people in the ancient world through the Middle Ages on through to present day.

Ancient History, Middle Ages, Renaissance

18th Century

  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon Wood
  • Logan Beirne’s Blood of Tyrants
  • George Washington (Eminent Lives) by Paul Johnson
  • George Washington’s Rules of Civility

19th Century

  • All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery
  • Lincoln Unbound by Rich Lowry
  • Frederick Douglass : Autobiographies
  • Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
  • Churchill by Paul Johnson
  • A Magick Life by Martin Booth
  • The Eye in the Triangle: An Interpretation of Aleister Crowley by Israel Regardie
  • Zora Neale Hurston : Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings

20th Century

The Boomers and Beyond

“The men and women called Anarchists or Nihilists (actually early terrorists) publicized their views by assassination.” – From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present by Jacques Barzun

Saturday – Science, Spirituality and Philosophy

Saturday: How can we reconcile science and spirituality? I try to blend books that take a spiritual approach to science and a scientific approach to spirituality. The fight between science and religion is bogus, reconciled through mysticism.

Spiritual Science

Scientific Spirituality

  • The Hermetic Link by Jacob Slavenburg
  • The Way of Tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Magick Book 4 by Aleister Crowley
  • The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley
  • The Hieroglphyic Monad by John Dee
  • The One Year Manual by Israel Regardie
  • The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall
  • Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson
  • Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You and Your World by Robert Anton Wilson
  • Stairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists, and the Art of Spiritual Transformation by Peter Levenda

Greek and Roman Wisdom

  • The Republic of Plato, Allan Bloom translation
  • Who Killed Homer? By Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath
  • The Father of Us All: War and History Ancient and Modern by Victor Davis Hanson

The Renaissance and Enlightenment Wisdom That Created the Modern World

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Sunday – Judeo-Christian Values and History

Sunday: How did Judeo-Christian values emerge from the chaos of ancient paganism and what effect did they have on humanity? We explore books about the history of Western Civilization, Judaism, Christianity, and the religions’ mystical practices.

American History

Exoteric Americanism

Esoteric Americanism

Israel and Judaism

Christianity

Judeo-Christian Mysticism

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Monday: Good Vs Evil

Monday: How can we understand Evil? I explore books about orthodox Islam, revolutionary Marxism, and antisemitism. In particular I’m going to try to explain how they’ve evolved over the centuries.

Islam

1.0 – the Koran and Mohammed

  • Howard Bloom’s The Mohammed Code
  • Islam Unveiled by Robert Spencer
  • Did Muhammad Exist? By Robert Spencer
  • The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran by Robert Spencer
  • What the Koran Really Says by Ibn Warraq

2.0 – Shariah slave states

3.0 – Terrorism and Stealth Jihad

Marxism

1.0 – From Marx and his predecessors to the death of Stalin

2.0 – the Cold War Criminal State and its Apologists and Allies

3.0 – Postmodernist Community Organizing and Stealth Socialism

Antisemitism and Conspiracism

  • Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin
  • Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz
  • Nazism: a Historical and Comparative Analysis of National Socialism, 1978.
  • Stephen H. Norwood’s Antisemitism and the American Far Left 
  • The Wicked Son by David Mamet
  • Making David Into Goliath by Joshua Muravchik
  • Conspiracy by Daniel Pipes
  • The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy by Daniel Pipes
  • Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground by Jonathan Kay
  • The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
  • Behold a Pale Horse by William Cooper
  • Sinister Forces trilogy by Peter Levenda
  • The Biggest Secret: The Book That Will Change the World by David Icke
  • Counterculture Colophon: Grove Press, the Evergreen Review, and the Incorporation of the Avant-Garde by Loren Glass
  • The Evergreen Review Reader

Today Kathy Shaidle finishes her critical review of  Peter Bebergal’s Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll.

Tuesday: The 5 Points of the Pagan Star

Tuesday: What is the relationship between ancient paganism and today’s popular culture? I argue that the idols described in the first five books of the Bible have a lot in common with the stars up on the screen today. Here I’ll try to break down the similarities and show how they evolved through the books that persuaded me.

Nature-Worship – Animism

Sex-Worship – Hedonism

  • The Illiad by Homer
  • Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia
  • Dr. Richard Lewinsohn’s A History of Sexual Customs
  • Sex, Art, and American Culture by Camille Paglia
  • Vamps and Tramps by Camille Paglia
  • Sex Rebel: Black, Memoirs of a Gash Gourmet by Bob Greene (pseudonym for Frank Marshall Davis)
  • Porn Generation by Ben Shapiro
  • Sacred Sexuality in Ancient Egypt
  • Sexual Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Sex on show: seeing the erotic in Greece and Rome
  • Coincidance by Robert Anton Wilson
  • Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith
  • An Unseemly Man by Larry Flynt
  • The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America by Roger Kimball
  • Psychopathia Sexualis
  • Saharasia by James DeMeo
  • Wilhelm Reich in Hell by Robert Anton Wilson
  • One Nation Under Sex by Larry Flynt
  • Ishtar Rising by Robert Anton Wilson
  • The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
  • Love all the People by Bill Hicks
  • In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks by Adam Carolla

Skin-Worship – Racism, Tribalism, Ethnic nationalism

Self-Worship – Narcissism

  • The Diary of Virginia Woolf
  • Virginia Woolf: A Biography by Quentin Bell
  • Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right
  • The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand
  • Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens
  • Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
  • god Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
  • The Rage Against God – Peter Hitchens
  • The End of Faith by Sam Harris
  • Writings on an Ethical Life by Peter Singer
  • Tough Sh*t – Kevin Smith

Death-Worship – Nihilism

  • The Worship of the Dead: or The Origin and Nature of Pagan Idolatry
  • The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia by Roger Kimball
  • Michael Walsh’s The People v. The Democratic party
  • Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy by Angela Franks
  • Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman
  • It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations by Spengler as channeled by David P. Goldman
  • Gavin Baddeley’s Dissecting Marilyn Manson
  • Experiments Against Reality by Roger Kimball
  • Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple
  • The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

What books should be added to the list? Please share your suggestions.