A distinguished Berkeley sociologist goes to Lake Charles, LA

. . . to try to figure out what the heck is wrong with those people. Big business has destroyed their health and crushed their dreams, and the federal government just wants to help, but they are Tea Partiers and don't support expanded government. What the hell?!

Here are two reviews of the book she has recently published. 

A friendly review: "What a liberal sociologist learned from spending five years in Trump's America".

A critical review (in the Washington Post): "A Berkeley sociologist made some tea party friends — and wrote a condescending book about them".

I haven't read the book, but the review in the Post sounds right.

"Quotation of the Day"

Don Boudreaux selects an excellent excerpt from the recent book, Illiberal Reformers.

He then adds, in part:

Isn’t it, therefore, strange that those politicians, pundits, professors, and preachers who today wish to turn more power over to state administrators (and, hence, to reduce the range of market activities) call themselves – and are called by others – “Progressives”?  These champions of administration – these ‘men of system’ – are not progressive; they are regressive.  They are atavistic.  They peddle millennia-old superstitions; they work with outdated concepts; they possess an antediluvian faith in strong ‘leaders’; they  have never learned the modern lesson of spontaneous order; they are haunted by archaic fears of people who are free to pursue their own ends, in their own manner, without supervision by overlords.

"The Roads Not Taken"

Entertaining review of Richard Posner's recent book, Divergent Paths: The Academy and the Judiciary, by Paul Howitz (Gordon Rosen Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law).

The individual criticisms of the article may be sound, but his conclusion—that the author “misperceives what judges need in the way of academic analysis,” which turns out to be more articles telling judges to be like Posner, to delete their ibids and unleash their ids—is ridiculous. . . .

I agree with most of Posner’s diagnoses and many of his prescriptions; I admire his work as a judge and a scholar; I wish more judges, lawyers, and law professors were like Posner. But all of them? By the end of the book, one can’t help recall a scene in the movie Being John Malkovich, depicting a world with nothing but Malkoviches. Even a world filled with first-rate Posners would be an unsteady place; one filled with inevitably less capable people, taught nothing but how to emulate him, would be calamitous. Whatever legal academics’ job is, it can’t be that.

"The Conservative Way Forward?"

Arnold Kling reviews a forthcoming book by Yuval Levin, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America's Social Contract in the Age of Individualism.  Kling likes it but . . . 

In his important new book (forthcoming, May 24, 2016 from Basic Books), Yuval Levin offers a diagnosis of America's illness and a prescription for a cure. His diagnosis blames both the left and the right for promulgating an untenable vision of an individualistic society under the umbrella of the central government. . . . 

For me, Levin offers an appealing vision. However, I wonder if it can ever attract broad public support. In 2016, it appears to me that Americans do not value freedom as much as they used to. If President Obama represented the nostalgia for the era of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, then currently his party seems to be moving even further to the left, with many believing that some form of socialism is the answer. On the Republican side, it seems ironic that the candidate who gained ascendancy by promising to wall off our southern neighbors would appear to wish to run the United States like a Latin American strongman. And on college campuses, many students and administrators prefer "safe spaces" to free speech.