(From this morning’s Tom Woods Letter; hop on my list and get a copy of Bernie Sanders Is Wrong by clicking here.)
This week my friend Brion McClanahan, a faculty member at my Liberty Classroom, shared an experience I can relate to: a bunch of people suddenly left one-star reviews of his book on Amazon.
We’ve discussed that book on my show: 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America — and Four Who Tried to Save Her.
And based on their comments, it was obvious they hadn’t even read it.
I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy. Writing a book is extremely hard work. You owe it to an author to read a book before commenting on it, period.
The rush of reviews stemmed from a promotion of the book that appeared on AOL.
Most of these angry reviews consisted of people demanding to know why the Bushes weren’t among the presidents who screwed up America. That proves it’s a terrible book!
Of course, had they read it, they would have found both Bushes appropriately denounced — the first on pp. 161-168, and the second on pp. 173-179 — and duly ranked among Brion’s presidents who screwed up America.
These alleged reviewers were judging the book, quite literally, by its cover. The Bushes aren’t on the cover, so the jerks who reviewed a book they hadn’t read announced to the world that these presidents weren’t in the book at all.
A “professor” then urged everyone not to buy the book — again, not because he’d read it (no U.S. history professor reads anything outside the predictable academic echo chamber), but because of course no reputable historian lists Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and LBJ among the worst presidents.
But why should we care how the bulk of historians rank the presidents? Dissenting historians like Brion and me know as well as they do what these men did. Where we differ is whether we approve of those things. Academic historians evidently don’t think we’re allowed to dissent from their ethical judgments.
Well, we do dissent.
Brion and I also understand economics. So we know it isn’t enough to say, “President X passed the Make Everyone Rich Act, and that’s great, because making everyone rich sounds like an awesome thing to do.” We understand cause and effect, and we bring a theoretical apparatus to our work that helps us understand the real truth behind complex phenomena.
That means we know what really happens when a supposedly well-meaning piece of legislation is passed.
Moral of the story: if you like an author’s work, we appreciate it more than you know when you take the time to write a nice review on Amazon. At the very least, you’re neutralizing the review of someone else who didn’t bother to read our work.
Meanwhile, I continue to dig myself out of boxes. Moving is the worst thing in the world.
P.S. Remember, today’s the day our friends at Rocket Languages, of which my show is an affiliate, are offering 60% off the first
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