Bin Laden’s Right-Wing Reading List Goes Viral
The list includes an archive of radical right wing books, history books, humor texts, and conservative philosophy belonging to the former al-Qaeda chief, some of which are still being withheld by the U.S. government, but leaked online this afternoon.
Among the volumes of books on law and military strategy that were publicly released this week, are a not-yet-declassified list of books by popular conservative authors such as Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, and Andrew Breitbart, as well as scholarly texts by Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and Friedrich von Hayek. The collection includes:
The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome by Kevin D. Williamson
Ideas Have Consequences by Richard M. Weaver
Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter
The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek
Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom‘ by William F. Buckley, Jr.
Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! by Andrew Breitbart
On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
Human Action, The Scholar’s Edition by Ludwig von Mises
The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 by George Nash
Witness by Whittaker Chambers
The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk
Ethnic America: A History by Thomas Sowell
Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss
The leak comes shortly after the fourth anniversary of Bin Laden’s death at the hands of US special forces…
By Rod Dreher
Here’s a story for you. For years I devoted much of my journalism—op-eds, blogs, even a book about cultural politics—to lamenting the rootlessness of American life and prescribing solutions for it from within the conservative intellectual tradition. Yet I never quite found the wherewithal to live as I preached. It’s as if I didn’t find my own arguments convincing.
Then, from my home in faraway Philadelphia, I watched my sister Ruthie die slowly from cancer, cared for by family and community in our south Louisiana hometown. The doctrines and ideals I professed as true unexpectedly took concrete form in the heartbreaking story unfolding there.
When we arrived from Philadelphia for the funeral, my wife and I were overwhelmed by what we saw. At the little Methodist church where my family has been baptized, married, and given funeral rites for generations, over a thousand townspeople stood outside in the heat and amid mosquitoes to pass by Ruthie’s body and pay their respects. Many of them were my schoolteacher sister’s friends, colleagues, and former students. Nearly all had, in some way, helped support Ruthie and her family throughout her 19-month ordeal.
In that church, on that night, I had an epiphany. This is what community means. This is the way my sister lived: rooted in and faithful to the community that nurtured her, and that she in turn helped to nurture.
My wife and I experienced a conversion. Standing under a live oak tree in front of the church, we grasped that what the people in St. Francisville, Louisiana, had, we needed. The poetry of Ruthie’s passion and the drama of the characters that played their parts did for my wife and me what syllogisms and abstractions could not—change our hearts and, in turn, our lives. Days later, we went back to Philadelphia, told our friends goodbye, and soon thereafter moved to my Louisiana hometown.
What happened brings to mind Pope Benedict XVI’s observation that the most convincing arguments for Christianity aren’t propositional arguments at all but rather the art and the saints that the faith produces—that is, the stories Christians tell and live. Similarly, the ideals I held to be true did not speak to me with authority—at least, not authority sufficient to command me to pack up my U-Haul and drive—until I saw them lived out in my sister’s narrative.
Such is the power of story.