It’s Time to Make a List

 

Powerline has publicized Amazon de-listing a book from its retail site, effectively “disappearing” it. Amazon may yet reverse its action and claim some form of “error” in the de-listing. But it has happened before and may become a regular occurrence in the future.

In response it is appropriate to ask the following question: If it was your responsibility to preserve the ability for society to “rediscover” the ideas necessary to reformulate Western Civilization, readily accessible by the folk of the future (not solely scholars) with the smallest library of physical books, what would your list be?

One may say this is wholly unnecessary. But who would have thought they would be coming after Washington and Lincoln? It’s time to consider the unthinkable, and plan the strategy for reformulating society.

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    The complete works if Thomas Sowell would be a good start.

    Although that blows your “small library” plan…

    • #1
  2. Ray Gunner Coolidge
    Ray Gunner
    @RayGunner

    Rodin: If it was your responsibility to preserve the ability for society to “rediscover” the ideas necessary to reformulate Western Civilization, readily accessible by the folk of the future (not solely scholars) with the smallest library of physical books, what would your list be?

    Amazing! This sentence is very much how one of the most beloved professors at my alma mater described the college’s mission : Our goal is to educate you so that if it ever becomes necessary for you to re-start Western Civilization, you could do it. 

    But that was a long time ago, in a culture far, far away…

    • #2
  3. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    How the Scots invented the Modern World. 

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ray Gunner (View Comment):

    Rodin: If it was your responsibility to preserve the ability for society to “rediscover” the ideas necessary to reformulate Western Civilization, readily accessible by the folk of the future (not solely scholars) with the smallest library of physical books, what would your list be?

    Amazing! This sentence is very much how one of the most beloved professors at my alma mater described the college’s mission : Our goal is to educate you so that if it ever becomes necessary for you to re-start Western Civilization, you could do it.

    But that was a long time ago, in a culture far, far away…

    Okay, you take care of the knowledge, I’ll work on the re-populating. :-)

    • #4
  5. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    How the Scots invented the Modern World. 

    Just ordered it. 

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ray Gunner (View Comment):

    Rodin: If it was your responsibility to preserve the ability for society to “rediscover” the ideas necessary to reformulate Western Civilization, readily accessible by the folk of the future (not solely scholars) with the smallest library of physical books, what would your list be?

    Amazing! This sentence is very much how one of the most beloved professors at my alma mater described the college’s mission : Our goal is to educate you so that if it ever becomes necessary for you to re-start Western Civilization, you could do it.

    But that was a long time ago, in a culture far, far away…

    Okay, you take care of the knowledge, I’ll work on the re-populating. :-)

    So, vintage Playboy magazines make the list?

    • #6
  7. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    The complete works if Thomas Sowell would be a good start.

    Although that blows your “small library” plan…

    Good thinking. 

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    How small?

    • #8
  9. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    In 1960’s “The Time Machine,” at the end Rod Taylor’s character has taken 3 books into the future to basically bring civilization back to the Eloi. 

    • #9
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    The Bible, ESV translation
    The Hebrew Old Testament
    A Hebrew lexicon
    A Hebrew grammar book
    The Greek New Testament
    A Koineh Greek lexicon
    A Koineh Greek grammar book
    The Bible, King James translation
    A volume with at least 5 Shakespeare plays
    Michael Paulsen’s book on the Constitution
    Plato’s Republic
    Augustine’s Confessions
    Virgil’s Aeneid
    A combined Homer: Iliad and Oddysey
    Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration and Second Treatise
    A volume of long selections from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica
    Milton’s Paradise Lost
    Dante’s Divine Comedy
    LOTR
    Something from Martin Luther
    C. S. Lewis: big book of non-fictions
    C. S. Lewis: big book of Narnia books

    • #10
  11. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    How the Scots invented the Modern World.

    I thought it was the Irish.

    https://www.google.com/books/edition/How_the_Irish_Saved_Civilization/KJfZw8djFIoC?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover

    Maybe I’d better check out what the Scots were up to.

    • #11
  12. Living High and Wide Member
    Living High and Wide
    @OldDanRhody

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Something from Martin Luther

    The Heidleberg Disputations.

    • #12
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    In 1960’s “The Time Machine,” at the end Rod Taylor’s character has taken 3 books into the future to basically bring civilization back to the Eloi.

    Yes, but the three books are not identified, and that event was not included in the story that Wells wrote

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    How the Scots invented the Modern World.

    I thought it was the Irish.

    https://www.google.com/books/edition/How_the_Irish_Saved_Civilization/KJfZw8djFIoC?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover

    Maybe I’d better check out what the Scots were up to.

    The Irish preserved the best of the old civilization, and Scottish Enlightenment principles built the new one.

    (I think.)

    • #14
  15. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The Bible, ESV translation
    The Hebrew Old Testament
    A Hebrew lexicon
    A Hebrew grammar book
    The Greek New Testament
    A Koineh Greek lexicon
    A Koineh Greek grammar book
    The Bible, King James translation
    A volume with at least 5 Shakespeare plays
    Michael Paulsen’s book on the Constitution
    Plato’s Republic
    Augustine’s Confessions
    Virgil’s Aeneid
    A combined Homer: Iliad and Oddysey
    Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration and Second Treatise
    A volume of long selections from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica
    Milton’s Paradise Lost
    Dante’s Divine Comedy
    LOTR
    Something from Martin Luther
    C. S. Lewis: big book of non-fictions
    C. S. Lewis: big book of Narnia books

    A good list, but the problem remains that a lot of these books require scholarship to make them accessible to a potential audience. On the other hand, popular summaries untethered to original sources leave much to the invention of the summarizer. I guess my question is what works focus the average mind in the direction of enlightened thought. 

    • #15
  16. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The Bible, ESV translation
    The Hebrew Old Testament
    A Hebrew lexicon
    A Hebrew grammar book
    The Greek New Testament
    A Koineh Greek lexicon
    A Koineh Greek grammar book
    The Bible, King James translation
    A volume with at least 5 Shakespeare plays
    Michael Paulsen’s book on the Constitution
    Plato’s Republic
    Augustine’s Confessions
    Virgil’s Aeneid
    A combined Homer: Iliad and Oddysey
    Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration and Second Treatise
    A volume of long selections from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica
    Milton’s Paradise Lost
    Dante’s Divine Comedy
    LOTR
    Something from Martin Luther
    C. S. Lewis: big book of non-fictions
    C. S. Lewis: big book of Narnia books

    Add some Aristotle (Basic Works of Aristotle compilation since we’re limited), poetry (Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Shakespeare Sonnet 18), music books (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin) and at least one recording of early Elvis Presley. And something that has E = mc2 .

    • #16
  17. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The Bible, ESV translation
    The Hebrew Old Testament
    A Hebrew lexicon
    A Hebrew grammar book
    The Greek New Testament
    A Koineh Greek lexicon
    A Koineh Greek grammar book
    The Bible, King James translation
    A volume with at least 5 Shakespeare plays
    Michael Paulsen’s book on the Constitution
    Plato’s Republic
    Augustine’s Confessions
    Virgil’s Aeneid
    A combined Homer: Iliad and
    Oddysey
    Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration and Second Treatise
    A volume of long selections from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica
    Milton’s Paradise Lost
    Dante’s Divine Comedy
    LOTR

    Something from Martin Luther
    C. S. Lewis: big book of non-fictions
    C. S. Lewis: big book of Narnia books

    A good list, but the problem remains that a lot of these books require scholarship to make them accessible to a potential audience. On the other hand, popular summaries untethered to original sources leave much to the invention of the summarizer. I guess my question is what works focus the average mind in the direction of enlightened thought.

    I think most of these books actually do that. The ones I’ve bolded anyway.

    But yeah–the best intro books to philosophy, to Shakespeare, to the Bible, to history, to physics, to biology, to engineering, etc. would make a darn good list. The only intro books I have in that list are the Paulsen and the Lewis.

    • #17
  18. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The Bible, ESV translation
    The Hebrew Old Testament
    A Hebrew lexicon
    A Hebrew grammar book
    The Greek New Testament
    A Koineh Greek lexicon
    A Koineh Greek grammar book
    The Bible, King James translation
    A volume with at least 5 Shakespeare plays
    Michael Paulsen’s book on the Constitution
    Plato’s Republic
    Augustine’s Confessions
    Virgil’s Aeneid
    A combined Homer: Iliad and Oddysey
    Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration and Second Treatise
    A volume of long selections from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica
    Milton’s Paradise Lost
    Dante’s Divine Comedy
    LOTR
    Something from Martin Luther
    C. S. Lewis: big book of non-fictions
    C. S. Lewis: big book of Narnia books

    Add some Aristotle (Basic Works of Aristotle compilation since we’re limited), poetry (Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Shakespeare Sonnet 18), music books (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin) and at least one recording of early Elvis Presley. And something that has E = mc2 .

    Yes, but I was giving a short list.

    It’s reasonable to kick off someone and throw in Aristotle and Beethoven. (Sigh. Maybe Lewis could go if it has to be that short. I don’t want to decide.)

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    In 1960’s “The Time Machine,” at the end Rod Taylor’s character has taken 3 books into the future to basically bring civilization back to the Eloi.

    Yes, but the three books are not identified, and that event was not included in the story that Wells wrote.

    True, but it gives something to think about, which is also how the movie ends.

    • #19
  20. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Could we include:

    The Way Things Ought to Be, Limbaugh

    See, I told you So, Limbaugh

    Liberal Fascism, Goldberg

    Witness, Chambers

    Liberty and Tyranny, Levin

    In Fifty Years We’ll All be Chicks, Corolla

    Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman

    The Strange Death of Europe, Murray

    Economics in One Lesson, Hazlitt

    Mere Christianity, Lewis

    The Prince, Machiavelli

    God’s Debris, Adams

    And maybe, when none of it makes any difference, Sailing Alone Around the World, Slocum

    • #20
  21. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    Pride and Prejudice… Because if it comes down to that, I need something to escape to. For the Bible,KJV, because the words I read need to match what is sung in my copy of The Messiah.

    • #21
  22. Robert Herring Member
    Robert Herring
    @RobertHerring

    Probably need to include Isaac Asimov’s Understanding Physics. 

    • #22
  23. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Robert Herring (View Comment):

    Probably need to include Isaac Asimov’s Understanding Physics.

    Or better, jump ahead to Rovelli’s Reality is Not What it Seems.

    • #23
  24. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Adam Smith: The wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments. 

    • #24
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Powerline has publicized Amazon de-listing a book from its retail site, effectively “disappearing” it.

    It says Amazon has dropped it from its Audible site, too. So if someone already purchased it for his Audible library, does that mean they ripped it out of the library, too? That would seem to be a problem. If I had it on my phone now I presume it would stay on my phone, but what about when I buy a new phone and need to move my library? It had better be available for download for people who’ve already bought it.

    Audible is trying to push people into its rental system where instead of buying books you sort of rent them by paying a flat monthly fee. This possibility is one reason I’m not going along with it. (There are also other reasons.) 

    • #25
  26. Robert Herring Member
    Robert Herring
    @RobertHerring

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Powerline has publicized Amazon de-listing a book from its retail site, effectively “disappearing” it.

    It says Amazon has dropped it from its Audible site, too. So if someone already purchased it for his Audible library, does that mean they ripped it out of the library, too? That would seem to be a problem. If I had it on my phone now I presume it would stay on my phone, but what about when I buy a new phone and need to move my library? It had better be available for download for people who’ve already bought it.

    Audible is trying to push people into its rental system where instead of buying books you sort of rent them by paying a flat monthly fee. This possibility is one reason I’m not going along with it. (There are also other reasons.)

    I always download Kindle books to my computer so that Amazon can’t take them back like they did some years ago when someone claimed they didn’t have proper permission to sell Orwell’s 1984 (talk about irony!)

    • #26
  27. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Maybe I’d better check out what the Scots were up to.

    The Irish preserved the best of the old civilization, and Scottish Enlightenment principles built the new one.

    The Scots gave us concept of Happiness as the individual fulfillment of God’s will as in “Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness”. They gave us what we think of as a University. The Constitution (separation of powers). Economics from Adam Smith. The industrial revolution (James Watt). Road Systems (John McAdam). Even the theological inspiration for the idea of America, the covenant, and exceptionalism. 

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Maybe I’d better check out what the Scots were up to.

    The Irish preserved the best of the old civilization, and Scottish Enlightenment principles built the new one.

    The Scots gave us concept of Happiness as the individual fulfillment of God’s will as in “Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness”. They gave us what we think of as a University. The Constitution (separation of powers). Economics from Adam Smith. The industrial revolution (James Watt). Road Systems (John McAdam). Even the theological inspiration for the idea of America, the covenant, and exceptionalism.

    Don’t forget Reidian commonsense epistemology!

    Locke is English. Did he get some of his ideas from the Scots?

    • #28
  29. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Maybe I’d better check out what the Scots were up to.

    The Irish preserved the best of the old civilization, and Scottish Enlightenment principles built the new one.

    The Scots gave us concept of Happiness as the individual fulfillment of God’s will as in “Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness”. They gave us what we think of as a University. The Constitution (separation of powers). Economics from Adam Smith. The industrial revolution (James Watt). Road Systems (John McAdam). Even the theological inspiration for the idea of America, the covenant, and exceptionalism.

    Don’t forget Reidian commonsense epistemology!

    Locke is English. Did he get some of his ideas from the Scots?

     

     

    • #29
  30. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):
    The Prince, Machiavelli

    I can’t believe I left that out. Absolutely required. 

    • #30