Saturday, September 23, 2023

Sohrab Ahmari's Pugilistic New Book

My Twitter (or sorry, X!) "For you" feed has been ensconced in pictures of Sohrab Ahmari's new book, Tyranny, Inc.: How Private Power Crushed American Liberty - and What to Do About It.

Here are just a few examples:

I had to know: what was all the hype about? 

So I got my hands on a copy:

Me, in between the pages of Sohrab's new provocative book.


If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say: Sohrab's book is a scathing repudiation of neoliberal orthodoxy. A self-proclaimed conservative, the Compact editor decouples conservatism from some of its widely-accepted shibboleths like "free trade" and "deregulation". He instead promotes what Oren Cass and others affiliated with the National Conservative movement coin "conservative economics", which they posit is, unlike laissez faire economic theory, conducive to promoting the "common good". 

Sohrab, instead of bogging the reader down with charts and unpalatable quantitative methodology, provides powerful and humanizing anecdotes from individuals who have fallen victim to the neoliberal order. This is, I find, a compelling and attractive way to make a case to the lay-reader. Throwing numbers and regression outputs at readers is, not only ineffectual, but obnoxious and pedantic. 

This leads me to a broader point: so many academics lack the ability to communicate to a broad audience. Instead, they speak only to other academics in their immediate circles. Books like these, I believe, die in obscurity because they are fundamentally unreadable. Sohrab, though, by humanizing the toll that hegemonic liberal economic theory has had on average working Americans, provides us with something that could have as much influence as Murray's The Bell Curve or Deneen's Why Liberalism Failed, epochal books written by academics who understand how to actually communicate a message to the masses. 

Give it a read...then, give it another read. This is, I feal, a book of great import. The post-liberal movement, which Sohrab, Deneen, and others are spearheading, is already penetrating the political mainstream, with the likes of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-MI) offering their praises on the back of the book. 

New Deal-conservatism may just be the future...


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