TCS Daily


Needed: 'Passionate Reasonableness'

By Nick Schulz - October 4, 2004 12:00 AM

One of the great joys of editing TCS has been the chance to work with writers of exceptional intellect and skill, see them develop ideas and insights, and witness as those ideas percolate beyond our digital pages.

Typically this penetration of ideas happens indirectly, but sometimes there are more obvious manifestations. Here are just a few illustrations:

  • Contributing Editor Lee Harris had many of the ideas he fleshed out at TCS serve as foundation and fodder for his influential book "Civilization and Its Enemies" which was published earlier this year.

  • Michael Vlahos recently had several of his TCS essays on the war on terror and the war in Iraq bundled and published by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory under the title "Culture's Mask: War and Change After Iraq."

Several TCS writers have been asked to testify before Congress; develop article ideas into position papers for think tanks and research institutions; write for MSM publications like Time, the Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times; and are frequently interviewed on radio and television.

One writer whose work I've particularly admired has just released a book based on some of his TCS writings. Contributing Editor Arnold Kling is responsible for some of the most penetrating essays on economics and related topics at TCS for over three years. His new book, "Learning Economics" is now available from Xlibris.

In the introduction to the book, Kling writes:

"This book attempts to express what I call passionate reasonableness. By reasonable, I do not mean centrist, indecisive, or compromising to settle differences. I mean taking positions on public affairs based on facts, knowledge, and intelligent analysis of the consequences of policy proposals. I mean trying to persuade rather than mock those who take a different point of view. I mean trying to appeal to rather than insult the intelligence of the average reader."

Would that there were more writers attempting to do that today. My firm belief is there's a market, indeed a deep hunger, for passionate and reasonable expression of ideas and debate (in my view, this is one key reason a robust blogosphere emerged and, despite some fringe elements, now thrives today). My sense is that's what TCS readers are looking for; and my aim and hope is that's what they find at the site.

So here's my passionate but reasonable plea: Buy Arnold's book today. Give it to friends and colleagues. Learning Economics has never been so easy, so enjoyable or so important.


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