Eight Books To Read While You Still Can
February 14, 2021 (3w ago)

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The American mind is closed. What was once the freest country in the world is rapidly becoming far less so, thanks to a corporate-academic-bureaucratic ruling-class that has decided liberty no longer suits its interests. The free and open internet that existed five years ago has vanished. The ruling class of the American Regime is not just ripping out our collective digital tongues. Illiterate, frothing mobs, acting in concert with their ruling class handlers, are ripping down historic statues. They are renaming buildings and streets, and re-writing school curricula to serve modern politics. They are throwing the full weight of the national security state at American citizens, who are being charged with crimes for political offenses. Ordinary people stay silent about supporting an elected American president, for fear of losing their jobs.

But so far, one hallmark of intolerant regimes remains largely invisible. While many classic books are vanishing from school lesson plans, America hasn’t seen outright book burning. Though the list of books blocked from Amazon or other major sellers continues to grow, Americans still enjoy the right to read just about whatever they want, without to much difficulty.

To most, it’s impossible to imagine that changing. But why? It used to be unthinkable that Americans would lose the right to freely express their political views online. Bad people touting a toxic ideology hold power, and things can get shockingly worse shockingly quickly.

Will books actually be banned in America? Thankfully, for now it’s still a long-shot. But they could absolutely become much harder to find. Controversial books may cease to be reprinted, and then may be removed from major used book platforms like Amazon or BetterWorldBooks. Libraries carrying the “wrong” books could be pressured to discard them, or reserve them only for a privileged elite of academic researchers. Booksellers who refuse to join the mob could find themselves sanctioned or deplatformed, just as Parler was shut down for daring to exist as a free speech social media company.

Revolver, needless to say, stands proudly for the absolute freedom of people to read anything they want and decide for themselves what to make of it. So here’s some books to consider reading…while it’s still easy to do so:

1. Flashman, by George MacDonald Fraser 

Flashman is funny. Hysterically funny, in fact. Inspired by a minor character in a classic 19th-century English novel, Flashman is the ultimate scoundrel: A liar, a cheat, a sycophant, a playboy, and above all, a coward. Thanks entirely to luck and a total lack of moral scruples, Flashman repeatedly escapes all consequences for his behavior, while the 12 novels in the series embroil him in almost every famous conflict of the 19th Century.

So what’s the problem? Being novels written in first-person by an utterly abominable man, the books are full of offensive (but hilarious) content. Flashman is appallingly racist against almost every culture in existence. In one book, he serves on an illegal slave trading ship, but certainly has no moral qualms about it. In just about every book of the series, Flashman wins glorious but often unethical victories for the British Empire over its hopelessly outmatched enemies.

But along with Flashman’s own character, there is also the way the series oozes with Fraser’s own love for the past and the fascination people who inhabit it. Despite their ludicrous main character, the books are impeccably researched. The back of each volume contains page after page of historical footnotes, explaining how the representations of various events and major characters accord with the real-life historical record. In Flashman and the Redskins, Flashman encounters American Indians as they actually were: Not mere passive victims, but often terrifying and ferociously violent. Wikipedia might might tell you that Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar only killed half her kingdom’s population because she was “attempting to expand her empire while protecting Malagasy sovereignty,” but Flashman’s Lady gives the unvarnished truth: The queen was a terrifying tyrant who brought horrific deaths to countless people around her on the flimsiest of reasons.

In short, Flashman portrays the past lovingly but honestly, while also filling it with all manner of immoral behavior. It’s tremendous fun, but the moment enough liberals notice its existence, it will be gone.

2. The Bell Curve, by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein

While most books on this list were perfectly acceptable until the woke moment arrived, The Bell Curve was controversial from the day it was published, and anger over it has reliably flared up every few years since then.

The book directly confronts one of the most politically-loaded topics in science: Human intelligence. Its main theses were straightforward: Varying social phenomena attributed to poverty, bigotry, or inequality can be better explained as the natural byproduct of differences in intelligence. Humans aren’t all the same, and people with higher intelligence are engage in a whole host of beneficial behaviors that, over time, get them ahead in life. They stay out of prison. They stay employed, and in higher-paying, more cognitively-demanding jobs. They save their money, have more successful marriages, and engage in less self-destructive behavior.

The other half of the book is a warning about the direction of American society. Murray and Herrnstein warned that a “cognitive elite” was emerging in America. The economic rewards for cognitive ability were only increasing over time, and the American school system had become increasingly effective at identifying the cognitively gifted and directing them towards elite colleges. These cognitively gifted people were in turn marrying one another, and raising cognitively gifted children who in turn would marry one another and repeat the cycle. Over time, they warned, a dramatic rise in American inequality was inevitable, without the need for any overtly discriminatory laws. The book closes with this remarkably prescient prediction:

Predicting the course of society is chancy, but certain tendencies seem strong enough to worry about:

  • An increasingly isolated cognitive elite.
  • A merging of the cognitive elite with the affluent.
  • A deteriorating quality of life for people at the bottom end of the cognitive distribution.

Unchecked, these trends will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top, restructuring the rules of society so that it becomes harder and harder for them to lose.

The past two and a half decades have done nothing but prove the these of The Bell Curve over and over again. But instead of being praised for its foresight, the book has been condemned over and over. Most of the outrage over the book, predictably, is that it is racist. In reality, the book is just thorough and academically honest. A few chapters of the book discuss the incontrovertible fact that different demographic groups score differently on measures of intelligence, and present the evidence that these differences may be genetic rather than merely the product of social forces. The science is robust, but whether Murray and Herrnstein are right is also besides the point. The vast majority of the book focuses exclusively on white Americans, purely to demonstrate that rising inequality in America is occurring without any need for race to be a factor.

Critics can bash The Bell Curve all they want. They can protest Murray’s speeches, or assault the people who attend them. They can try to drive him from polite society entirely. But it won’t change one crucial thing: Murray and his late co-author were right.

3. The Man Who Would Be Queen, by J. Michael Bailey

The transgender mania has swept America with breathtaking speed. Just 8 years ago, it was a fringe issue, on the radar of almost nobody.

Today, transgenderism is a part of America’s state ideology. To be in good standing with the powers that be, one must publicly affirm every part of the transgender creed: That humans can be born “a man in a woman’s body,” or vice versa, that self-mutilation via surgery is a healthy response to such dysphoria, and that there is literally no meaningful difference between cisgender women and transgender women.

You know it’s insane. But what is the real science at play here?

The Man Who Would Be Queen, by Northwestern professor J. Michael Bailey, is the last major book on transgenderism, from a top medical expert, before society lost its mind. Bailey, to be certain, is no conservative. He is sympathetic to the transgendered and believes in their right to undergo sex changes. But thanks to its age, the book is also filled with facts that are unspeakable heresies today.

Bailey’s book reveals that there are multiple types of transsexuals. Some of them are, in essence, extremely gay men, so gay that they want to become women and attract a straight male partner. But others are basically fetishists, who have projected their attraction to women back onto themselves.

Perhaps the most important revelation of the book is that, for the vast majority of children expressing gender dysphoria, it is a phase. The vast majority of boys who want to be girls, or vice versa, eventually grow out of it, and as adults are satisfied with the bodies they were born with. This finding is critical, but also frightening, as transgender zealots push to transition dysphoric children as quickly as possible.

Just months after Bailey’s book came out, the political winds began to shift, and honest academic work about transgenderism became impossible. For now, the entire book is available for free online. Consider downloading it, before it vanishes.

4. Scoop and Black Mischief, by Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh is best-known for Brideshead Revisited, his nostalgic tribute to the vanishing British aristocracy. But Brideshead is far from his best work. Prior to World War II, Waugh was one of the most ruthless wits in the history of the English language, writing dark satires that ridiculed almost every part of life in the interwar era.

All of Waugh’s pre-war novels are worth reading. But if too many people bother to do so, Waugh is doomed to cancellation for his irreverent choice of topics. In Black Mischief, the emperor of a fictional African country brings in a grifter buddy from Oxford to “modernize” his country, with disastrous but hilarious results. In Scoop, a case of mistaken identity sends a bumbling nature writer off to cover a civil war in yet another African state. Both books are hilarious, and Waugh’s razor wit cuts a whole host of worthy targets, but his choice of topic means there is a zero point zero percent chance those books won’t be denounced as “racist” the moment some angry Twitter bluecheck learns of their existence.

5. The Son Also Rises, by Gregory Clark

Clark’s book is a strong companion to The Bell Curve, and while less notorious or publicly controversial, it is easy to see it suffering a similar fate should it attract enough notice.

Like The Bell Curve, Clark’s book is a direct attack on the “blank slate,” and by extension the assumption that differences about humanity are solely rooted in oppression. While Murray focused on America in the 20th century, Clark’s book is grander in scope. He uses the prevalence of surnames across the centuries to estimate levels of social mobility, and his findings are unambiguous. Social mobility is less than people expect, and over hundreds of years the same families produce successful people over and over again. Mere social status cannot explain the trend, as adopted children do not perform nearly as consistently as biological ones. Clark’s explanation is certainly tailormade to displease the modern left: Instead of blaming centuries of oppression, Clark theorizes that certain human lineages have genes more suited to success, and those genes recur over and over again through the centuries. To diehard egalitarians, that’s enough to make the book scandalous.

6. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad

Conrad’s exploration of the darker reaches of human psychology has been a staple of English classrooms for decades, with ample reason. Conrad artfully explores the barrier between civilization and savagery, and how it may be a weaker barrier than we like to believe. The novella itself uses as its setting the Congo Free State, a tyranny ruled personally by King Leopold II under which a huge segment of the population was killed or mutilated to sustain a lucrative rubber harvest. The novel itself is timeless, though, which is why even when the narrative shifted to the Vietnam War in Apocalypse Now, it was still an all-time classic.

But for feebler minds, it is impossible to move past Heart of Darkness’s setting. The novella’s skilled use of Leopold’s Congo — undeveloped, primitive, and ominous — for aesthetic purposes is shoved aside, in preference of a temper tantrum over the book’s supposed racism simply for using Africa as a place where bad things happen. The first such attack came from Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in the 1970s, but criticism has grown even more in recent years. Last summer, South African academic Tshilidzi Marwala argued that the book was so dangerous it should be kept away from young people. In the pages of The New York Times, Vanderbilt professor Michael Eric Dyson pushed for its demotion from the canon on the grounds that “it’s done so much damage in fashioning savage notions of Africa.” That makes as much sense as claiming that Macbeth should be struck from the canon for defaming Scotland, but that hardly matters. The book is one sufficiently public push away from being dropped from school curricula forever.

7. The Camp of the Saints, by Jean Raspail

Of all the books on this list, Jean Raspail’s 1973 dystopia is the hardest to find a print copy of. While French copies are plentiful, English ones cost anywhere from $80 to more than $250.

The book’s plot will sound familiar to anybody who has followed the news since 2015: An enormous fleet of ships carries impoverished migrants from India to the shores of southern France. They could easily be stopped, by simply sinking the ships or shooting some of the migrants, and sending the rest back to India. But ultimately, France is not willing to commit atrocities to perpetuate itself. It is helpless in the face of helplessness. The convoy arrives, followed by countless more, and wave after wave of Third World immigration brings an end to France and the rest of the Western World.

Over the past five years, the press has enshrined The Camp of the Saints as a racist work of mythic proportions, and Raspail as a warped white supremacist. The Trump administration’s Stephen Miller was vilified merely for mentioning it in emails.

This is a lie. Much like with The Bell Curve, almost nobody racing to condemn Camp has ever read the book.

Raspail, who died last year, was a legitimately great French novelist. Raspail won both the Grand Prix du Roman and the Grand Prix de Littérature, two of France’s most prestigious literary honors, from the Académie Française,

The thesis of The Camp of the Saints is simple: That the very traits that made the West so successful and so widely-imitated would eventually be its undoing. The West’s openness and egalitarianism led to widespread prosperity. But those same moral sensibilities, Raspail argues, mean that while the West could easily vanquish a normal military threat, it will be politically unable to justify its own success. If the impoverished, backwards masses of the Third World demand the wealth of the West, the West will submit even if it ultimately means the loss of its prosperity, its independence, its culture, its very existence. Nearly a half-century later, with Western elites eagerly waving in caravans from Central America and literal boatloads from Africa, Raspail’s foresight looks remarkable.

Is Camp offensive? To modern sensibilities, absolutely. The entire book is written as a lurid fable, with large amounts of grotesque imagery. Yet it is also a brilliant book, so ahead of its time in analyzing the psychology of elite progressives that it is shocking to realize it was written nearly a half-century ago.

Ignore the haters. If you can find a copy, Jean Raspail’s novel is worth reading.

8. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling

Okay, okay, this one is a joke. For one, Revolver hopes most of its readers have outgrown children’s books, and for that matter there are much better children’s books than Harry Potter, as the inimitable and late Harold Bloom pointed out in this scathing review.

And yet, the effort to purge J.K. Rowling from society is underway. According to Vox, Rowling’s principled opposition to transgender mania means it will never be acceptable to create new Harry Potter content. If the woke moment lasts long enough, escalation is inevitable: First, it will become unacceptable to have new branded Harry Potter material that Rowling might profit from. Then, it will become less acceptable to vocally be a fan of the books and films. And finally, it will become a mark of immorality to publicly read the books at all. Unthinkable? Please. Nothing is too absurd for the woke moment.

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