I recently wandered upon a few “best non-fiction books of the 20th century” lists, such as this one from National Review and this one from ISI. What surprises me most is that Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia is not on either of these lists. So, no Nozick but Kenneth Starr’s Starr Report makes the NR list? Huh?! Does this tell us something about the erudition of the modern conservative or where libertarianism stands in relation to the broader ”right” or both?
But what are the best classical liberal books? Here is one answer. Liberty gave this list of the best of the 20th century (not available on-line):
But if you had to pick one 20th century classical liberal text as the best or your favorite or the one you’d most recommend or the one you’d take if stranded on a desert island, what would it be?
For my desert island, I’d go with Nozick since it is the most stimulative of other ideas, and one you could read over and over again. For young budding classical liberals, I’d probably recommend Capitalism and Freedom despite its lack of philosophical depth. Not sure what the best is or what my favorite is. But it is hard to imagine that one of the works by Nock or other Old Right writers wouldn’t cross my mind just for the sheer pleasure of reading these folks even if I probably wouldn’t pick one as the best or my favorite.
So, what would you choose?