23 August 2007
One thing – but certainly not the only thing – that liberals are good at is flattering themselves. They have a visceral need to believe they are better than conservatives on every level. They are more tolerant, more intelligent, more educated, more moral than conservatives, who are intolerant, unintelligent, uneducated and immoral. And anything they can grasp to justify this belief is a welcome sight.

If a poll is to be believed liberals read more books than conservatives – by a few books. This emboldens Pat Shroeder to assert that conservatives prefer slogans to books.

“The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,’” Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. “It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page.”


Apparently, if a book hasn’t been written by a non-liberal, Schroeder hasn’t heard of it – much less read it. I for one have yet to see the book written by a non-liberal which has nothing but “No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes” on every page.

Right. It’s not at all as if liberals have slogans. Surely it’s just as difficult to write a book saying, “No tax breaks for the rich, no tax breaks for the rich, no tax breaks for the rich” on every page. Or: “No war for oil”, “Bush lied; people died”, “Culture of corruption”, “Save the planet”, “Tax the oil companies”.

I’m really not bothered by the possibility that a liberal might read more books per year than I do.

First, I don’t read books; I study them, savoring them like good scotch accompanied by a fine Honduran cigar. I love books the way some people love food. Reading is one of two things a man should never rush. (Women never rush the other thing.)

Second, I tend to re-read books I’ve already read. If polled, I probably would not include books I read for a second, third or fourth time.

Third, the books I read are voluminous. For example, I’m presently re-reading/studying the entire Platonic corpus collected in a single volume, among other books. When I’m done, and assuming I can count books I’ve read previously, how many books can I say I’ve read? Thirty-eight? Or one? What about my two-volume Aristotle? How many books there?

Fourth, I have no idea how many books I’m reading right now (but they’re in a stack in my study, so I could always count them up), much less how many I read last year. I didn’t know there was a contest on.

Finally, the liberals I know don’t have as many books as I do; and I know they don’t read more than I do. They don’t need to: they already know it all.

Leave it to the Pat Schroeders of the world to believe there’s something to it simply to have read more books than another. What if one of my liberal relatives read fifty-six books last year, and I read only one? What would that mean if the fifty-six books were the original Nancy Drew mysteries and the single book I read last year was the aforementioned complete works of Plato, or, heck, even just The Republic? Or Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics (which I’ve already read more times than I can recall!)?

I’ve never thought to keep even a ballpark figure of the number of books I’ve read in any period of time, much less a year. I’ve never thought it mattered. Hmmmm. I still don’t. What matters is not how many books, but rather which books. Most of my relatives are liberals. I’ve noted what books they read. I’m neither impressed nor threatened by the fact that they may read more books in a year than I do.

Hey. Not to be out-done by Pat Schroeder, let me put a spin on the poll: Perhaps liberals read so much more because they can’t think for themselves.

I wonder if the pollsters asked about the size of the books read. Maybe liberals read shorter books. I don’t know. I’m just asking.

Liberals never seem to want for something to use to disparage and dismiss their opponents. Their opponents are never just wrong. Their opponents are wrong due to some deficiency, in intelligence, morality, or education.

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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