Dusty Bookshelves and Long‐​Dead Writers
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Dusty Bookshelves and Long‐​Dead Writers

29 October 2010


New York Times reporter Kate Zernike generated a lot of spit‐​takes in the blogosphere when she wrote on October 2 about how Tea Party activists are reading “once‐​obscure texts by dead writers”: So that’s, you know, “long‐​dormant ideas” like those of F. A. Hayek, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, who met with President Reagan at the White House, whose book The Constitution of Liberty was declared by Margaret Thatcher “This is what we believe,” who was described by Milton Friedman as “the most important social thinker of the 20th century” and by White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers as the author of “the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today,” who is the hero of The Commanding Heights , the book and PBS series by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, and whose book The Road to Serfdom has never gone out of print and has sold 100,000 copies this year. So that’s Kate Zernike’s idea of an obscure, long‐​dormant thinker. Meanwhile, over the next few weeks after that article ran, the following headlines appeared in the New York Times :

Apparently the Times isn’t always opposed to looking in the dusty books of long‐​dead writers. By the way, Keynes died in 1946, Hayek in 1992.

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