The books you’ll never read

July 15, 2006 by  
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That’s not entirely true. Some of you are avid readers, intelligent and educated, but even for you these books may be a stretch.

With less than 2Gb left, I was looking for some space I could spare on my hard drive, and remembered some books I’d downloaded from the Online Library of Liberty. Available there are all the classic titles that have contributed to our largely Eurocentric understanding of “art, economics, history, law, literature, music, philosophy, political theory, religion, science, sociology, and war and peace” (those are their subject headings). I went for some of the ones I always thought I should read but haven’t, titles I thought sounded interesting, or authors I either know or have simply heard are well-respected.

This is the list of titles I downloaded in June, 2005:

  • Aristotle (320s BC) The Politics
  • Augustine (4th C) The Soliloquies
  • Dante (1321) The Divine Comedy
  • Erasmus, Desiderius (1507) Antipolemus; or, the Plea of Reason, Religion, and Humanity, against War
  • Erasmus, Desiderius (1521) The Complaint of Peace
  • Erasmus, Desiderius (1501) The Manual of a Christian Knight
  • Erasmus, Desiderius (1511) In Praise of Folly
  • Gaius (c.160) Institutes of Roman Law
  • Galilei, Galileo (1638) Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences
  • Godwin, William (1793) An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice
  • Grotius, Hugo (1625) The Rights of War and Peace
  • Hammurabi (18thC BC) The Code of Hammurabi
  • Hobbes, Thomas (1651) Leviathan
  • Homer (8thC BC) The Iliad (Hobbes translation)
  • Homer (8thC BC) The Odyssey (Hobbes translation)
  • von Humboldt, Wilhelm (1792) The Sphere and Duties of Government (The Limits of State Action)
  • Hume, David (1777) Essays Moral, Political, Literary
  • Hume, David (1739) A Treatise of Human Nature
  • Jefferson, Thomas (1776) The Declaration of Independence (Becker ed.)
  • Kant, Immanuel (18thC) Critical Examination of Practical Reason
  • Kant, Immanuel (1795) Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Essay
  • Kant, Immanuel (1796) The Philosophy of Law
  • Kant, Immanuel (18thC) Principles of Politics
  • Kant, Immanuel (1889 collection) Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason and Other Works on the Theory of Ethics – this collection includes Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, Critical Examination of Practical Reason, Introduction to the Metaphysics of Morals; and Preface to the Metaphysical Elements of Ethics, and the first part of The Philosophical Theory of Religion.
  • List, Friedrich (1841) The National System of Political Economy
  • Locke, John (1689) Two Treatises of Government
  • Luther, Martin (16thC) The 95 Theses
  • Luther, Martin (16thC) First Principles of the Reformation
  • Machiavelli, Niccolo (1513) The Prince (Detmold translation)
  • Mill, John Stuart (1879 collection) On Liberty and The Subjection of Women – the two titles were published in 1859 and 1869 respectively
  • Milton, John (17thC collection) The Poetical Works of John Milton – this collection includes, amongst a large number of poems, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.
  • Mohammed, The Qur-an/Koran
  • Plato (370sBC) The Republic – hm, on opening this to see which edition I have, I see it never downloaded fully…
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (collection, published in 1756 and 1754 respectively) A Lasting Peace through the Federation of Europe and The State of War
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (collection, includes) The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right (1762), and his DiscoursesA Discourse on Political Economy (1755), A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1751), and A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1755).
  • Smith, Adam (1759) The Theory of Moral Sentiments
  • Smith, Adam (1776) An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
  • Anon. (8thC) Beowulf (original lang.)
  • Anon. (8thC) The Tale of Beowulf (English translation)
  • Various Authors (1215) Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John

With 442 authors and 1397 titles, I was going to say they weren’t all European or American, but they virtually are. Apart from Hammurabi, two Indians, a couple of medieval Arab authors and some biblical prophets, the majority are what you could probably call the basis of modern Western thought. Since most of the works are historical, the authors are also mostly of the male gender, but there is a specific list of Women Authors on Liberty, of which they name 11.

Having gone through my entire list again to get those details I have noticed once more that some authors were quite prolific, and some of their other works would have been worth adding as well. Not that I’ve read any of these that I’ve downloaded, nor am I in all reality very likely to.

I have read extracts of Locke, Hobbes, Kant, List, and Smith in my International Relations studies, but have never had cause to read them in their entirety. There’s probably a good reason for that. They teach you the most important extracts so you don’t have to wade through the murk, I suspect. But I don’t like the thought of learning institutions producing graduates who simply think – or don’t think but rather ‘know’ the same information as every other person. From a Western world view, it’s the only way you can realistically run a university or school, by routinising the material. My 30 seconds of thought on the matter isn’t going to produce an alternative, but I think the model perpetuates an idea that this is the only information worth knowing – the only information that has informed modern thought and the only information that should inform modern thought.

Apart from those extracts mentioned, I also started to read Machiavelli’s The Prince sometime in high school, but have a sneaking suspicion I didn’t finish it.

Now that I’ve finally finished this post, the longest in quite a while, I can publish it, and at the same time consign those 913 megabytes of literary starch to a CD. If you’re interested in downloading titles from the site mentioned earlier, I recommend you take the smaller file options. I probably unnecessarily chose high quality.

In the wash

July 14, 2006 by  
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I just pulled a load of clothes out of the washing machine and found at the bottom two bulldog clips I had been looking for.

Despite many times in the past having found coins (bonus!) and mulched paper (drat!) I had forgotten about, they for some reason had never, before tonight, made me think of the phrase “it will all come out in the wash”. But tonight my addled mind made the connection.

I wondered, did things ‘come out in the wash’ before electric washing machines, or is this a phenomenon, and a saying, that originated in the mid-20th century?

I don’t know, and don’t have the time or inclination to search the internet to find out, but I did wonder.


July 13, 2006 by  
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This post is in response to Blondeatheart‘s comment on a post from 2004. Amongst other things, readers were allowed to ask me three questions. Comments (and questions) from back then were lost in the move to WordPress, but Bren will remember this as when he asked me to sum up the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 100 words or less. I had only saved the post after answering Bren’s questions, and then lost another several hundred words when my computer crashed. I never got back to finishing the post.

So, to the most recent questions, Blondeatheart asked me:

  1. How did you become Christian?
  2. Are you Australian?American? From Papua-New Guinea?
  3. Do you think we have free will?

And now, continue to read my answers, or don’t.
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July 13, 2006 by  
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According to one web designer, visitors only read the first 20 words on a web page. That’s why I’ve been using this ! more feature quite often. If you get my email updates the more feature doesn’t work – you get full text – but on this page I can keep the introduction short, and if you want to read more, you can!
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World Ranking

July 13, 2006 by  
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Following our achievements at the World Cup, Australia has risen only 9 places in the world rankings, from 42 to 33. Japan, on the other hand, have dropped from 18th all the way to 49. Italy goes to number two, while Brazil are still number one, despite their quarter-final loss to France.

Compare world rankings at the FIFA site.

Australia at the World Cup

July 10, 2006 by  
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I know that previous post was supposed to be my last, but rather than editing it again I just decided to do one last one for Australia.

I thought it worth mentioning that (and repeating myself just a little), of our only two losses in the World Cup, both were to the world champions. Australia outplayed Brazil, the defending world champions, and were unlucky to go down 2-0. And we matched Italy, now current world champions, for 94 minutes before that penalty. We can be proud.

World Cup Final

July 10, 2006 by  
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Italy 1 – 1 France
Italy win 5-4 on penalties after second period of extra time.
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World Cup – Third place playoff

July 10, 2006 by  
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Germany 3 – 1 Portugal
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World Cup Semi Finals

July 10, 2006 by  
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Germany 0 – 2 Italy
France 1 – 0 Portugal

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July 7, 2006 by  
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Mammoth cooking effort tonight. Seriously just finishing now at 2am. Will post tomorrow, with pics!

Buy a Mac

July 6, 2006 by  
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Been vacillating about a new computer? If you’re worried about viruses, security firm Sophos advises you make the switch to Apple.

Born in the USA

July 4, 2006 by  
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I was, and today is the day to celebrate 230 years of independence from those nasty Britons. Learn a bit from the White House website about how, on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
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World Cup – Quarter Finals

July 4, 2006 by  
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Germany 1 – 1 Argentina (Germany wins 5-3 on penalties)
England 0 – 0 Portugal (Portugal wins 3-1 on penalties)
Italy 3 – 0 Ukraine
Brazil 0 – 1 France

After having said France are useless, they are now the team I am supporting. They’ve played some great football in their last two games and I hope for more. I’m also hoping Germany thump Italy…

So tomorrow morning Australian time it’s Germany v Italy, then Thursday morning it’s France v Portugal.

Wednesday night is also the deciding State of Origin Rugby League match in Melbourne.
Are you going along to that Mr Bren Carlill?

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