David L. Altheide, Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 2002). How certain news organizations and social institutions exploit the creation of fear, be it “AIDS, crime, immigrants, race, sexuality, schools, children” (rear page).
Christopher Dawson, Dynamics of World History (Wilmington, Delaware: ISI books, 2002). A sociology of history, where “Religion . . is the great creative force in any culture, and the loss of a society’s historic religion therefore portends a process of social dissolution. . . . Western society must find a way to revitalize its spiritual life if it is to avoid irreversible decay” (rear cover).
William J. Bennett, ed., The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993). A celebration of self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty and faith.
Raymond Aron, The Opium of the Intellectuals (New Brunswick: ninth printing, Transaction Publishers, 2011, originally published 1957). Intellectual alienated from their key task of telling the truth about social and political reality, in search of a (secular) religion: the left, the revolution, the proletariat.
Howard Bloom, The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-vision of Capitalism (New York: Prometheus Books, 2010). Capitalism “works for reasons that don’t appear in the analyses of Marx or in the statistics of economists. It works clumsily, awkwardly, sometimes brilliantly, and sometime savagely” (p. 14).
* Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York: revised edition, Basic Books, 2007). The roles and applications of visions in political life: different conceptions of social processes, knowledge and reason, equality, power, justice and other visions, values and paradigms.
* Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957, first published 1944). Documents the shift from wealth appropriation to wealth creation, from traditional stable societies to dynamic modern civilizations.
Raymond Ibrahim, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2013). Ibrahim documents the ongoing persecution of Christians across the Muslim world, the real source of such violence, and the general reason why Muslims cannot abide Christians in their presence.
Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., first published 1936).
Jane Jacobs, Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics (New York: Random House, 1992). Contrasts two contradictory moral systems: commercial relationships and the rule of law, and political values involving control of territory and resources.
* V. S. Naipaul, Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples (Great Britain: Clays Ltd., 1998). A book of stories, it highlights the impact of Arabic mores on non-Arabic Muslim countries of Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia.
* Garrett Hardin, Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). Compassion leads us to exceed the bounds of economic good sense. The result is that we now face a number of hard choices involving solutions we have been afraid to mention in public.
Harold D. Lasswell, A Pre-View of Policy Sciences (New York: American Elsevier, 1971). “[The] policy sciences must strive for three principal attributes. The first is contextuality: decisions are part of a large social process. The second is problem orientation: policy scientists are at home with the intellectual activities involved in clarifying goals, trends, conditions, projection, and alternatives. The third is diversity: the methods employed are not limited to a narrow range” (p. 4).
* Philip H. Rhinelander, Is Man Incomprehensible to Man? (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1974). Who is man? The debasement of language; classical and modern views of man; man as inventor; man’s search for meaning.
Roger Kimball, The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine’s Press, 2012). Illuminating some of the wrong turns and dead end of our current culture, noting especially various tyrannies hiding behind libertarian words.
Angelo Codevilla, Informing Statecraft: Intelligence for a New Century (New York: The Free Press, 1992). Dialectics and what we need to know. “Conflict is an ineradicable part of international affairs. Knowledge of friends and enemies can be decisive in conflict. In statecraft such knowledge is called ‘intelligence.’” (p. xiii).
* Geoffrey Vickers, Value Systems and Social Process (New York: Penguin Books, 1968). How to exercise control among a set of divergent value systems? How can we arrive at some synthesis of various appreciative systems in order to create reasonable policies and set responsible plans?
Willard Gaylin, M. D., Hatred: The Psychological Descent into Violence (New York: PublicAffairs, 2003). How raw passions are transformed into acts of violence, and cultures of hatred and resentment.
* J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1973). Puts our limited time-and-space-specific situation into a far wider context.