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Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity from Cafe Hayek [Kindle Edition]

Donald Boudreaux
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $21.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

Each day, Donald Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University, writes a letter to the editor of a major American publication. Often, he writes in response to an absurdity offered up by a columnist or politician, or an eye-catching factoid misleadingly taken out of context. This collection, comprised of one hundred of Boudreaux’s best letters, provides intelligent, witty rejoinders to questions like these:

• Are taxes “really just prices”? (New York Times)
• Does the Tea Party suffer from a “fatuous infatuation” with the Constitution? (Washington Post)
• Is it “obvious” that “if there are fewer guns, there are fewer shootings and fewer funerals” (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• Has “slowing population growth” proven to be “critical to long-term economic growth”? (Wall Street Journal)

Without swearing allegiance to any party or ideology, Boudreaux takes aim at pundits and politicos on the left, right, and everywhere between. He tackles issues ranging from “lookism” in the office and the futility of border walls to naïve faith in alternative energy and the all-too-common tendency to trust a fallible and ever-expanding government.

Half-truths and Hypocrites won’t change the deeply held convictions of readers. But it will entertain them, enlighten them, and sharpen their eye for shaky facts, faulty reasoning, and intellectual dishonesty—all of which are threats to a free, prosperous country.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donald J. Boudreaux served as chairman of the department of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, from 2001 to 2009. He runs a blog, CafeHayek.com, with Russ Roberts and has lectured in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe. He is the author of Globalization (2008), and his writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, Regulation, Reason, Ideas on Liberty, the Washington Times, the Journal of Commerce, the Cato Journal, and several scholarly journals.

Before chairing the economics department at George Mason, Boudreaux was president of the Foundation for Economic Education; associate professor of legal studies and Economics at Clemson University, and assistant professor of economics at George Mason University.


Product Details

  • File Size: 8324 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Free To Choose Press (July 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008GOX9XM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,606 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and Provoking June 24, 2012
By redjinn
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
To relieve his frustration at misguided popular reporting on economic issues that affect each of us, often in ways we don't appreciate at first glance, Don Boudreaux, a Professor of Economics, writes one letter-to-the-editor every day. I suspect he voted for Ron Paul, but he spares no one, whether "The New York Times", Fox News, "The Wall Street Journal", or Nobel-winner Paul Krugman. Each has received at least one (usually more) short pithy letter explaining why a pronouncement on a current government program or a commonly accepted nostrum is bunkum.

So when Randi Weingarten says markets won't solve the schooling crisis, Boudreaux asks her to imagine groceries being supplied the way education is. Folks would pay property taxes, and the Government would spend the taxes on building and supplying grocery stores. Of course you would be "assigned" to your neighborhood "public" grocery store where you would receive your weekly allotment of groceries for "free". Grocery administrators would decide the quality and quantity of groceries you would receive. Wealthier counties would have better stores, and Boudreaux suspects that the quality of the local public supermarket would play a major role in your choice of where to live if you could afford to move.

When a Mr. Warner writing to the "Los Angeles Times", hoping to defeat members of Congress who voted against Obamacare, asked readers to remember these opponents "Every time you have to pay an extravagant co-pay ... or deductible", Boudreaux chides Mr.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Tino
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Before I begin my review, I must state in the interest of full disclosure: I am one of the (many) people that are thanked in the Acknowledgements of this book -- because I am a friend of the author Donald J. Boudreaux, and over the past few years, I have often chatted with Boudreaux about the content of his letters to the editor; some of which were ultimately compiled for this book -- although I had nothing whatsoever to do with the publishing of the book. I am recommending this wonderful book on its own merit; I truly believe that it is a gem. I greatly enjoyed reading it, and so will you!

----

Donald J. Boudreaux is a professor at George Mason University: an economist and a lawyer, he was Chairman of the Economics Department at GMU for 8 years, and currently teaches in GMU's economics department and law school. He is a staunch advocate of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and non-interventionist foreign policy. He frequently writes letters-to-the-editor in support of these principles, in opposition to newspaper articles/editorials that counter these principles, or display what he believes to be economic illiteracy. But newspaper editors are not the only targets of Boudreaux's pearls of wisdom: he will write a letter to anyone whom he encounters displaying economic illiteracy or advocating Big Government, whether it is a radio talk show host regurgitating talking points that have no basis in sound economics; a politician arguing for ever-more governmental power; or a blogger arguing that America is somehow economically harmed by importing cheap goods made in foreign countries.

He almost certainly has the world record for letters written to the editor -- he has written nearly 5,000 letters over the past decade!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An elegant painless way to learn economics September 24, 2012
Format:Hardcover
For those who have enjoyed Don Boudreaux's letters to editors at various newspapers and other news organizations at this website CafeHayek.com, Free To Choose Press has collected those letters and other musings in one place. This 248 page book is an extremely fast read, but even those who don't have the attention span to tackle econ books will find this a very painless way to learn economics in simple, very well explained small bites. I was able to go through the book in just a leisurely few hours. As someone who has taught economics for 20 years and tried myself to explain economics to the general public, I can only hope that some professors will have this book as a supplemental reading for their principals classes.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Valuable Toilet-Reading Book Ever August 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When I read a book I often fold over the corners of the pages which contain interesting or valuable stuff, so that if I ever want to find the valuable stuff in the book later I just have to read those pages. One way to measure a book's worth to me is to look at the book's corner and see how many page corners have been folded over. Until recently Milton Friedman's book Free to Choose held the honor of the most folded corners of any book on my shelf. At 57 folded corners it still holds the record, but Donald J. Boudreaux's new book Hypocrites & Half-Wits takes the honor of having more folded corners per page than any book I've read. Free to Choose has 57 folded corners in 316 pages and Hypocrites & Half-Wits has 47 folded corners in 227 pages. In terms of density, Hypocrites & Half-Wits is better than Free to Choose.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful but Incredibly Concise
Donald Bourdreaux has the rare talent of being insightful but incredibly concise.This is a book of pithy replies to economic illiteracy masquerading as political wisdom that he... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Neil McGettigan
1.0 out of 5 stars A boojk for ideologues
This is a silly and very polemical book representing a fringe perspective of economic theory. It appears to be a non-peer reviewed publication, a "vanity press" book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by art
2.0 out of 5 stars Going after the low hanging fruit
Some polemicists seek to engage the strongest arguments of their intellectual opponents. Others are more comfortable engaging the dumbest arguments of their opponents. William F. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gregory Gilman
4.0 out of 5 stars If you listen to politicians and pundits and wonder why nobody reacts...
I strongly feel that each person should know the basics of economy and should be able to recognize and dispute false ideas. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ivan Arnaudov
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely funny and entertaining book....too short!
It is hard to put this book down. The response letters Don Boudreaux pens are direct, analytical, and humorous, characteristics often lacking in the published pieces he is... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Stephen Rubicam
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
An easy to read, unbiast and eye opening book. very entertaining and informative! I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
Published 16 months ago by Isidro
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what it claims to be.
This book is a collection of letters to the editor by Don Boudreaux. If you read the blog at Cafe Hayek, or get the email from the same there probably isn't a lot new here. Read more
Published 16 months ago by El Doug
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Boudreaux is the soul of brevity and hits his target everytime. His "letters to the editor" should be a regular feature in the Wall Street Journal.
Published 17 months ago by Dann Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Boudreaux makes some great points in his letters . . . wish every...
I'd give it 4 1/2 stars if possible. I enjoy how Boudreaux turns conventional wisdom on it's head with wit and brevity. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jared T. French
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanity and common sense in spades...concise, cogent arguments based on...
Have been a fan of Don's for a while now. He has a real knack for boiling issues down to their fundamentals, making the subjects seem simple in hindsight. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jeffrey L. Witt
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More About the Author

Donald J. Boudreaux served as chairman of the department of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, from 2001 to 2009. He runs a blog, www.CafeHayek.com, with Russ Roberts and has lectured in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe. He is the author of Globalization (2008), and his writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, Regulation, Reason, Ideas on Liberty, the Washington Times, the Journal of Commerce, the Cato Journal, and several scholarly journals.

Before chairing the economics department at George Mason, Boudreaux was president of the Foundation for Economic Education; associate professor of legal studies and Economics at Clemson University, and assistant professor of economics at George Mason University.

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