Tag Archives: book review

A Wonderful Review of My “Selected Poems”

I was pleased to receive a wonderful review of my “Selected Poems”. To read the review please follow this link, https://echoesinanemptyroom.com/2020/10/21/the-selected-poems-of-k-morris/.

To read a free sample, or to purchase my “Selected Poems”, please go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/.

A Review of My Collection of Poetry “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”

I was delighted to receive this review of my collection of poetry “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”, https://therapybits.com/2020/10/09/book-review-light-and-shade-serious-and-not-so-serious-poems-by-kevin-morris/.

You can find “Light and Shade” here, https://www.amazon.com/Light-Shade-serious-not-poems-ebook/dp/B08B4X3GVX/

Book Review: “Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know”, by Jason Brennan

I have just finished listening to the audio edition of “Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know” by Jason Brennan, (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Libertarianism-What-Everyone-Needs-Know/dp/B00I4LGTJI/).

In “Libertarianism”, Brennan examines what libertarians believe and explores the different schools of the libertarian philosophy.

Brennan distinguishes between hard and soft libertarians. Hard Libertarians, he argues believe that we have a moral duty to help the poor. However the state has no right to force us to do so through taxation, as we have an absolute right to do as we please with our property (provided that we respect the property rights of others), and government has no right to force us (through taxation) to assist the needy. In contrast soft libertarians contend that some form of social welfare may be justified. Brennan sights, for example Milton Friedman’s support for some form of basic income.

Both hard and soft libertarians believe that the best way to help “the poor” is by removing barriers to them entering the labour market. For example libertarians oppose minimum wages due to their belief that these reduce employment amongst the unskilled. They contend that minimum wages cause employers to hire less workers, introduce technology which reduces the need for workers or, in some instances even go out of business. This, they argue benefits neither the poor nor the employer.

Libertarians also favour abolishing labour market regulations, or, at the very least greatly reducing their scope on the grounds that regulations prevent poor people from starting businesses thereby trapping them in poverty. Brennan sights the example of an African-American wishing to offer eyebrow threading. In order to do so she needs a hairdressing license. She can not afford this (in his view) unnecessary license, therefore she is deprived of a source of income and remains poor.

Many libertarians support doing away with immigration controls. They believe that it is morally wrong to condemn the poor to a life of poverty in the third/developing world when there are jobs for them to do in the richer west. Allowing poor people to immigrate into richer countries, enhances their economic opportunities and also benefits those who are willing to employ them. It is, in effect a win win situation for all concerned.

Libertarians respond to concerns that uncontrolled immigration would lead to a ballooning welfare state by pointing out that, under a libertarian regime there would exist no (government) welfare. Therefore immigrants would (along with the native born population) have to support themselves or rely on private charitable provision.

Libertarians are not Conservatives, although they do, as Brennan points out, share with the latter a belief in private property as a bulwark against tyrany and as a means of enhancing the freedom of the individual.

There is, within Conservatism a school of thought which advocates state intervention to protect the poor. For example the Conservative Party in the UK introduced the Living Wage. It is illegal to pay someone an amount under the Living Wage, something which is seen as anti competitive by other strands within the Conservative Party (and by all libertarians).

Whilst Brennan’s case against immigration controls possesses a certain superficial attraction, he does not answer the question as to where all these new entrants to the USA (and other developed countries) would live. As there would be no state provision, I, for one have visions of the development of vast shanty towns with the rise in crime that plagues such places in countries such as Brazil. When people are desperate (and they have no social welfare safety net) some of them will turn to crime in order to survive. The libertarian advocacy of no immigration controls has the potential to lead to disaster.

Are libertarians selfish?

Brennan argues that libertarians are no more or less selfish than the adherents of Conservatism or Socialism. One finds selfish and altruistic Conservatives and Socialists. The same holds true for libertarians. Granted libertarians tend to oppose a welfare state, but many of them do give to charity which gives the lie to the idea that libertarians are selfish.

Brennan is, I believe correct that one can not label libertarians as selfish. Many of them do give to charity. However one can legitimately ask whether a libertarian society (one lacking any form of social welfare) would be more humane than societies in which social welfare is provided. The answer is, I would argue, no. Whilst private charity can (and does) play an important role in aleviating poverty, it can not fill all the gaps currently being plugged (admittedly not always successfully) by welfare states. So, whilst they are undoubtedly well meaning, libertarians who are sincere in their belief that unfettered free markets are the answer to almost all social problems, they are, I believe hopelessly optimistic (even naive) in their advocacy of unfettered markets.

Libertarians (rightly) criticise Socialists for their advocacy of failed collectivist solutions to social and economic problems. However in there blind belief that market solutions are (in almost every case) the only possible solutions, they are just as blinkered as the Socialist collectivists.

There is much in Brennan’s book with which libertarians (with a small l) would agree. The libertarian belief that the state/society has no right to dictate how consenting adults live (including their sexual preferences) is a view with which I strongly agree. Again, the support of libertarians for civil liberties is something with which most of us (in the west at least) would agree.

As libertarians point out, “the war on drugs” is not working. Whilst many libertarians would like to see the wholesale decriminalisation of drugs, there are arguments in favour of controlled legalisation (I.E. places where those addicted to drugs can legally obtain them, together with the help they need to kick their addiction). Such a policy would not be a “free for all”, but a compromise between the unworkable “war on drugs” and the libertarian “free for all”.

In conclusion, as someone who would describe themselves as a libertarian (with a small l), there is much in libertarianism with which I agree. Libertarians are correct that private property is essential to personal freedom. They are, I believe also right to highlight the failings of collectivism and to press for limits to be placed on the power of the state. Where they are wrong is in their blind, almost slavish belief that free markets can solve almost every problem. Certainly the lack of markets in Communist societies caused huge problems in terms of sluggish economic growth and the lack of personal freedom. But unregulated Capitalism can lead to child labour, the growth of slums and other social ills. So, in short a very good read but I’m not going to join the UK Libertarian Party any time soon.

Great Feedback On My “Selected Poems”

I was delighted to receive the following email earlier today:

“Dear Mr Morris,
I am writing to tell you that your poems in “The Collected Poems of K Morris” that you gave me on the train on my way to college are exceptional. You might not remember me but I am the girl doing politics and history that you met on the train and gifted your amazing book to. I have always been interested in writing poems and therefore you have really inspired me to carry on my interest and write some poems of my own. I would really like to thank you for gifting me your book and inspiring me to continue writing”.

The Selected Poems of K. Morris

“The Selected Poems of K Morris” can be found here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/ (for the UK), and here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/. (for amazon.com customers).

(Please note, I have not included the young lady’s name in order to protect her privacy).

A 5 star review of “The Selected Poems of K Morris”

I was delighted to receive the below review of my “Selected Poems”:

“it was amazing

This is a wonderful collection of poems by this author. I remember many of them from other collections I’ve read by him, but didn’t mind reading those again. It was difficult to pick favourites to mention in this review, because I have half a dozen favourites just from section one (the book is split in to several sections). I really love the poem “Why Do I Write?” though. “Lost” and “Raining” are also favourites of mine.”

For the above review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2972167383.

You can find “The Selected Poems of K Morris” here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/, (for the UK), and here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/, (for the US).

A Review of my book, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”

I was delighted to receive the below review of the audio edition of “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”:

“A Delightful 25-Minute Poetry Listen
When I downloaded the Audible version, I was surprised to discover that Alex Lee, the narrator, is a woman. She does an excellent job. Her reading of one poem about a clock and a refrigerator includes sound effects. Some poems remind me of Robert Frost and other such poets. I recommend this book as a delightful twenty-five minutes of poetry listening”.

To read the above review, or to purchase “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems” please visit, https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Writers-Pen-and-Other-Poems-Audiobook/B07KPN5FCH.

My thanks to author Abbie Johnson Taylor for reading and reviewing “The Writer’s Pen”.

A Review of My book, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems” of

I was delighted to receive a review, on Ink Pantry of my book, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”.

For the review please follow this link, http://www.inkpantry.com/books-from-the-pantry-the-writers-pen-and-other-poems-by-kevin-morris-reviewed-by-giles-l-turnbull/

Kevin

Feedback on my collection of poems, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”

I was delighted to receive the below feedback for my collection of poems, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”, from Alex Lee, who has produced the audio version of the book, (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GD1LBMV/),

“We have just sent you an MP3 file of the fully produced poems for your approval. They are wonderful poems and Mark, not normally a fan of poetry loved them as he was editing and mastering the tracks, as do I. You have a great gift”.

(The audio edition of “The Writer’s Pen” will, I hope be available in November 2018. For the Kindle edition please follow the above link).

“How to Be a Conservative”, by Roger Scruton – book Review

“How to Be a Conservative”, by Roger Scruton, is as the title suggests a defense of Conservatism.

Growing up in a working class household with a father who was deeply committed to Socialism, Scruton nonetheless discovered in his father a conservatism (of the non-political variety), for Scruton’s father was a lover of the English countryside and was possessed of a strong desire to preserve ancient buildings and the traditions of his locality.

While Scruton is a Conservative of the political kind, anyone reading “How to Be a Conservative” with a view to obtaining a detailed programme/manifesto will find instead a thoughtful defense of the philosophy of Conservatism in its broadest sense, rather than a list of proposals regarding how Conservative governments should operate. In passing Scruton does advocate choice in education via such methods as providing parents with vouchers in order to enhance choice in schooling. He also writes in support of welfare reform. However, as already stated “How to Be a Conservative” is not a manifesto.

So what is Scruton’s view of Conservatism?
Scruton argues that Socialism is a top down philosophy whereas Conservatism flows from the natural instincts of the people. People form into the “little platoons” defended by the Conservative philosopher Edmund Burke. Such “platoons” include the family, sports clubs and local charities through which people find meaning in common cause with others. For Scruton we are individuals and he criticises Socialists for what he perceives as their disregard for this self-evident fact. However the author is also critical of what he refers to as “homo economicus” (the tendency to view human activity in purely economic terms). So while Scruton defends private property and the market economy, he does so only insofar as they do (in his view) promote human flourishing. For example a good portion of the book is devoted to defending “high culture” which should not, in Scruton’s view be left to the visicitudes of the market. There is, for Scruton such a thing as “objectively” noble/good in the field of culture and there are things which constitute trash.

While Scruton defends aspects of the late Lady Thatcher’s legacy, he is critical of the obsession of many Thatcherites with economics pointing out that, in the end it is through social attachments (“the little platoons” that we flourish, not through economics.

During the existence of the former Eastern (Communist) Block, Scruton visited Czechoslavakia and met with disidents. He was arrested and expelled. His experiences behind “the Iron Curtain” help to explain Scruton’s Conservatism. In Czechoslovakia Burke’s “little platoons” had been abolished or absorbed into the state, there being no independent boy scouts or other independent institutions promoting human flourishing. Given the author’s experiences and the suffering he observed amongst disidents, one can understand why he adopts the position he does of defending those “little platoons”.

While Scruton shares the Classical Liberals view that the individual and private property should be protected from the encroachments of the state, he deplores “human rights” arguments seeing in them a potentially slippery slope leading to the lessening of human freedom. For example he mentions the decision of the courts to allow travellers to occupy a village green on the grounds that they (the traveling community) had a “right” to live somewhere. The courts did not take into account the concrete rights of the local property owners to enjoy the facilities of the village free from unwelcome intrusions. So, for Scruton there is a right to private property and to government welfare (although the latter is less than that supported by those on the left of the political spectrum).

The defense of existing institutions is, of course a cause dear to the Conservative’s heart. For Scruton (as for all true Conservatives) institutions reflect the collective history of the country and this fact leads the person of a conservative disposition to value them on account of this. For instance many people no longer attend church on a regular basis, yet the Christian ethos still plays an important role in the country and many people who would not regard themselves as religious are, nonetheless imbued with its ethos. We see the spires of churches and are glad they are there for they represent a part of who we are as a country. While things change the Conservative should attempt to shore up what is left and protect our culture from cultural relativism.

There is much in “How to Be a Conservative” with which Conservatives of all hues will agree. The defense of “the little platoons” and the scepticism regarding human nature are common to all true Conservatives. However Scruton’s support for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union is an issue which has split the Conservative Party, while others within the Conservative fold are (unlike Scruton) less inclined to advocate “family values”. While Scruton does not use the term “family values” he is strongly supportive of the traditional (hetrosexual) family, while other Conservatives hold that the state has no business in telling consenting adults how they should conduct their sex lives.

Finally people who are not political Conservatives will, I think still nonetheless find aspects of Scruton’s arguments persuasive, for instance his love of the English countryside and his advocacy of the need to protect and preserve historic buildings. For anyone wishing to understand traditional Conservatism I recommend this book.

“How to Be a Conservative”,, by Roger Scruton, https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/How-to-Be-a-Conservative-Audiobook/B00NGVR6NO

A review of my collection of poems, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”

I was pleased to receive the below review of my collection of poems, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”:

“Having read previous poetry collections by the author, I was eager to read this one. I was not disappointed. This is a great collection of thought-provoking poems. “Indefinable” is a particular favourite of mine from this collection”.

For the above review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2506614343?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1.

You can find “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GD1LBMV/