The Best of 2021

After great deliberation, the editors of Law & Liberty are pleased to present their ten favorite essays, book reviews, and podcasts of the year.

They Know Not What They Do, Helen Dale

“Shrier is not alone in noticing the extent to which members of the “health professions” have switched from using their professional expertise to diagnose and treat mental illness to a self-assessment model where the patient’s own views—whether of gender dysphoria or something else—are never questioned.”

Prospects for Inflation, David P. Goldman and Richard Reinsch

“So when you say we can tame inflation, how do you do that? You can take money away from people so they can’t spend money, that would tame inflation. You could send the police round to take money out of everybody’s bank account, hypothetically, that would tame inflation, but is that a solution which would help us or be politically acceptable? I don’t think so. I think the Federal Reserve has a tiger by the tail.”

Offshore Core, James Hankins

“There are still plenty of scholars around trained in the old methods who could teach graduate students the sublime and difficult art of finding true answers to historical and literary questions. These are arts developed over centuries in our civilization but ones that could easily disappear in the space of a generation if they are not cultivated somewhere.”

Reading Exodus, Leon Kass and Richard Reinsch

“I would say that Israel becomes a people in the Book of Exodus in three phases, and its peoplehood rests on three pillars. First is the shared story of slavery and deliverance. Second, they get a comprehensive law governing all aspects of life through constraint, through encouragement and uplift. That happens at Sinai, the Ten Commandments, the ordinances. Third, the building of the tabernacle, which is a place of worship.”

An Art That Offers Choices, Spencer Klavan

“The new art form, the one staring its opponents right in the face, is an art form of cohesion, community, tradition, and representation. It is part of a revolution in mores and behaviors that can help lead us out of the nihilism to which we have all fallen victim.”

Taking Back Women’s Rights, Rachel Lu

“Human beings always struggle to build humane, life-affirming cultures that respect the intrinsic dignity of all persons. The Rights of Woman cannot tell us exactly how to do this, but it may help us to identify a starting place.”

A Justice for All Seasons, John O. McGinnis and Mike Rappaport

“Clarence Thomas has a claim to be the greatest justice of all time. No other justice approaches the breadth and comprehensiveness of his investigation of the meaning of our fundamental law. He has pursued this ideal of justice without being deterred by much scurrilous criticism. A justice for all seasons must have sound convictions and the courage to follow them. Clarence Thomas has both.”

The Covid-19 Tyranny of the Anointed, Brendan P. Purdy

“For the unconstrained vision, whenever there is a conflict between purported safety and actual freedom, the never-delivered promise of safety is always the solution.”

Encountering Thomas Sowell, Thomas Chatterton Williams

“In this season of racial reckoning and pseudo-religious panic over identity, it is genuinely shocking to realize that Sowell not only anticipated these same debates several decades ago—he refuted many of the positions now in ascendance.”

The Chinese Communist Who Understands America, Habi Zhang

“American political theorists, political scientists, and policymakers ought to read Wang Huning’s book on America and then ask themselves this question—does anybody in Washington D.C. understand China as deeply and comprehensively?”