Highly Critical Reviews of Defending the Undefendable I

These nine very scathing reports on this book of mine, several from very famous libertarians, all emanate from 1976, the year in which this (relatively) best-selling book of mine was first published. See how they bear the test of time:

“There can be no question of my writing a testimonial on behalf of this book.”
–Nathaniel Branden

“Defending the Undefendable-A doomed attempt, one would say. Like thinking the unthinable, uttering the unutterable, or calculating the incalculable. As the philosopher remarked, wherefor one cannot speak, thereabout one had better keep quiet.
This assemblage of defences cannot (can it?) be facetious since it is ushered in by the author;s pious reference to a ‘passion fro justice…
Rather non persuasive are the cases made out for the Dishonest Cop, the Speculator in food, the Non-Contributor to Charity, the Stripminer, the Drug Pusher, the Denier of Academic Freedom, and the Person who yells ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. A passion for justice ought to inspire one to greater efforts.”
–D.J. Enright (London Times Literary Supplement)

“…A positive menace to the libertarian movement. His smart-alecky, sensationalist style, the silly and false social and psychological assumptions he uses to back up some otherwise (mostly) valid political and economic points, the frivolous and insensitive attitudes he displays toward serious human problems all serve to confuse and distract from the valid points. Most people will be difficult to convince on rational political grounds without obscuring the issue with other half-baked, offensive, and unnecessary arguments. The book will be offensive to people not just because his general attitude will be interpreted as callous, asinine, and an affront to human dignity. It will surely reinforce the worst stereotypes people have about capitalists.”
–Sharon Presley (Laissez Faire Books)

“..The wrong book at the wrong time…An absolutely mad way of introducing someone to libertarianism…I am convinced that it is probably a short run strategic disaster. One needs not only a steel will based on solid libertarian premises to accept Professor Block’s message, but one needs a cast iron stomach as well. Those whom he defends are often, if not usually, the dregs of society: we could even say the very scum of the earth.”
–Walter Grinder (Libertarian Review)

“DTU is a work of unrealized potential. The editing is sloppy. And the quality of the writing varies from chapter to chapter. Many good arguments, and indeed the book itself, founder over a simple misconception: Block is misusing the word her…He is not consistently attentive to detail, nor is he very ambitious in enriching his rich thesis with examples and anecdotes. If he had attended better to the art of writing and spared us the silly insistence of making all of society’s rogues into heroes, thes his very important thesis might well have become a very important book.”
–Jamaes D. Davidson (Libertarian Review)

“Not only does he defend prostitutes, pimps, counterfeiters, ticket scalpers, slumlords, blackmailers, libelors, stripminers, letterers, and scabs (among others), he actually has the temerity to call them heroes! Block even has the gall to challenge the most enduring shiboleth of higher education, academic freedom.”
–Dan C. Heldman (Universitas)

“The polarization of opinions on Block’s book should not be surprising. It is reflection of the book’s schizophrenic nature-a bizarre combination of both excellent and horrible elements. Apparently the endorsers chose to consider only the Dr. Jeckyll side of DTU and either ignored or failed to take seriously Mr. Hyde.”
–Sharon Presley (Reason)

“Political and economic defense of the voluntary activities of society’s ‘scapegoats’ -pimps, slumlords, moneylenders, etc. Done in a sensationalistic style, much of the reasoning is questionable and unnecessarily offensive. Not a good introduction to libertarianism.”
–Laissez Faire Books Catalogue

“Block defends some of the silliest ideas in support of an essentially good cause…He raises some stimulating issues, even if in an intellectually inadequate fashion…A foolish consistency may be the ‘hobgoblin of little minds,’ as Emerson said, but serious inconsistancy (as in this book) is the downfall of many theories about morality and law.”
–Tibor Machan (World Research Ink)

Source: http://store.mises.org/Defending-the-Undefendable-P136.aspx


2:08 pm on July 31, 2017