Actress Jennifer Lawrence is in the news this week for a number of reasons, including her impromptu performance at a Vienna strip club and her stepping out in a $700 Dior T-shirt that proclaims “We Should All Be Feminists.” The Daily Mail even devoted a whole article to the shirt, noting that “the 26-year-old actress beamed as she left the set of her film Red Sparrow with her dog—and a balloon—in tow.” But the Mail fails to note the other thing that J-Law was spotted carrying: a book with famed Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises on the back cover.
The Facebook group Being Classically Liberal first noted Lawrence’s reading material yesterday, suggesting that perhaps she had picked up the von Mises book Socialism thinking it took a positive view of the subject. Lawrence—star of a slew of recent hit movies, including Joy, The Hunger Games, and American Hustle—has been outspoken in her criticism of conservative politicians (The Daily Beast even deemed her “Hollywood’s Next Big Power Liberal“).
But some crowdsourced sleuthing revealed that Lawrence’s book isn’t by von Mises but about him and other Austrian School economists. The book—Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan—was written by New York University professor Kim Phillips-Fein and looks at the rise of free-market economics in post-New Deal America and the role that businesses played in shaping mid-20th Century conservatism.
“Starting in the mid-1930s, a handful of prominent American businessmen forged alliances with the aim of rescuing America—and their profit margins—from socialism and the ‘nanny state,'” says the publisher’s blurb for the book. “Long before the ‘culture wars’ usually associated with the rise of conservative politics, these driven individuals funded think tanks, fought labor unions, and formed organizations to market their views.”
So does this mean Lawrence is rethinking the reflexive Hollywood hate for free-market capitalism? It’s probably a bit too soon to roll out the libertarian welcome mat just yet; for all we know, Lawrence is reading Invisible Hands as some sort of resistance manual, or doing research for a role in an exciting new film about economic theory. (OK, probably not that last one.) But, hey, you know what they say: Once you go Austrian School…
No? Nobody says that?
Whatever, look, Jennifer Lawrence is holding a book with Ludwig von Mises on it! Happy weekend, y’all.