Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

letters to a young conservative

I was watching an episode of Stossel last week on the Fox Business Network and there was a panel made up of libertarians in a particular segment. As a conservative they said some things I agreed with and they said some things I was not sure about as well as some ideas I absolutely opposed.

After the segment I did something I had done quite often which was to pick up Dinesh D’Souza’s book, Letters to a Young Conservative.

This book is necessary for conservatives of all ages. In each chapter D’Souza writes a fictional character advising the character on different political issues from a conservative perspective.

Here are a few chapter titles…

  • “Why Professors Are So Left-Wing”
  • “More Guns, Less Crime”
  • “Against Gay Marriage”
  • “Speaking As a Former Fetus…”
  • “Authentic vs. Bogus Multiculturalism”

It is a great book not only because the content is enlightening, but also because each chapter is separate therefore you can skip around throughout the book and not miss anything.

After watching Stossel I turned to the second chapter in the book, “The Libertarian Temptation.” In this chapter D’Souza argues why conservatism is a better option than libertarianism.

Consider an example that contrasts the conservative and libertarian views of freedom. If you said to a libertarian, “What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers like Larry Flynt? Would that constitute a good society?” While the conservative would emphatically answer no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because these people have chosen freely. As this example illustrates, libertarianism is a philosophy of choice without political concern for what people actually choose. Thus, although many libertarians live virtuously, libertarianism as a philosophy is indifferent to virtue. In this respect it differs markedly from conservatism.

decision points

I looked out the window to the treaty room. In the distance I could see the Jefferson Memorial, where the words of the Declaration of Independence are carved into the wall: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Across the Potomac sat the scarred Pentagon. For twenty-six days after 9/11 we had planned and prepared. Now the wait was over. America’s counterattack was under way. The liberation of Afghanistan had begun (p. 184).

This is an excerpt from the memoirs of the 43rd President of the United States aptly called Decision Points. The book is not an autobiography but rather a combination of policies and decisions that Bush made during his two-term presidency. Bush gives an in depth look into his decision making on a variety of policies. Each chapter is broken down into separate issues where Bush explains why he did what he did. Below are a few reactions I had to the book.

1) You would feel differently about the world if every morning the first thing you did was get an intelligence briefing. This seems obvious but in Bush’s book you really get a feel for what it is like to have the pressure of protecting a nation weighing down on you at all times. For example, there was a great deal of intelligence relaying that there was an imminent attack planned for October 30th -31st 2001, that would be, “bigger than the World Trade Center attack.” Dick Cheney was moved to a safe undisclosed location, but Bush decided not to change any plans and on the 30th the President famously threw out the first pitch of the Yankees/Diambondbacks World Series game.

2) In my international relations classes in college we often spoke about how if Bush had to do it over again he probably wouldn’t have entered Iraq. I agreed with this assumption, but after reading the book I could not have been more wrong. If you only read one chapter of the book it should be the 8th which is on Iraq. Bush sums up his thoughts on Iraq with this statement.

I strongly believe that removing Saddam from power was the right decision. For all the difficulties that followed, America is safer without a homicidal dictator pursuing WMD and supporting terror at the heart of the Middle East. The region is more hopeful with a young democracy setting an example for others to follow. And the Iraqi people are better off with a government that answers to them instead of torturing and murdering them (p. 267).

3) 15 billion. That is the amount President Bush committed to give the people of Africa to fight AIDS/HIV with the PEPFAR plan (President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief). This is something that does not get talked about nearly enough. Most people are unaware that Bush did anything to fight AIDS, but I believe that this is something that will have a lasting impact. Bush sums up the immediate impact PEPFAR had.

By the time I left office in January 2009, PEPFAR had supported treatment for 2.1 million people and care for more than 10 million people. American taxpayer dollars had helped protect mothers and babies during more than 16 million pregnancies. More than 57 million people had benefited from AIDS testing and counseling sessions (p. 353).

I certainly am not the only one who has gotten the book, Decision Points has already sold more copies than Bill Clinton’s My Life Another book that is already out which gives great information on the Bush presidency is Karl Rove’s book.