Archive for Book Reviews
Review of Daniel K. Williams, God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right (Oxford University Press, 2012), ix + 372 pgs.
According to the majority of conservative Christians, the GOP is God’s Own Party. Voting for Republicans on election day—any Republican no matter what he believes—is an article of faith in the creed of many Christians. Voting for Democrats is a great sin. Voting for a third party is wasting your vote. Voting for Libertarians is unthinkable. Voting for no one is un-American. “Vote Republican (even if you have to hold your nose to do it)” is the great conservative Christian refrain every election season.
“Republicans, in general,” says Texas governor and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, “believe in low taxes, low regulation, less spending, free-market health care, constitutionalist judges, protecting innocent life, enforcing our laws and borders, peace through strength, empowering the states, and generally advocating principles closer to limited government than not.”
Just the opposite is true, of course. The Republican Party is the party of lies, hypocrisy, crony capitalism, regulation, the drug war, war, torture, empire, foreign aid, the welfare/warfare state, and police statism, as I have documented in many articles over the years. The GOP, as my friend Tom DiLorenzo describes it, is nothing but a Gang of Plunderers. Read More→
Review of The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror by Anthony Gregory. Cambridge University Press and the Independent Institute, 2013.
Anthony Gregory is a great friend of mine, and I am honored to have the opportunity to review briefly his splendid new book, Habeas Corpus in America.
A few comments about the book itself are in order before sojourning through the content. First, it is a beautiful volume. I suppose we can thank Cambridge University Press for that. The cover itself contains the text of Abraham Lincoln’s order to suspend habeas during the Civil War – a very nice visual touch. The forward is written by the erudite constitutional scholar Kevin Gutzman. The book is written in three parts: history of habeas corpus, application of habeas corpus after 9/11, and a section titled “Custody and Liberty” exploring the future of habeas. Multiple appendices then analyze various habeas cases, and the customary selected bibliography and historical term explanations follow. It is long, thorough, sweeping, and powerful – but also pretty expensive. I suppose we can thank Cambridge University Press for that as well.
Habeas corpus is generally understood as the legal right not to be detained arbitrarily by the government. It is considered a foundational principle of Western legal systems, even of natural law itself. Still, habeas corpus is widely misunderstood, especially on a historical level. Anthony Gregory’s work on the history of habeas corpus and its application in America levels a damning charge against the American federal government and challenges the reader to reconsider the common assumption that the federal government protects liberty by showing how and why they abridge this fundamental right. Read More→
Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy, by Robert Sirico (Regnery Publishing, 2012), 213 pages.
Critics of the free market assert that it fails the underprivileged, leads to income inequality, exploits the poor, and is at times downright cruel. They charge its defenders with being motivated by greed, selfishness, and materialism, and making a god out of efficiency. The solution to the alleged deficiencies of the free market and the character of its supporters is always without exception government intervention in the marketplace. But when that fails to remedy the perceived wrongs of the free market, then even more intervention is prescribed to make things right. And as Richman’s Law states, “No matter how much the government controls the economic system, any problem will be blamed on whatever small zone of freedom that remains.”
The Rev. Robert Sirico, in his book Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy, argues that a free economy — where property rights, contracts, and the rule of law are respected; prices and interest rates are freely agreed to by willing parties; entrepreneurship is encouraged; profit is not disdained; and charity is voluntary — is the most efficient and moral way to meet society’s material needs. Read More→
Review of Lizzie Collingham, The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food (The Penguin Press, 2012), xxii + 634 pgs..
I was intrigued by this statement inside the book’s dust jacket: “Focusing on both the winners and losers in the battle for food, The Taste of War brings to light the striking fact that war-related hunger and famine were not only caused by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, but were also the result of Allied mismanagement and neglect, particularly in India, Africa, and China.”
Hunger and famine as a result of Allied polices? World War II is always presented as an epic struggle of good (Allies) vs. evil (Axis). After all, it is known as the good war. How, then, could the Allies let something like that happen? It turns out that during World War II over 20 million people died from starvation or malnutrition and its associated diseases. This rivals the number of military deaths. I guess the good war wasn’t so good after all. Read More→
Every year, I try to highlight some of the best recent and classic books about Christianity, libertarianism, and the books addressing both at the same time. Last year I was not able to put together a list, so I have included a few books from 2012 as a result. Any of these would make for a great gift for a friend or good reading material in the upcoming year for you. And of course, you can find much more in LCC’s other book lists, or in our little bookstore. So without further adieu and in no particular order…
1. Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – This essential new biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by the same man who authored Amazing Grace (also a hit movie), pays special attention to Bonhoeffer’s political involvement during the rise of Nazi Germany. LCC will be reviewing this book in early 2014.