What would a country founded by Christians on libertarian principles look like? James Wesley Rawles endeavors to provide an answer to this question in his latest work, Land of Promise. I received an advance copy of the book in exchange…
Summaries and analyses of books new and old.
If you enjoy reading as much as I do, the stack of books on your nightstand is about to topple and your Amazon Wish List is so large it requires its own web host. If our book selection is alike, some of those books share a perspective favorable to our shared bias toward liberty, while others do not. I like to be informed about opposing sides of an issue, but there is so much to learn and not enough time. Every field of study has a plethora of literature from a range of perspectives. Reading multiple full-length books on each one would be immensely time-consuming.
Thankfully there is a market solution to this dilemma. Years ago publishers invented a product for those who want to stay informed but are short on time: the multiple views books. These books contrast the differences of opinion on a single topic in the context of a conversation among experts, all in a single volume. There are trade-offs, of course. Multiple-view books contain theses that are succinct but not fully developed, while single-view books usually are more comprehensive. Single-view books, however, suffer from one disadvantage: the authors are often not engaged in the same conversation.
Review of Dean Becker, To End the War on Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press, and the Public (DTN Media, 2014), iv + 337 pgs., paperback.
It was a hundred years ago this month that Congress enacted the Harrison Narcotics Act to make the importation, manufacturing, sale, and distribution of cocaine and opiates illegal without being registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, recording each transaction, and paying an annual tax and licensing fee. This was the federal government’s first major salvo in the war on drugs.
Dean Becker has just launched his own salvo, but in the opposite direction. He is a man on a mission—a mission to end the drug war. His new book, To End the War on Drugs, will tell you why Bush drug czar John Walters refused not only to consent to an interview, but to even talk to the author.
Looking for a great read to give that libertarian in your life this Christmas? Want to delve deep into something interesting over your Christmas vacation? Every year, I make it a point to highlight the best (in my opinion) recent and classic books about Christianity or libertarianism, and some books that address both at the same time. This year’s list really focuses on theology even more than liberty, but I can guarantee you will find great some great books for just about anyone here. And of course, you can find much more in LCC’s many other book lists, or in our little bookstore. Let the reading commence!
1. If You Are the Son of God by Jacques Ellul – If I were to recommend that you read one book this Christmas season, make it Ellul. This little 100-page book is immensely challenging on multiple levels. It will, of course, make you think deeply about your own theology (even if you disagree with some of it), but it will also reveal the corrupting influence of power within the world around us. I am personally giving this book to multiple friends and family this Christmas. Check out my review here.
2. For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty, edited by Anne Bradley and Art Lindsey – The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics has released this edited volume as a response to the terrible policies promoted by some Christians that supposedly help the poor. Using sound economics and good theology, they make it clear that it is capitalism and voluntary charity, not government and force, that lifts the plight of the poor and promotes human flourishing. You will definitely see a review of this book on LCC in early 2015.
Review of Malcolm D. Magee, What the World Should Be: Woodrow Wilson and the Crafting of a Faith-Based Foreign Policy (Baylor University Press, 2008), x + 189 pgs., hardcover.
Although I purchased this book soon after it was published, other commitments compelled me to add it to my mountainous stack of books “to be read.” Since this year is the one hundredth anniversary of World War I, and I have already reviewed two books on World War I (Jack Beatty’s The Lost History of 1914 and Philip Jenkins’ The Great and Holy War), I figured that if I was ever going to read What the World Should Be, I might as well read it this year.
George W. Bush was not the first president to have a “faith-based” foreign policy. Most people know that Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was the U.S. president from 1913 to 1921. Some perhaps know that he was the governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913. But few probably know that he was the son of a Presbyterian minister, president of Princeton University—then a Presbyterian institution that had always been headed by clergymen until Wilson—from 1902 to 1910, and had a faith-based policy of his own.
But like the faith-based foreign policy of Bush, Wilson’s was shaped by a defective faith.