One big blessing of summer for me, though I immensely enjoy my academic year gig as an adjunct clinical instructor, is having weekends off from May to September. This summer, thanks in large part to my conversion to e-reader status, I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to do plenty of reading. Never one much for fiction, this year I am learning about what brings us as a country to our current parlous state.
A huge takeaway is that the statists among us — those advocating for more national government control over our lives, now once more referring to themselves as “progressives” after discarding the term “liberal” like a soiled diaper — have managed to co-opt the history books and thus frame the arguments of the day on a seriously tilted playing field.
As a result, in the wake of the latest dealings of the race card in the media and in the government, the average ill-informed American is unlikely to know that:
- The vast majority of black people after the Civil War identified with the Republicans, the party of Lincoln which stood for the end of slavery and equality for all regardless race or creed.
- The original Ku Klux Klan consisted of men who self-identified as Democrats but who perceived that party as insufficiently hostile toward freedmen.
- Perhaps the most strongly-inclined segregationist to occupy the White House was Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
- Blacks remained a Republican voting stronghold (when allowed to vote, thanks to Democrat-supported poll taxes and other forms of discrimination) until the New Deal peeled them off with its numerous welfare programs and redistributional policies.
- Nonetheless, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was supported in both houses of Congress proportionately more by Republicans than by Democrats. It was filibustered in the Senate by Southern Democrats.
That’s just one one issue, important as it has been in the life of our representative republic. You read that right, the United States were not founded as a true democracy, and we ought not become one.
I challenge my “progressive” friends to put down the Zinn and pick up some of these palate-cleansers (most links provided are to the respective books’ pages on Barnes and Noble, because that is where I went to get them loaded on my nook; they are of course available elsewhere too):
Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan by Michael Barone (this one may not be in e-book format; I actually listened to it as the linked audiobook last year)
A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt (excellent both for those pressed by time and for the cheapskate, as it is short and in the public domain hence free of charge to download in PDF format)
Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Schlaes
Who Killed the Constitution? by Thomas Woods and Kevin Gutzman
FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression by Jim Powell
New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America by Burt Folsom
And one I have downloaded but not yet (figuratively) cracked open:
Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell
Oh, and I must list one fictional work that, unfortunately, reads far too much like current events — another offering I listened to via unabridged MP3 on my travels a year or two back, all 63 hours worth:
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Finally, those who have not yet read them need to begin their journey with these evergreens — I have not gone back to them this year but treasure having read them in the past:
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
I challenge any thoughtful reader of these works to persist in believing the “progressive” solution is best for our society, especially against the backdrop of twentieth century history and the mass destruction wreaked upon our planet by statist regimes. If you need to, go back and read The Road to Serfdom a second time!
Yes, I have also been hungrily devouring the “red meat” served up by best selling conservative radio and TV personalities this year, but none of those would exist in the marketplace of ideas without the work and research done by the authors cited above.