Conservatize me, baby.

It's always a good idea to read stuff by folks with whom you might
not agree. If nothing else their particular opinions and arguments will
help you understand where they are coming from and hopefully should
challenge your own beliefs. And sometimes, it might just influence what
you believe. Recently I finished two books which challenged my
political opinions. And ya know, I'm glad I read them.
    The first book was an essay collection titled Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys.
Edited by Mary Eberstadt, the collection contains 12 essays written by
cast of conservative writers including David Brooks, P.J. O'Rourke and
Dinesh D'Souza. Each one chronicles their respective evolutionary
journey from liberal to conservative. Interestingly, most if not all of
these selected writers "turned right" after experiencing what they felt
were the "liberal excesses" and "extremism" of the last 30 years or so.
Perhaps also of interest, no small number of these featured writers
attended the University of Chicago, a college long associated with the
"neo-con" movement.
    Much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed
this book. All the contributors could write and write very well. I
thought all of them contributed something meaningful and thoughtful to
the political debate. Perhaps more importantly, all of them, regardless
of their political opinions came off as reasonable individuals. Based
on the writings in this collection, there wasn't a whack job in the
bunch. In all, it's a fine anthology.
    The second book would be Comeback:Conservatism That Can Win Again by David Frum. Frum, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, National Review writer and contributor to American Public Radio's program Marketplace,
examines the current shortcomings of the Republican Party and offers
his solutions on how it can regain America's confidence and retake the
political highground from the Democrats. Frum urges his fellow
Republicans to instead of merely blocking Democratic policies they
don't like, they take to heart the concerns of average Americans and
craft constructive policies that address those concerns.After watching Frum promote his book on Book TV last year and being
impressed by him, sadly I must say his book was a slight
disappointment. Maybe it was his "sound bite" style of writing or maybe
it was particular views but for whatever reason, I walked away from his
book wanting more. Some of his ideas I liked, but some I found
downright laughable. I do admire his courage to take his Party to task
on a number of issues. And just like the writers in Turning Right
anthology, Frum is not a whack job. And in my opinion, just like them
he brings meaningful and thoughtful contributions to the political
debate.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Conservatize me, baby.

  1. Great book review! I really enjoyed this.
    Some time ago, I "turned" leftward, although not fully. I've been back and forth and back and forth since college, and I think I've finally found some ground I can stand on. Politics used to be intensely important to me. No longer. Now, I'm merely concerned with what gets done more than who does it or why. I doubt I'll ever be known to "love" a candidate, although I certainly like some more than others.
    Good for you for choosing to challenge yourself. Where do you find the time to read all of this stuff?

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