From Publishers Weekly
According to Gingrich, this slim volume will be judged in the future as "one of the pivotal books around which American history turned." Citing a 2009 poll, Brooks (Gross National Happiness), president of the American Enterprise Institute, examines the 30% of Americans who don't support Free Enterprise, calling them an "intellectual upper class" composed of "statist politicians, socialist college professors, left-leaning journalists, America-bashing entertainers..." His claim that this "30 percent coalition" has taken over the country is based on answers to two questions: should government promote policies to narrow the gap between rich and poor? Or should it foster job growth and allow "people to keep more of what they earn?" Nearly two to one opt for the latter. While the economy and Obama's appeal to minorities and young people swept Democrats to victory in 2008, "Statism had effectively taken hold in Washington" long before, in Brooks's view. Not above red-baiting (linking calls for "economic justice" to the "leftist philosophy" of Karl Marx, for instance), Brooks's main target is the "unprincipled Republican party" which has "strayed too far from its free-enterprise values," and needs new leadership.
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From the foreword by Newt Gingrich
Arthur C. Brooks has written a book which will take its place with Charles Murray’s Losing Ground as one of the pivotal books around which American history turned.
From his very first sentences Brooks is outlining a stark and compelling analysis of the crisis of contemporary America.
Brooks begins: “America faces a new culture war. I know this language is jarring, and many people are unwilling to accept it. But it’s true.”
The Battle then outlines three big facts:
First, there is a fundamental disagreement about America’s future between a socialist, redistributionist minority (the 30% coalition) and a massive free enterprise, work ethic, opportunity oriented majority (the 70% majority). For years I have spoken and written that “we are the majority”. It is a concept I learned from Ronald Reagan in the 1970s. Now Brooks provides the ammunition to factually explain why the 70% should govern America as a reflection of our legitimate majority status.
Second, there is an elite system of power which enables the 30% coalition to dominate the 70% majority. There are the seeds of an extraordinary history book buried in a few paragraphs of The Battle. How did the coalition of word users come to so thoroughly dominate the coalition of workers and doers? How did the elites on academic campuses come to define legitimacy for the news media, the Hollywood system, the Courts, and the bureaucracy? Brooks makes clear that the dominance of the hard left in these worlds is a fact. He sets the stage for someone (maybe another AEI scholar) to develop the historic explanation of how this usurpation of the people by the elite came to be.
Third, this is a conflict over values in which those who represent redistributionist, left wing materialism have stolen the language of morality while those who favor freedom, individual opportunity, the right to pursue happiness and personal liberty have been maneuvered into a series of banal and ultimately unattractive positions in the public debate. Brooks’ outline of a morally dominant culture of freedom shaming the materialistic, statist, coercive culture of redistribution is as important for our generation as Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom was for the Reagan-Thatcher generation.
What makes The Battle so important is its unique combination of intellectual clarity and the best succinct analysis of the values of the American people I have ever read.
Brooks argues that conservatism in its market oriented, individual liberty, equality of opportunity, right to pursue happiness, work ethic form is both popular and historically the most positive way for people to live.
After you have read this book and committed its arguments and its salient facts to memory, you will be able to debate any elitist redistributionist leftist and win the day in both moral rhetoric and factual analysis.
Every American about their country’s future and worried by the radicalism of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine should read The Battle. It is the ammunition with which to save our country and change our history for the better.
Richard B. Cheney, former Vice President of the United States
See all Editorial Reviews
“This is the playbook for the resurgence of the conservative movement.”
William J. Bennett
"Arthur Brooks is one of America's most astute, bold, and iconoclastic thinkers. The Battle provides yet more evidence of that fact. Loaded with fresh data and common sense, The Battle uncovers liberalism's true grand agenda—to change America's culture and the American way—and explains how these same Americans can fight back and ultimately win."
Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief, World Magazine, and Provost, The King's College
“Economic issues are not just about money. They're about how we live. The Battle shows how Washington power-grabbers use financial fears to tell the rest of us how we must live. Crucially, The Battle teaches us how to fight back.”
"Clear, sharp, well reasoned and tough, The Battle is a must-read for conservatives who want our movement to dominate the intellectual and policy debates of America’s coming vital decades."
Ronald Kessler, Newsmax
“Sometimes it takes someone who was on the other side to explain things clearly, as Brooks does in his eye-opening book…Crammed with telling statistics, Brooks’ book says that academia is a particularly important part of the ‘30 percent coalition.’”