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56 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short, but Hard Hitting Defense of the Free Enterprise System, May 23, 2010
This review is from: The Battle: How the Fight between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America's Future (Hardcover)
This short book or collection of four essays with an introduction by Newt Gingrich is long on facts gleaned from various National Polls and Surveys. The four chapters are entitled "The 70-30 Nation:" "A Bill of Goods: The 30 Percent Coalition's Story of the Financial Crisis:" "Free Enterprise and the Pursuit of Happiness:" and the "Moral Case for Free Enterprise." The main text comprised 128 pages of the total 174 pages that include an excellent notes section and index.
The United States is in the midst of a cultural war. "It is a struggle between two competing visions of American's Future. In one, America will continue to be a unique and exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, increasing income redistribution, and government-controlled corporations. These competing visions are not reconcilable: We must choose."
Backed up by a large number of national polls, the author divides the two warring factions into groups of people with 70% favoring the side of "Free-Enterprise" and 30% favoring socialism, redistribution and a big brother government. He provides plenty of documentation to demonstrate this 70-30 division of sides. For example while most voters mistrust big government, big business, large corporations and Wall Street banks, "The 2010 Gallup Survey found that 95% of Americans have a positive image of small business. One doubts whether `motherhood' would even score so well."
He then breaks down the two armies of thought. The people in the 30% coalition are "led by people who are smart, powerful and strategic. These are many of the people who make opinions, entertain us, inform us, and teach our kids in college...and work in intellectual industries such as law, education, journalism, and entertainment."
This intellectual elite is the leaders of the rest of the 30%ers. Those people are largely found in extremely liberal geographic locations such as San Francisco, Seattle, Washington and Boulder. Another strong part of the 30% is comprised of ethnics, especially blacks and Hispanics. Why this is so is demonstrated by the author with lots more poll, focus group and study data.
The real core of the 30%ers is young "adults under 30. This is not just a fifth of the adult population: It is the future of our country. And this group has exhibited a frightening openness to statism in the age of Obama."
"There are three long-term strategies to keep the young in the 30% coalition: pay off their debts, give them government jobs, and make sure they never have to pay for the services that the government provides." Obama intends to make government jobs, which already pay 73% more than the average private sector worker earns for the same job, even more attractive than private industry employment. Their college debts will be paid off if they work for the government and they will end up paying less in taxes of any kind because of more government worker tax-free perks.
The author also enjoys buttressing his thoughts by quoting the Founding Fathers such as in the following: "'The natural progress of things,' Thomas Jefferson warned, `is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.'" It's interesting to learn that these same problems existed centuries ago and that the founders of the United States tried to save future generations from repeating the mistakes of the past. Ben Franklin wondered if we'd be able to keep our freedom from government.
Obama and his fellow radicals are planning to tax the wealthy, except for the very politically connected, out of existence and then hide the other taxes that will be needed to help the new, perfect welfare state survive. The Left doesn't really know whether there will actually be enough income to support their Utopian State but that will a problem for the future, not now, when every crisis allows the government to take more control of every citizen and redistribute their wealth equally, except of course for the government leaders and public worker class and to add another nail in the coffin of the golden goose that was capitalism.
The author shines a spotlight on the five false claims of the Obama Narrative and as with vampires, the light vaporizes them. The five main claims are "Government was not the primary cause of the economic crisis:" (Actually the government has been the cause of most of this nation's economic crisis throughout its history.) "The government understands the crisis and knows how to fix it:" (Baloney) "Main Street Americans were nothing more than victims of the crisis:" (Except for the millions who took full advantage of the government's obviously stupid idea to give away trillions of dollars of other people's money) "The only way to save the economy is through massive government growth and deficit spending:" (Double down on the bad bet) and "The middle class will not pay for the stimulus package. Only the rich will." (Yes, there is free lunch and health care, etc.) The author methodically dismantles these false claims one by one. Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of screwing things up with the best of intentions as well as their simple power grabs designed to further enrich and entrench themselves or their patrons. There is plenty of blame to go around, but as the author so clearly demonstrates a mere 30% of society is now enslaving the 70% majority.
It's particularly interesting how the author explains what happened in the recent financial crisis involving sub-prime mortgages. Basically that was Utopian social engineering gone terribly wrong--the government's attempt to provide mortgages to people with bad credit, no jobs and no real desire or ability to pay back a mortgage backfired. Contrary to what the government now claims, Wall Street bankers who bundled those worthless mortgages and took them off the hands of the quasi-governmental agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were actually considered saviors by the politicians who had set in motion the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. The government enabled Wall Street to make money by saving the government from it's own unsustainable, flawed socialistic policies. The risk was spread out around the entire world. It makes the reader curious as to whether Wall Street is again in the process of saving the very politicians who are pointing fingers at them and accusing them of being greedy? It makes the reader wonder about the accuracy of recent news reports that the government has been using Wall Street and Chicago Commodity Brokers to hold down the price of gold and silver in order to protect the world's paper money supply? Is Wall Street willingly playing the scapegoat while at the same time still collecting mountains of fees from the government for saving their as...Ur, paper assets?
What, if anything, can be done about the current crisis mindset that is allowing the 30% to set in motion policies that would never be permitted in the United States during normal economic conditions? There is hope, but the readers of this review will have to get the book and discover the solutions for themselves. That won't take too much time out of busy schedules because this pithy book is really only a one-day read. Even when a reader, like me, scratches and scribbles so many notes in the margins and between the lines of the book that it appears like a gang of graffiti artists had a messy ball point pen party inside this book's covers, the short time it takes to read the book is well worth the effort. It's nice to occasionally experience common sense enlightenment via true brevity.
A trivia item from the book: "Tea" in the Tea Party Movement stands for "Taxed Enough Already."
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 4, 2010 7:20:46 AM PDT
Mr. Holland, you have written a masterful review. I am ordering this book right now and I can't wait to read it. If it is all you say, it belongs on my short list of must reads that I suggest to all those who are confused and frightened by the events sweeping over us. Here is my current list of must-read books: 1) "The Ascendance of American Conservatism," by Alfred Regnery - a brilliant book documenting conservatism's ideological and historical development even the most rabid liberal would find fascinating, 2) Thomas Sowell's "A Conflict of Visions," the best book ever written on the ideological differences that lead conservative and liberal thinkers to entirely different and opposing conclusions regarding every problem encountered, and 3) since modern conservatism is the political face of capitalism, and since capitalism is an entirely unknown ideal even for most conservatives, I suggest reading the best book ever written on the subject, George Reisman's Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. Moreover, you can download the entire book at no cost. Here is the link:

There is no reason for any computer literate person to remain ignorant of the principles of freedom. Reisman's Capitalism is the most rigorous case for unfettered capitalism ever written. He brilliantly rebuts every single charge brought against it.

Posted on Jun 9, 2010 9:59:14 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 6:16:53 PM PDT
Mr. de Fyre,

As I struggled to understand what you were trying to say in your circumambulatious comment, it occurred to me that had you actually read Dr. Brooks' book you would not be so confused.

For instance, you said: "It is the government that gives corporations their charters." The fact you seem not to know is that Dr. Brooks' book is a treatise on the federal government. Corporations are chartered by state governments.

You said: "Why would you elect a government and then act as if it's your enemy? The government is YOU."

I think the famous Lincoln quote, "of by and for the people" has confused you. Lincoln did not mean that the government is ME, or YOU, or even US. The government is "of the people" because a representative group of Americans created the Constitution which brought the American government into existence. It is "for the people" because the Constitution inculcates the ideals of individual liberty, equal opportunity, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance; all those elements required for the pursuit of happiness. It is "by the people" because we are responsible for what it is and what it does. Jefferson put that responsibility most succinctly when he wrote "... whenever ... government becomes destructive to these ends (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it."

You said you are: "perplexed at the notion of framing the government as an adversary."

Well, Mr. de Fyre, exactly how do you think Jefferson expected us to go about altering and abolishing a government that has become destructive to the ends for which it was created? When a government agency becomes hostile and destructive to private property and private decisions, are they not our adversaries? The title of the book is "The Battle." A battle is adversarial by definition. Sadly, people like you are too intellectually lazy to read a book like this and discover the facts for yourself.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2010 10:31:56 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2010 10:32:26 AM PDT
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Posted on Jun 11, 2010 8:34:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2010 8:55:37 AM PDT
Dale Fisk says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2010 9:12:09 AM PDT
Mr. de Fyre,

Give me a break Ignatz. You know good and well when you said, "it's the government that gives corporations their charters," you were not talking about the Red Cross, Fannie Mae, or the Tennessee Valley Authority." Face it and quit playing dodge ball. Commercial corporations, the kind you were referencing, are chartered by states not the federal government. You were simply wrong.

Your original letter made a single basic point: You don't know why books like "The Battle" frame the government as an adversary. Your long garbled letter includes all kinds of nonsense and ad hominem jabs and punches along the way, but your central question was: "Why do you take the government as an enemy when the government is you?"

The sad fact is, Ignatz, the book you have rejected sight unseen answers that question precisely. I suggest you get it and read it. That's what the rest of us are doing here, talking about a book we have actually read.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2010 9:28:11 AM PDT
Mr. Fisk

I, and every other conservative reading your long string of wrongheaded notions, will withhold response. Imagining the scope of the task overwhelms my sense of responsibility. I am comforted by the fact that you seem to have read the book, or at least an excellent review. Therefore, given that you have had access to Dr. Brooks' thoughts on the matter and your Marxist vision remains intact, we will consider you lost to the cause of liberty.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2010 9:40:26 AM PDT
To other readers: (Don't read this Ignatz, I don't want to offend you.)

I love these forums. I wish I had more time for them. It's great fun to expose liberals for what they are: bigots puffed up with ideas, assumptions, and attitudes regarding law, foreign policy, the environment, racial policy, military defense and everything you can think of, when in truth, they are completely devoid of any actual experience at systematically testing opposing theories by evidence; empirical evidence; actual facts. The naysayers and agent provocateurs of the liberal left are like "Dogs barking idiotically through an endless night," as H. L. Mencken put it.

It is very telling, and a confirmation of this estimate, that Ignatz, in lemming-like fashion, parrots the establish Marxist view that our Founding Fathers were rich white guys creating, via the Constitution, a government that would favor the rich, white land owner over all others.

It is telling in two ways: Ignatz is a socialist spouting a Marxist line, and Ignatz has never, ever, never in his life read The Federalist Papers, The Miracle at Philadelphia, The Making of America, or leading biographies of James Madison, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Gouveneur Morris. He is clueless regarding their respective positions on slavery. Caught up in the Marxist fantasy that our Founding Fathers were some sort of conspiratorial cabal, he does not know about the clash between the Virginia Plan, the Charles Pickney plan, the New Jersey Plan, Hamilton's Plan, and the Connecticut Compromise. No, it's not sad; I'm laughing out loud. I think it's hilarious that these self-important, arrogant, pretentious jerks think their vision can substitute for the hard work of serious inquiry. That Ignatz can flip off a book like "Battle" exposes his oblivion in La-la land.

The issue here is to reevaluate the direction our government is taking us. We are discussing tyranny vs. liberty and the very real issue of our dwindling ability to live free. Dr. Brooks' "Battle" is the best book so far on exactly why and how we got to this point, and in Chapter Four, he explains exactly what we must do to save ourselves.

If any of you are still wondering why millions of Americans are joining the Tea Party Patriots and standing up and shouting down our representatives in Congress, if you are wondering where all that angry energy is coming from, this is the next book you should buy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2010 11:03:54 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 12, 2010 8:35:33 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2010 9:03:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 14, 2010 9:04:25 PM PDT
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