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A Reason to Vote Paperback – October 1, 1999
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"In this startling and well-researched book, Robert Roth documents the creeping decline of American democracy in the last half-century."--Harvey Brooks, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
"I consider it to be one of the most important books of the late twentieth century. It infuriated me, and it enlightened me. The Natural Law Party is the mechanism of political choice for the next decade." --Neale Donald Walsch, author of The New York Times bestselling Conservations with God
"Third parties have contributed huge ideas to American politics, from the abolition of slavery, to a woman's right to vote, to child-labor laws. A Reason to Vote give us the information we need to bring third parties back to center stage."--Marianne Williamson, author of The Healing of America
"A brilliant and provocative book which argues impressively that the America envisioned by our nation's founders can be realized through the Natural Law Party. This is must reading for our democracy to thrive."--Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., author of Healing Anxiety Naturally
From the Publisher
"Third parties have contributed huge ideas to American politics, from the abolition of slavery, to a woman's right to vote.... A Reason to Vote gives us the information that we need to bring third parties back to the center stage." --Marianne Williamson, author of The Healing of America
"I consider it to be one of the most important books of the late 20th century. It infuriated me, and it enlightened me. The Natural Law Party is the mechanism of political choice for the next decade." --Neale Donald Walsch, author of The New York Times bestselling Conversations With God
"A brilliant and provocative book which argues impressively that the America envisioned by our nation's founders can be realized through the Natural Law Party. This is must reading for our democracy to thrive." --Harold Bloomfield, Ph.D., author of Healing Anxiety with Herbs
"In this startling and well-researched book, Robert Roth documents the creeping decline of American democracy in the last half-century." --Harvey Brooks, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
"An engaging book...I enthusiastically recommend A Reason to Vote for courses in American politics, legislative studies, and party politics." --Carol M. Swain, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, and author of Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress
"For a better tomorrow we desperately want and need visionary leaders with new ideas, hopes, and possibilities to make it work now! A Reason to Vote teaches and gives that alternative." --Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series
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Roth's personal and powerful first person narration leaps off the page. As press secretary for the NLP, the fastest growing new political party in America, he has stood on the front lines of third-party battles to reclaim democracy and access to the ballot and the debates. He unmasks our democracy to be the most exclusionary and undemocratic of any on earth.
"How tough is it for third parties? As Richard Winger [America's leading authority on third-parties] said, in most states, Republicans and Democrats have written the laws that grant themselves automatic access to the ballot. On the other hand, in 1998, a new party must collect over 5 million valid signatures to run a full slate of candidates nationwide."
This is only the first hurdle in an obstacle course built by the two major parties, and supported by the mainstream press. We hear harrowing experiences of volunteers who, in 1996, in the face of unconstitutional opposition from the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Election Commission, and the courts (whose members are either Democrats or Republicans) achieved ballot access for NLP candidates in fifty states. We share in their exhilaration and confidence that it is possible to meet the challenge of a nation in transitiion.
That transition from a world of disconnected, selfish, quarreling factions to one of purpose and unity, is profoundly described by the doctors, scientists, teachers, and farmers that Roth interviews. We learn how close "natural law" is to our lives from world-renowned Unified Field physicist and NLP Presidential candidate, Dr. John Hagelin.
"Everything we accomplish is achieved by applying natural laws," he says. "We have the electric light courtesy of technologies that apply natural law, a man walked on the moon and a rover scoured the surface of Mars because of technologies that harness natural law, and we treat our sick with medicines that utilize laws of nature.
"The problem is that technologies can be used for good or for bad....With so much money invested in the research and development of new technologies, these technologies often get shoved into the marketplace before they are adequately tested for safety. To protect their investments, these industries also pour megabucks into the treasure chests of both the Republican and Democratic parties."
A clear view of the problem, and the amazingly simple solution -- the NLP's fool proof formula for assessing new technologies -- that they must work! It rings true even in sound bitten ears. And Mike Tompkins, NLP Vice-Presidential candidate, and descendant of former Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, tells us why, enlightening us about our nation's natural law origins,
"... before the Republicans, before the Democrats, before all the other political parties there was natural law. One of the founders of our country, John Adams, called natural law 'the Great Legislator of the Universe.' And in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, in the very beginning of the document, derived our very existence as a country and also all our rights from what he called the 'laws of nature.'
"...Our founders believed that if we could gain knowledge of natural law, of how it operates both inside us and all around us, then we would grow as individuals and also as a nation."
For the facts about genetic engineering that few reporters are aware of or brave enough to print Roth turns to the maverick molecular biologist, Dr. John Fagan, who in 1994 returned $614,000 in grant money and withdrew proposals for $1.25 million more from the National Institutes of Health in protest of the deadly direction in which genetic engineers are leading us. If anyone is still swallowing the strange science that biotechs are dishing out they're in for a jolt of the real stuff. Step by step, Fagan exposes the dangers inherent in manipulating a system which has taken millions of years to evolve.
Then comes another jolt when we learn that
"...the testing of genetically engineered substances at present is largely voluntary-more than 90% of genetically engineered foods are not required to be tested before they enter the market. Consequently, the details of the testing programs are left primarily in the hands of the developers-namely, the biotech industry. We've left the fox guarding the chickens."
But Roth energizes us again with the story of the Mothers for Natural Law, Laura Ticciati's amazing nonprofit group that has formed an unprecedented coalition of statesman, scientists, doctors, clergy, farmers, and businessman to stand up to the biotech industry.
Next Roth lets some of the nation's leading doctors describe America's 'disease care system', a system that results in more than 3 million injured by medical mistake, and more than 180,000 deaths from 'correct practice' each year. We hear about the body's inner intelligence and how natural medicine is quickly rising to become the new world standard with proven preventative measures and no negative side effects.
Crime? No problem. With powerful techniques like Transcendental Meditation, Judges report addicts stay out of prison and off drugs, and the American Heart Association says the neglected victims of crime , the elderly, become free of hypertension.
Throughout this invincible book, from schools that foster creative genius, to a global information economy that encourages perpetual learning, to a peacekeeping force that will make war finally impossible, Roth keeps the emphasis on powerful, practical, and proven solutions. It will empower all who read it. Free of the Donkey and the Elephant at last, we could vote with our heads on straight in the the first year of the millenium
We now have a reason to vote.
Sadly, Roth's answer lies in the Natural Law Party, a motley crew of scientists, greens, and others whose goal is to raise collective consciousness and create a society "more in accord with natural law".
Unfortunately, a lot remains undefined in Roth's wide-eyed if rambling prose, including a definition of "natural law" itself. What definition there is could apply to just about anything, because nothing Roth says about natural law in its "pure" form is transferable into the mishmash of anti-nuke, organic, coalition-of-scientists statism that is at the heart of NLP philosophy.
The book contains enough sleight-of-hand and straw man arguments to persuade those who really don't pay too much attention to this sort of thing, but this is what makes it particularly insidious. Do we really think that a coalition of TM meditators in Iraq would defuse tensions with Saddam Hussein? Call me a pessimist, but methinks he'd use it as an excuse to shoot more of his citizens and the TMers as well. And if it did work (which I'd love to believe that it WOULD), what's to stop them from sending meditators to any perceived "problem"? Is Cuba a problem? Wall Street? Any private alternative to government function? Does the author know or care?
A 50-year moratorium on genetically engineered foods? Why didn't we put a 50-year moratorium on cars in 1908? That would've solved EVERYTHING!
Roth (and John Hagelin, the NLP candidate in 1996 and 2000) also seem to put undue faith on scientists' ability to be impartial. While corruption certainly exists in our society today, the NLP merely replace one set of hobgoblins with another. "Unified field theory" is something that serious sceintists disagree on, but you wouldn't know that from this book, in which it is accepted and presented as literal, unalterable fact.
Will a NLP government represent a coalition of scientists with diverse opinions, or rather merely ones which parrot the party line? I think we all know the answer to this one, too. Back to the days when scientists measured the thickness of skulls to pick out the Jews, I guess. These are certainly the ramifications if we allow Hagelin's agenda science free rein.
What disturbs me the most, however, is that the Natural Law Party does not seem to trust people very much at all or to allow for different points of view. Perhaps organic food is the wave of the future-- but this doesn't mean it needs to be governmentally subsidized, for God's sake! Perhaps elections are corrupt as is, but public financing (forcing people to direct money not at one candidate they don't like, but thousands) is not going to solve anything. The NLP addresses the Zeitgiest gamut of hot-button issues, but attacks them like a dog barks at invisible fencing-- it knows something is wrong, but fails to not only find a solution, but also to grasp what exactly the problem is.
In the marketplace of ideas, this is not one that will gain broad support or withstand scrutiny. At least the Libertarians(like me, in the interest of disclosure), Greens, Constitution, Socialist, etc. parties are consistent in their ideologies. (Word to the wise: The "fastest-growing new party" actually shrank in registered voters from 1996 to 2000.)
Points, however, for correctly identifying with the problems smaller parties face in getting on the ballot. 75 pages of the 320 page book have merit, at least.
This review is a star and a half, or 3 out of 10.