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Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract With America Paperback – May 1, 2006
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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We all know who Newt Gingrich is, and what he stands for. This book, then, is more of a clarifier and a source of talking points than a proselyting tract, although it does serve this purpose in a secondary sense.
What drew to this book is that Mr. Speaker first, correctly identifies the socio-poltico-economic problems, and, better yet, offers concrete, sound, and sensible solutions to these problems. This contrasts with the Democrats, who are the reactionary party as opposed to a loyal opposition, or the Neo-cons who are wannabe Democrats.
The key difference between Mr. Speaker and the Democrat-Neocons is statism. In all areas, except defense, Gingrich is for a smaller, leaner government, and following the Tenth Amendment by devolving powers back to the states and the people respectively.
As to defense, Gingrich understands three things. First, there is a difference between a conservative position, a libertarian position, and an anarchist position. As Federalist 23 says, "These [war] powers ought to exist without limitation, because it is impossible to foresee or to define the extent and variety of national exigencies, and the correspondent extent and variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them. The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed. This power ought to be coextensive with all the possible combinations of such circumstances; and ought to be under the direction of the same councils which are appointed to preside over the common defense." When we are paying more in Social Security than we are in defense, we are just asking for what we are going to get.
Second, we cannot be relighting World War II with lumbering battlewagons and the American Expeditionary Forces making bloody beachheads. This word is a techo-war with different fronts and different beachheads. We need to restructure the military accordingly.
Thirdly, we will be fighting this war for a long time. As he calls it, it is the Long War with the Irreconcilable Branch of Islam. When we fought with the Nazis and the Soviets, we had the under-girding culture of Germany and Russian to connect with. We have no similar under-girding, Western-Christian culture to connect with. This war is not just about terrorism, but the value system that breeds terrorism.
As to everything else, Speaker Newt is a futurist, which is exactly the type of person we need right now. So give his book a chance, and think hard. We have no guarantee that America will continue in the same way it has continued for two centuries. We need to take intelligent action to preserve our liberties. So think about it.
The book tackles some of the country's thorniest issues: illegal immigration, spiraling health care costs and obsolete delivery systems, the soon-to-be bankrupt social security system, election reform, the federal budget and its deficits and many others. Whether the reader agrees with Gingrich's solutions or not, the book is insightful, articulate, and provocative. It is also a clarion call to sanity and reason in a climate where neither seems to prevail at the moment.
Gingrich is well-known and highly respected, even by his political opponents, for his clear vision, sound reasoning and articulate advocacy. In my opinion, he is one of America's treasures and one of the last remaining legacies of the Reagan Revolution. It has been left to this latest generation of American politicians to squander the Reagan legacy of a Republican House, a Republican Senate and now, an imperiled Republican Presidency.
I feel like I have a much better understanding of our government after this.
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