Recommend a Good Liberal Book
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What left-of-center book would you recommend to someone who leans right in his poilitcs?
A simple screed will be impossible for me to read.
Chomsky and Zinn don't work for me, either.
I recently read Peter Beinhart's Why Liberals -- and Only Liberals -- can Win the War on Terror because I find him bright and reasonable. It was a pretty good book, but I'm looking for more, preferrably a book for something, rather than merely against the right.
Have you read Homegrown Democrat seems a "kinder, gentler" musing on liberal/progressive politics.
If you haven't read A people's history of the United States by Howard Zinn I highly recommend that. I feel like it's the liberal leaning history primer.
#3 - I finished Al's book the other day. It certainly is not a 'feel good' book! I am so glad I read it, though.
Re #4: I know Zinn is a lefty, but I don't consider People's History a "liberal leaning history primer" -- I consider it all the information I never got in high school history class that certainly would have made a difference in my life. I was so pissed off when I read it because of all the lies and half truths I was fed all my life. Nice to know it's actually part of the curriculum in some schools these days.
The current, June 16, issue of The Economist has a review of Paul Starr's Freedom's Power: The True Force of Liberalism which might be of interest.
I'd recommend Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think by George Lakoff. Actually, I'd recommend it to people who lean left in their politics, too.
I'd also recommend "Sermon on the Mount", which I believe is Matthew 5-7 or so in most New Testaments.
If you aren't afraid of getting meaty, John Rawls' A Theory of Justice is sort of the intellectual touchstone of American liberalism.
I tried reading that once but ground to a halt about ten pages in. It's quite dense, isn't it?
Rawls has written a book called Justice as Fairness, which "summarises" his ideas (i.e. it's 240 pages rather than 560 pages) so I might give that a go sometime.
Try Reason Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America. He does state his criticisms of the far right, Radcons he calls them, as distinguished from more traditional conservatives, but the book is anything but a "screed."
There has been a wave of God is Bad books lately---I read The God Delusion, and despite how much I enjoy anti-religious anything, I found myself skipping whole chapters. The author sets up logical proofs about there not being a God and goes systematically down the list, discount the most common arguments for God's existence. For someone who never put any stick in these old arguments, it got tiresome. But as the divide between church and state is increasingly chewed away by right wing buttholes, I think this literary trend is important and relevant. Anyone read some of the others? WHat did you think?
I tend to think that these books are about as helpful in convincing anyone as the guy who stands at the cable car turnaround at Fifth and Powell in San Francisco with a megaphone telling me that I'm going to Hell. ie. not much at all.
Of the current crop, I only read God Is Not Great, which was enjoyable because when Hitchens gets going, his screeds can get pretty funny.
I've read a lot of books on skepticism, particularly the books that came directly before publishers seriously got on the bandwagon.
Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things is pretty good, as is Doubt: A History
by Jennifer Michael Hecht . I've also been meaning to read Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell, but I'll need to clear some headspace first.
The problem with a lot of these apologias for atheism is that the arguments are simply repeated. That's why someone like Dennett is important, bringing as he does new, empirical arguments.
Don't you, by and large though, feel that these books are mainly, errr, preaching to the choir as it were?
But as the divide between church and state is increasingly chewed away by right wing buttholes, I think this literary trend is important and relevant.
I think books specifically about the divide between church and state are considerably more relevant to this issue than debates about atheism. One I read recently was Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen, which did not impress me much. One I may read in the future is Piety and Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom by Rev. Barry W. Lynn, and I am sure there are others.
Yep. Most def. But I'm sure there are more than a few people who, in moments of doubt either way, are able to get to a place that suits them better. They also provide a literature to fall back on in cases where the view point of a considered secularist is needed, say, in court or on a schoolboard.
I agree with daschaich. To put a book promoting atheism in the "liberal and progressive" category seems to accept the right wing contention that liberals are atheists. Some are, some are not. Just as some conservatives are, and some are not. I expect that the separation of church and state, however, is important to all liberals and progressives, including believers, for several reasons. for one thing, members of minority religions are the most likely to suffer if that separation falters. Secondly, a state role in religion generally leads to a weakening rather than a strengthening of religion. Though why conservatives, who contend the state ruins everything it touches, would want the state to play a stronger role in something they hold especially dear, is beyond me.
Well, I'd think then the responsibilty of progressive believers is to articulate why their belief informs their secularism.
If I were a believer, it would be an affront to me that I needed the government intervention to reach my spiritual goals. The Constitution was not designed to get anyone to Heaven, it was designed to allow each of us to pursue our own route. It seems to me that this is a favorable condition for Christians to practice their faith actively and consciously. Creating a society whose guiding principle is providing an easy path for people of faith robs credit from the faithful and the object of their faith, as well as chipping away at the health of the broader civil society.
That's what I'd argue. And I guess I just did.
#20: "The Constitution was not designed to get anyone to Heaven, it was designed to allow each of us to pursue our own route."
I forgot who made the joke, but it reminds me of someone who took the old Ronald Reagan line about big government to address the problem of having an office of faith-based initiativesand said, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you be more religious."
I was browsing amazon the other day and came across some books that might appeal to liberal parents: Reviving Ophelia and Real Boys. They are both basically about how the gender-roles and expectations that our mass culture is demanding girls and boys follow are far too restrictive and instead result in maladaptive behavior. Might pick them up myself at some point.
If you are looking for something more satirical, try Fair and Balanced, My Ass by Amann and Breuer. A slightly whimsical look at the Fox News channel.
#22 - Oh, I think I need to get that book just for the title alone.
Thanks for posting the book cover - a great incentive to buy the book.
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