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Defining Conservatism: The Principles That…
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Defining Conservatism: The Principles That Will Bring Our Country Back

by Jonathan Krohn

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Sometimes I pick up books I'm pretty sure I won't agree with. If I'm right I get to enjoy a bout of indignant rage. If I'm wrong I've learned something. Turns out I was dead right about this book.

Jonathan Krohn is a 14 year old who sets out to define the conservative philosophy, but spends most of the time talking about the evils of leftist expansionalists. His basic premise is that conservatives are united in their beliefs in morality, natural law, and history, and all policy debate should come back to those points. The natural extension of this claim is that if you are not conservative you do not believe in morality, natural law, or history, and Krohn reiterates this over and over again. Expansionists are not in conflict with conservatives because they interpret reality or truth differently, they're against conservatives because the very concept of truth or morality is a hindrance to their ultimate goal of absolute federal expansion. Note that I am not saying liberals. That word doesn't show up in the book. From the start Krohn sets up a dichotomy in which there is only the diverse but fundamentally united conservative bloc, and then there is the leftists who want to steal your money and spread the wealth. The liberal who believes in small government does not exist in Krohn's world.

I raged pretty hard throughout this book. From claiming that individual rights were paramount and then bewailing the Prop 22 decision that interpreted the constitution in favor of such rights, to asserting that victims of discrimination were simply cowards who wanted daddy government to take care of everything for them, there was very little that Kohn said that I didn't think ignorant, hypocritical, or just plain naive. What few policy examples he provided to support his assertions on the conservative ideals were often flimsy or didn't actually serve as proof of those ideals. Although he repeated again and again that the conservative philosophy was one of truth and logic, the logic of the book was entirely self contained, and would shatter the moment it touched the reality of our political and social environment.

For a 14 year old Krohn is literate, which is kind of nice, but I think it a little sad that there are people out there who thought this book worthy of being published. Any serious conservative would immediately see how shallow Krohn's arguments are, and how he has done little more than rehash the most basic arguments of some of the worst conservatism has to offer.

I was expecting what I got, so it would by remiss of me to claim disappointment. Still, there is more to conservatism than vilifying the people who disagree with you. If Krohn cannot define conservatism without spending the majority of his time talking about the boogiman of the totalitarian Marxist state I don't think he has anything substantive to offer. ( )
  bokai | May 1, 2011 |
Khron is thinker, theorist, and writer who knows what he's about. It sounds condescending and even absurd to say he writes "very intelligently" or "very maturely" as his thinking, arguing and writing skills speak so clearly for themselves. The fact that his arguments engaged me to the point that I scribbled by rebuttals in the margins is proof enough that - as least as far as American political philosophy is concerned - Krohn is at least the intellectual equal of this 39-year-old, and at most (& most often) my teacher. If I'm already familiar enough with this argument on a particular topic, I focus on studying how he presents his argument. Krohn is a fan of CS Lewis, and I think I can see some influence on Krohn's writing style from Lewis: Assured, declarative, but polite, unassuming, and honest. The kid's good. He's got an argument to make, an official declaration and clarification of his political identity. With this book, Krohn is announcing his arrival on the US political stage. He states his politics, and, in the pages of his book, recreates the thinking and soul-searching process that led him to discover his identity as a political conservative. "I'm Jonathan Krohn. This is is what I believe. This is why I believe it. You'll be hearing more from me soon." - I hope so.
  KCato | May 26, 2010 |
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A passionate appeal to a political movement that is re-examining its identity as Republicans set their sights on 2010 and beyond. A dedicated young conservative, Jonathan Krohn presents conservative philosophy's basic tenets in this remarkably earnest and impeccably reasoned primer. This book, clear and informative, is a history lesson, a manifesto, and a roadmap for the future. It is Krohn's rallying call to action not just for conservatives, but for anyone interested in the political state of our nation. Anyone interested in the basic differences between conservative and liberal thought will find Krohn's writing at once compelling, informative, intelligent, and--for those who do not agree with him--in some respects controversial.--From publisher description.… (more)

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