I liked reading this one. Mr. Trueman is a real smart cookie and in this book his thoughts are all over the place (gutsy, endearing, annoying, insightI liked reading this one. Mr. Trueman is a real smart cookie and in this book his thoughts are all over the place (gutsy, endearing, annoying, insightful, off-base). All and all, this is a book that one doesn't regret reading.
Mr. Trueman provides a outsider's (British expatriate) look at the American political scene. I found myself laughing, agreeing, heartily disagreeing at times, smirking, etc. The great thing is that Carl doesn't take himself too seriously, and it lets him come across with a real light, smooth stroke, rather than the heavy, bumbling stroke that most Christians have when they talk about politics. It's really a fun ride, even if one finds his points to be misguided at times. Read this if you are Christian and want to think about politics and want to be challenged.
Disagreements set aside, I can recommend the book on many different levels: it challenges Christians to not wed themselves to the Right or the Left; it challenges Christians to think deeply about political issues and not settle for thoughtless mantras; it challenges Christians to not let certain issues cloud their political judgement. I wish more evangelical Christians would read this book, if anything, just to dislodge some of their more thoughtless political assumptions (and perhaps make them second guess their love of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly).
In assessing this book, the important thing is not whether I agree with Mr. Trueman on every count, but rather that this book is going to provoke Christians to think and evaluate their partisanship. I think any book that is fun to read and challenges Christians to re-think their thoughtless political assumptions is a real winner in my estimation.
And, as for Mr. Trueman, I would--as a libertarian supporter of free markets--jokingly retort that if he repents of his somewhat anti-free market tendencies, I think the "invisible hand" will go easy on him for producing such a thoroughly entertaining book. ...more
Jonah has some interesting analysis and this book is better than I expected. However, it is not without flaws. Some of his historical and philosophicaJonah has some interesting analysis and this book is better than I expected. However, it is not without flaws. Some of his historical and philosophical conclusions seem rather iffy. (And some of us wait for a sequel that this author would probably never write: “Conservative Fascism”)...more
This is fresh steaming vitriol. Naomi certainly makes some interesting points and has done heavy duty research. What she is saying strikes a chord witThis is fresh steaming vitriol. Naomi certainly makes some interesting points and has done heavy duty research. What she is saying strikes a chord with many people, which explains why this book receives so many positive reviews.
Unfortunately, though, the vitriolic nature of this work makes Naomi seem like a loose cannon or a hammer looking for a nail. She doesn't pretend to hide her contempt for privitization, Milton Friedman, free market capitalism, Chicago school economics, and what not. There is no pretense of balance as she employees jackhammer-style reasoning (often with little proof). She doesn't account for the subtleties of the issues involved. In her her jackhammer approach, a spade is a spade and if it isn't--it becomes one. She flattens distinctions and broadsides nuances into flat surfaces. And, as it has already been pointed out elsewhere, Naomi uses every rhetorical trick in the book.
Her attacks on Milton Friedman are particularly vitriolic. And yet the system she critiques as being "Friedmanite" doesn't even come close to implementing his ideals fully! Klein attacks Friedman for supporting tyranny in Chile, but really, all Friedman did was advise the Chilean government, and those reforms were implemented to some degree. Hardly cause to attack Friedman's character. And, of course, Naomi lists bad things that happened under free-market systems, but doesn't contrast that with what happened under those same countries under a government regulated economy. According to Naomi, the Cato Institute is neo-conservative and FDR's New Deal was not only good, but necessary. OK. I'll have to differ on that, but let's continue..
Be prepared for nauzeating buzz-words with no value except for emotional and rhetorical: "Corporate new jerusalem", "balooning corporate power", "radical free market", "corporatist", "dazzling rich and disposable poor", "corporate supremisist", "the rise of corporatism", "ultra-conservative", "maniacal quest", "the corporatist alliance", etc.
Naomi does have a valid critique regarding the way the government panders to big firms and, in privitization, plays political games. But that is not really a critique of true free-market capitalism, but rather it a critique of a particular form of government intervention over against another form of it.
There's no doubt that Naomi is quite sharp and intelligent and that this book is no small feat. But, really, I suggest you look elsewhere if you want a balanced critique from a similar perspective. There isn't much in this book to commend it to you. The unique true facts in this book can be found elsewhere, and without the poisonous vitriol.
And in closing, if you've already read Naomi's attack on Milton Friedman, do yourself a favor and read his ideas first hand--in "Capitalism and Freedom". He deserves a fair evaluation--without Naomi's sarcastic, slanted rhetoric. ...more