#BookReview: How Rights Went Wrong by Jamal Greene

Interesting Yet Ultimately Self-Serving Take On Rights. This book presents as an interesting and novel (at least in an American sense) take on rights – namely, that they are not absolute and should be mediated by government actions. Greene claims that this would ultimately result in less polarization, though he seems to ignore large swaths of what has led to the polarization currently facing America when making such claims. Still, even though blatantly written from a leftist perspective, the book mostly presents its theory in a reasonably well-reasoned approach and thus adds enough to the overall conversation that it should be considered. Ultimately, though, it becomes clear that Greene’s entire premise of mediated rights is less a matter of principle or proposing a novel theory or (as he claims) more aligning American jurisprudence with that of much of the rest of the world and much more about defending Big Academia’s right to discriminate against the disabled and against certain races, and to control speech in a totalitarian manner. It is this realization – very blatant in the closing chapters, particularly when discussing Affirmative Action and campus speech codes – that ultimately considerably detracts from the overall merit of the proposal, and thus dramatically weakens the entire argument. Recommended.

This review of How Rights Went Wrong by Jamal Greene was originally written on October 16, 2020.

#BookReview: American Messiah by M. Andrew Holowchak

Will The Real TJ Please Stand Up? Growing up as I did inside the Southern Baptist Church of the Moral Majority/ “Conservative Resurgence” era, Jefferson was one of those Founding Fathers frequently cited in defense of… well, somehow both sides of the issue of religion in the public sphere. Here, Holowchak does a deep dive into the evolving religious beliefs of the infamous Founding Father and third President of the United States of America. And y’all… Holowchak makes it crystal clear that if good ol’ TJ were alive today, he would recognize very little – if anything – of what constitutes the American Church today. Utterly fascinating read, but in a very academic way. If you’re looking for a more conversational approach to this topic… this aint it. But if you’re looking for a well documented critical examination of exactly what this infamously aloof former President actually believed based on his writings and correspondences… this is exactly what you’re looking for. Very much recommended.

This review of American Messiah by M. Andrew Holowchak was originally written on October 3, 2020.