Featured New Release Of The Week: Republic of Wrath by James Morone

This week we’re looking at a a truly fascinating history of just how fragmented America has been seemingly from its very founding – including incidents just prior to the Civil War that would make even the most heated activists of today blanche in terror. This week we’re looking at Republic Of Wrath by James Morone.

Unfortunately I’m facing a form of “writer’s block” these days that is barely allowing me to write a Goodreads level review, so that is all I have to offer this week.

Excellent History Lesson. I’m a guy that prides myself in knowing more about American history than most. (Well, let’s be honest, my normal line is that I know more about most than most, and that generally holds true – even when people know far more than I do about a given topic.) Anyways… 😀 This book did a phenomenal job of bringing forth quite a bit of American history that even I wasn’t aware of, particularly in my acknowledged weak area between the War of 1812 and the Civil War. For example, despite how heated American political discourse feels at times over the last couple of years in particular, apparently there was a point in the lead-up to the Civil War where *Congressmen* routinely brought knives and guns *onto Capitol Hill*. Indeed, one line Morone quotes from a Congressman of the time is that those that didn’t bring a knife and a gun brought two guns! While the ending of the narrative, with Morone’s recommendations of how to fix where we find ourselves, is more “your mileage may vary” level, the lead up to that point is a solid look at American history, if hyper focused on the general premise that all conflict came from either race or immigration – which is a bit disingenuous at times, but the analysis here isn’t so flawed as to claim absolute exclusivity to the premise. Absolutely a must-read for Americans and really anyone wishing to understand how America has arrived at its current place in time. Very much recommended.

#BookReview: The Next Great Migration by Sonia Shah

Interesting and Applicable. This is a truly remarkable work that traces the sociological and biological impetuses for and restrictions on migration at levels from the individual through the species. Shah does a superb job of combining history and science to make her case, and even impeaches at least a few organizations currently in the headlines along the way – even while clearly having no way of knowing that she was doing so, as the book was written before they became so prominent more recently. Spanning from the guy that developed the modern taxonomic system through late breaking issues with the Trump Presidency, Shah shows a true depth to her research and builds a largely compelling case. Very much recommended.

This review of The Next Great Migration by Sonia Shah was originally written on April 10, 2020.

#BookReview: The Contract To Unite America by Neal Simon

Partisan Populist Polemic for Independents. I like that Simon opens the book with a note that if you are yourself a hyper partisan that thinks either side or the other is completely evil, this book isn’t for you.

The things Simon discusses in this book are things that I know for a fact many, perhaps most, Americans have not thoughtfully considered – or even considered at all. Sure, some of them are hotter button issues than others, such as his decrying of Citizens United – a common complaint of the left yet a case which is misunderstood by most and even outright misinterpreted in this very text. But others are much more esoteric, largely only thought of when the person themselves gets hit by the problem, such as ballot access – a process by which the “two” Party System in the US actively limits, indeed even places extraordinary hurdles to, the ability for anyone other than themselves to get on the ballot for election for most offices in this country.

Ultimately, however, Simon has crafted a partisan populist polemic for Independents that while useful as a conversation starter has numerous flaws in reasoning – even while being very well documented in his statements. However, even then there are, in the infamous words of Mark Twain, “lies, damn lies, and statistics”, and Simon’s constant refrain that “60% of Americans support each of these initiatives” is a bit disingenuous at best. And I’ve seen some of the very polls he was citing, often used them in my own debates! (See below) Still, with the various issues he brings up, most of which won’t be actively discussed by the various Presidential candidates or talking heads this year, this book deserves to be read and discussed even given its myriad flaws. Recommended.

With all of this said, allow me to note my own history, briefly, so that you can judge for yourself if I may fall into the trap of hyperpartisanship myself. I grew up as a Republican and voted in 2004 for Georgia’s Defense of Marriage Act. By 2006 I was already fed up with “both” Parties and trying to find my own way. I began reading *every* Party’s platforms and looking to what resonated most with me. I officially joined the Libertarian Party as a dues paying member the day after Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, and within 2 yrs I would: be a member of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Georgia, found a local affiliate (county Party) of the LP-Ga, run for nonpartisan rural small town City Council 2x, found a libertarian-leaning political blog, host the biggest event of the 2010 Georgia election cycle in terms of number of Statewide candidates present, be recognized 2x by the Georgia House of Representatives for my work in open government, video local County Commission and City Council meetings and put the unedited video on YouTube, run a Facebook group working for equal ballot access for Georgia citizens, serve as the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s Legislative Director, recruit a Statewide candidate for the LP-Ga, and probably a few things I’ve forgotten about in the decade since. However, by 2012 I had left active political activism altogether, and when I moved to Florida in 2017 I officially registered to vote as “No Party Affliation” – the way Florida encodes “Independent” status. (No State I had previously lived in actually registered voters by Party.)

This review of The Contract To Unite America by Neal Simon was originally written on February 9, 2020.