Still The Best Hope: Why The World Needs American Values To Triumph, by Dennis Prager
It took me a while to read this book, but that was little fault of the author himself, who writes compellingly as usual. What made this book difficult to manage is the fact that its subject matter relates to the political conflict of our contemporary age, and that is not something I enjoy reading about. And so while this book was excellent, if someone is tired of the political mood of our times , it is easy to understand that this might not be a volume that a reader would want to take on. And that would be a shame, as Prager has something to offer here through his thoughtful approach to the conflict between conservatives and liberals in the United States and the implications of the contest for the rest of the world. That Prager manages to make his strong points without engaging in ad hominem attacks and while keeping his integrity and dignity intact make this all the better as a book, even if this is not the sort of book that is likely to be easily loved by those who do not want to deal with its logic.
This book consists of nine chapters in three unequal parts that totals 400 pages, by no means an effortless read, especially given its relentless focus on matters of contemporary political controversy. Prager begins with a large amount of preliminary material, writing a preface for the paperback edition and then discussing in a prologue why this book exists before talking about humanity at a crossroads of a trilemma between leftism, Islamism, and Americanism. The author then moves on to write at some length about leftism (I) with discussions of what it is (1), why the left believes what it does (2), why the left often succeeds politically (3), and the left’s atrocious moral record (4). After that he moves to discuss Islam and Islamism, subtly and properly distinguished (II), with a look at how one evaluates religions (5), the atrocious moral record of Islam (6), Islam’s troubled relationship with America and the West (7), and some responses to arguments on behalf of Islam by its believers and political allies (8). After this the author closes with a chapter on America and its unique political values (III), specifically a trinity of liberty, trust in God, and making one out of many (9), before the various material that closes the book, including an addendum contrasting leftist and American ideals.
There is a lot to appreciate about the book. Prager is both partisan as well as deeply reasonable throughout, making his work frustrating to those who want to disagree but do not have the rhetorical tools to deal with him. The writing is unsparing about the evils of Communism and the emotional shallowness and continual hypocrisy that the left engages in when it comes to political discussion. Unfortunately, in reading this book, it struck me that those who would benefit the most from the book are not likely at all to read it. The author is likely to get a lot of readers who agree with him already and who can therefore appreciate and praise the book and its style and argumentation. Unfortunately, those who do not want to wrestle with the book’s argumentation will likely try to keep the book and its author at a distance by making fallacious ad hominem attacks and resorting to attempts to prevent the author’s logic from being seen on Google or Facebook or other social media. Given the mildness of Prager’s approach, it can only be the devastating nature of his logic that makes him so feared and loathed among the irrational left.
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