Restoring America’s Soul: Advancing Timeless Conservative Principles In A Wayward Culture, by Rita Dunaway
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Adams PR Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
As someone who reads a great deal of material relating to Conservatives and the conservative worldview, it is worthwhile to ponder the approach that different books have. Some books preach to the converted, pointing out the flaws of the statist mindset. Others focus on matters of election tactics or seek for conservatives to become activists in the narrow and partisan ways we see on the left. This book, though, strives to discuss timeless principles in a different way. The author questions the conservative bona fides of President Trump, something that is not always done on the right, and also points out that for conservative views to prevail that conservatives must be winsome as well as right, and that a hostility to government trying to solve problems need not include a callous attitude to genuine social needs being met. Conservatives need more than negativity but also to point out alternatives to the statist solutions presented by contemporary leftists. This is a worthwhile approach and it gives this book a certain degree of excellence it would not otherwise have.
Coming in at a bit under 200 pages, this particular book is divided into three parts after the foreword and introduction. The first part of the book consists of four chapters that discuss a contemporary identity crisis within conservatism, with chapters that discuss the authors’ revelation on conservatism (1), on the need to be charming and charismatic (2), on the importance of valuing truth and virtue over one’s feelings (3), and that our political behavior must be rooted in conservative principles (4). After this the author discusses tough issues with persuasive conservatism, providing thoughtful discussion about caring for the poor (5), protecting religious liberty (6), defending the right to life (7), and preserving the sanctity of marriage (8). In these chapters the author provides a savvy elevator speech at the end to give a brief defense of the conservative view on these subjects. Finally, the author closes the book with two chapters that provide strategies for restoring America’s soul. The author argues for an article V constitutional convention that would help to put government back in its place (9) and also seeks to restore a culture of virtue in the United States that will make the false messianic hopes of big government less appealing to citizens of the republic (10).
There are a few things that this author does particularly well in providing an appealing vision for Conservatism. For one, the author recognizes that too often Conservatives are defined for what they are against and not what they are for. The absence of a vision that is articulated in opposition to the false messianic state is a great hindrance. The author also recognizes that all too often the truth about Conservative generosity is not recognized and that the ideals that Conservatives strive for are not presented in an appealing way. The author also urges a recognition of matters of truth. This includes the fact that people recognize when someone is presenting a straw man picture of the other side, and that Conservatives need to be able to confront the real aims and assumptions of leftists rather than to be content with painting an obviously false picture that hinders the credibility of those promoting conservative viewpoints. The author’s comments on various issues of social and cultural importance are on point as well, and the author does a good job in not seeking to pander to those who are unwilling to promote genuine conservatism. If she is not necessarily sanguine about the current state of the American republic, this is a book with a lot of worth advice on approach and vision.