Cells And Cities, by Joseph B. Casey
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Reedsy Discovery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
On the positive side, this book is a creative attempt by the author to justify big government and its legitimacy through an appeal to creation in the complexity and behavior of the eukaryotic cell as opposed to the simpler structure found in other single-celled organisms. What appears to have been the case here is that the author has long wished to defend his favored political program of a big government that siphons a large percentage of the productive labor of citizens while providing infrastructure and conditions that prevent the citizen from having to do unproductive tasks like working for basic survival (But someone must do that work since government bureaucrats are not in the habit of raising crops and taking care of animals) or looking for work. The author seems to take a lot for granted, namely that the behavior of the eukaryotic cell runs by command and control and that such methods can manage complex systems in a rejection of every historical example of attempts at command and control that have existed in the entirety of human history, all of which have ended in catastrophic failure.
The best thing that can be said about this book is that it is mercifully short and will not try the patience of the reader, and that it is part of a larger conversation that seeks to argue about what governments are natural or ideal. Even readers who disagree with the author’s thesis will find the author’s approach to seeking a connection between the way that mankind operates and the lessons we learn from creation to be a worthwhile and profitable area of study. Even the author’s shortcomings in assuming that the eukaryotic cell somehow magically is made to mirror contemporary European or American cities with advanced infrastructure that eases the life of city dwellers in contradistinction to the rough life of urban populations in such cities as Rio de Janiero, Cairo, or Mumbai who may be unfamiliar with cities that provide the sort of benefits that the author rhapsodizes about are instructive in that they will ensure that the author’s ideas and similar ones are subjected to rigorous analysis and critique. The author’s inability to distinguish between what is and what is necessary should encourage readers to question the blithe assumptions that undergird our assumptions of just how much government is in fact necessary and proper for us to live good lives, and how it is that such varying opinions about the desirability and necessity of highly centralized paternalistic states exist in the first place and remain so tenaciously held.