Book review: “Slavery and Islam” by Jonathan A. C. Brown

"If slavery is a manifest and universal evil, why did no one seem to realize this until relatively recently? What does that mean about our traditions of moral reasoning or divine guidance? Why do our scriptures condone slavery and why did our prophets practice it? How can we venerate people and texts-- the prophets, Founding Fathers, a scripture or founding document-- that considered slavery valid or normal? And, if we see clear and egregious moral wrongs that those people and texts so conspicuously missed, why are we venerating or honoring them in the first place?"

Book review: “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles

Like self-quarantining, but you'll get shot by the KGB if you leave the house. But seriously, a beautiful work of historical fiction. "The surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness." Count Rostov, once-aristrocrat and Former Person in Soviet Russia, embodies this life lesson of his on every page.

Book review: “10 Books that Screwed Up the World”

"There is nothing so absurd, that it can't be said by a philosopher." Wiker's thesis is that ideas have power, and a lot of them can be dangerous. OF the 14 books be reviews, some would be universally condemned such as Hitler's Mein Kampf-- but others were written by eminent scientists such as Darwin's "Descent of Man."

Book review: “10 Books Every Conservative Must Read” by Benjamin Wiker

Wiker's book claims a lot of ground for the conservative tradition-- he calls on both Chesterton and Lewis, and both Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments, and even Lord of the Rings. But Wiker's vision of conservatism seems very different from the current embodiment of the Republican party. His discussions surrounding self-government, a distributed economy, and cultivation of virtue seem like a call to return to our roots. It is a refreshing reminder that politics shouldn't be entirely defined by what we're against.

Book review: “Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me”

What can I possibly have in common with perpetrators of murder and torture? Tavris and Aronson argue, quite a lot. The same patterns you use to justify you yelling at your child or spouse or cheating on a test have been used by governments to justify much worse things-- and still be able to feel like a basically good person. Tavris and Aronson's book really hits hard-- but it's not just a self-help book to become a better person. Self-justification quickly becomes political.

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