"Tabernacles of Clay" hits so hard, because for me it is personal. For LGBT Latter-Day Saints on the ground, living our faith is a practical matter, not a theoretical one. Yet ecclesiastical guidance and even doctrines change with political winds.
"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?"
Are billionaires like Bill Gates giving their billions to public causes out of the goodness of their hearts? The short answer is, no. They're not. The one who holds the purse strings dictates policy. And educational policy and priorities have largely been dictated by the Gates Foundation, effectively bypassing democratic processes.
The killing of George Floyd was a tragedy. I am grateful that it has sparked meaningful conversations, but at what a cost. Black lives matter. I'm doing what I can to educate myself so I can best help those who are vulnerable. This is my start. Norm Stamper, former police chief of Seattle, has some powerful insights into police reform, including how to combat systemic racism.
The Silmarillion has been sitting on my too-intimidating-to-read shelf (right next to Les Miserables and War and Peace) for too long, but I finally took up the challenge. Mind. Blown. The thousands of years of back story make you read Lord of the Rings on a whole new light.
If you thought Hunger Games was Hobbesian, the prequel Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes makes it explicit. Check out where President Snow became got his mean streak.
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.
"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."
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.
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.