Book Review | This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — plus plenty of valet parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich

If you needed any reason to be cynical about American politics, then Mark Leibovich’s This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — plus plenty of valet parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital is the book for you. I guarantee that you will not put it down with a single breath of hope and optimism  about the future of our country remaining in you. Unless, of course, you’re one of the few wealthy or connected enough to be one of the elites. On the other hand, maybe some healthy skepticism about government is…

Book Review | American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History by Charles Murray

American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History weighs in at a little under fifty, four-by-six pages (not including notes and citations). It’s pretty light weight, especially as it goes for books on politics or history. And yet, Charles Murray does not disappoint. He packs in a lot of interesting ideas in a short amount of time. Murray opens by looking at misconceptions about what American exceptionalism means. Rather than using the definition of “exceptional” that means “wonderful,” Murray notes that at the founding of the country, and indeed for most of…

Midday Commentary on a Week’s Worth of News — July 2, 2015

I really had no clue how to tackle the entire spectrum of news coming out of SCOTUS last week, so instead I did what any reasonable person would do, I ran and hid. So with a little time to digest it all, here are just a few take-aways: • To the Tumblerina Twitterati FB SJWs, you are doing amazing work. Keep it up! I definitely think your efforts helped to sway a few of the SCOTUS justices, especially Alito, who’s a known lurker in multiple subreddits. • Relying on the…

Review – Mormon Rivals: The Romneys, the Huntsmans and the Pursuit of Power by Matt Canham and Thomas Burr

Mormon Rivals: The Romneys, the Huntsmans and the Pursuit of Power is an engrossing political drama, an in-depth look at the lives, families, history of and connections between two of the biggest names in politics to come out of Mormon ranks in a generation. Authors Matt Canham and Thomas Burr are masters of their subject, weaving a fascinating look at how the two families took parallel paths to rise from pioneers on the American frontier to leadership on the national political stage. For political junkies, Mormon Rivals, published by the…

Book Review: Feardom by Connor Boyack

I’ve long followed Connor Boyack’s career. A libertarian and out of the box thinker, Boyack has never been afraid to defend his conclusions, and he does so with articulation and passion. His latest literary foray is no exception. In Feardom: How Politicians Exploit Your Emotions and What You Can Do to Stop Them, Boyack fervently argues for greater individual responsibility in the face of growing and often deceptive government communication and behavior. The argument is timely. Trust in government, whether it is Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, or…

The Right to Be Wrong: Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America

America is exceptional. It’s exceptional because of our love for and commitment to individual freedom. And the first individual freedom delineated in the Bill of Rights is the freedom of religion. This first freedom is the subject of Kevin Hasson’s wonderful little read: “The Right to Be Wrong.” (Hasson is the founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty). Hasson, ever the storyteller, begins with an illustrative tale of the Pilgrims. Pilgrims, you see, are an archetype. They represent both early and modern Americans wishing to use the power of…

Book Review | The Beautiful Tree by James Tooley [Publius Online]

The Beautiful Tree  is a book about what’s right with the world. Amazingly, what is right with the world is found in the slums of Nigeria, India, Kenya, China, and Zimbabwe. The poor educating themselves without government assistance is the name of the game. In the early 2000s author of The Beautiful Tree, James Tooley (a British educator and researcher), discovered that the slums of India contained thousands of private schools, funded exclusively through student tuition, and operating without government oversight. Told such schools did not exist by government education bureaucrats, Tooley…

Book Review & More: “Free To Learn” by Peter Gray [Utah Political Summary]

For the vast majority of the first 60 years of their lives, nearly every person in the United States is intimately involved in our country’s public education system. You enter when you’re 5 years old (or sooner, in some places) and leave when your 18. If you become a teacher or administrator, you re-enter a scant 4 years later to remain for, potentially, the next 40 years. If you do not become a teacher or administrator, you likely reengage after a 5-15 year hiatus, when your children enter the system…