Skip to comments.Tyrants real and imagined: From ludicrous to lively, five books about leaders
Posted on 06/15/2013 1:33:56 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Both sides of the cultural war dream nightmares about their opponents setting up a dictatorship. The latest from the left (July 1 publication date) is Frederic C. Richs Christian Nation (Norton), which starts with John McCain winning election in 2008 and soon dying: Sarah Palin takes over and Christians set up a religious tyranny, murdering thousands who rebel. The evangelical fascists destroy parts of San Francisco and invade the last holdout, Manhattan. Its all ludicrous, but a major publisher is propelling it into the marketplace: Will Hollywood be far behind?
To read about real tyrants, see Koenraad De Wolfs Dissident for Life: Alexander Ogorodnikov and the Struggle for Religious Freedom in Russia (Eerdmans, 2013, English edition), a readable biography of a courageous Christian who stood up first to Communists and then to Putinists. Norman Gelbs Herod the Great (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) is a pungent biography of the Stalin-like dictator 2,000 years ago, with a subtitle (Statesman, Visionary, Tyrant) that shows Gelbs attempt, like some Stalin apologists more recently, to balance out the bad and the good.
The United States until now has been spared tyranny, and one of the reasons is the example George Washington set in saying no to pleas that he seize power: Logan Beirne tells that story well in Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency (Encounter, 2013). If youve never studied South American history, Marie Aranas Bolivar (Simon & Schuster, 2013) is a lively start: Simon Bolivar liberated six countries from Spanish rule, but the George Washington of South America had neither the willingness to walk away from power nor the faithfulness in marriage that set a good example for future leaders.
Arrow Political treadmill
Most Jews vote Democratic, against their material interest, partly because theyre worried about evangelicals establishing a Christian nation, but also because of a history lesson passed on from parents to children: Franklin Roosevelt purportedly stood up for Jews against reactionary interests. Barack Obamas anti-Israel position has shaken some of that support, and if the story told in Rafael Medoffs FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith (David S. Wyman Institute, 2013) gets out, Democrats will receive fewer legacy votes.
Medoff details Roosevelts disparaging remarks about Jews and includes previously unpublished interviews with Jewish leaders who say Roosevelt hoodwinked them and didnt lift a finger to help Jewish refugees from Hitler. Had the United States allowed in escapees instead of sending them back to Europe, or had FDR pressured Great Britain to allow refugees to settle in what is now Israel, many lives could have been saved. Even as late as 1944, U.S. action could have helped the 400,000 Jews of Hungary, most of whom then died at Auschwitz.
African-Americans show no signs of leaving the Democratic plantation, and one of the reasons lies not in left-wing conspiracy but in mostly white evangelical churches. Aliens in the Promised Land, edited by Anthony Bradley (P&R, 2013), includes excellent essays examining why many integrated churches and other Christian institutions overlook minority leadership. One of the chapters, by Carl F. Ellis Jr., brilliantly outlines the clash of values between African-American achievers on the one hand and those with subsistence or nihilistic values. Ellis shows how to tell Bible stories in a way that makes sense to urban men who have treated Scripture with contempt.
Republicans also helped the Democratic surge by dithering on healthcare reform when they controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Heritage Foundation 20 years ago offered a good healthcare reform proposal that emphasized a decentralized approach and an individual mandate to buy insurance, with federal tax credits helping out. (Some conservatives attacked the mandate then, and almost all attacked Obamacares mandates.) Lee Edwards tells the story of Heritage and Ed Feulner, its head for 36 years, in Leading the Way (Crown Forum, 2013). Edwards shows how Heritage changed American public policy analysis through the provision of concise and timely background analyses. M.O.
That subtitle also applies to Stalin. Just because his accomplishments were at the cost of enormous human suffering does not mean they were not real.
The problem is not that tyranny cannot do things, it's that it does things at much too great a cost, and that usually the same or greater things could have been done under freedom with less cruelty and oppression.
When the GOP controlled the White House, Senate and House, they did not use their power to enact reforms or a freedom agenda. Nope, that wasn't important. However, they went all out with their "K Street Project", which was designed to rope in more lobbyist money for the GOP and deny it to the Dems. That's important!!!
The GOP House continues this tradition of doing nothing, saying nothing and having no agenda other than give Obama what he wants and lick his hand.