(Book Recommendation) Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative

>> Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hello all,

I just finished reading Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative and though I don't have time to write a thorough book review, I would like to recommend it to you and include some information and commentary that might pique your interest in reading it.

When I first read about this book, the one word most consistently used to describe it was "provocative". Initially, this description discouraged my interest in reading Republocrat as I have a low estimation of most "provocative" books, articles and essays. In the culture of today, what is passed off and described as provocative more often than not would be better described as poorly reasoned, hyperbolic, leering opinion splats. But reading descriptions of the content and subject of Republocrat piqued my interest in the book and overcame my word association.

I am glad it did. In Republocrat, author Carl Trueman sets out to challenge the thinking of political establishment conservatives, offering pointed insights and critiques of their party, institution, thinking, working and behavior.

Republocrat is indeed pointed and provocative, but it is constructively pointed and genuinely and thoughtfully provocative. This is not to say that it is perfect, not by a long shot. There are several instances in which I believe the author fails his own standard of logic and reasoning. For instance, Trueman's criticisms of Fox News and Bill O'Reilly (his critique of Glenn Beck I agreed with almost entirely) are largely legitimate but often seem disproportionate. All major news networks are a mixed bag, a fact the author acknowledges later in the book but seems to have forgotten when addressing Fox. His critique of what I term "institutional" conservative views and understandings of Marxism, Totalitarianism and Socialism often ignore what shapes their view and instead focuses on the technical incorrectness of common terminology. He views Marxism primarily in socio/economic/contextual terms and his sharp criticisms of institutional conservative views of Marxism seem to miss the fact that conservatives view Marxism in primarily religious/philosophical/productive terms. The point is not to say either view is right or wrong, only to highlight one of my disagreements with the author.

There are other areas and instances where I disagree with the author, but the book is nonetheless worthwhile, and being a relatively short book, would not take much of your while.

I particularly appreciated and agreed with his thoughts on the secularization of America (covered in Chapter 2: "The Slipperiness of Secularization") and his critique of the state of political discourse and communication (covered in Chapter 5: "Rulers of the Queen's Navee").

Peter Lillback, President of the Providence Forum, has this to say of the book and its author:

"What we really have here is a lonely thinker who longs for the truth of a better city that he cannot find on either side of the Atlantic. He lampoons the cherished political idols that dominate our political landscape. I couldn’t suppress chortles of laughter, alongside shocks of disdain and disagreement, all the while admiring Trueman’s unmasking of the well-camouflaged foolishness on all points of the political spectrum. This historian-turned-pundit, with all the force of a prizefighter’s left jab and right hook, leaves the left, right, and center (or centre) reeling on the ropes. Therefore, I heartily recommend that you read this book, but you do so at your own peril. Its intensity, as well as its pointed, provocative, and persuasive prose, will force you to look at the Vanity Fair of politics from a pilgrim’s perspective. It’s just possible that you, too, will begin to yearn for a better city.”

Additional reviews can be found on Republocrat's Amazon page.

Overall, this is a book I highly recommend, especially to my conservative and evangelical friends. :-)

For those interested, here is an interview of Carl Trueman. For those particularly interested in knowing Mr. Trueman's views on abortion, they are explained in the imbedded video at about the 9 minute mark.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!


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