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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The American Spirit: Celebrating the Virtues and Values that Make Us Great by Edwin J. Feulner and Brian Tracy

An introduction to Conservatism

Published in 2012 by Thomas Nelson

The American Spirit lists twenty "virtues and values" that serve to introduce the reader to the basics of Conservatism. These virtues and values include Patriotism, Responsibility, Optimism, Honesty, Faith, Tolerance and Open-Mindedness, Idealistic Realism, Problem Solving and Courage.

As I noted above, the book is an introduction to Conservatism. I am a Conservative and have been reading Conservative literature for a long time. The discussion is "bite-sized" rather than far-ranging and deep and is bound to be a little simplistic. For example, during the discussion on education there is praise for the idea of rating schools A-F but no discussion of the criteria that go into rating schools, or even if a central government (in this case a state government) should even be inserting itself into education and giving schools a letter grade. After all, education has long been a traditional function of local government bodies (such as your local school board) and Conservatism tends to favor local control to that of a centralized bureaucracy. Also, there is no discussion of the proper role of the federal government in education. Should the central government be making a single policy for everyone?

Sometimes the author get on a roll in their effusive praise of American that they go a step or two too far. On page 30 the authors assert that "With rare exceptions like the printing press, the greatest innovations, inventions and discoveries in human history have come since the founding of the United States and in the United States." (emphasis mine) Wow. I can name any number of items that are very important to the world that were not invented in America first, such as the automobile, the electric motor, rocket weapons, the radio and jet engines. Now, did America help perfect them or make them commonplace? Sure. But, why the need for exaggeration?

But, most of the book is solid, conservative thought with some great quotes thrown in. The discussion about the debt is relevant and well-done as was the section called The Law. If you are a regular reader of American Spectator or National Review this book will offer nothing new. If you are a newbie to Conservatism it should prove interesting and thought-provoking.

This book was provided to me at no charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review through the Amazon Vine program.

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon.com here: The American Spirit: Celebrating the Virtues and Values that Make Us Great.

Reviewed on February 20, 2013.

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