Review: The Conservative Soul–How We Lost It, How to Get It Back

5 Star, Congress (Failure, Reform), Democracy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Philosophy, Politics, Religion & Politics of Religion

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Philosophical, Practical, Gifted Turns of Phrase, Starting Point,

November 8, 2006
Andrew Sullivan
This is a philosophical essay, not a political diatribe. This is a very educated, articulate, thoughtful, and practical book. It is so good it probably needs to be read more than once.

As an estranged moderate Republican who believes in a balanced budget, smaller government, and minimalist interference in state, local, and individual rights not assigned to the federal government by the Constitution (and also the elimination of central banks that are NOT authorized by the Constitution), I found provocation, solace, and humor in this book (the discussion of the role of the penis and its eternal sperm, in relation to fundamentalist strictures and fears, is alone worth the price of the book).

Gifted turns of phrases as well as erudite references to both ancient and modern philosopher-kings abound. I especially likes “Immoral decisions, in other words, are like environmental pollutants” (page 125), and on page 209, “In this nonfundamentalists understanding of faith, practice is more imporant than theory, love more important than law, and mystery is seen as an insight into truth rather than an obstacle.”

The author's real life as a gay man who has survived AIDS no doubt infuriates the fundamentalists and the less hypocritical evangelists, but this is part and parcel of his qualifications–he completely trashes both the incumbent President and the Christian extremist fundamentalists that have substituted dogma for dialog.

This is a personal essay. It is neither a summary nor a substitute for the many other books I have reviewed on both the left and the right, and so I end by saying that the book gets five stars for its extra leavening of philosophical reasoning, but I urge those who find favor in this book to throw a wider net, or at least read my reviews of the last 25 books on ideology, religion, faith, Iraq, and the impeachable offenses of Bush-Cheney.

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