Contact us Today : info@praxiscircle.com  |  Donate
Become a Member
A Journey  |  Executive Director's (Doug Monroe) posts offering a walk through Praxis Contributor worldviews and related issues.

Ghosts of Christmas: Five Book Ideas

Hans Rosling

 

Dierdre McCloskey

 

Deirdre McCloskey’s Personal Page on Praxis Circle 

 

Anne Bradley

 

Anne Bradley’s Personal Page on Praxis Circle 

 

Preface to Today’s Post: This last blogpost of 2019 is PC’s Christmas Card to you. We know how valuable time is and how much confusion is regularly endured, especially this time of the year. As a result, to minimize mail in your Inbox, we’re publishing all of this week’s content in just this one post. We hope it’s presented in a useful way, allowing you to skim though to find what might be interesting.

In any case, as we say again at the bottom, Merry Christmas from all of us at Praxis Circle!

 


 

With 2019 winding down and Christmas getting close, you might still be looking for gift ideas relating to worldview thinking (Ha!). (Furthermore, if like us, we often buy some of the best gifts for ourselves in December while shopping for others.)

And with that in mind, we have five book/author suggestions below, one for each day of our last full shopping week before Christmas (Wednesday, December 25, 2019).

These books are decidedly not light reading nor meant for family room/tabletop display.

And they might not impress your friends – especially not ours.

But what they’re certain to do: offer invaluable big picture perspective essential to “outside the box” worldview thinking much needed today. While everyone in Washington, DC is madly at each other’s throats as if during medieval times, we regular Americans should count our blessings and remember those in need.

All of our recommended books are related in addressing some of the world’s most important trends, particularly The Miracle (and some of its key issues):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FYI, The Miracle, The Great Escape, The Hockey Stick, and The Great Enrichment are all the same thing. (We’ll also refer to it as It.) We’ll even use a few words to describe It below in our book summaries. Suffice It to say here that It’s without question the most important phenomenon happening worldwide that few know or talk about.

Why that is the case will be a subject for 2020 because it relates squarely to worldview praxis, but right this moment in preparation for the book recs that follow there’s a need for a quick, seasonal warm-up and stretching.

For that we refer you now to one of greatest stories of all time.

 


 

Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol (ACC) in 1843, and it sold out immediately, becoming an instant classic.

It was a story for its time and remains just as meaningful today.

Of course, ACC takes place in Victorian England during the Industrial Revolution and what turned out to be the longest period of relative peace in British history, the era between the Napoleonic Wars and ~ World War I.

That’s the place and period where The Miracle began.

Regardless of one’s worldview, A Christmas Carol is a good focal point for any American because, as designed, it’s not overtly religious, and it’s a fair warning to all who have much.

In fact, to any person living in North America, it’s quite a privilege to be here.

 


 

The ACC story itself offers a merger of past, present, and future time that would’ve made another famous Brit of the era, Edmund Burke, very proud, supplying Ghosts of Christmas for each of these three time periods. Most importantly, all three ghosts place a heavy duty on each human being for the welfare of others and the common good.

We love ghostmiracle stories here at Praxis Circle; many ghost stories are recorded in books, and, therefore, many ghosts appear naturally in libraries. (Indeed, as you may know, Dan Akroyd wrote Ghostbusters because he believes in paranormal existence. As a further aside, he even believes in aliens! (We kid you not – he makes good arguments being, as Joe Rogan says, maybe the greatest salesman in history.)

We’re sure you’ve seen several versions of A Christmas Carol in the movies, streamed, or on TV, and each has its own good purpose. Noting the 1951 version might be the classic, here’s a short overview of the many varieties of ACC’s Christmas Ghosts:

 

 

 


 

Having now paid proper political and diplomatic respect to ACC’s many fan bases, we should be honest that the 1984 movie version is our favorite by a nose.  George C. Scott was born to play Scrooge’s role, and the 1984 version had a significant impact when Americans were caught up in the 1980’s Reagan Era boom, following a decade of serious economic weakness.

Of course, A Christmas Carol deals squarely with greed, envy, poverty, and misfortune, and we wrote specifically about greed and envy earlier this year. Rich often suffer from greed and poor from envy, but vices are more accurately human problems without class or identity distinctions, with love leading the primary virtues as the only possible cure.

For a quick overview of ACC 1984, just link to any of the key scenes highlighted in this paragraph:

In this early scene as a robber baron-like capitalist, Ebenezer Scrooge dings the bell of every dirty “capitalist” error. Soon enough, the Ghost of Christmas Present pours shame on him in these amazing scenes, the climax being the introduction of two children, Ignorance and Want. And the movie ends with the most joyous moments imaginable.

Your assigned homework before reading our book summaries, however, on which we’ll administer a pop quiz in 2020, is this priceless scene where Scrooge meets the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley:

 

 

(Such would have terrified even Zuul, the Gatekeeper of Gozer. You know, the Gozerian. And we thought we disliked radical postmodernism!! (Just kidding. (Kind of.))

The good news here: If there’s still time for Uncle Ebenezer, there’s still time for us.

So, here we go with 2019’s book and author selections.

 


 

Monday – Book #1: It describes The Great Escape from a naturalist worldview.

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (2018) by Steven Pinker (453 pages). Enlightenment Now is a worldview opus describing what we call the Human God Narrative (HGN). Dr. Pinker is a highly respected Harvard psychologist, and EN describes his personal secularist, humanist, atheist, materialist worldview. It lists many of the good things man’s improved on since the early 1700’s (the beginning of the Enlightenment) in logical sequence, including these factors (being successive chapter titles): life, health, sustenance, wealth, inequality, the environment, peace, safety, terrorism, democracy, equal rights, knowledge, quality of life, happiness, existential threats, and the future of progress.

In each case Dr. Pinker gives 100% credit to three factors (his next three chapter titles): reason, science, and humanism. (Remarkably, secularism gets little blame for any “bad” results over the last three centuries.)

Dr. Pinker names the amazing growth in worldwide wealth (which had been virtually flat for all prior time) and the lowering of poverty since 1800 (shown in the three graphs above) The Great Escape. Why that? Because humankind finally began its escape from darkness, meaning religion and superstition.

The primary negative of the book is that Dr. Pinker constantly disparages Christians and other superstitious people who either don’t agree with him or (the implication is) don’t happen to be as smart. EN is a model presentation of the militant, aggressive secularist worldview that religious people face regularly in public today.

Other than telling humankind’s impressive recent factual story, our thinking is that Dr. Pinker might have had three further goals: (1) creating a summary of his thinking, (2) preaching to the aggressive humanist choir, or (3) influencing less knowledgeable but searching Millennials and Gen Z’s who are still looking to the Academy.

Christians reading Dr. Pinker will feel much like Martin Luther must have felt before the medieval Church, princes, and emperor during his hearings; like Luther, Christians today are expected to sit there and take anti-religious aggression while remaining good, passive Christians themselves.

To the extent we’re capable of judging, Dr. Pinker is obviously quite intelligent, but he’s a poor historian and a rather close-minded philosopher – at least in failing to recognize alternatives to the history and philosophy Enlightenment Now presents.

For example, he needs better explanations for how the good things he mentions became viewed as good (with “modern science” clearly developing before the Enlightenment) and how science has anything to say about what’s good in the first place. Many equally smart and qualified academics disagree on these issues, and over the course of human history there’ve been many societies and cultures where those values accepted as good entailed quite the opposite of today’s Western beliefs.

Dr. Pinker recognized he was going to receive flack for scientism and elitism because he’s experienced it in the past, and, after reading EN carefully, all such criticisms are justified.

We don’t think it reasonable to hold Dr. Pinker accountable, however, for not offering better defenses against secularism’s much feared and long-identified potential slide into nihilism, because no such defenses exist; other than possibly: “Human beings are mostly good by nature when freed from religion and, therefore, we won’t go to nihilism.”

You be the judge there (of primal existence).

In sum, Dr. Pinker does a superb job with complicated statistics documenting and explaining all the very positive and impressive historical trends humankind’s accomplished, good trends that since World War II have accelerated in most cases. Especially interesting because they’re counter-intuitive to watching any of the nightly news networks are the trends toward non-violence. (Dr. Pinker has written extensively and convincingly about this trend in the past.)

A key takeaway from Enlightenment Now is that Dr. Pinker is a true advocate of the Western political and economic liberalism entailed in the book’s title – democracy, capitalism, and science – and that he’s grateful to America’s Founders. (As a prophet of the West’s political economy, Adam Smith is his hero.) EN says loud and clear that the basics of the Western system should be vigorously supported.

We were just surprised EN didn’t contain more broad-minded objectivity of which Dr. Pinker is obviously capable. EN is an extremely valuable discussion of the HGN, and the tremendous benefits The Miracle’s has given us (with God’s help).

 

Tuesday – Book #2: It describes The Miracle from a humanities-social science worldview.

Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy  (2019) by Jonah Goldberg (379 pages). Mr. Goldberg is founding editor of the online publication, The Dispatch, a fellow at the National Review Institute, a former scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a best-selling author (of terrific prior books), and a regular guest on TV and radio. In many ways Suicide of the West is to Mr. Goldberg what Enlightenment Now is to Dr. Pinker – the presentation of what might appear a predominantly secular worldview.

The very first line of the book reads in all caps, “THERE IS NO GOD IN THIS BOOK.”

Then, almost immediately, Mr. Goldberg states he’s not an atheist and only makes this first “assumption” to argue for Enlightenment-based democracy that he believes is founded on having a space where humans can disagree about what God wants from us, if anything, while finding agreement based on reason and decency. He also quickly admits that important truths are not self-evident, and he humorously chides God a bit (our words) for taking his sweet time to get us to today’s much improved place.

(Indeed, if one’s a believer, Mr. Goldberg’s got to be right!!

But during the Christmas season, at least, let’s try to refrain from piling on God too much about being; after all, the whole point is, in the past, arguably, He left it all out on the field, as well.)

Of course, with an introduction like Suicide’s, it’s going to be quite impossible for Mr. Goldberg to keep God completely out of the book. He gives most of the credit for the Enlightenment’s values to Judaism and its follow-on religion, Christianity (in contrast to Enlightenment Now). Here’s an example:

“The tragedy . . . is that liberalism – in the classic Enlightenment sense – is the only system ever created to help people break out of the oppression of identity politics . . . The Lockean principle of treating every human as equal in the eyes of God and government, heedless of who their parents or ancestors were, broke the chains of tyranny more profoundly and lastingly than any other idea.” (page 224)

Mr. Goldberg gives the West full credit for producing what Hans Rosling in the famous short video above (and on our Resources page) fails to name; what PC Contributor Deirdre McCloskey in the video above calls The Great Enrichment; what Steven Pinker calls, again, The Great Escape (from God and poverty); what PC Contributor Anne Bradley in the video above and the writers of the next book we review footnote as The Hockey Stick; and what he himself calls The Miracle.

A huge benefit of Suicide of the West is that it walks the reader through much of the West’s rather recent scholarship on the political economy, offering comments on many key books. In fact, it’s worth the cost of a printed hardcover just for that overview.

In addition, Mr. Goldberg believes The Miracle so important he includes an Appendix (pages 353 – 379), entitled “Human Progress,” that gives his own Miracle overview, tipping his hat to Deirdre McCloskey on page 353 as The Great Fact’s champion.

Of course, Suicide pays due respect to James Burnham’s Suicide of the West (1964), a book noted in two of our earlier posts (November 12 and November 15), by copying Burnham’s title. In a way, we regret such a dark title, but we also recognize it’s a lot more fun being bad than good.

Mr. Goldberg wrote the book in part because he believes the West is declining due to the rebirth of all of the problems listed in his subtitle (tribalism, populism, nationalism, and identity politics). In Burnham’s day, Goldberg says the risk was the West’s guilt (colonialism and imperialism) and idealism (universal utopianism); today he believes any guilt has given way to anger and active subversion.

Like Dr. Pinker (whom he cites favorably), Goldberg believes America’s founding during the Enlightenment and its liberalism has led the West and the world today to a prosperous and otherwise favorable place far beyond anyone’s expectation even in the 1970’s. (We agree completely and will comment much more on this in 2020.)

While there are clearly other political models across the globe contributing, both Dr. Pinker and Mr. Goldberg suggest the model, sometimes referred to as democratic capitalism, might be the primary engine driving The Miracle’s train, and therefore that freedom-based society might be the only pathway to flourishing and prosperity, as defined.

(We will call such liberalism The Gateway in 2020 and open up further discussion concerning any alternatives. Clearly, Dr. Pinker and Mr. Goldberg suggest that The Ghost of Francis Fukuyama and The End of History lives on!)

We have to smile in writing this, but Suicide is ultimately quite optimistic in that Mr. Goldberg believes staying where the West is and even improving involves making simple choices still available in true Dickensian fashion.

The primary choices would involve staying away from significant further expansion of the Welfare State and reversing our tribal trends to restore Constitutional government to a functional and sound state. A critical question might be whether Western society or any society can sustain liberalism over the long haul without the foundations that God provides (primarily Christianity in the West). It hasn’t been tried before and we’re a long way from making the beginning of a pure laboratory experiment – Thank God.

We would like to end on Suicide (again, smiling!) with one final observation involving both Dr. Pinker and Mr. Goldberg’s content in EN and Suicide: It seems that intellectuals use the word “democracy” to describe what happens when regular people elect politicians they favor, but the word “populism” when they elect politicians they don’t.

To us, that’s just a bit insulting to regular people like Bob Cratchit, so, maybe old historical buzz words like populism just aren’t working as well as they used to.

 

Wednesday – Book #3: It describes The Hockey Stick from a Judeo-Christian worldview.

(And at this point we admit we’re cheating: This Book #3 write-up’s really a recommendation of two excellent books, not one. And we’ll also admit in advance such corruption will continue through Book Rec #4 . . . or until our own ghosts can find us.)

Set Free: Restoring Religious Freedom for All (2019) edited by Art Lindsey & Anne Bradley (247 pages). Mr. Lindsay and Ms. Bradley are Vice Presidents at the Institute of Faith, Work & Economics in Tysons Corner, VA and also co-editors of a related book we featured last year this time, Counting the Cost: Christian Perspectives in Capitalism  (2017, 369 pages).

In our opinion, these two books should be read together and offer a comprehensive Christian worldview for today with solid Biblical grounding that’s supported by social research generated worldwide. We call this worldview the Creator God Narrative (CGN), in contrast to Dr. Pinker’s HGN. Mr. Lindsay was a longtime former president of the C.S. Lewis Institute and Ann Bradley the academic director of The Fund for American Studies, as well as a Praxis Circle Contributor (with a doctorate in economics).

Set Free’s team of collaborators present a global perspective on religious freedom, its basis in Biblical principles, and an overview of its at least 2-3,000 years of related history in readable form. Their work takes the reader to where Dr. Pinker and Mr. Goldberg begin their books and on through today with similar academic rigor.

(Obviously, by now you’re getting that everybody and their brother & sister are trying to claim credit for The Miracle. Indeed, we at PC won’t be surprised if closer to election time AOC herself gets on the bandwagon.)

Os Guinness, an Episcopalian, writes Set Free’s Chapter 1 (“First Freedom First: Christian Advocacy for Freedom of Religion and Conscience”) which provides highlights from his books written over the last decade centered on religious freedom and the First Amendment, as well as an overview of the ideas he offers in his Praxis Circle interview. Michael Novak, a Roman Catholic and also a Praxis Circle Contributor, writes Chapter One of Counting the Cost, “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism Thirty Years After.”

In combination, these two books describe a Christian anthropology (from Genesis through Revelation) and build it into the political-economic social models America uses today. They explain how religious freedom became Christianity’s central political principle available to all, regardless of worldview, and how Christian principles and virtues became embodied in the Enlightenment’s three-legged social stool, involving separate but complimentary political, economic, and moral systems.

They also show how the public and private sectors serve separate purposes necessarily in different ways making it impossible to combine them without subverting liberalism’s most critical social goals, as well as its high economic performance.

Finally, the two books demonstrate how the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths have grown together over the many centuries, and arguably why and how Enlightenment Now is in its historical presentation quite wrong.

As we will show in 2020, scholarship broadly speaking is discovering with every passing year how much if not most of what we enjoy today sprang from America’s Jewish and Christian roots. In particular, Set Free describes how once bedrock religious freedom is under serious attack, and it suggests ways to safeguard the First Amendment’s future.

This must be done.

In conclusion as far as The Great Escape, The Miracle, The Hockey Stick (or Deirdre McCloskey’s Great Enrichment – again, see video at top) is concerned, well, whatever they are, let’s just keep on doing it in 2020, however the great Praxis Circle of life can move America forward.

 

Thursday – Book #4: It discusses Global Issues influencing The Miracle today.

The Madness of Crowds: Gender Race, and Identity  (2019, 256 pages) and The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, and Islam (2017, 337 pages) by Douglas Murray. Okay, as admitted earlier, now we’re openly cheating by recommending two books by the same author, but that’s only because Douglas Murray is so darn special, and both books are excellent. Mr. Murray is British, an Associate Editor of the Spectator, a regular author in a variety of other publications, and an online, TV, and radio contributor.

The Madness of Crowds provides an up-to-date and thorough overview of the state of Western identity politics as it relates to LGTBQ and race issues. He breaks each category down to explain their perspectives and why each identity involves far more diversity and inter- and intra-conflict than the general public realizes. In our opinion, Mr. Murray offers sensitive and thoughtful observations that only a diplomatic and respected gay man talking from the first person could produce.

We’re somewhat familiar with identity politics literature, and we believe that the prevalence of identity politics is one of the most important issues America faces today. This might go without saying, but just as it’s a mistake to ignore any popular philosophy because usually each includes aspects of truth or elements worth considering, so it’s always a mistake to think of anyone who fits into any category of human identity as the same.

In sum concerning The Madness of Crowds, this might be the book to read first for anyone not familiar with literature reviewing current gay, women, race, and trans issues (each category here being a chapter title).

Moving right along and even more importantly, IOHO, to The Strange Death of Europe, this book is the product of Mr. Murray’s travels around Europe primarily but not exclusively since 2015 investigating the effects of mass immigration. It’s a runaway bestseller internationally now translated into many languages. While the United States faces very different immigration issues, any American would learn much about our own immigration situation from reading this book.

To be even more clear and at the risk of sounding arrogant: If you want to be well-educated on certain critical issues facing the West today or get a better feel for why Brexit just got voted forward in a landslide, you absolutely need to read The Strange Death of Europe.

TSDE underscores the issues of nationhood, border control, law & order, cultural influences, social integration, and worldview similarities, differences, and clashes; no doubt, it explains much of the so-called populist movements in Europe today and how certain governing elites, in Murray’s view, have misled, deceived, and crippled their nation’s trusting citizenship.

There are no do-overs here.

Granted, multiculturalism is well-intended and admirable in many respects; however, TSDE is a warning to America not to go where Europe finds itself right now.

In case you’re worrying about any Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, the book’s been praised by all sides for describing a difficult subject with objectivity and tact.

While the title might involve exaggeration, the book’s presentation builds a serious case that Europe as it existed just 20 years ago is now dead (due to choices made in the last 20 years), and that the drama will all play out in just a few more generations.

While hedging somewhat, the betting favorites are that the religious teams (Christians – even considering Europe’s institutional secularity – and Muslims) will win not as much because of God, but because they have a much higher birth rate.

(And the difference is? FYI, welcome to praxis.)

So, for Europe’s and America’s sakes, let’s hope for cultural reconciliation – any Ebenezer-like second turn at bat would do.

 

Friday – Book #5: It offers insightful comments on a very hot issue – Global Populism.

Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of the West (2019) by R.R. Reno (166 pages). Dr. Reno is the editor of First Things, a leading journal of religion and public life, a member of the board of advisors the Edmund Burke Foundation, a former professor of theology at Creighton University, with a PhD. from Yale in religious studies.

Let’s put it this way: Have you been feeling like your world in America has gotten really weird in the last ten years, and that you really can’t put your finger on why? Have you felt like a stranger in a strange land that you and your friends used to know and love, but now you and they aren’t quite so sure? Do you feel like you often want to blame well-intended identity politics as a dead end, but then find yourself searching for other culprits taking you strangely close to various conspiracy theories you know can’t be correct (not exactly)?

Well, let’s put it another way: Return of Strong Gods is a blinding flash of light, and, if you exhibit any of the symptoms just described, a guaranteed enjoyable read will cause “the scales to fall from your eyes.” (Saul’s conversion, Acts 9:18)

Regardless of your worldview, Return of Strong Gods will give you a much better understanding of today’s political currents relating to nationalism and populism in America and Europe.

Reno’s thesis is that after World Wars I and II the West came to emphasize “open society” goals in Popper-like fashion (The Open Society and Its Enemies, two volumes, by Karl Popper, 1945), featuring universal connections (rather than nationalist connections) to avoid further extreme violence (nothing wrong with that, of course), while trying to bury normal human passion & belief in local and private hideaways, generally six feet under.

In other words, coming out of the World Wars into the 1960’s, it took a while for nationalism to simmer down and, afterwards, a bit longer for open society-think to bubble up into positions of cultural leadership, implying George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as manifestations.

To describe the book’s thesis in personal terms that George Soros might find pleasing:

 

“It’s quite Okay, Mr. or Ms. American, if you feel strongly about something; you’re quite free to do so; but please keep any strong feelings, especially those most important – no matter how critical to the common good – strictly to yourself, meaning within the privacy of the space between your two ears or the four corners of your home, absolute blue max.”

 

Dr. Reno’s more elegant description:

 

“The postwar consensus critiques, deconstructs, and deflates a great deal of what the Western tradition has championed as fitting objects of our love – not only God, but the nation and our cultural inheritance, even truth itself.” (page 151)

 

Most importantly and obviously, Dr. Reno’s thesis isn’t a Blue Team versus Red Team thing at all; it’s a Weak God versus Strong God thing, and it helps explain why Americans on both sides of the political aisle often get just as frustrated with members of their own party as with members of “the opposition.” Moreover, beyond explaining much about today’s political divisions between and among parties, Return of Strong Gods probably has a lot to say about the directions and declines of most Mainline Churches and the growth of more spirited and disciplined churches outside our older institutional folds.

In any case, perhaps Reno’s primary points, implied as much as stated, are that today’s populism is different from the days of the Scopes Monkey Trial and that keeping nationalism at bay in today’s West just wasn’t possible over the long term, given the world’s increasingly visible and intense global competition and its obvious and possibly irreconcilable cultural differences.

Suggestion: To find out more about what all this means, you should purchase the book.

(When the scales fell from my own eyes (Doug Monroe here), I saw immediately that my problems since about 1990 haven’t been that my grandfather’s Dodgers never came back to Brooklyn or that my father’s and my own Colts never came back to Baltimore (screw them); no, it’s actually that I’m a Strong God person for now still in a Weak God world. And after reading Strong Gods, I was able to feel rare and true compassion for former enemies (and many “cap O” Others), as well as notice what I hadn’t seen before after years of senseless exile: the Rams had returned to L.A., miraculously!!!

So, yes, Dorothy, there’s “No place like home.”)

In conclusion, near the end of 2019 in America the question is: How numerous are Strong God players and how long can they take it?

No question, 2020 will offer clues and maybe even some answers.

(And don’t forget Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World (2019) by Tom Holland (a mere 542 pages). It’s excellent and to be reviewed in 2020.)

 


 

In summary of our book recs, the books listed here on 2019’s year-end short list address some of the most important human developments over the last 200 years, including these during the 1900’s: (1) the worldwide devastation of World Wars I and II, (2) the amazing, never before experienced growth of health and prosperity (with reduced violence). . . The Miracle, (3) the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism in Europe, (4) the important influence of identity politics, (5) the vast immigration movements from the Middle East to Europe and from Central and South America to the U.S., and (6) other developments related to technology, such as medical cures, nuclear bombs and energy, the military, communication, the media, the Internet, and climate.

It’s fascinating that all of these movements for better or worse were sourced in the West over the last 200 years, whether involving the spread of Marxism, communism, and socialism into Eastern Europe, Russia, China, or other parts of the world, the spread of “global capitalism” in tandem with extremely diverse political forms, the proliferation of extra-national organizations like the United Nations, or the spread and often clash of the world’s two largest religions, Christianity and Islam.

Without a doubt, America cannot avoid its duties to the rest of the world, but we must protect our own corresponding rights to protect the rights of all.

 


 

We hope you’ll consider a book or two here and the trends listed above in light of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol:

 

Have we made serious progress since 1843? What were the foundations or causes of any progress? To what extent was this considered possible in Dickens’ time? Where are our children, Ignorance and Want, today? Are they better off? How to cure their loneliness and poverty for good?

What have we lost since 1843 that we’d like to recover?

Is our American model working and why? How to improve? How do the systems and issues in America and Europe differ, and what can we expect later in the 21st Century outside the West? Are countries growing together or growing apart – where and why?

Are you doing your part, and how can you improve your personal focus in 2020?

Would Dickens himself be surprised at what’s happened since 1843? Should we be proud? Where to redouble our efforts? Where have we failed?

Given 76 more years from now, will we still be giving ourselves “the Dickens” when looking back on today?

(And when can or should we ever stop with the Dickens, already?)

What should our Better Angels do about Christmases Yet to Come?

 

Our own Ghosts of Christmas want answers.

 


 

We suspect that without the life of Jesus there would have been no Spinoza, Locke, Voltaire, Hume, Smith, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault, or Pinker.

Final questions: Without Christ, would we have A Christmas Carol, and where would we be without that?

Our final wish for you in 2019 is in the great story itself: God Bless Us, Everyone.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2020!!

February 11, 2020

0 responses on "Ghosts of Christmas: Five Book Ideas"

Leave a Message

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.