Looking at relationships between peoples in terms of color, and more specifically in terms of white racism and oppression of blacks, is the prevailing view among many secular and religious groups in America today. Thomas Sowell’s provides a historical perspective that suggest this view is not accurate in his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals.
Thomas Sowell closely examines historical relationships between those of various racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds with the intent of applying it to race relations in the U.S. today. He begins with this quote:
These people are creating a terrible problem in our cities. They can’t or won’t hold a job, they flout the law constantly and neglect their children, they drink too much and their moral standards would shame an alley cat. For some reason or other, they absolutely refuse to accommodate themselves to any kind of decent, civilized life (p. 1).
I’ve read a lot of books to my son, William, over the years. In part because of his reading challenges, in part because there are some VERY good books out there for younger folks that I didn’t read but are still very edifying for me today, and in part because of what I have read about the value of reading to our children–even as they progress into their teen years. So I thought that I’d put together a list of those books (plus some I haven’t read but plan on doing so or plan on having William read himself). I pray you find some books for you to read to your children or for them to read to themselves. Or for you to read on your own!
Books are listed in order of the age of the potential reader, from youngest to oldest in each section. Reading books aloud to children that are above their reading level is a great way to stretch their vocabulary and comprehension, and to spend special time with them.
All the books are recommended, but if I had to pick just one series of books on the fiction list, it would be the Mr. Pipes books by Douglas Bond (anything that Bond writes is worth reading). The Wingfeather series by Andrew Peterson; Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress by Oliver Hunkin; and Wise Words: Family Stories That Bring the Proverbs to Life by Peter J. Leithart would be the runner-ups. In the biography, etc. section—which has some adult books that many preteens might enjoy, my favorites are The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Beowulf by Douglas Wilson. In the study section, I really like Created for Work: Practical Insights for Young Men by Bob Schultz (fathers should read it too) and also like Boys & Girls Playing by J.C. Ryle.
Relating to today’s debate about fossil fuels versus renewable fuels, here is what The Times of London said about a similar debate over coal versus renewables:
Coal is everything to us. Without coal, our factories will become idle, our foundries and workshops be still as the grave; the locomotive will rust in the shed, and the rail be buried in the weeds. Our streets will be dark, our houses uninhabitable. Our rivers will forget the paddlewheel, and we shall again be separated by days from France, by months for the United States. The post will lengthen its periods and protract its dates. A thousand special arts and manufacturers, one by one, then in a crowd, will fly the empty soil, as boon companions are said to disappear when the cask is dry.
People forget that the world was powered entirely by renewable energy until fossil fuels and later nuclear fuel came along. The truth is that today’s attacks on fossil fuels and the push for subsidies for renewable fuels are tantamount to asking for a return to the days described by The Times.
My dad fought in the Philippines during WW II as an infantryman in the 24th Infantry Division. He left some nice memorabilia behind; my son William has really become interested in it lately—you ought to see him with a Japanese fighter pilot’s fur-lined leather helmet strapped to his head!
So that got me searching around the Internet for information about my dad’s service. I found the story below my dad wrote about Private First Class James Diamond, who was awarded (posthumously) the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in May 1945.
My dad can be seen in the photo to the right. It was taken during better times, in the winter of 1945-46 in Okayama, Japan, where my dad was part of the occupation forces in Japan. The story he wrote below, however, took place earlier in 1945 when he was at Mintal, on the island of Mindanao. The campaign on Mindanao ran just about up to the war’s end. As you’ll read, he witnessed some of the events that earned PFC Diamond his Medal of Honor, since my dad’s foxhole was right next to Diamond’s.
The wellspring of freedom in our world comes from the Judeo-Christian belief that man is created in the image of God. If we are not, then there is no justification for one person to claim equality with those in a better position than she. And no reason for a person in authority to treat others as though they are equal to him. And thus no framework under which individual liberty could flourish.
We see this clearly in the ancient world where peace, but not individual liberty—such as what happened with life under the Pax Romana, was valued. It has been through the spread of Christianity—building on Jewish Scripture—that the belief that “all men are created equal” has taken root in many places across the globe. And while this belief has spread widely, there are many places where it has not. Asia is a prime example, though that is changing somewhat. But I’d also say that modern liberalism has rejected this concept in much of Europe and even right here in America.
I love all of G. A. Henty books, as does my son. In Freedom’s Cause: A Story of Wallace and Bruce is about the twentieth of Henty’s great historical fiction books for boys–and their dads–we have read together. Like the rest of them, this one helped us learn about history and the difference between right and wrong, while telling an entertaining tale about a young man who is mature beyond his years. The new thing for me in this one is the harsh, even barbaric, treatment the Scots received at the hands of the English, who used religion as an excuse to persecute a people who worshiped God in faith. I know all people are sinners, but sometimes I give my English ancestors a pass on this. But Henty makes sure that the sins of the English are on full display here.
One of the top priorities of the left today is shifting the national balance of power by turning Texas blue, using tactics it claims were responsible for a similar transition in Colorado.
However, based on the results of the recent Texas primaries, it’s obvious that the people of Texas are not cooperating with the left’s agenda.
Despite the focus on red versus blue, the battle for Texas is at its heart ideological, not partisan. Liberals in both Texas major parties today battle conservatives over spending, while free market supporters joust with the bipartisan business lobby over corporate subsidies.
It is in this context that the progressives’ national assault on Texas began, just over a year ago, when Battleground Texas opened its offices here. Armed with outreach efforts honed by President Obama’s Organizing for Action and tested in states like Colorado, Battleground Texas’ mission is to “turn Texas into a battleground state” in which “elected officials — from Austin to Washington — represent all Texans”— presumably all Texans except those who have made Texas the reddest state in the country.
I recently suggested to a friend that he should read more fiction. He replied that fiction was boring and he is more interested in reading nonfiction books because they can help change the world. He also, though, graciously asked if I had any recommendations for fiction that he might read. The following is my response to him.
I’d suggest that one of the primary uses of fiction is to change the world. For instance:
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.
So why did Jesus tell this fictional story, better known as a parable? We’ll let Him explain.
“Yes, we do, because the fringe is marginal no more.” – George Will, in a 1995 column.
I first read this quote on January 1, 1995 as Washington, D.C. was preparing to swear in the first Republican majority in the U.S. House in 40 years that would join the existing Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. Most of us conservatives were quite giddy at the prospect of undoing much of the harm that the liberals had done over that period. And despite a Democratic president we were rewarded in quite a few ways as welfare was remarkably transformed, the federal budget was balanced for the first time in the memory of most people, and the economy continued its record growth begun under the Reagan presidency. Truly, we thought, we—the conservative fringe—are marginal no more.
Here is the quote put into more context:
Robert Merry of Congressional Quarterly recalls Pat Moynihan’s first Senate campaign, in 1976, against the conservative incumbent, James Buckley. Addressing a labor audience, Mr. Moynihan said, “Look, there’s this particular fringe, and their one fundamental problem is they simply never accepted the New Deal.” He added: “Didn’t Franklin Roosevelt settle this issue once and for all? I mean, do we really have to go over it again?” Yes, we do, because the fringe is marginal no more.
Then came not just a Republican Congress, but a Republican president. We had it made! Except that even before we won the presidency, the Republican Congress had fallen back in many of the free spending, big government ways of incumbents. The new president in many ways joined in with this, and after a while it seemed as if conservatives were becoming the marginal fringe even within the Republican party.
“I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things.” – Ronald Reagan, in his Jan. 11, 1989 farewell address to the American people (text)
“The biggest misunderstanding about Reagan’s political life is that he was inevitable. He was not. He had to fight for every inch, he had to make it happen. What Billy Herndon said of Abraham Lincoln was true of Reagan too: He had within him, always, a ceaseless little engine of ambition. He was good at not showing it, as was Lincoln, but it was there. He was knowingly in the greatness game, at least from 1976, when he tried to take down a sitting president of his own party.” – Peggy Noonan, in her column on Ronald Reagan during this season of his 100th birthday celebration.
“We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, “Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we’re willing to make a deal with your slave masters.”” – Ronald Reagan, in his October 27, 1964 “Time for Choosing” speech
“Reagan understood instinctively that modern liberalism represented a rejection of the constitutional premises of self-government. … Hence the core of Reagan’s political purpose was recovering an appreciation for the Founder’s understanding of the principles and practices of American government. This was central to his rhetoric to a much greater extent than it was to that of any other modern day president of either party. … ‘We’re for limited government,’ he said in his 1988 State of the Union speech, ‘because we understand, as the Founding Fathers did, that it is the best way of ensuring personal liberty and empowering the individual so that every American of every race and region share fully in the flowering of American prosperity and freedom.’” – Steven F. Hayward, in The Age of Reagan, 1980-1989: The Conservative Counterrevolution.