Posts Tagged ‘American history’

I spend a significant amount of time online reading and learning. And one of my favorite areas of interest is economics. It’s weird, I have a high school diploma, a BA, and an MA, and if you had talked to me immediately after completion of my MA I would have said I basically had an elementary, maybe even cartoonish view of economics and economic theory. All I had in college was Micro, and I barely remember getting anything out of that class other than realizing I was bored every day I was there. I have spent years learning more about the topic, and I’m amazed what I learn each day about the topic. It’s that complex and that interesting.

I get it. On the surface, economics is not the most interesting stuff for the average Joe, but the average Joe is supposedly tasked with maintaining this Republic.

It’s arguable that the economic system that we live inside of is as important in any ecosystem biologists study. Economics is a fascinating mixture of history, sociology, and psychology. It is not an exact mathematical science and it is not primarily math driven, far from it.

All history and current events should be seen through the lens of economics. This is why I never watch any mainstream news. These people are often moronic talking heads who just have a news fetish. There’s no depth of knowledge. I learn far more from the people I follow in the investing space.

Why?

Because not knowing theĀ importanceĀ of what is happening is what kills returns.

This is just an outstanding lecture, and really does a good job of destroying some of the cartoonish nonsense you were taught if you attended a public school or typical university.

Tom Woods is one of my favorite Libertarian thinkers. He’s a phD historian who has degrees from both Harvard and Columbia. He went off the reservation of allowable opinion years ago because when you start honestly questioning and studying the reservation, it isn’t that inviting of a place for anyone of any intelligence.

Turn off whatever crap you’re watching on your TV or your phone, and open your mind and learn. You won’t regret the time spent.

The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own
The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own by Jackie Gingrich Cushman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book down at Half Price Books on accident. It is really a neat book. There are some excellent speeches in here, many of which I have never read, and a couple I have never even heard of. I always find the fact that I have not been exposed to these pieces of American history when I have a bachelor degree in political science and a minor in history unfortunate, but it is not surprising. Just proof that if I am “educated” in those areas, the average American who just has basic course in American history is pretty much clueless.

While I could find something interesting about every item included in the book, there are a few that really stand out. One of the most interesting speeches was the Jeane Kirkpatrick speech to the 1984 Republican National Convention. I never knew this even happened. The relevance of Reagan’s A Time for Choosing speech to today’s America is eerie at times. You could simply update the statistics in the speech and give it today. It is also proof that most Republicans today pale in comparison to Reagan.

The book also includes a bonus CD with 1200 other important documents from American history. This book is very much something that should be added to the collection of any person passionate about American history.

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Being George Washington
Being George Washington by Glenn Beck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My rating is more like a 3.5, but Goodreads won’t allow that.

I want to start by saying that I am a gigantic Glenn Beck fan. There is a lot of good in this book, and there is some not so good.

I want to focus on the not so good first. This is a history book, and while I trust that Beck delivered a well-researched product, he never proves it to me. There is not one citation in the entire book. For someone that comes under so much scrutiny from the “academic” elite, he’s really flirting with a mess here. While I know he wouldn’t care, and I don’t think the intention of this book is solely historical, my concern is that this will prevent some people from reading this book.

Second, I’m sorry, but if Beck told me one more time how George Washington’s actions or decisions were a result of divine providence I was going to scream. I was getting to the point that I thought there may have been a trip to the latrine that was a result of divine providence. Now my conservative friends will excoriate me for this next statement, but I’m not religious, and so I don’t believe that any of Washington’s actions were a result of God, divine providence, or the Author. I think that they were a result of one of the most amazing leaders to ever walk the face of the Earth. I will accept that Washington drew inspiration from his beliefs and that blind faith into something larger than himself caused him to be as brave as he was, but I don’t think the “providential hand of God” had anything to do with the result.

On to the good!

One of the things that is really endearing about this book is the narratives that happen about every other chapter. Instead of writing in the normal non-fiction historical voice, Beck actually turns the most significant events of Washington’s life into short vignettes. It is as if you are there experiencing the events as they happen. Of course he took some artistic freedom here and created the dialogue in parts, but I don’t think there is any harm in it. It is truly an absolute blast to see this part of history come alive in a third-person narrative voice. For a fan of American history, this is a real plus.

In defense of Beck I don’t think this book was created solely as a historical book. I think it is actually intended to be a book that compels people to action. His conclusion is incredible. As Beck so boldly states with the title and introduction he sees himself as George Washington and many Americans are as well. From his conclusion:

“So the real question is this: Are you willing to lose everything to do what is right?

Washington did. He risked it all–his life, his fortune and his sacred honer–to complete a journey that, quite often, he didn’t even want to be on. Nothing less of that level of dedication is required of us today.”

Sign me up!

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