Book Review

August 31, 2016

Book Review: “If You Can Keep It: Why We Nearly Lost It & How We Get It Back”

Robin Koerner’s recently released book If You Can Keep It is a passionate call to arms for Americans who care about preserving the ideals of a constitutional republic, founded on the principles of liberty. The work covers a lot of ground in 300 pages, ranging from Koerner’s examination of prevailing media paradigms in the US to his prescriptions for how to most effectively advance the cause of liberty. The author utilizes his extensive experience as founder of WatchingAmerica.com to explain and challenge the media paradigms that dominate American culture, providing the reader with a toolkit for critically engaging with news reporting and overcoming prevalent biases. After outlining classical liberalism as an alternative to the prevailing status quo, Koerner then examines the various ways in which […]
August 3, 2016

Book Review: “The Human Cost of Welfare”

Who benefits from welfare programs in the United States? You might think this would be easy to answer. But as Phil Harvey and Lisa Conyers show in their recent book The Human Cost of Welfare, it’s actually quite complicated. In their detailed yet accessible exploration of America’s welfare system, Harvey and Conyers aim to show how well-meaning programs hurt the very people they’re designed to help. After talking to welfare recipients living in tent cities in Seattle, on native reservations, and everywhere in between, the authors come to a worrying conclusion. People receiving benefits feel they lack control in their lives, miss working and the fulfillment it brings, and find the welfare system to be impersonal, confusing, and often insulting to their dignity. The book […]
July 20, 2016

Book Review: “Defending Free Speech”

This review was written by Daniel Pryor, Communications Associate at Students for Liberty. Freedom of speech is slipping away from us. More than ever, this vital aspect of civilization requires a passionate defence based on the principles of reason and individual rights. This is the overarching message of Defending Free Speech, a new collection of essays from the Ayn Rand Institute edited by former constitutional lawyer Steve Simpson. The book is both a warning and a call to action, detailing the recent history of threats to free speech in America and imploring the reader to defend this precious right on the basis of Enlightenment and Objectivist principles. Regardless of whether one subscribes to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, the powerful essays in this book will […]
June 13, 2016

Book Review: Unsafe Space

The following post is written by one of SFL’s summer interns. When Ruth Benedict wrote her widely influential study of Japan, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (1946), she distinguished between shame cultures and guilt cultures, noting that each has its own unique methods of getting people to fall in line with cultural norms. Benedict identified the United States as a guilt culture and thought the  significance of the Christian faith (with its emphasis on guilt) and its proliferation on American soil was largely responsible for this outlook. Today, however, America fits much more uneasily into the definition of a guilt culture. Indeed, there is one important place in the United States where shame culture is enjoying a toxic reign: the college campus. Coming to us […]