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Four Books For the Right Shelf

Here are four reading suggestions for you or another conservative in your life.

While it is easy to be occupied by the politics and news of the day, today’s challenges require a broader perspective. Conservatives wrestling with the erosion of our personal liberty and the rise of cancel culture would do well to take a step back and read important books rather than just the latest tweets and gossip. Here are four books that I think every conservative and liberty-loving person should read, if they are interested in helping save our country.

The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties by Christopher Caldwell

The Age of Entitlement is the single most important book written about contemporary affairs in the last 30 years. The biggest threats coming to America today are changes in our culture that lead people to abandon, often without realizing it, the fundamental precepts that have long guided our country. The rise of identity politics and group rights are phenomena that lead to the erasure of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and social trust. Caldwell demonstrates the way that unelected institutional leaders coopted the Civil Rights Act and have used it to create a new regime of lawmaking that has replaced our U.S. Constitution. It’s hard to imagine that bakers are being forced to make cakes for things in conflict with their religion and personal beliefs, but this is the sad reality of our country today. The only way to save our country and return to the founders’ vision of individual freedom and well-ordered liberty is to roll back the administrative state and a line of anti-democratic Supreme Court cases that have eroded our fundamental rights.

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

Thirty-four years after its publishing date in 1987, The Closing of the American Mind remains the best summary and definitive statement of the havoc and carnage that the New Left has wreaked on our nation since its inception in American higher education. From the university, the New Left began a project to reform all of society by indoctrinating a generation of students with radical cultural relativism and an intolerance for any traditional American certitude. The book is also a preliminary look into the views of Leo Strauss and his important questions regarding modern liberalism. The abandonment of the quest for objective truth and a good society has led to disastrous results.

A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell

Written the same year as The Closing of The American Mind, A Conflict of Visions is the single best explanation of our current ideological divide. In the last 200 years, Western Civilization has been divided between those who believe in a constrained vision of human nature and those who believe in an unconstrained vision—essentially, whether man is fundamentally good or fundamentally sinful. The unconstrained vision believes that all that matters to help man flourish is building and modifying institutions: government, higher education, etc. Those with a constrained vision believe that human nature is fundamentally self-interested and institutions should be built in a way to protect humanity from destroying itself, which is the reason the U.S. Constitution has a Bill of Rights and the reason the Constitution protects the American individual from facing the tyranny of a larger group. Instead of arguing about policy and shouting at each other on Twitter, we should be having a deeper discussion about the soul of man, whether man is fundamentally good or evil, and the resulting implications of those respective beliefs for our society. The left has warped people to believe that human institutions are what can “save” people, while our Founders believed that protecting personal liberty is the essential reason for our country’s formation.

The Stakes by Michael Anton

The radical left has placed previously-unquestioned human concepts in their crosshairs: gender, borders, capitalism, rule of law, American sovereignty, medical freedom, personal responsibility, and even truth itself. They want to end the conversation on all these topics and are using whatever means possible to silence and deplatform anyone that objects. The Stakes is the best analysis of where we have come from over the last 70 years and where we are headed if things continue. After World War II, California was the middle-class paradise: growing home ownership, pro-small business, and a strong quality of life. It all came crashing down by the end of the 20th century, destroyed by anti-middle-class policies, plagued by identity politics, and suffering from illegal immigration. The Stakes shows how California’s slide is a cautionary tale for our country if we don’t stop this. Anton also engages in the important task of discussing where conservatives should go next if we want to save this country from a further slide into tyranny and the destruction of our American way of life. If the left is successful in shutting down debate on these fundamental human concepts, we simply will not have a country.

Saving our country is going to require creative thinking and bold ideas, and these books help assist in that endeavor. Too often, we are focused on the battle, and not the larger war. Conservatives should take a step back and think about the broader forces at play.

Anthony Sabatini is a member of the Florida House of Representatives and a candidate for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.



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