"No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Be the People by Carol M. Swain, PhD

I began reading this book fully expecting it to really speak to me and inspire me since I myself am rather conservative politically and religiously and I figured that my sensibilities would align well with Prof. Swain's. And they did, to a large degree, with the exception that I tend to be more egalitarian in my view of the Biblical role of women and men and she tends to be more complementarian in her views.  I strongly agree with the basic premise of this book, that America is indeed heading in the wrong direction both politically and socially in many ways.  I found her chapter on abortion to be powerful and factually accurate.  I thought her interpretation of the intent of the Founding Fathers to be insightful.   But, unfortunately I found many other areas to be limited in scope and incomplete.  For example, she talks about the problem of divorce in this country (agreed) but she blames it almost entirely on the feminist movement.  I don't count myself among the Steinem Stepford feminists either but divorce in this country is a multi-faceted issue and I think that Prof. Swain's analysis fails to acknowledge that fact. Feminism may have removed some of the social stigma of divorce but it didn't really drive people to divorce.  Rabid feminists don't cause people to leave their spouses, unhappy marriages do and marriages can be unhappy for many reasons.  So even without feminism, even if divorce was still a stigma, all you would likely end up with would be men and women drudging through miserable marriages.  Another issue that Prof. Swain brings up is the idea that 9/11 was a punishment for the actions of the US and she listed a couple of reasons given by the terrorists for their attack to support this idea which basically boiled down to the exploitation of the poor and our sexual immorality.  Unfortunately, again, she didn't expand on this idea much and only presented a very limited view of the causes of the Sept. 11th attacks.  One of the major reasons that the terrorists attacked the US was due to our support of Israel, which she correctly states in several other areas of the book as being a moral benefit to the US.
It was mainly the little things like those that I listed that really prevented me from giving this book a five or even four star review.  I felt that overall, in concept and in theory, and even in much of of the detail it was spot on but in other areas it really failed to give a full and in some cases, an intellectually honest depiction.