Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Glenn Beck's Common Sense

If you believe it's time to put principles above parties, character above campaign promises, and Common Sense above all - then I ask you to read this book..."

-- from the back cover of Glenn Beck's Common Sense

This is probably the smallest book I have reviewed for this site. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of information in this book, or a lot of good ideas. Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine is Mr. Beck's updated version of Thomas Paine's 1776 pamphlet. Mr. Beck applies his own common sense to today's problems. Much of the book is spent setting up the ideas and beliefs that our country was founded on and then asks the reader if those ideas are still being served by our government today.

Glenn Beck argues against a number of current liberal positions, but this is not a Republican vs. Democrat book. If you are looking for something that reinforces today's Republican Party, this is definitely not the book for you. Today's Republican and Democratic Parties are not that different from each other. Both seek power, both want to blame the other party for all of our troubles, and neither sets about solving those problems when they have the votes to do it. You could use the Republican majority under Bush as one example and I suspect you will be able to use the Democratic majority under Obama as another. Mr. Beck argues that we as voters should ignore the letter that comes after a candidates name on the ballot, and vote for the candidate that we think will represent our values and will be honest and accountable to the voters.

There was one part of this book that really struck home with me. I don't vote for third party candidates because I feel it is a wasted vote. Mr. Beck uses Arlen Spector as a way to destroy that logic. He points out that during Spector's last re-election bid, there were two more conservative candidates running (one in the Constitution Party, one in the Libertarian Party). Conservative voters didn't vote for these two for fear that they would end up throwing their vote away. Yet five years later, Spector switched parties simply to do better in a primary bid and in hopes of holding on to the power he has accumulated. Glenn Beck asks, "...who wasted thier vote, the four percent of people who went with the candidates from the Constitution and Libertarian parties, or the 53 percent who voted for a man who later stabbed them in the back by switching parties simply to have the best shot at winning his next election?" As some one who was thought of voting for third party candidate before, but was afraid of "throwing my vote away", I really have to reconsider my opinion on this.

Glenn Beck's Common Sense includes a complete reprint of Common Sense by Thomas Paine, and an "additional reading" section. I am a big fan of "additional reading" sections to explore theories in more detail. The book is less than 200 pages (and is pretty cheap at most book stores). Glenn Beck has asked his listeners to buy a copy and when they are done reading it, pass it along to someone else. I will be passing mine along this weekend. I have included an amazon link where you can buy it:

If you pick up a copy from Amazon or any where else, leave a comment here and let me know. I am also curious to see if anyone gives their copy away. It is a very good book and is packed with good arguments in a small small space.


Seattle Dave said...

As much as I think Glenn Beck is a nutjob, and still have a hard time forgiving him for the things he said about the families that were directly affected by 9/11, the basic premise of what you posted Andy is something that I 100% agree with him on (Waiting for lightening to strike me).

I'm no Glenn Beck fan, not even close. However, if he is talking in general terms about today's gov't and the ineptitude and partisan bickering that happens, then I might have to pick up the book, and give him the benefit of the doubt this once.

Good review. It would be an interesting read for sure.

Andy D said...

I think you would enjoy it, and it really is a very quick read. He doesn't side with one party over the other but accuses them both of forgetting why they are in Washington. If you pick up a copy, let me know what you think.

Unknown said...

I've seen this book around, & was thinking it should be on my impression of it was pretty much the way you described it, and, as usual, your review is convincing me to get the book & read it!

Andy D said...

Just remember, if you buy it (about $7 at amazon), read it and pass it on to someone else...