Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bold Book Recommendation (no. 1)

Every Sunday afternoon I will try to recommend something bold to read. Something beyond the partisan rhetoric, he said-she said's or retreaded subjects. I do so for a simple fact. I love my Country. I disdain the fact that many of our problems keep growing while our leaders pee on each other's shoes in efforts to get in front of the closest camera or microphone. This is my intent to educate myself on options that they themselves are afraid to navigate. If you have such a book that you have read lately, share it with me. Share it with us. No big problem will have a simple answer or a one-matrix solution. It may take many things to stem the tide, to fix things, so that our kids, and their grand-kids do not look back into their early 21st century books and wonder "what the hell where my grandparents doing back then..."

I give you IN OUR HANDS by Charles Murray.

This is a seriously radical concept for doing away with our welfare programs and the culture of poverty,... forever. So radical that I've linked 2 great articles/reviews I happened to randomly find in my searches while pondering to purchase this puppy. It summarizes the content perfectly.

I just bought it,... it smells brand new,... my white chocolate mocha awaits in my night-stand, life is good...

"Imagine that the United States were to scrap all its income transfer programs -including Social Security, Medicare, and all forms of Welfare- and give every American age twenty one and older $10,000 a year.... for life" (from the inside flap of his book, I hope he does not sue me for reprinting without permission :)

That is the premise of his book. The below reviews will blow you away. Maybe you will not be a convert, and maybe your cynical views may challenge that it may look too good to be true. But problems of this magnitude demand reaching for new planes of thinking. I think he has done so.

An article on the book by Rick Martinez of
A great review in a posting at Crooked Timber's blog


quakerdave said...

This is the Charles Murray who based some of his "research" for "The Bell Curve" on "research" done by the Pioneer Fund, back in the 1920s? The Pioneer Fund - the wonderful folks who supported eugenics?

Just asking.

Truth-Pain said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Truth-Pain said...

Yes, the one and same. Another of his books is "what it means to be a Libertarian"

While doing pre-posting digging on him I found quite a few commentaries and or counter-opinions on the extent of eugenics having a major influence as thematic fact. I read everything from the end of it being a minimal evidence contributor to the other end that it was a trojan horse tome with darker sub-themes.

I'm going to read this and base it on the merits of the topic at hand. But you are welcomed to dis-regard even the cursory attention to it if you feel that his indulgence in eugenics alone disqualifies the thesis of this book as a valid alternative to todays social program quagmire.

Writing is a highly subjective art.... reading is even more so.

Truth-Pain said...

For all those who don't recall the definition of "eugenics":

-The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding-

There, now that I got that little morsel out in the open I hope we can discuss the topic at hand. I would love to expand on this at some other time.

betmo said...

i will certainly take a look- but i wanted to catch you over here too regarding comments on my blog. i replied to that over there- but i do have a request. i have searched and searched and stopped short of actually advertising- for more centerized right leaning blogs to correspond with. having you and publius- who are thoughtful in responses has helped me to solidify my position- left to be sure- but left of center. i am running into much vitriol and hate rhetoric themed blogs on the right- and i know that there are thoughtful right leaners out there- i just don't know where to look. thought maybe you could email me a few to check out and perhaps i could add them to the journey to balance some things. i do have a couple of far left blogs on journey- but that's the way i lean- and it is easy to find them. not so much on the right for me. thanks and i will check out your fine post. :)

quakerdave said...

My question - it wasn't really a question, 'cause I knew the answer - had nothing to do with this new book.

Murray's "Bell Curve" (and I think I'm the only person I know who actually read the thing) lacks any and all credibility because of the chapter on race and IQ, as his "research" comes from highly dubious sources. I tend to doubt the work of folks who have been caught red-handed either doing sloppy research, using research from folks who aren't really worth mentioning (the Pioneer Fund, in this case), or plagiarists.

For more on "The Bell Curve," I highly recommend the revised, updated paperback edition of "The Mismeasure of Man" by the late, great Stephen J. Gould, who did a great job of dissecting what's wrong with Murray's "findings."

I'll leave this new book to you.

Truth-Pain said...

QD: Thanks for the tip on Gould's book. I will definetely read both.

betmo said...

for some reason i own the bell curve. i have never read it and truthfully, i haven't got a clue where it came from. as for this book- intriguing. it is an interesting concept- i don't know that i agree with it. why do we need government to give us money like that? if we took our social service programs back to the roots- we could have basic services for folks in need and not have the mismanagement. i realize that that may be an oversimplification- but really, aren't we complicating things with bureaucracy?

Truth-Pain said...

Betmo, $10,000 per person is waaayyy less than the Government gives (in average) to each of its citizens (and non citizens) per anum.... you dont think social security, medicaid, medicare, food stamps etc have a monstrous bureaucracy? Thing are alread compicated. We spend 23 cents in administrative costs for every dollar of social programs we pump out. Under his theory, the cost of cuts to federal bureaucracies alone are well over half a trillion! and thats over the first 4 years alone. I guess his point is, if people expect the Goverment to hand them money, lets do it the cheapest way possible AND put them in charge of it. You fail, then you fall. No safety net.

betmo said...

i am not disagreeing with his sentiment- i just don't thing that the government should give you money. the social programs were initially set up to assist indigent people- social security, welfare, etc. we have the entire population who believes that they are entitled to social security, medicare and prescription drugs. why? because that is what it morphed into. you are right- there is no easy answer but i do not think that simply giving away money is the way to do it. why can't we streamline what we have- look to more socialist(can i say that word here? :) countries for guidelines- and come up with something that works better for us. we are not a true democracy- and we have borrowed many facets of our government- why not borrow from countries who have successful social programs?

sappho said...

Very interesting post & book!
ALthough I may not agree with this concept, it is quite interesting to hear it.
Make sure you do a book review when finished reading it, would love to read it.
And I agree with Betmo on looking at more Socialist countries for guidelines.

Truth-Pain said...

Thanks for droppin' in. I am nearly halfway through it and I can tell you it is engrossing to the nth degree. I will definetely give a review once my mellon digests it for awhile.

I can see both yours and Betmo's opinion as to why the concept is necessary considering the many socialist models available,...
To me we are a fusion of Capitalism and Socialized sectors anyway. We will never revert to anything pure in theory,.. that Genie humped out of the bottle a looong time ago. As to the European models?, Yes, they care for you craddle to grave, but they also tax your ass at pre-JFK levels (70% and up!). There is no incentive for anybody to build businesses and create capital opportunities because the entrepeneurs subsidise the laisse-faire masses. Murray seems to have found a happy medium that makes me (the capitalist pig)and my girlfriend (the bleeding heart liberal) both happy :)