A few months ago, I wrote a couple of diaries introducing and expanding on the concept of a RedState University and a reading list to complement such an august institution at RS. I promised an update and would like to add some other thoughts to the foundation already laid. First, a brief review of the RSU concept: any diaries written that address or focus on some application of Conservative principles, discussion of laws and amendments, society and economic issues, impact by the government, etc. should be tagged with the RSU category tag. One just types in RSU as a tag, along with any other categories your post covers. We have it on our wish list to see RSU as a hot topics link in the RS header. If one clicks on the Constitutional Knowledge link in my sig line it will take you to all the diaries that have been tagged with RSU. The second link in my sig line (Conservative Education) is the reading list I compiled from the excellent input from our RS readers. At the end of this post will be a short addendum and a request for more books, fiction this time, that can support our quest for knowledge, understanding and support. I would also like to mention the Booknotes project here, as it is ongoing thanks to the faithfulness of Andyd. We are reading 1-2 chapters a week from these books that are so vital to understanding our conservatism. Currently, “Road to Serfdom” by F.A. Hayek is our book selection. Every week Andyd has posted a diary on the chapters covered and all are welcome to participate in discussing the reading.
This brings me to perhaps the most important reason why I am writing this post. I want to talk about reviving the spirit. Recently, an acquaintance and outstanding blogger wrote a note expressing quite simply, burnout. Miserable, discouraging burnout. She expressed in her note what so many of us have been feeling with the constant drumbeat against our side, the battles we’ve lost, and the challenges of the “wahr” ahead. Not only are we struggling to keep further harmful legislation from being passed, the walk-back we must accomplish for the legislation already signed into law feels almost insurmountable. When we signed onto this fight, most of us were new to this world and it has been difficult, almost beyond belief, that so much damage could be done. I wrote and told this acquaintance, as others did, to take time to rest, take a break, whatever was necessary to keep her going in this fight. In other words, we need all of our warriors in this fight; losing any one of us is one less voice to stand up against tyranny.
About the same time as this discussion on burn-out took place, I read an article by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. in The American Spectator - “The Reading Mind and the State of the Book.” It is an excellent article, and he does focus on the loss of the “reading mind” (G. J. Nathan - 1920’s), but he also discusses a critical point for our side. He notes that the Left is practicing a segregation of ideas; not just about race do they do this; they are seeking to suppress truth and ideas that are unacceptable to them. He says, “Segregationists are the soi-distant Liberals, and wherever they hold sway writers who disagree with them are banned and misrepresented.” Now, where have we heard that before? Every day, everywhere in the MSM and the Liberal academic institutions we find those of the Left who seek to suppress our ideas of Conservatism by speaking with a loud and controlling voice to drown out our ideas. The positive for our side? We are not letting them do it. Almost more than any other time, the numbers from our side are seeking out the books that will give them knowledge and the ability to rebut the Left.
As you may have guessed I love to read; books have always been a window to the world for me, taking me places that I might never physically go, but nevertheless have “visited.” Since becoming an activist, almost all of my reading is non-fiction now, but I assure you there is always a lighter fiction book on my bedside stand. At first I was hesitant to read these heavy non-fiction books and documents from our Founding Fathers and other esteemed writers who had so much knowledge to share. But I discovered one thing from reading these books; rather than weakening or discouraging me, they have strengthened my resolve. The knowledge I am gaining from them fortifies my spirit. Discovering that knowledge truly is power, and not just trite words; it is ammunition against the Left and the liberals, who seek to “transform” and thus destroy the great foundations of this nation.
Conservative education - reading - is a way to strengthen the spirit, we can unplug from the computer and open the book and allow a reading mind to aid in healing the spirit. Discovering that others have had similar fears and battles lived decades/centuries ago allows us to understand that we are truly not alone, that the angst we have and the challenges we face have been faced before and we can prevail. Others have fought wars, yes, some have been lost, but the testament of time shows how the human spirit survives. In these dark and dreary moments, American Exceptionalism, the American character far surpasses the emptiness of the Left, whose words and ideas are like sand through a sieve. To the Founders’ credit, the great documents they gave us in the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution are timeless and cannot be destroyed.
In order to pass along our own encouragement toward freedom, a few additional titles are listed below, (h/t Vassar).
"Across the Wide Missouri" (1947) - Bernard DeVoto (1897-1955) - History of the early 1800's and focus on the Fur Trade; the westward movement and the ingraining of the rough and ready of the American character.
"A Distant Mirror" (1978) - Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989) - History of 14th century Europe and the "cataclysms" suffered by Europe. Tuchman saw parallels between 14th century Europe and the 20th century.
"Territorial Imperative" (1966) - Robert Ardrey (1908-1980, anthropologist and screenplay writer) connected a view of natural and social man. Focus on territorial behaviors of man and animals.
"The Fatal Conceit" Errors of Socialism, (1988) - F. A. Hayek (1899-1992) - Refutes the theories and premises of Socialism. Focuses on the evolution of modern man, and that it is not a result of "planning by man."
"Two Generations of Soviet Man, A study in the Psychology of Communism" (1962) - John Kosa (1914-1972)
To start our fiction list..."Mila 18" (1961) - Leon Uris (1924-2003) - Story of the Nazi occupation of Poland and the Warsaw ghetto uprising. I read this book many years ago, and plan to reread it.
I also would like anyone who has some fiction titles that can aid us in our battle to please leave them in the comments, and I can plan a future diary.
One final thought. The words ‘discouragement and encouragement’ are based on the word--courage. Let us stand for COURAGE!