Byzantine Reality

Searching for Byzantine failures in the world around us

The Revolution

I’ve been up to reading a ton of books lately and hard at work on an upcoming project that will get much writing about, so my apologies on the lack of consistency lately as far as blog posting goes. On a more positive note, I did finish a great book lately, so let’s take a quick look over it. Without further ado, Ron Paul’s The Revolution:

Despite being one of the presidential contenders this year, Ron Paul’s book isn’t about his life and his struggles (although it occasionally comes up). This book really is about how our country got screwed up when we stopped following the Constitution. It’s a quick and easy read and is broken down into fairly discrete chapters (foreign policy, economics, etc) that show how the Founding Fathers would have dealt with modern problems as well as how the Constitution has safeguards against many of today’s problems that could be avoided if we simply followed the letter of the land.

For the most part, Ron Paul is right on target on many of the issues in the book. On the overwhelming majority of issues in the book he comes off as a pragmatist and defers to the Constitution and Founding Fathers as needed. It really comes off as a book of how we would have done things if we just got out of our high school civics class: if there’s a problem, defer it to the law and see what happens. For example, we had always learned that before we could go to war, Congress had to approve it. When you’re just learning about this stuff, it all sounds simple enough, but then you end up in history class and when you hit the end of World War II, you start to notice that an unusual amount of troops end up in things we call ‘war’ without the necessary approving by Congress.

The book is really trying to reverse the damage done by accepting that things like war-without-authorization is ok and many other similar things that defy the Constitution. And since the book follows this trend a good 99% of the time, it’s a great read. However…

The other 1% of the time the book is a little odd. The argument against abortion in the book is pretty odd and is mainly in the form of a life story: essentially one day in the 60′s while delievering babies he walked into the operating room and saw a particularly inhumane abortion. It amounts to a C-section in the woman’s 6th month of pregnancy where they remove the baby and put it in a corner to die. The followup to this story is about him asking women to defend their view of abortion and apparently they all said it was fine because if a woman doesn’t want a child then the child is a parasite and needs to die.

Admittedly I can see why this would make you against abortion if this is what you end up seeing and perhaps it was valid in the 60′s. But by today’s standards this argument comes off as sounding a bit weak. The entire book is citing the Constitution and Founding Fathers and then this comes up. It raises a bit of a question mark but since this is really the only time in the book where this happens it’s not horrible, just odd.

So nitpicking aside, the book is a great read. You certainly don’t have to agree with his ideas, but he makes a very sensible case that at the very least, this needs to be something we all talk about. If we consciously agree for or against certain thins, that’s fine, just as long as all the secrecy and the like goes away.