Amazon.com recently announced that Dr. Ron Paul's "The Revolution: A Manifesto" was the most positively reviewed book (by Amazon customers) of 2008.
I've read it twice, and am currently plowing through it a third time.
I'm going to skip a groove here, but hang with me for a second. VampE recently sent me a link to a Tom Robbins website on which a blogger posts a few paragraphs from a Robbins novel every week, and the readers have a chance to discuss it. Devotees of that site are going through the current book (Jitterbug Perfume) at the same pace, discussing and commenting as they go.
This blogger only posts a few random paragraphs from each chapter, just as a frame of reference to get a conversation going or to draw new readers into the Tom Robbins universe.
I hope to do the same thing with "The Revolution: A Manifesto", but in an all-inclusive manner. I'd like to post a couple of pages per week until the entire book is on this site, or until the Grand Central Publishing group tells me to cease and desist (for copyright reasons).
Warning: Do not read any of this if you want to remain comfortable while voting for The Mommy Party and Daddy Party candidates.
So with no further ado, here's Chapter One, Page One and Two of the Ron Paul Page-A-Day service.
"Every election season America is presented with a series of false choices. Should we launch preemptive wars against this country or that one? Should every American neighborhood live under this social policy or that one? Should a third of our income be taken away by an income tax or a national sales tax? The shared assumptions behind these questions, on the other hand, are never cast in doubt, or even raised. And anyone who wants to ask different questions or who suggests that the questions as framed exclude attractive, humane alternatives, is ipso facto excluded from mainstream discussion.
And so every four years we are treated to the same tired, predictable routine: two candidates with few disagreements on fundamentals pretend that they represent dramatically different philosophies of government.
The supposedly conservative candidate tells us us about "waste" in government, and ticks off $10 million in frivolous pork-barrel projects that outrage him - the inevitable bridge-to-nowhere project, or a study of the effects of celery consumption on arresting memory loss - in order to elicit laughter and applause from partisan audiences. All right, so that's 0.00045 percent of the federal budget dealt with; what does he propose to do with the other 99.99955 percent, in order to return our country to living within its means? Not a word. Those same three or four silly programs will be brought up all campaign long, and that's all we'll hear about where the candidate stands on spending. But conservatives are told that they must support these candidates, and so they do, hoping for the best. And nothing changes.
Even war doesn't really distinguish the two parties from each other. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry voted for the Iraq war. With the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, even the Democrats who postured as antiwar candidates for the 2008 primary elections are not especially opposed to needless wars. They typically have a laundry list of other military interventions they would support, none of which make any sense, would make our country any safer, or would do a thing to return our country to fiscal sanity. But liberals are told that they must support these candidates, and so they do, hoping for the best. And nothing changes.