This week I've been reading from two larger works, both challenging: Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind and Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics. I finished Kirk's anthology over the weekend, and am still collecting my thoughts on it. I managed to get through the section on labor in Basic Economics without quitting the book in indignant rage, which I consider personal growth. I decided to start both works to challenge my thinking and learn about views which I've long avoided.
My fun reading this week will consist of Your Inner Fish, which I've happily settled back into, and it will be followed in short order by The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution, by Sean B. Carroll. The last time I tried reading one of his works (Endless Forms Most Beautiful), the sheer amount of details was too much for my pansy humanities-focused brain. Pehaps this time I'll be more successful -- Goodreads reccommended it. Speaking of book sites, LibraryThing is sending me a copy of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country as part of its early reviwers meeting.
The United States has been “at war” for more than a decade. Yet as war has become normalized, a yawning gap has opened between America’s soldiers and the society in whose name they fight. For ordinary citizens, as former secretary of defense Robert Gates has acknowledged, armed conflict has become an “abstraction” and military service “something for other people to do.”
In Breach of Trust, bestselling author Andrew Bacevich takes stock of the separation between Americans and their military, tracing its origins to the Vietnam era and exploring its pernicious implications: a nation with an abiding appetite for war waged at enormous expense by a standing army demonstrably unable to achieve victory. Among the collateral casualties are values once considered central to democratic practice, including the principle that responsibility for defending the country should rest with its citizens.
That sounds positively chipper. On a happier note, I'm expecting Righteous Mind: How Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion for Atheists in the mail. Alain de Botton never fails to enthrall.