China is getting aggressive toward adversaries in the face of coronavirus criticism
The far-left Daily Kos says It’s Time to Fight Dirty by David Faris (Melville House, 2018) “should be mandatory reading” for all Democrats. Faris proposes statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and the division of California into seven states: Then Democrats will control the Senate. He wants simple majorities to pass all legislation and approve all appointments. He wants to pack the Supreme Court and appeals courts. He wants voting for felons, with no registration or IDs needed for voting.
And that’s not all. Faris proposes a massive amnesty for all immigrants and replacement of winner-take-all elections with ranked-choice voting so progressives can vote for far-left parties and still have their votes count for Democrats. He wants a big spending “blitzkrieg designed to reward the party’s most faithful supporters. … They must seize all the tools granted to them by the Constitution and they must not hold back on using any of them because it will strike some people as uncivil or unsportsmanlike.”
Many of today’s presidential candidates echo such agitation. They would be better off reading Peter Lillback’s Saint Peter’s Principles (P&R, 2019), which argues for fighting cleanly. Most books on leadership pass along worldly wisdom, but Lillback (a WORLD News Group board member) grounds his teaching firmly in Scripture. I’ve already used his chapter on “When the Leader Passes the Torch” in planning for WORLD’s future.
World history, of course, is filled with dirty fighting. Amos Barshad’s No One Man Should Have All That Power: How Rasputins Manipulate the World (Abrams Press, 2019) has gossipy chapters about the behind-the-scenes controllers in spheres ranging from movies (Stanley Kubrick evoking acting from Tom Cruise) to sports (Alex Guerrero feeding Tom Brady fountain-of-youth recipes) to Central American politics (Rosario Murillo, the wife of corrupt Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega). Other chapters eviscerate Steve Bannon, would-be Rasputin to Donald Trump, and Aleksandr Dugin, Vladimir Putin’s ear-whisperer (who compares himself to the wizard Merlin)—but I don’t know what’s true.
Caligula: The Mad Emperor of Rome by Stephen Dando-Collins (Turner, 2019) and The Great Great Wall: Along the Borders of History from China to Mexico by Ian Volner (Abrams, 2019) tell colorful stories but are hurt by Trump Derangement Syndrome, which pushes them to make over-the-top identification of a president with past villains. Current events also loom over Andrew Seidel’s The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American (Sterling, 2019). Seidel works for the Freedom From Religion Foundation and knocks down only straw men—for example, he claims U.S. founding documents don’t have a Christian worldview because they don’t refer specifically to Yahweh or Jesus.
Dorian Lynskey’s The Ministry of Truth (Doubleday, 2019), a biography of George Orwell, emphasizes Orwell’s most famous and ominous novel, 1984. Orwell’s description of England in 1944 resembles our present: Partisans are “putting forward a ‘case’ with complete disregard for fairness and accuracy, and the most plainly obvious facts can be ignored by those who don’t want to see them. … To admit that an opponent might be both honest and intelligent is felt to be intolerable.”
Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing (Knopf, 2019) comes through on its subtitle: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday. Walker reminds us of interesting things going on all around us if we pay attention. (“Mindfulness” is a word Buddhists use but Christians should, following the example of Jesus who tells us to “consider the lilies of the field.”)
Walker’s exercises to help us pay attention include: “Sketch a room you just left. … Imagine what someone is thinking. … Look for the plot—if a crime was to occur here, who would be involved? … Make an auditory inventory. … Take a long walk through an unfamiliar part of town. Get there the hard way (not using GPS). … Eat somewhere dubious. Talk to a stranger. Identify the weirdest thing in the room, and ask about it. Make an inventory of things you didn’t buy.” —M.O.