The Ben Shapiro Show: Sunday Special with Jonah GoldbergI sometimes wonder (and I’m sometimes asked) what I think would be the single best thing to read, what book I would recommend, to introduce someone to the ideas of conservatism for the first time, or to persuade those not yet persuaded.  (To date, I’m not sure I have an answer.  Mark Steyn’s America Alone and Arthur C. Brooks’s Who Really Cares—and of course C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity—were significant and influential for me, but I’m not sure any of them is a direct answer to that question.)

In a recent interview, Ben Shapiro asked Jonah Goldberg more or less the same question; Goldberg gamely offered some impromptu thoughts on the subject.  Here’s the list:

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Tracer BulletYou might think a story that sounds as if it were about which animals killed some dinosaurs would not be very interesting.

You’d be wrong.  (“Dead wrong,” Devereux giggled.)

Frank Fleming’s first short story at Liberty Island, “Who Murdered the Dinosaurs?”, is thoroughly entertaining and frequently laugh-out-loud funny—a “First Rate Farce”, in the words of one reader.  Perhaps one should have expected nothing less from the long-time PJ Media humorist whose previous work includes the funny “FAQ on Christianity”.

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Over the weekend NPR played an interview between NPR’s Arun Rath and novelist Douglas Coupland (pronounced “Copeland”).  Coupland’s latest novel doesn’t exactly sound healthy for human consumption:

RATH: . . . I don’t quite know how I feel about this book—

COUPLAND: (Laughs)

RATH: —Meaning that it’s hilarious but it’s—it’s three hundred pages of vulgarity, almost without lapse.

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Liberty Island gorilla

You’ll have heard conservatives observe that the dominant culture in America is liberal.  Mark Steyn talks about the left’s “long march through the institutions” (the schools, the churches, the movies), and suggests that it’s ultimately futile for conservatives to fight on the political battleground if we give up on the fight for the deeper culture, which our politics flow out of.

Publisher Adam Bellow wants to bring the fight to the culture.  Toward that end, earlier this year he launched Liberty Island, a Web site or online literary magazine of fiction by and/or for the conservative counterculture.

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March 28, 2013

Even at liberal NPR, this book reviewer wonders whether our culture’s descent into nihilism and narcissism hasn’t gone too far.  The review is entitled “The Apathy In ‘A Thousand Pardons’ Is Hard To Forgive”:

Given that Dee is such a precise, dry and cynical writer — and given the class resentments that his plots stoke — I wonder, not for the first time, why I don’t like his books more. Maybe the answer lies in his distinctive atmosphere: Most of Dee’s key characters are so cool, so jaded, so “whatever” — it’s like they overmedicate.

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Silent but deadlyFrom a National Review Online interview with Amity Shlaes, author of the new Calvin Coolidge biography Coolidge (an “illuminating, magisterial biography”):  Coolidge was trained in the (political) deadly arts.

LOPEZ: How was Coolidge “the great refrainer” and how did he make a “virtue of inaction”?

SHLAES: As he wrote his father in 1910: “It is much more important to kill bad bills than pass good ones.” Coolidge not only believed this, he trained himself in the tools of killing bills.

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