The history of the West is built on the interplay between these two pillars:
Divine meaning and reason. We receive our notions of Divine meaning from a
three-millennial-old lineage stretching back to the ancient Jews; we receive
our notions of reason from a twenty-five-hundred-year-old lineage stretching
back to the ancient Greeks.
In rejecting those lineages–in seeking a graft ourselves to rootless philosophical comments
of the moment, cutting ourselves off from our own roots—
we have damned ourselves to an existential wandering.
(Michaelangelo’s God from The Sistine Chapel)
And we’re also remembering the guiding light of our Judeo/Christian tradition.
All of us here today are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
sons and daughters of the same God.
I believe we are bound by faith in our God, by our love for family and neighborhood,
by our deep desire for a more peaceful world, and by our commitment to protect the freedom
which is our legacy as Americans.
Ronald Reagan, Former U.S. President (1980-1988)
I had to take my husband to the hospital yesterday for a nuclear stress test–
the glowing type of test I suppose.
So while I sat for my near four hours, I had the foresight to carry a new book with me…
The Right Side of History
How Reason and Moral Purpose Made The West Great
by Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro is, if you’ve never seen nor heard him, is a young sharp cookie.
Not like this cookie here in cookieland…but a much younger and much smarter cookie.
A good kosher cookie.
Ben is a 35-year-old Orthodox Jew.
He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, a married man with two young children.
He also happens to be a conservative commentator which labels him as persona non grata
or better, a pariah.
An outcast from what is considered our progressive liberal mainstream society.
Each time I’ve had the opportunity to catch an interview featuring Ben as a guest,
I have been greatly impressed with his views, data, and points.
His interviews are reminiscent of when I was teaching high school and was listening to our
debate team kids engaging in debate “presentations”.
Barely discernable facts spouted off at the speed of light.
It took a gift of keen listening in order to keep up.
Ben tends to spout off his facts in that same machinegun type of fashion.
Yet in Ben’s case, he has had built quite the resume of political journalistic prowess.
And so I sat in that lovely waiting room with its lone TV on the game show channel,
with my trusty highlighter in hand…that was until it ran dry.
I then grabbed a pen out of my purse and went to town.
At the beginning of this latest book, Ben recalled a moment when his wife once asked him
if he was happy.
Now being the smart young husband that he is…
Ben readily noted that when a spouse,
in particular one’s wife, asks if you’re happy…that can be a dangerously loaded question.
He shared that she asked this question during a rather stressful period in their lives—
their children were young and naturally required, as children do, lots of time and attention.
His wife had a career as a doctor while he was in the early stages of working with
his business partner trying to get their website and podcast venture off the ground–
all the while traveling the country, busy with speaking engagements.
Ben took the question deeper… to that of a question as to when was he was the most happiest—
and that answer was found on the Sabbath.
Ben is an Orthodox Jew who cuts off the world for 25 hours each weekend when he
and his small family take time to observe the Sabbath.
Only God, then family.
He recalls a traditional Jewish saying…
“the Jews didn’t keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath kept the Jews”
Ben makes the point that politics is not the driving force for his happiness despite
the fact that it is the pursuit of politics that is where he makes his living…
yet it is the same revelation that our founding fathers also knew.
Our faith is our root—not our politics.
A root that came to us on Mt Sinai.
However this is where we’ll stop for the time being.
Whetting your whistle.
This is a meaty book—
a book that is steeped not only in our Nation’s history but steeped in that of
Western Civilization’s root history–
the history of both our Western Civilization and that of our Judeo/ Christian roots.
A root system we have taken for granted as we are currently watching its erosion.
Like I say—more to share in the coming days…
“Lasting happiness can only be achieved through cultivation of soul and mind.
And cultivating our souls and minds requires us to live with moral purpose.”