F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
March 5, 2000
Ideas & Character Have Consequences

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Five new books chart the course, for good or ill, of commonly held ideas and individual character.

In a new book from Spence Publishing called Faith of the Fatherless, psychologist Paul Vitz contends that the underlying reasons for the atheism so common "in intellectual, academic, and artistic communities and in the media" are often "superficial and lacking in serious intellectual and moral foundation." He argues, further, that the unwillingness of such noted figures as Sigmund Freud and Bertrand Russell to believe in a personal, loving God can be traced to defective relationships with their own fathers.

In Plagues of the Mind, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, classicist Bruce Thornton deconstructs Multiculturalism, which he derides as "a melodramatic tale of the wickedness of the West." Despite its failings, Thornton insists, Western civilization must be credited with originating and perpetuating "the idea of the individual, rational human being who should be free to choose, and who possesses certain inalienable rights that should demand our respect regardless of gender, race, religion, or culture."

In Red Dragon Rising, their new book from Regnery Publishing, Edward Timperlake and William Triplett assert that China's "territorial ambitions are immense. Now, armed with the most modern weapons of mass destruction and sophisticated instruments of information warfare, the Communist Chinese military threatens to take the lands it has historically coveted," they warn, emphasizing that only the U.S. stands in its way. Timperlake and Triplett conclude that the collaboration of President Clinton and Vice President Gore with the Chinese Communists has "placed Americans directly in the line of fire."

In Architects of Victory, published by the Heritage Foundation, former Dan Quayle speechwriter Joseph Shattan rejoices that "the United States won the Cold War as totally and decisively as any conflict has ever been won. Our adversary, the Soviet Union, no longer exists," Shattan affirms; "the Communist ideology in whose name it waged its war against us is totally discredited; and our democratic capitalist way of life stands vindicated. The Evil Empire that brought ruin and terror to so many millions is well and truly dead," he concludes, "and America killed it." Shattan devotes a chapter to each of the "six great figures [who] shaped the West's response to the Soviet challenge over the course of the Cold War and are principally responsible for American victory: Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II, and Ronald Reagan."

In Patriot Sage, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and featuring essays on George Washington by more than a dozen leading scholars, historian Gary Gregg explains the importance of the example Washington set while serving as our nation's first chief executive. "At any time," he emphasizes, "improper precedent could have collapsed the office into irrelevancy or elevated it to nearly despotic heights of authority." Gregg contends that Washing-ton's greatest example may have been his demonstra-tion of restraint: "In retiring to Mount Vernon after his second term, he became the living symbol of the two-term president, a cultural expectation so power-fully set that no president dared to challenge it for more than 130 years."

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