A month ago, I reviewed Tom Grace’s excellent book, The Liberty Intrigue, which is a very rare animal indeed — a political polemic that isn’t didactic or boring. I also got the opportunity to send Tom a list of questions about his book. They’re not very good questions (I’ll never make it as a professional interviewer), but Tom was nevertheless kind enough to respond with some very good answers:
1. Why did you shy away from discussing foreign policy in The Liberty Intrigue?
As much as possible, I wanted to focus on domestic issues and the balance between liberty and tyranny that the US is struggling with right now, and has been the main political struggle in our country for the past century. Foreign policy is so fluid, and evolves largely outside of our control, so our nation’s response tends to be more reactive than proactive. In projecting world events, I risk either locking my book to tightly to a specific point in US history or presenting a world which doesn’t mirror the international challenges well enough to seem real. Adding a significant foreign policy dimension to book would have aded pages to the book without necessarily adding to the overall message of the book. Our nation’s behavior internationally reflects who we are as a nation, and the struggle for who we are as a nation is the main focus of the story.
2. If you had discussed foreign policy, what would you have said?
I did address one aspect of foreign policy because it is so important to out domestic policy: immigration. Our neighbors to the south are exporting their citizens to the US in order to prevent revolution because those governments have failed to foster an environment of economic growth. That we would use these economic refugees, and call them as such, would highlight that failure and allow us to help vote those regimes out of office. Big picture: the goal of the US should be to export liberty. Using the principle of subsidiarity, Egan would replace foreign aid to governments with microloans to individual citizens or communities to help foster self-sufficiency. Imagine if the $1 Billion the US gives the Egyptian government was instead distributed directly to individual entrepreneurs and threatened communities, how much good that would do.
3. Do you see anyone on the world stage who could be a Ross Egan?
Sadly, I do not. I see glimmers of him in all of the remaining GOP candidates. Ross Egan became what he was because of what he endured with the people of Dutannuru. Egan left for Africa near the end of the Reagan presidency, which was a hopeful time in America. Upon his return, he found the country very different from the one he left, a nation far closer to socialist tyranny. Egan, in a sense, endured in Africa what the Founding Fathers endured, and that experience gave him the both the mind and heart to restore liberty in the US.
4. Of the current crop of Republican candidates, do you have a favorite?
I like aspects of them all and will support the GOP nominee in the general election. I will not endorse any of them simply because I think most endorsements are irrelevant. My vote won’t be swayed one way or the other by the opinion of a celebrity or personality. As to who I voted for in the Michigan primary, I prefer to keep that to myself.
5. Are you optimistic about the 2012 elections? (With the obvious follow-up being “please explain your answer.”)
I am hopeful that enough of the American public sees the dangerous course being charter by President Obama, and that they will act in accordance with the Constitution to limit him to a single term and to install in office individuals who will repair the damage. There are some very good people with solid conservative credentials and ideas running for office. From our experience with Reagan we know what works, and over the past few years have relearned what never works. While none of the candidates running is Ross Egan, they could certainly evolve into something like him if the mantle of the presidency is placed upon them.
6. In terms of political development, one could say that the American people spent more than 100 years preparing for the Constitution. Do you truly believe that, if it was suddenly imposed from above on a country such as Libya or Egypt, it would work? I’m not repeating Ruth Bader Ginsburg insofar as she thinks that a Constitution should impose rights on people (hence her desire for Egypt to adopt a European model) rather than that a Constitution should preserve individual liberty and protect people from government. I’m must wondering if Egypt or Libya or Iraq or anywhere else with a history of lawlessness, tyranny, and religiously-based totalitarianism, could switch to true American constitutionalism.
I believe if the people were taught what a Constitution like ours really means and given the choice between it and the tyranny they are used to or, in the case of Middle East, some form of Sharia law, they would vote in their own self interest. Liberty cannot be imposed on a people anymore than hope can be forced into someone’s mind. Tyranny is imposed from above by a coercive government, it restrains the individual. Liberty rightly recognizes that the government is the servant and not the master, and that the individual enjoys rights which cannot be taken away by the government.
7. The book paints a Democrat win in 2012 as the beginning of the end for America. Do you believe that to be true?
Should the current crop of extreme-progressive democrats retain the White House and increase their control of the legislature, I do believe the damage that could be done to the country may be irreparable. I could not imagine a direct attack on the First Amendment like the HHS Mandate, yet there it is. We were warned by the Founding Fathers about the type of damage done by progressive politicians of both parties over the past century, and accelerated by the current administration–they understood where the weak points were in the structure they had built. I am concerned that America’s ebbing economic and military might may embolden some ambitious nations to take advantage of the situation. The end of Pax Americana will make the world a more dangerous place.
I’m happy to report that Tom’s book is doing very well, so much so that he had an interview with Rush Limbaugh yesterday. That’s got to be good for sales. I even got a little mention, although you have to know it’s me, because I’m not mentioned by name:
CALLER: My new novel is called The Liberty Intrigue. And the interesting thing about it is there’s actually one nationally published review that latched onto my take on conservatism ’cause it’s a conservative election thriller. It’s told from our point of view, but there’s a character in this book that bears an uncanny resemblance to you, and this reviewer thought that you actually wrote portions of the book.
RUSH: (laughing) Really?
CALLER: So I don’t know if I owe you any royalties or not because, you know, I’m a 24/7 member and that’s where I did my research. You know, clearly I caught your style and substance so perfectly that I caught your ear for how you handle your show and they thought you wrote those portions of the book.
RUSH: Really? Did that hurt you in the review?
CALLER: Not at all. The reviewer loved my book because they thought it was a brilliant articulation of conservatism. And here’s a fun thriller as opposed a polemic or a treatise. You know, somebody’s actually done something in the popular culture.
I’m that reviewer. Woot!