A young foot soldier of the "Reagan Revolution," bestselling author D'Souza (What's So Great About America, etc.) came to prominence during his years at Dartmouth, as one of the founders of the controversial Dartmouth Review. In his latest book, the newest installment in the Art of Mentoring series, D'Souza provides students of the next generation with a basic understanding of modern conservatism and its fundamental precepts. Addressing a fictional student by the name of "Chris," D'Souza outlines the major distinctions between the three main political positions in the U.S.: liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism. He goes on to explain how conservatism debunks an array of issues, such as affirmative action (it strengthens the "widespread suspicion that [blacks] might be intellectually inferior"), feminism ("the feminist error was to embrace the value of the workplace as greater than the value of the home"), postmodernism ("pompous, verbose, and incoherent") and some lesser known sins such as the "self-esteem hoax" (self-esteem doesn't promote better performance). In these chapters, the author is witty, even irreverent at times. He punctures the stereotype of conservatism as the dry and stodgy movement that liberals love to hate. Rather he says, conservatives are "radicals," resisting the morally deficient tide of modern liberalism, fighting for a common code of virtues. D'Souza will no doubt succeed in inspiring young conservatives to go out into the world and fight for what they believe in. (Oct. 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A recruiting brochure for the conservative cause, padded with the usual slams against Hilary Clinton, feminists, and anyone who questions the intellectual might and political accomplishments of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. This volume in the Art of Mentoring series finds Reagan administration alumnus D'Souza (The Virtue of Prosperity, 2000, etc.) piloting a young college student between the treacherous shoals of liberalism on one hand and libertarianism on the other. Avuncular and arch, D'Souza peppers his letters of instruction with homespun homilies about right-wing virtues: if I give a hungry man a sandwich, he writes, "then I have done a good deed, and I feel good about it. . . . But then see what happens when the government gets involved. The government takes my sandwich from me by force. . . . Instead of showing me gratitude . . . the man feels entitled to this benefit." Humans are inherently driven by self-interest, he goes on to explain, and conservatives, unlike liberals, have no illusions about their perfectibility; hence, conservatives have a more realistic view of humankind, which is why they're so much better at government and better people to boot. In all of this, D'Souza avoids the empty windbaggishness of Rush Limbaugh and the nastiness of Ann Coulter, but his arguments for the superiority of conservatism (or, really, neoconservatism) turn on a similar glibness: he falls easily into us good-them bad rhetoric and half-baked formulas (conservatives care about money, whereas liberals care about power, which is so much dirtier than money). Some of his attacks are well placed, if of the fish-in-a-barrel variety, as when he takes on proponents of academic "politicalcorrectness" (a term he popularized with his 1991 book Illiberal Education) and twits elite radicals who "communicate their anger in very nice lounges over expensive meals and fancy cocktails." Few, however, are completely thought through, suggesting that D'Souza wrote his Letters in a hurry-for money, of course, and not for power. Add water and stir: a political philosophy in 30 easy lessons, just right for college students too busy or ill-educated to read Edmund Burke or William Buckley. Author tour