Posts Tagged ‘Amity Shlaes’
November 19th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
Will 2013 Be Like 1937?

If you’re a conservative looking for reasons to be thankful this November, don’t read Amity Shlaes’ column at Bloomberg today.  In it, the author of books on Calvin Coolidge and the Great Depression identifies four factors that make 2013 seem like 1937 – a pre-election government spending spree; talks of deficit reduction thereafter; presidential attacks on high-income earners; and the economic fallout from first-term “comprehensive reforms” like Social Security and Obamacare.

According to Shlaes, the combination caused “the depression within the Depression.”  Not something one wants to think about this time of year.

June 4th, 2010 at 6:06 pm
Glenn Beck’s Alternative History Canon

Did you hear about the Glenn Beck vs. Ivory Tower tiff?  A California history professor blogged on the Huffington Post that America’s highest profile fan of the Founders needs to get some perspective before spouting off like he knows something.  In particular, Joseph Palermo argues that – consistent with liberal elite opinion – looking to the Founding Generation for any type of guidance is silly because…well, things are different now.  Per Palermo, “The United States Constitution is a ‘living document’ no matter how often Beck and others repeat the lie that it isn’t.”

Forgive this former collegian if Dr. Palermo’s conclusory, unsourced statement leaves a bit much to be desired.

Thankfully, Amity Shlaes came to Beck’s defense.  Since she too (along with Jonah Goldberg) was blamed for misleading millions of Americans about the “goodness” of FDR’s handling of the Great Depression, Shlaes felt the need to explain the main attraction of Beck.  He gets deep into his subjects.  Moreover, he provides a sustained conversation with his audience about an alternative set of books that won’t show up on many university reading lists, no matter how well researched they are.

Every author is glad to sell books. But the victory is far more Mr. Beck’s than any individual writer’s or publisher’s. His genius has been in his recognition that viewers do not want merely the odd, one-off book, duly pegged to news. They want a coherent vision, a competing canon that the regulated airwaves and academy have denied them. So he, Glenn Beck, is building that canon, book by book from the forgotten shelf. Since the man is a riveting entertainer, the professors are correct to be concerned. He’s not just reacting or shaping individual thoughts. He is bringing competition into the Ed Biz.

In a word, Glenn Beck gives people a choice when it comes to getting well written, well researched histories about the people and issues that matter.  If he keeps it up, maybe reading history during college will be as enlightening – and enjoyable – as it is before and after.