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Three book Thursday: Conservatism, the Constitution and Elizabeth Warren


Suggested reading.

Chris Obrecht, left, and Denice Yeagin participate in a Constitution Day rally at the Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Members of three groups - Let's Roll 2013, Open Carry Texas and Overpasses for America - came together for the rally to celebrate the U.S. Constitution. Credit: AP

Below are some reading materials of interest on three books including "11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative" by Paul Kengor (coveredextensively by TheBlaze Books), "The Conscience of the Constitution" by Timothy Sandefur, and "A Fighting Chance," Senator Elizabeth Warren's soon-to-be-released book.

1. "11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative" by Paul Kengor

Writing in the American Spectator, former Reagan White House Political Director Jeffrey Lord argues that Kengor's book is "important — a classic" because:

11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative

"While Reagan’s name is invoked constantly, all too frequently it is done for show or with misinformation that tries to lead an audience to believe Reagan believed something that in fact he did not. Making of America’s most famous conviction politician an all-purpose believer in everything and nothing simultaneously. Kengor has performed an enormously useful task here by setting out the core tenets of those who call themselves Reagan conservatives."

Lord draws a direct line between those who intuitively understand and appreciate Reagan conservatism, and the GOP Establishment:

"While the above instances [of conservatives turning on Establishment Republicans] focus on Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, in fact the friction between Reagan conservatives and the GOP Establishment shows up time and time again. The move by House Republicans to upend Speaker John Boehner, the popularity of Senator Ted Cruz and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin among others, the fierce divide on when and how to challenge President Obama on Obamacare and other issues — all of these and more have a direct relation to some formulation of the Reagan conservative principles as Paul Kengor has outlined them in 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative."

2. "The Conscience of the Constitution" by Timothy Sandefur

Writing in the Washington Post, recent Blaze Books interviewee George Will argues that thanks to the Pacific Legal Foundation's Timothy Sandefur, America has "what it has long needed, a slender book that lucidly explains the intensity of conservatism’s disagreements with progressivism."

The Conscience of the Constitution

In Sandefur's "The Conscience of the Constitution," Will writes that Sandefur's explication of the stakes of the battle between individual liberty and majoritarian governance explains the "heatedness of political argument today." Will explains it thusly:

"The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights."

Will ends his review with an intriguing statement on Sandefur's conclusion on democracy and the judiciary:

"Government, the framers said, is instituted to improve upon the state of nature, in which the individual is at the mercy of the strong. But when democracy, meaning the process of majority rule, is the supreme value — when it is elevated to the status of what the Constitution is “basically about” — the individual is again at the mercy of the strong, the strength of mere numbers.

Sandefur says progressivism “inverts America’s constitutional foundations” by holding that the Constitution is “about” democracy, which rejects the framers’ premise that majority rule is legitimate “only within the boundaries” of the individual’s natural rights. These include — indeed, are mostly — unenumerated rights whose existence and importance are affirmed by the Ninth Amendment.

Many conservatives should be discomfited by Sandefur’s analysis, which entails this conclusion: Their indiscriminate denunciations of “judicial activism” inadvertently serve progressivism. The protection of rights, those constitutionally enumerated and others, requires a judiciary actively engaged in enforcing what the Constitution is “basically about,” which is making majority power respect individuals’ rights."

3. "A Fighting Chance" by Senator Elizabeth Warren

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Senator Warren's book, which comes out next week, has been getting some early buzz related to her recounting of contentious interactions between Warren and then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, as well as President Obama, along with her discussion on the controversy surrounding her proclaimed "Native American heritage."

At Blaze Books, we feel it valuable to know what is in the progressive zeitgeist, and as such feel that the following articles on Warren's book are entertaining, insightful and worthwhile reads:

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