Hot Best Seller

The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great

Availability: Ready to download

America has a God-shaped hole in its heart, argues New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro, and we shouldn't fill it with politics and hate. In 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was -- ironically -- about the necessity for free speech and rational debate America has a God-shaped hole in its heart, argues New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro, and we shouldn't fill it with politics and hate. In 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was -- ironically -- about the necessity for free speech and rational debate. He came to argue that Western Civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas. Our freedoms are built upon the twin notions that every human being is made in God’s image and that human beings were created with reason capable of exploring God’s world. We can thank these values for the birth of science, the dream of progress, human rights, prosperity, peace, and artistic beauty. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty and gave billions spiritual purpose. Jerusalem and Athens were the foundations of the Magna Carta and the Treaty of Westphalia; they were the foundations of Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.Civilizations that rejected Jerusalem and Athens have collapsed into dust. The USSR rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, substituting a new utopian vision of “social justice” – and they starved and slaughtered tens of millions of human beings. The Nazis rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and they shoved children into gas chambers. Venezuela rejects Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and citizens of their oil-rich nation have been reduced to eating dogs.  We are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, favoring instead moral subjectivism and the rule of passion. And we are watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can reject Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law and satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, or scientific materialism, or progressive politics, or authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity. We can’t.The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains that it’s because too many of us have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives us each to be better, or the sacred duty to work together for the greater good, or both. A stark warning, and a call to spiritual arms, this book may be the first step in getting our civilization back on track.


Compare

America has a God-shaped hole in its heart, argues New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro, and we shouldn't fill it with politics and hate. In 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was -- ironically -- about the necessity for free speech and rational debate America has a God-shaped hole in its heart, argues New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro, and we shouldn't fill it with politics and hate. In 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was -- ironically -- about the necessity for free speech and rational debate. He came to argue that Western Civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas. Our freedoms are built upon the twin notions that every human being is made in God’s image and that human beings were created with reason capable of exploring God’s world. We can thank these values for the birth of science, the dream of progress, human rights, prosperity, peace, and artistic beauty. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty and gave billions spiritual purpose. Jerusalem and Athens were the foundations of the Magna Carta and the Treaty of Westphalia; they were the foundations of Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.Civilizations that rejected Jerusalem and Athens have collapsed into dust. The USSR rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, substituting a new utopian vision of “social justice” – and they starved and slaughtered tens of millions of human beings. The Nazis rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and they shoved children into gas chambers. Venezuela rejects Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and citizens of their oil-rich nation have been reduced to eating dogs.  We are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, favoring instead moral subjectivism and the rule of passion. And we are watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can reject Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law and satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, or scientific materialism, or progressive politics, or authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity. We can’t.The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains that it’s because too many of us have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives us each to be better, or the sacred duty to work together for the greater good, or both. A stark warning, and a call to spiritual arms, this book may be the first step in getting our civilization back on track.

30 review for The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jerrid Kruse

    I wanted to like this book. I believe the judeo-Christian tradition to be a powerful framework to guide our living. However, the book was filled with logical fallacies, false equivalencies, spurious correlations, half truths, and cherry picking of ideas. For example, the author repeatedly makes causal claims based only on the fact that one event happened before the other. He believes the enlightenment was only possible with judeo-Christian values, but ignores the scientific advancement of non-Eu I wanted to like this book. I believe the judeo-Christian tradition to be a powerful framework to guide our living. However, the book was filled with logical fallacies, false equivalencies, spurious correlations, half truths, and cherry picking of ideas. For example, the author repeatedly makes causal claims based only on the fact that one event happened before the other. He believes the enlightenment was only possible with judeo-Christian values, but ignores the scientific advancement of non-European civilizations. He consistently misrepresents the arguments of the left. In one example, he critiques intersectionality with a clear misunderstanding of the construct. Other times he dismisses logic other than his own a priori and provides no explanation and seems to fundamentally misunderstand the role of premises in formulating coherent logic. His mishandling of basic logic is exemplified by his spending so much time creating straw men of his opposition that he forgot to argue for his premise. It seems the author has strung together a line of thinking that will resonate very well with those who uncritically nod along. I suppose that is one way to sell a lot of books. Luckily I read mine from that left wing socialist non-Christian institution that is ruining our country called a library.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brian Popp

    In The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro gives a stirring defense of the enduring truth found in the philosophy of our founding fathers. In this compact book he manages also to give a high level overview of the entire history of western thought that will be sufficient to understand the "big ideas" of the various contributors and also be good starting point for those who want to dig deeper. In these turbulent times we are often hyper-focused on the "right now"; this book in my opinion helps us u In The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro gives a stirring defense of the enduring truth found in the philosophy of our founding fathers. In this compact book he manages also to give a high level overview of the entire history of western thought that will be sufficient to understand the "big ideas" of the various contributors and also be good starting point for those who want to dig deeper. In these turbulent times we are often hyper-focused on the "right now"; this book in my opinion helps us understand the broader context of our times. This was my first experience reading Ben Shapiro, and I was impressed at the seriousness of this book. A good read; would definitely recommend to people on the right and left alike.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This review is beyond my ability to adequately describe the thoroughness and point to point focus over historical periods for homo sapiens' individual and collective cores for their own existence and rules of/for behaviors. In one point in particular, this finally made me understand the huge differences between two massive Revolutions that happened mere 3 short years apart (American and French) and why they evinced such alternative approaches within both processes and outcomes. If you have taken This review is beyond my ability to adequately describe the thoroughness and point to point focus over historical periods for homo sapiens' individual and collective cores for their own existence and rules of/for behaviors. In one point in particular, this finally made me understand the huge differences between two massive Revolutions that happened mere 3 short years apart (American and French) and why they evinced such alternative approaches within both processes and outcomes. If you have taken few or many philosophy classes- you will benefit for this read. Regardless of what studies re those that support your own gifts received from both Jerusalem and Athens or either or neither. Especially if you are of the core belief that passion, feelings or instincts often rule well for general good or collective purposes. The 4 elements of human society, interchange criteria that are essential for the homo sapiens "better"! I've guessed what the empty hole of needy void and incessant angst filled anger of the most "lucky" presently comes from; it's become much worse in the last 20 years. But I never could begin to posit and define the what and why of all that observable scowl reaction perception. Ben can in this succinct and exact work of historical/ philosophical Western civilization "structural moral law vs reasoning" history as components in the mix. Read this. If only for the placements and exact recordings of what the history of collective as power have wrought. Or if you want to grasp all the essence of the Founding Fathers ideas for a governance of individual rights with built in protections against the top down powers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Yelizaveta Makhatadze

    I can’t believe I just gave a 5 star rating to my ideological opponent’s book, but it it well deserved. You don’t have to agree with everything written to derive tremendous value from it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Daddy-O

    Shapiro’s title for The Right Side of History was a little off-putting when I first saw it announced. Being so steeped in studying the philosophical presumptions of contemporary progressivism, as Shapiro certainly is, I tend to conflate the rhetoric of “progress” and the titular “right side of history” with Marx’s delusions of historical materialism and the inevitability of a Communist future. On the contrary, Marx co-opted these ideas from religious teleology and transformed them into his philo Shapiro’s title for The Right Side of History was a little off-putting when I first saw it announced. Being so steeped in studying the philosophical presumptions of contemporary progressivism, as Shapiro certainly is, I tend to conflate the rhetoric of “progress” and the titular “right side of history” with Marx’s delusions of historical materialism and the inevitability of a Communist future. On the contrary, Marx co-opted these ideas from religious teleology and transformed them into his philosophy of conceit. Like with so many other ideas in this book, Shapiro helped me recognize the Judeo-Christian foundation that we either take for granted or forget. Midway through the book I was a little disappointed. It had begun to read like an Introduction to Western Philosophy Lite. Having already read a book overview of Western thought that Shapiro quotes twice, The Passion of the Western Mind written by my uncle, a lot of the middle chapters were rather dull review. However, things get interesting when we get to the French Revolution. From here, Shapiro adds his own flair and covers a lot of influential ideas that would be dismissed by other history authors. Most engagingly, he covers the philosophical foundations of the great 20th century despots and allows the reader to recognize that those same philosophical foundations are still very much present in our contemporary thought. Do we have many eugenicists preaching about the necessity of sterilizing and/or slaughtering certain groups of people? No, but now we have the mainstream Left preaching about the moral necessity of murdering diseased children in the womb. Do we have many Nazis preaching about the need for living space and the supremacy of the German race? No, but now we have authoritarian population-alarmists and, well, Intersectionality. The list goes on, and really a lot of the same tyrannical philosophies from Bismarck to Lenin to Woodrow Wilson go relatively unchanged in contemporary politics. As a whole, Shapiro has produced a great Conservative manifesto. Did I expect that? No, I expected a study in God’s teleology of history. A pleasant surprise for me: I got both—the two are intertwined. Shapiro lays out a case for moral preservation: what made the West great and what has made our lives the most free and prosperous of all history is the tradition of Jerusalem and Athens. What do the activists of Intersectionality , Marxism, the Alt Right, and general Progressivism want to tear down? The tradition of Jerusalem and Athens. The stance of Conservatism is to conserve, as Bill Buckley wrote, “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” Shapiro—and hopefully the reader—will continue to take that stand athwart history.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    I always enjoy reading works of authors with whom I likely have little in common, at least when it comes to social and policy positions. Ben Shapiro is someone frequently cited as the most prominent thinkers of one side of the political divide, and based on the shear number (yes I intend that spelling, I'm calling them sheep) of people I see offloading their own critical thinking to him I suppose that is true. So, even though I was quite annoyed with the extended-rant style of his previous books I always enjoy reading works of authors with whom I likely have little in common, at least when it comes to social and policy positions. Ben Shapiro is someone frequently cited as the most prominent thinkers of one side of the political divide, and based on the shear number (yes I intend that spelling, I'm calling them sheep) of people I see offloading their own critical thinking to him I suppose that is true. So, even though I was quite annoyed with the extended-rant style of his previous books on academia, ignoring the fact that he has made a recent career over campus protests of his speeches even though he is a hugely frequent speaker at campuses across the country and boasts of his academic credentials in every bio while at the same time claiming that institutions of higher learning are leftist indoctrination camps, I decided to give this recent work of historical summation a try. The main problem with this work is that it doesn't really attempt to be anything of great significance, ironic given that its chief argument is there is a hole in the Western heart, bereft of the meaning it once contained. I will say I loved his introduction and I don't think there was a word there with which I would disagree. However, the disparity between the cogency of this introduction and the meandering non-sequitur nature of the conclusion is indicative of the intellectual clutter between the two. I appreciate that he attempts to bring in elements of 2000+ years of history, philosophy, religion, and economics but what this amounts to is gross generalization, a line of causation drawn merely because he wishes it to be there, and strong indications that this was written by a pundit, not a scholar. I am not saying he isn't intelligent, merely saying that he is a smart pundit who has attempted to summarize the achievements of western society in 200 small pages and has come up short. There is a lot of opinion here, not a lot of fact. He stipulates that he is focusing on the West but then ignores talk of any other cultures when dealing in things he himself calls "universals." As such, this contains a very impassioned summary of his own notions of Judaism which are very well spoken, and also ridiculously vague summarizations of Greek philosophy, Enlightenment philosophy, and the entire history of the Dark Ages, a term he despises but does nothing to undermine. If this work actually spurred people to study Spinoza, Dostoyevsky, Kant, Locke, Voltaire, Pinker, and any of the other great thinkers that Shapiro short-shrifts here then perhaps it has some value. However, given the superficial nature and pundit-speak he uses when discussing them I sincerely doubt this will be the case. As such, the book fails in its most basic premise as it will contribute nothing to the discourse about greater meaning and truth as a part of the modern human's heart, it will merely have his preset audience nodding in agreement as they already do during his podcasts. One would hope a long form book would be heavier on substance, alas, not the case. Those seeking the historical depth the title of this work would promise would be better served by historian Niall Ferguson's work.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I am a big fan of Ben Shapiro. I listen to his podcast most days. I find him intellectually honest. He brings conservatism back to its fundamentals. In fact, I could say that I agree with him on 90% of his policy and reasoning. This book presents an extremely important premise. Western civilization, which is built of Greek reason and Judeo-Christian values, is one of a kind. It brought us several core beliefs which eventually led to the foundation and the success of the United States. Losing thos I am a big fan of Ben Shapiro. I listen to his podcast most days. I find him intellectually honest. He brings conservatism back to its fundamentals. In fact, I could say that I agree with him on 90% of his policy and reasoning. This book presents an extremely important premise. Western civilization, which is built of Greek reason and Judeo-Christian values, is one of a kind. It brought us several core beliefs which eventually led to the foundation and the success of the United States. Losing those values and reason will bring about our demise. So why only three stars? Because other books have done this better. Read ‘A Little History of Philosophy’ and then ’Why Liberalism Failed’, and Ben Shapiro’s laziness and lack of innovation become apparent. It is a fine read for those who are only now embarking on the historical and philosophical study of conservatism, but for the rest of us, it feels like more of the same.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    An exceptional read! With only 200 pages, Ben Shapiro summarizes the history of Western philosophy in a thrilling and exciting fashion that makes you want to keep reading. He masterfully boils down each philosopher to the root of their ideas, explains its impact in the culture at that time and how each new philosophy led into the the next step of history. He makes a compelling case for what we have lost in culture and gives clear and concise steps for us to take action on that will move us as a so An exceptional read! With only 200 pages, Ben Shapiro summarizes the history of Western philosophy in a thrilling and exciting fashion that makes you want to keep reading. He masterfully boils down each philosopher to the root of their ideas, explains its impact in the culture at that time and how each new philosophy led into the the next step of history. He makes a compelling case for what we have lost in culture and gives clear and concise steps for us to take action on that will move us as a society back to the Judeo-Christian values that brought us here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christian Tempest

    I was very surprised by the historical and philosophical depth of this book. It was admittedly not what I expected from Ben Shapiro, mainly due to its non-political nature (at least until the end) as well as the fervor with which he advocates for and defends religion and the belief in God (something that he generally avoids discussing in detail, at least while in the public eye). In any case, regardless of my initial surprise at his approach and ambition, by the end I was quite taken with many o I was very surprised by the historical and philosophical depth of this book. It was admittedly not what I expected from Ben Shapiro, mainly due to its non-political nature (at least until the end) as well as the fervor with which he advocates for and defends religion and the belief in God (something that he generally avoids discussing in detail, at least while in the public eye). In any case, regardless of my initial surprise at his approach and ambition, by the end I was quite taken with many of Shapiro’s ideas. It’s a testament to his vast historical knowledge (particularly of philosophy) and his skill with persuasion, that despite certain moments where I felt I disagreed with his arguments, overall Shapiro was still able to garner significant enough esteem in my mind that these instances often resulted in me doubting my own perspective even as I questioned his explanations or reasoning. In fact, despite any occasional doubt or trepidation I may have had in accepting some of his conclusions, Shapiro ultimately won me over to his case (which I must say is actually quite stirring by the end). I learned a great deal more from this book than I expected, not the least of which concerns the importance of recognizing and understanding the influence of Judeo-Christian values on the West. I developed a much stronger appreciation for the Founding Fathers and the vision through which they organized the american constitution, I came to better comprehend just how dangerous the current trend of postmodern subjectivism (and it’s assault on reason and purpose) truly is, and, perhaps most significantly, I now feel much less inclined to discount the distinction of religious values (specifically Judeo-Christian beliefs) as possibly the most proven and reliable source of universal moral guidance. That said, with regards to this last point, I do still find myself wondering if religion’s effectiveness at providing an unparalleled universal morality and sense of purpose is really due to it being “true”, and therefore the best/only source of that guidance, or merely due to it being the most efficiently persuasive and pervasive. After all, in many ways simply accepting Judaism or Christianity seems like the most simple and appealing solution to the crisis of purpose and faltering morality. Refreshingly, Shapiro does address the ever-lingering nature of this uncertainty, admitting that he himself has felt this way. Also, considering the sheer abundance of philosophical musings on this very point that are explored in this book, perhaps it’s reasonable to assume I’ll always be uncertain, and that’s part of the point of free-will, having the freedom to believe and doubt as you wish. Regardless, reading this definitely left me with much more to ponder, as well as even more respect for Ben Shapiro. His advice concerning our moral obligations as citizens, and more importantly as parents, really resonated with me deeply, and I finished the book feeling quite inspired. I’d definitely recommend others give this book a try. Even if you’re not too keen on Shapiro. I wouldn’t be surprised if this changed your opinion of him, as he’s clearly far more than just a fast-talking rightwing political pundit. In my opinion he’s quickly becoming a thought-leader of immeasurable value to our country.

  10. 4 out of 5

    MJD

    For those interested in exploring the marriage of Jewish and Greek thought further I would highly recommend the book A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy by Isaac Husik.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brenden Weber

    Ben Shapiro's book is well researched......however He managed to write an entire book without once arguing for his premise: that Judeo-Christian is the best, most rational, and ethical system to use for meaning and society. He spent the entire book dismissing every other position as foolish and never said why or why his viewpoint is better. Very bizarre.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Huang

    Skippable unless you enjoy flawed reasoning.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    The main thesis of the book is this: “There can be no individual or communal moral purpose without a foundation of divine meaning. There can be no individual capacity or communal capacity without a constant, abiding belief in the nature of our reason. The history of the West is built on the interplay between these two pillars - divine meaning and reason.” Some who are not religious might dismiss the book entirely and argue that reason alone is sufficient for a good and happy society. To me, wheth The main thesis of the book is this: “There can be no individual or communal moral purpose without a foundation of divine meaning. There can be no individual capacity or communal capacity without a constant, abiding belief in the nature of our reason. The history of the West is built on the interplay between these two pillars - divine meaning and reason.” Some who are not religious might dismiss the book entirely and argue that reason alone is sufficient for a good and happy society. To me, whether or not we need “divine purpose” depends entirely on what you mean by that expression. Are we doomed if we don’t convert to the same orthodoxy? Surely not. But we might be destined for failure if we can’t leave open the possibility of a discoverable moral order embedded within reality. We might need to be humble about what we don’t know concerning the nature of reality, for example, why there should be something rather than nothing, or what consciousness is. We might need to embrace the idea that believing something means acting it out, and that we are better off acting as if there is a moral order to the universe that we did not (and in fact could not) create ourselves. What is really frightening about our society today is that some are actually taking a pickaxe to reason. This seems unimaginable - because without reason how can you function? - and yet it is happening. College professors argue that science and logic are merely the tools of oppression and serve no legitimate purpose in human affairs. I can understand the pickaxe some have taken to religion, usually in the name of reason, but trying to uproot reason itself? This is freaky. Summary of Big Ideas: + Freedom is built upon two ideas in tension with one another. Removing either one collapses the bridge built between the two. We are losing Western civilization because we have spent generations undermining these two deepest sources of our own happiness: divine meaning and reason 1. God created every human in his image (Jerusalem - divine meaning) 2. Human beings are capable of investigating and exploring God’s world (Athens - reason) + Four elements are required for a good and happy society. 1. Individual moral purpose 2. Communal moral purpose 3. Individual capacity 4. Communal capacity + America was founded on the twin principles of divine purpose and reason with the aim of promoting individual and communal moral purpose as well as individual and communal capacity - “The founding philosophy [of America] acknowledges the possibility of individual purpose. That purpose isn’t to be supplied by a government, or by molding individual citizens to the service of the polis. That purpose is supplied by a Judeo-Christian tradition of meaning and value and a Greek tradition of reason” + There is both a moral and a logical order to the universe. Humans cannot alter these fundamental realities, we can only align ourselves to these orders or experience the peril that ensues from misalignment or from trying to establish new orders on our own, from scratch - “If it were beneficial to us to kill babies and eat them, that would not make it moral. If it were beneficial for us to calculate that 2+2=5, it would not make it true. We care about both the moral and the true, and that requires a baseline assumption that we can discover the moral and the true” + There are some key differences between Judaism and Christianity, although they share the same fundamental belief that all human life is sacred and that we are created in God’s image - “Judaism rebuked the notion of a corporeal God in ringing fashion. Judaism is anti-materialism. It specifically rejects the idea that what we can see is all there is, or that the spiritual must be made physically manifest” - “In making faith paramount, Christianity demoted the role of Greek reason in the life of human beings. Despite Christianity’s vision of God as the logos - the logic lying behind all of the universe - Christianity conflated that logos with the person of Jesus” + History reveals that scientific progress was pushed forth by religious people because they had faith in reason as a means of understanding God’s order in the universe - “The age of scientific progress didn’t begin with the Enlightenment, it began in the monasteries of Europe” + No shocker here: FDR’s political philosophy is among the worst America has ever produced; he is perhaps the greatest enemy of freedom our country has ever known (my editorial summary, not Ben’s) - “Ignoring the injunction by economically laissez-faire thinkers that no set of individuals can know more than the entire market at large, FDR his cadre of ‘geniuses’ lengthened the Great Depression by nearly a decade by manipulating the currency, setting wages and prices, and bullying those who objected into silence. As Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian of UCLA concluded, ‘the economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.’ Those misguided policies included FDR setting the price of gold based on his lucky number. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau wrote in his diary, ‘If anybody ever knew how we really set the gold price - through a combination of lucky numbers, etc. - I think they would be frightened.’ Ironically, as Cole points out, ‘The fact that the depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and lawmakers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes’” + Freud’s ideas were also terrible - “Freud was a charlatan - a phenomenal publicist but a devastatingly terrible practicing psychologist. He was a quack who routinely prescribed measures damaging to patients, then wrote fictional papers bragging about his phenomenal results. In one 1896 lecture, he claimed that by uncovering childhood sexual trauma, he had healed some 18 patients. He later admitted he hadn’t cured anyone. Freud himself stated, ‘I am actually not at all a man of science, not an observer, not an experimenter, not a thinker; I am, by temperament, nothing but a conquistador, an adventurer’” + Self-esteem from thin air is a terrible way to attempt creating happiness. The Left has used self-esteem as a means for destroying the pillars of Western civilization - “It turns out not that self-esteem makes people more high-achieving, but that more high-achieving people tend to have higher self-esteem, thanks to their achievements.” The true effect of the self-esteem movement “wasn't to create generations of more fulfilled human beings, it was to create generations of more self-obsessed human beings.” - “Where children had once learned from Pinocchio to ‘always let your conscience be your guide,’ now they were taught by Frozen, ‘no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I'm free, let it go.’” - “By focusing on self-esteem, the new Left could kill three birds with one stone. They could overturn reliance on Judeo-Christian religion, Greek teleology, and Capitalism [because these three] all have something in common: none of them cares particularly much about ‘your bliss.’ Religion suggests that your self-realization lies in consonance with God, and that any attempt to placate your ego through pursuit of personally defined happiness is bound to fail. Religion suggests that ‘your bliss’ does not exist, only God’s bliss does. Greek teleology is utterly unconcerned with your personal definition of self-realization. The only thing that counts is whether you are acting virtuously in accordance with right reason. And Capitalism cares far less about how you are feeling than about your ability to create products and services someone else wants” + Don’t tear down a wall before you know why the wall was built + So, what do we teach our children? 1. Your life has purpose a. Life is a struggle but is guided by a higher meaning b. Defend the rights of the individual and the preciousness of individual lives c. Act with virtues including justice and mercy d. Restore the foundations of your civilization and build new and more beautiful structures atop those foundations e. What you do matters 2. You can do it a. You have freedom to choose your path b. This is the freest civilization in the history of mankind, make the most of it c. You are not a victim d. You are responsible for your actions e. Look to your own house before blaming the society that bore you f. If society is violating individual rights, it is your duty to work to change that g. You are made in the image of God, bound to the earth but with a soul that dreams of the eternal 3. Your civilization is unique a. Most human beings throughout time have experienced more pure pain in their first few years than you will likely experience in your whole life b. You did not create your freedoms or your definition of virtue, nor did they arise in a vacuum; learn your history c. Be grateful for your roots and defend those roots 4. We are all brothers and sisters a. Our common cause is a civilization replete with purpose, both communal and individual b. We must share the same definition of liberty when it comes to politics and the same definition of virtue when it comes to creating and maintaining social capital Potent Quotables: "The consideration that human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected, will always continue to prompt me to promote the progress of the former, by inculcating the practice of the latter." George Washington, Letter to The Protestant Episcopal Church, 1789 We humans cannot completely understand God... The human notion of good and evil doesn’t mirror the divine notions of good and evil. But God does have a standard, even if we can’t fully understand it. Material human progress in the absence of spiritual fulfillment isn’t enough. People need meaning. The new scientific Athenians will have to make common cause with the devotees of Jerusalem, rather than making war on them. The same holds true in reverse. It is our job to reconnect with both the word of God and with the philosophy of reason and individual liberty - two ideas that are, after all, inextricably intertwined. When we accept our past, when we learn the lessons [our ancestors] teach us, when we recognize their wisdom, even as we develop our own, we become a link in the chain of history. It is our job to carry on the tradition. It is our job to push the task forward… We will choose life.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Ouellet

    I played the audio book throughout the day it was released. Clearly I found it both a quick read / listen and compelling. It is without a doubt the the tour de force that the author promised. For those who agree with Ben Shapiro and his general world view it is a good concise overview of the the history of western thought and progress. It spells out the triumphs of the "Athens and Jerusalem" world view and how the initially slow, but then quick abandonment of this wisdom now threatens western civ I played the audio book throughout the day it was released. Clearly I found it both a quick read / listen and compelling. It is without a doubt the the tour de force that the author promised. For those who agree with Ben Shapiro and his general world view it is a good concise overview of the the history of western thought and progress. It spells out the triumphs of the "Athens and Jerusalem" world view and how the initially slow, but then quick abandonment of this wisdom now threatens western civilization. Ben provided what I would consider very good summations of the ideas of complex thinkers in only a few paragraphs and weaves a compelling and truthful narrative. Shapiro's ability to balance narrative and explain complex ideas with clarity is objectively impressive. My concern with the book is I am not sure it is an effective work to convince those who do not already buy the author's premise. He is a clear, engaging, and concise writer. However, the brevity that makes for an easy and accessible read leaves important issues not fully explored and important counter arguments not addressed. I understand that striking the right balance is key to a work like this and is quite difficult, but I think I would have appreciated a slightly longer and more in depth work. That said the author leaves enough breadcrumbs for interested readers to pick up and explore topics at the depth they desire. I hope many people pick up this book and dig deeper into the topics presented. I agree with the author that this is a very important topic and commend him on taking such a difficult topic and making it accessible to a wide variety of readers. This book can serve as a broad introduction to the topic that anyone no matter their prior knowledge of theology, philosophy, and history can find valuable. They should also be aware that such a broad topic cannot be done full justice in 200 pages, no matter the talent of the writer.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Great read! Insightful & relevant. I think I’m going to have to grab this as an ebook so I can highlight the parts I want to remember.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Camilla

    So I actually read this book through twice because some of the philosophical concepts were too difficult for me to understand with just one run-through. I've said before that Ben's books aren't exactly enjoyable because he covers things that are hard to hear, but it is always enlightening to pick up one of his books. This books steered clear of politics for the most part except inasmuch as political policy was formed by the trending philosophical ideology of the time. It was part an exploration So I actually read this book through twice because some of the philosophical concepts were too difficult for me to understand with just one run-through. I've said before that Ben's books aren't exactly enjoyable because he covers things that are hard to hear, but it is always enlightening to pick up one of his books. This books steered clear of politics for the most part except inasmuch as political policy was formed by the trending philosophical ideology of the time. It was part an exploration of religion and moral philosophy through the ages, juxtaposed with European, Greek, and American history, culminating in current American ideology and an explanation for how our modern politics have been shaped by all the history preceding it. It's certainly a thought-provoking book and it raises an important question of where America is going to go if we refuse to return to our Judeo-Christian roots.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Certainly not what I expected. Love him, hate him or love to hate him, Ben is certainly a figure that regardless where you stand, you have to give him credit, one of the most nimble people to debate. His quick witted and thoughtful responses are interesting to watch weather you agree or not. This is the Spairo I was expecting to read. Instead I got a decent book about Judeo-Christian society and its norms. Again not what I expected. I applaud Shapiro on his faith and the decisions he makes regar Certainly not what I expected. Love him, hate him or love to hate him, Ben is certainly a figure that regardless where you stand, you have to give him credit, one of the most nimble people to debate. His quick witted and thoughtful responses are interesting to watch weather you agree or not. This is the Spairo I was expecting to read. Instead I got a decent book about Judeo-Christian society and its norms. Again not what I expected. I applaud Shapiro on his faith and the decisions he makes regarding said faith. I can certainly appreciate them. I disagree with some of his beliefs but that does not take away from his execution of his faith. For all of you anti-Trumpers, that love to hate him, I will have you know that he is NOT a shil for Trump. He slams him consistently when it makes sense.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jon Harris

    One dimensional. Missed much of what made the West great. Good interaction with frankfort school.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    Ben Shapiro's new book, available on Audible, is a rather brisk but often reasonably substantial reflection on Judeo-Christian history and the main troubles of our place and day. Like the great Rabbi Sacks lamentably, he doesn't really 'get' The Christian Way and relies inordinately on the 'Athens' and 'Jerusalem' trope, which is much more limited than it has been made out to be. (See Vishal Mangalwadi) However, Ben effectively outlines many major contours of moral and political ideas and their Ben Shapiro's new book, available on Audible, is a rather brisk but often reasonably substantial reflection on Judeo-Christian history and the main troubles of our place and day. Like the great Rabbi Sacks lamentably, he doesn't really 'get' The Christian Way and relies inordinately on the 'Athens' and 'Jerusalem' trope, which is much more limited than it has been made out to be. (See Vishal Mangalwadi) However, Ben effectively outlines many major contours of moral and political ideas and their consequences in western history. Furthermore, Shapiro admirably attempts to restore the place of teleology to meet with Biblical deontology, aided by Aristotle and The American Founders. Whilst this falls far short of the orthodox Christian Kingdom Of God, it is immeasurably superior to many alternative worldviews and secular liturgies. I'm not sure how widespread such an appeal can become or if it has real binding power. Yet, this foci allows Ben to follow Dr Martin Luther King Jr, calling on Americans to live up to the lofty ideals of those shamefully imperfect men, rather than toss them aside entirely because of those same men's support of unjust practices such as slavery. This can be nestled within a wider Christian vision and is probably a sensible general sentiment for Biblical people, otherwise some of our own religious heroes are, erm, problematic. Shapiro's remit runs from the early Greeks and Hebrews to darker and lighter enlightenments, before sojourning past Rousseau, Hobbes and states of nature. Then the idols of Hegel, Marx and the followers of Critical Theory. Whom he rightly describes as 'the new pagans'. Overall, The Right Side Of History is an enjoyable read, which meets the author's aims set out in the prologue: This short thesis is by no means exhaustive but it is basically on track and it's a book which will hopefully encourage deeper conversations about ultimate things & how to keep them. Also, he mentions his wife being a doctor within the first few pages; which is just hilarious...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dmitri

    I thought this would be light reading, hah! This was, for me, a needed refresher on the history of Philosophy, and there are many many things in this book worth thinking about in greater detail. This book helped me see the big picture of how our current society is rooted deeply in the philosophies of the ancient past, and the continual exploration of this duality between Reason and Morality. In a way, the title of this book is a hypothesis, and its contents a demonstrative proof using history. Ev I thought this would be light reading, hah! This was, for me, a needed refresher on the history of Philosophy, and there are many many things in this book worth thinking about in greater detail. This book helped me see the big picture of how our current society is rooted deeply in the philosophies of the ancient past, and the continual exploration of this duality between Reason and Morality. In a way, the title of this book is a hypothesis, and its contents a demonstrative proof using history. Every American should read this book. We in the west stand on the shoulders of giants, both in thought and in our founding principles. It is not a Utopia that we should be seeking, but a world where we can maintain the tension between Reason and Moral Purpose, between our dual roots in Jerusalem and Athens.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    The author's strong opinion that every American should believe in God, or our culture is lost. Sorry, I disagree.

  22. 4 out of 5

    kglibrarian

    After reading this book, I feel like I just took an intense philosophy class. My brain hurts, in a good way. Shapiro traces the values of humans back to the beginning and analyzes the Judeo-Christian and Greek origins of civilizations. He then goes on to cover the thousands of years between then and now, quoting classic philosophers, thinkers, and political giants, both good and bad. Finally, he ends up critiquing the current political situation and how the events and beliefs throughout history After reading this book, I feel like I just took an intense philosophy class. My brain hurts, in a good way. Shapiro traces the values of humans back to the beginning and analyzes the Judeo-Christian and Greek origins of civilizations. He then goes on to cover the thousands of years between then and now, quoting classic philosophers, thinkers, and political giants, both good and bad. Finally, he ends up critiquing the current political situation and how the events and beliefs throughout history have affected modern thought and actions. Though there is much content that is sure to be controversial among readers, there is such a wealth of historical information and dissection of it that it's impossible not to be intellectually stimulated. The one negative for me was that there were so many details jammed into each chapter that I was often overwhelmed with all of it. I found the material much more accessible in the chapters where he weaves stories and anecdotes, both personal and historical, into the text. The last two chapters especially captured my attention. No matter what your reaction to Shapiro's ideas, this book is sure to generate interesting conversations.

  23. 5 out of 5

    John-Clement Gallo

    Thank you Ben! Very cool. Another powerful installment from Ben Shapiro! Ignore all the 1-star reviews on Amazon, it's another example of the Left's intolerance. None of them ever read the book, they're just trashing it. If you care about society and our culture's future (which looks very dark), read this book and educate yourself.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Book for me was a waste of time. Majority plays out like a high school level philosophy course. I don't think his arguments are very solid. Would kind of like my time back I could have been reading something else.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Pike

    I was quite eager to read The Right Side of History as soon as Shapiro announced it. This subject is one I am particularly passionate about, and Shapiro has a knack for articulating dense, lofty material in a fashion that has depth while also being concise, understandable, and interesting. Therefore, I looked forward to this publication with much enthusiasm. Upon reading it, I was not let down. Shapiro is extremely thorough in the presentation and support of his argument, which in short is that I was quite eager to read The Right Side of History as soon as Shapiro announced it. This subject is one I am particularly passionate about, and Shapiro has a knack for articulating dense, lofty material in a fashion that has depth while also being concise, understandable, and interesting. Therefore, I looked forward to this publication with much enthusiasm. Upon reading it, I was not let down. Shapiro is extremely thorough in the presentation and support of his argument, which in short is that the reason we are struggling in the Western world today is because we have largely forgotten the foundational elements that allowed the Western world to grow and flourish intellectually and culturally. These two elements are the influence of Judeo-christian values and philosophy stemming from Ancient Greece. Shapiro delivers a substantive, convincing timeline of the Western world as to how various philosophical, scientific, and religious movements culminated in the conditions that led to the success of the West, especially in the United States, and how we have subsequently strayed from those tenets. Ultimately, as he tracks these events and ideologies through time, Shapiro provides a virtually airtight presentation of how our culture is breaking down into various factions, some of which that are quite radical in their rejection of objective reality. Furthermore, his commentary throughout the text provides insight as to why and how many ideological systems are flawed and antithetical to individual and collective human success and fulfillment. Ben Shapiro is a powerful voice of clarity and reason in this era of anger, envy, division, and self-aggrandizement. Most consider him to be solely a voice in the political realm, which has a certain degree of understandability due to his popular political podcast. However, what has been so striking to me while reading this book is that this is not a political book in any sense. This is a philosophical treatise. Now, of course the claims posited in The Right Side of History can be integrated into a political philosophy and utilized for those means, which one can argue any and all philosophical schools of thought do, but on its face, this is simply not a political book. I think this is a wonderful thing for two reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t let politics separate the content that Shapiro wishes to deliver from his primary aim, which is to historically explain why the West became great and how we’ve strayed from what made it so. Secondly, this book will be far more accessible to people of political persuasions that run counter to Shapiro’s politics. Since there are no bold political statements made, those who don’t share Shapiro’s conservative values won’t be as likely to reject his arguments simply due to their partisan leanings. Overall, this book is exactly what our raucous cultural climate needs right now. I will be recommending it to everyone I possibly can. I’ve already ordered two more copies of it and will be giving it to others as gifts. I strongly suggest everyone read this. And if Ben Shapiro is a name you associate with political and social values you reject, even vehemently so, please suspend your judgment and ameliorate your expectations and just open this book up. I promise you if you give it a chance, you will not be disappointed. I give it 5/5 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gracie

    Reading this felt like a breath of fresh air back to the world of logic, reasoning, and philosophy. I've missed reading books like this since college :) #nerdstatus100. Ben Shapiro does let his bias for his Jewish faith influence what he writes about, but he does so in such a way that it does not bother reasonable readers; instead, he chooses to bring up his own opinions to challenge the current way of thinking towards tolerance, self-esteem, "life struggles," and morality. Why I enjoy this book Reading this felt like a breath of fresh air back to the world of logic, reasoning, and philosophy. I've missed reading books like this since college :) #nerdstatus100. Ben Shapiro does let his bias for his Jewish faith influence what he writes about, but he does so in such a way that it does not bother reasonable readers; instead, he chooses to bring up his own opinions to challenge the current way of thinking towards tolerance, self-esteem, "life struggles," and morality. Why I enjoy this book so much rests in Shapiro's multi-faceted sources for past wisdom, truth, and foundational elements of purpose to structure his arguments throughout the book. If you have read any of my previous reviews, I rate a book higher based on the author's ability to make a reader really think. Regardless of whether I agree with what Shapiro argues or not, I absolutely loved his depth and breadth of research to support his writing. Favorite Quote: "A society of essential oils and self-esteem has replaced a society of logic". This quote made me laugh at its absurdity before quickly sobering me because... it is true. Sad, but true. I hope to take many things away from his book and apply a more focused vision to my life; worrying not about what people think of me, but rather, what I can do for them to glorify Christ.

  27. 4 out of 5

    SiSApis

    Well worth the read. Shapiro makes a strong case for an important thesis: first, that Western Culture IS great (in contrast to the awful, nasty, bullying, oppressive, "unfair" culture that the Left wants us to believe that it is); and second, that the reason WHY it is so is because it was built upon the twin foundations of Faith and Reason (in contrast to the vision that the Left would have us buy, that Faith and Reason are diametrically opposed and forever mutually exclusive, so we must pick on Well worth the read. Shapiro makes a strong case for an important thesis: first, that Western Culture IS great (in contrast to the awful, nasty, bullying, oppressive, "unfair" culture that the Left wants us to believe that it is); and second, that the reason WHY it is so is because it was built upon the twin foundations of Faith and Reason (in contrast to the vision that the Left would have us buy, that Faith and Reason are diametrically opposed and forever mutually exclusive, so we must pick one--which leaves us fatally unbalanced--or throw them both out, which leaves us adrift in a sea of chaos). I do wish that there were better sources for historical perspective that didn't "skew Protestant"--it's funny, because Mr. Shapiro works closely with at least two Catholics, I would think they might have provided some illumination there, but no, he still misses the fact that many of the things he decries in the gradual perversion of the "Enlightenment" are direct legacies of the Protestant rebellion. Interestingly, he misses the fact that the seeds of the collapse of the values upon which Western culture were built were planted then and there. If each person may decide his own interpretation of scripture and pursue his own "individual relationship with God"--without any recognized authority to inform him when that relationship is in or out of reasonable bounds--then that is clearly the genesis of the entire Postmodern relativistic debacle that is reaching its absurd pinnacle now. If we all get to decide what Truth is, then we all get to decide what it is. . . which means "there is no such thing as truth." The thing is, like all great lies, this one is based upon an important actual truth: we all DO have an individual relationship with our Creator, just as each child of a given parent has a very individual relationship with that parent. And our relationships will develop differently, and be expressed very differently, etc. But "my relationship with Truth" is not the same thing as "my Truth." And as we've seen, when a child is left to "grow wild" without appropriate parental supervision or instruction or correction. . . well, just look around. Or read Shapiro's book. (Yes, do.) Just keep in mind that this is what always happens when children grow up without their (appropriate, loving) parental authority. As G.K. Chesterton noted, we don't need a religion to tell us when we are right; we need a religion that will tell us when we are wrong. If we buy in to the notion that we all get to decide for ourselves what "feels right," then it would take a person of heroic virtue indeed to end up anywhere but on the wrong road.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Being a fan of Ben Shapiro, I decided to give his book a go. It's a look at how ancient and historical philosophy play a role in history, our ideals, and behaviors of the past that have lead to kind of the mess that we're in today. How have we come to live in a society that is hyper offended by the smallest things that create this huge divide between people? Mr. Shapiro takes past philosophers, and weaves them into how it has shaped us as a people and a country. I love that he values religion an Being a fan of Ben Shapiro, I decided to give his book a go. It's a look at how ancient and historical philosophy play a role in history, our ideals, and behaviors of the past that have lead to kind of the mess that we're in today. How have we come to live in a society that is hyper offended by the smallest things that create this huge divide between people? Mr. Shapiro takes past philosophers, and weaves them into how it has shaped us as a people and a country. I love that he values religion and God. When asked when he is the happiest, his response is that he is happiest on Sunday. A day that he can worship as he chooses. A day of rest that he can spend with his family and reflect. What a perfect answer. There are so many good and interesting things in this book, however I do have to give it 3 stars. Some of it I zoned out a bit. When you start talking about philosophy, my mind begins to wander. The fault is mine alone. It's a worth while read though, especially if you follow Ben Shapiro.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Rodriguez

    Ben Shapiro concisely and expertly diagnosis the problem of the modern West’s identity and lack of purpose. He starts by stating that Athens and Jerusalem are the foundation for the West’s prosperity and earlier feeling of purpose. This is contrary to some of the more modern thoughts that may teach that the success of the West can be traced back to the enlightenment. Ben traces the line of virtue, purpose, and reason through Biblical texts and several philosophers throughout the ages. This book Ben Shapiro concisely and expertly diagnosis the problem of the modern West’s identity and lack of purpose. He starts by stating that Athens and Jerusalem are the foundation for the West’s prosperity and earlier feeling of purpose. This is contrary to some of the more modern thoughts that may teach that the success of the West can be traced back to the enlightenment. Ben traces the line of virtue, purpose, and reason through Biblical texts and several philosophers throughout the ages. This book isn’t meant to be a survey of philosophers. However, the book is designed to show how philosophers and religions (primarily Judaism and Christianity) have contributed to the success of the modern West. Ben demonstrates that forgetting either Athens, Jerusalem, or both can lead to serious consequences for the West, as is already happening. Overall, this is a great primer for intellectual conservative philosophy and a basis for understanding our current political climate.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Drtaxsacto

    A fire hose of ideas - Ben Shapiro is one of the brightest young conservative intellectuals around today. He is unafraid to take on the left directly and to confront with facts the lunacy of much of progressive thought. Shapiro went to UCLA and Harvard Law and seems to have done a lot of work perhaps at UCLA on philosophy. This is an ambitious book that mostly achieves its objective - to make the case the the values which made the US great are (and have been under assault). The fire hose comes fr A fire hose of ideas - Ben Shapiro is one of the brightest young conservative intellectuals around today. He is unafraid to take on the left directly and to confront with facts the lunacy of much of progressive thought. Shapiro went to UCLA and Harvard Law and seems to have done a lot of work perhaps at UCLA on philosophy. This is an ambitious book that mostly achieves its objective - to make the case the the values which made the US great are (and have been under assault). The fire hose comes from a rather brisk walk through a bevy of thinkers on the great questions of life starting with the Greeks and Romans and through multiple generations of writers on philosophy, economics and social organization. Shapiro admits the flaw in the beginning. His major premise is that without that background you cannot understand the depth of the current fight for our institutions - you can't understand someone like Ocasio-Cortez without understanding something about Madison, Spinoza, the Greek Telos and Herbert Marcuse. (and a host of others). The current fights on things like intersectionality (the confluence of victimhood) has its roots in thinkers like John Dewey. The flaw of the progressives lies in this - most of the ideas that drive the philosophy are not new. They have been tried before and have failed numerous times. But those on the left continue to a) misrepresent American values and b) ignore the history. At the end he makes some soft suggestions about how to turn the tide - mostly based on restoring personal responsibility in the family - teach your children values. This is a shorter book - but well worth the time.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.