Alan Caruba’s new book, Right Answers: Short Takes on Big Issues: Separating Fact from Fantasy, provides an integrated understanding of several major issues facing the United States today-from Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism originating from abroad to technology-hating Green eco-terrorism originating from within America’s borders. This book is a compilation of Mr. Caruba’s recent columns, each of which is a self-contained work. However, having all the columns proximately accessible allows the reader to form connections between and among them and thus come away from the book seeing the interrelations among its themes.
Mr. Caruba-who has worked as a reporter, public relations counselor, business and science writer, professional book reviewer, and a relentless debunker of unwarranted scare campaigns-is a courageous and autonomous thinker who presents his own view of American and world affairs, independent from the “mainstream media” or the popular prejudices of his time. Mr. Caruba states his ideas clearly and supports them with extensive statistical data, stories of specific incidents, and historical information; far from merely spouting empty slogans, Mr. Caruba makes sure that every claim he presents has a firm factual basis. Right Answers not merely has persuasive power, but informative value as well; a reader of this book will almost inevitably learn something about history or current events that he did not previously know.
The book is divided into five sections, dealing, respectively, with the threat of Islamist fanaticism, environmentalist attacks on prosperity and technology, the problem of illegal immigration, the woes of the public education system, and miscellaneous issues such as “the great obesity scam,” the death of the Republican Revolution, and the harms of the United Nations. In addressing each issue, Mr. Caruba seeks to preserve certain core and valuable aspects of American life against assaults. The book documents the assaults themselves quite extensively. For a short review, it will suffice to draw some broad conclusions about the kind of values Mr. Caruba defends:
Mr. Caruba defends a society in which freedom of religion is respected in that nobody is compelled to practice a given faith nor prohibited from peacefully following one. He thus firmly opposes both those who would seek to coercively impose Islam on the entire world and those who would abolish Christmas carols in the schools.
Mr. Caruba defends the right of individuals to freely engage in commercial, industrial, and scientific activities that enhance the quality of human life, eliminate pests and diseases, lower costs, and improve upon the natural world. He champions the value of progress against environmentalists and regulators who would wish to strangle it.
Mr. Caruba defends the right of Americans to govern and defend themselves without the need for oversight or approval from an overreaching international body which treats dictatorships on par with free nations. He thus advocates American national sovereignty and unilateral action in assuring the security of its citizens, while warning against the obstacles that the United Nations have sought to inflict on American peace and prosperity.
Mr. Caruba defends the right of individuals to choose which lifestyle they want to lead and to face the natural consequences thereof-without the interference of government officials who wish to save people from themselves. In arguing for individual self-sovereignty, Mr. Caruba opposes government regulations and frivolous lawsuits against tobacco products, “obesity-causing” foods, and pesticides. In trying to force individuals to be healthier, the government has and likely will achieve the opposite of the intended result.
Mr. Caruba defends the ability of individuals to get a sound education in basic skills and knowledge-including reading, writing, mathematics, and history-in a setting which is not controlled by politicized teachers’ unions or pervaded by socialist, environmentalist indoctrination. He therefore exposes the fundamental failure of the American public school system on all counts and salutes the heroic efforts of parents who home-school their children.
Mr. Caruba defends the idea of freedom as a universal good-desirable for all individuals in all countries and cultures. From 1972 to 2006, the number of free countries in the world has more than doubled (from 43 to 89), but more than two billion people remain under some form of oppressive authoritarian control. Mr. Caruba wishes to see the liberty enjoyed in First-World countries spread to the rest of the world and thus urges Western countries to assist domestic opposition to dictatorial regimes.
This vision of a free, sovereign, educated individual pursuing his own flourishing in a free, sovereign country whose government will protect him is a vision under attack from many sides-and Right Answers is Mr. Caruba’s contribution in the multi-front war to protect it.