To Renew America.
In To Renew America, Newt Gingrich seeks to respond to the challenges that he feels threaten our society, and to provide us with the proper knowledge that will bring about a modern day Enlightenment. These are admirable goals and Gingrich has reduced our need to think about them in any detail by a "follow the numbers" type scheme. In his book we are told there are five basic principles which form the heart of our civilization; eight steps needed to improve opportunities for the poor; six major changes necessary to leave our children with an America that is prosperous, free, and safe; seven steps needed to solve the drug problem; five major distinctions between "Second" and "Third" wave education; and ten deeply felt desires of the American people known as the "Contract with America."
Gingrich is an optimist and his optimism and political savvy have produced impressive results. During the 1994 campaign, he and his Republican colleagues promised bold changes, and they delivered. Within his first hundred days of leadership he steered a course of reform unprecedented in this century. Time magazine named him Man of the Year for shaping and focusing our political direction and discourse. But the discourse is one which tolerates little subtlety or nuance. Gingrich admits to only two choices: either we renew our society according to his dictates or we decay. There is, he declares, "virtually no middle ground."
According to the general semantics literature, we should maintain a sensitivity to the pitfalls of "either-or" reasoning. Such reasoning may lead to a problem-solving approach that H.L. Mencken once described as, "quick, simple, and wrong." Newt Gingrich, in To Renew America, offers solutions that are certainly quick and simple. And by not recognizing that social and political problems tend to be detailed and complex his solutions may be quite likely wrong.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Levinson, Martin H.|
|Publication:||ETC.: A Review of General Semantics|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jun 22, 1996|
|Previous Article:||Executive Blues: Down and Out in Corporate America.|
|Next Article:||The Road Ahead.|