Tuesday, 03 April 2012

Review: Red and Blue and Broke All Over

Written by  Patrick Krey

In a just world, Charles Goyette would sit atop the radio broadcasting industry as one of our most preeminent political radio personalities, where Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Mark Levin would be fetching him coffee and the latest issue of The New American (TNA) magazine.

Goyette had a long and illustrious career in radio, where he promoted his views on limited government, individual liberty, and Austrian economics. Unfortunately for him, having viewpoints that run deeper than the talking points forwarded from Karl Rove can be a liability in a broadcasting world dominated by political pundits who march to the tune of the Republican establishment. His fatal mistake was being a principled conservative during the budget-busting, nation-invading Bush years. Talk radio is not known for being friendly territory for independent thinking. Goyette stood firm on his traditional conservative stance regarding both the immorality and idiocy of foreign wars for visions of global democracy. His reward for such disobedience was dismissal. Much to the chagrin of the neocons, Goyette did find work elsewhere and broadcasted his views for a few more years. Podcasts of some of his later interviews can still be heard over at Antiwar.com.

Goyette eventually left the world of radio and began writing. Goyette’s last book, The Dollar Meltdown, which this writer previously reviewed for TNA, became a New York Times bestseller. His latest book, entitled Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America's Free Economy, was released in mid-March. This latest offering is an indictment of the two major parties and increasingly oppressive and destructive government actions, both foreign and domestic. The name itself, Red and Blue, is a direct shot at the bipartisan effort to create an all-powerful state and the parties’ embrace of centralized economic planning and endless interventions abroad.

Goyette argues that both parties are to blame for our predicament. Freedom, Goyette writes, “has been double-teamed by Republicans and Democrats alike; it has been sucker-punched by the red gloves of one and has taken a hit on the blind side by the blue gloves of the other. American freedom is on the ropes.” Party loyalists might be taken aback that this book takes numerous potshots at party leaders, both past and present. In regard to the 2008 election, Goyette quips that “candidates were really just like practice squads, wearing different jerseys, one red and one blue, but playing on the same team.”

Much like his on-air radio personality, Goyette’s writing is informative yet entertaining, and the book is immensely quotable. Gems abound, such as his quip that the term “‘jobless recovery’ falls into the same class as a lifeless resuscitation: the operation was a success, but the patient died” or the “shape of our economic future can be discerned in the lengthening shadows cast by the growing intrusions of the state.”

He does an excellent job of painting a vivid picture with his words that make concepts that might be foreign to readers vibrantly come to life. For instance, he attacks our brewing debt crisis from the perspective of its impact on future generations. “Surely one must question the morality of people who would approve paying for present consumption by burdening little children and those yet to be born with a lifetime of debt.” Goyette also brings up classic works of literature like George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to draw parallels to today.

Red and Blue convincingly explains to the reader why freedom works and State control doesn’t. The book is an ambitious effort, attempting to cover three distinct but interrelated elements: liberty, the State, and this nation’s future. Red and Blue impressively covers each in depth without overloading the reader, touching on such varied subjects as history, economics, foreign affairs, philosophy, and politics.

Readers who are already familiar with our country’s continuing downward spiral will find that Goyette was able to cover topics with a new take that make them seem fresh, yet the book could serve the previously uninformed equally well. Red and Blue’s arguments and analogies seem perfect to win new converts in an age when the government is clearly failing in almost all aspects. Make no mistake about it, Goyette warns his readers, that America is turning back the clock on its prosperity as this nation continues its downward slide under the heavy hand of government.

Goyette features a particularly insightful story to illustrate his point. A pilot that Goyette knew used to marvel at the difference visible from the air along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Mexican side featured dirt roads and sparse lighting while the U.S. side had paved roads and more successful commercial properties. Goyette uses this story to explain that the society with more freedom, the United States, is more prosperous but then explains that many municipalities across the nation are starting to go in the opposite direction. With the economic decline and decreasing tax revenues, towns and cities are making budget cuts in their infrastructure. “Paved roads have been reduced to gravel in North and South Dakota, as well as in thirty-eight of eighty-three Michigan counties.” This trend isn’t just confined to blacktop and the downward slide won’t stop until America faces its freedom problem. One is left to wonder if, at this rate, future pilots won’t see much of a difference across our southern border.

Sections of the book will disturb dedicated Republicans or Democrats because it picks apart beliefs that each group holds dear. For instance, the hawkish Tea Party crowd might be put off by Red and Blue’s description of America’s foreign policy as “Empire.” Democrats will likely fuss about Goyette’s pointed critique of an all-powerful government, central economic planning, and his consistent support for the free market, which he contends is the only way an “economic order” can “arise spontaneously and by consent, rather than through coercion.”

One thing that is noticeably missing in the book is how the current moral decline of this nation plays into the picture. The majority of the book instead focuses mostly on the political and economic aspects of our downfall, which is a herculean task to begin with so I could understand why any analysis of the moral decline has been omitted.

Red and Blue is not just a book about what went wrong, but what Americans can do today to prepare for a better tomorrow — after troubled times: “The choice before us now only has to do with management of the state’s default.” That might sound depressing, but there is a silver lining, according to Goyette. If we are realistic about what the future holds and prepare for the inevitable, we will be in a good position to lead our nation back to our founding principles that made us the land of the free. I honestly believe that if prosperity is ever to return to this nation, it will only be because souls like Charles Goyette never gave up fighting for liberty.

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