The Right Side of History

The Right Side of History

How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great

Book - 2019
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Now a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Human beings have never had it better than we have it now in the West. So why are we on the verge of throwing it all away?

In 2016, New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro spoke at the University of California-Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required to protect his speech. What was so frightening about Shapiro? He came to argue that Western civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas; that we have let grievances replace our sense of community and political expediency limit our individual rights; that we are teaching our kids that their emotions matter more than rational debate; and that the only meaning in life is arbitrary and subjective.

As a society, we are forgetting that almost everything great that has ever happened in history happened because of people who believed in both Judeo-Christian values and in the Greek-born power of reason. In The Right Side of History, Shapiro sprints through more than 3,500 years, dozens of philosophers, and the thicket of modern politics to show how 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 more spiritual purpose. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty, and gave billions more spiritual purpose.

Yet we are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, scientific materialism, progressive politics, authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity.

We can't.

The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains how we have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives each of us to be better, the sacred duty to work together for the greater good,.

Publisher: New York : Broadside Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2019.
ISBN: 9780062857903
Characteristics: xxvii, 256 pages ;,24 cm.


From the critics

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Aug 14, 2019

Zionist Shapiro declares that religion and virtue are "the product of Jerusalem," that the "spiritual genius" of Jerusalem "built our civilization and built us as individuals." Righteousness came only from the Chosen People; Gentiles were soulless brutes till redeemed by Jewish inspiration. The thesis is absurd and insulting.
--- The Old Testament writings were composed after 587 BC (Chaldeans captured Jerusalem), many centuries after the mythical persons and events they describe. Earlier the Hebrews were calf and Baal worshippers.
--- Shapiro denies the far older, higher moral codes of the Egyptians, Zoroaster, and the systems of Buddha and Confucius. All people have religious and moral feelings. 30,000-year-old cave paintings in France and Spain, many times older than the OT, show great sensitivity; their painters no doubt had ideas of deity and justice. Many centuries of Egyptian civilization preceded the Great Pyramid, and it was built 2,000 years before the OT was written; Stonehenge predates the OT by 1,500 years. There are no monuments of David and Solomon.
--- Shapiro touts his strict Orthodox Jewish insight. Does he really believe and approve the OT tales that God drowned all mankind but eight persons (Gen 6-8)? turned the Nile into blood and all the dust of Egypt into lice (Exod 7-8)? wiped out the Egyptian firstborn (Exod 11-12)? made the sun stand still a whole day to help the Hebrews slaughter their enemies (Josh 10)? enabled the southern Hebrews to kill 500,000 northern Hebrews in one battle (2 Chron 13)?
--- OT virtue meant slavish observance of countless taboos, and fanatical destruction of Gentiles and their shrines. God's Chosen People must exterminate the inhabitants of Canaan (Palestine) and seize their land (Deut 3,7,20, etc). In long, venomous tirades, Jehovah threatens fiendish punishments for Hebrews who fail in any way (eg Levit 26, Deut 28). Saul is cut off for sparing one Amalekite after killing all the rest (Deut 25:19; 1 Sam 15 & 28:5-19; 1 Chron 10). David is praised for slaying tens of thousands (1 Sam 18:6-8). "[C]ursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood." (Jer 48:10)
--- Moses also massacred dissenting Hebrews: "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor." (Exod 32:27). Elijah slaughtered 450 Hebrew prophets of Baal: "And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there." (1 Kings 18:40)
--- Jehovah set the Hebrew tribes at war with one another, then gave most of them to death or enslavement by the Assyrians, leaving only a remnant, mainly the tribe of Judah (whence "Jews"), who were then consigned to subjugation by the Chaldeans.
--- Shapiro stresses "Judeo-Christian values," a phrase used by Zionists to win Christian backing. Proper Christianity entails chivalrous treatment of adversaries; the OT denounces mercy. Christians celebrate Christ's birth and resurrection; Jews celebrate the extermination of Egyptian firstborn (Passover) and the massacre of 75,800 Persians (Purim, Esther 9). Jesus told his followers to love their enemies and forgave his executioners. He renounced Jewish exclusivity and offered salvation for all, which threatened the foundation of Jewish culture. Jesus predicted his countrymen would kill him and be cast out, replaced in God's favor by others (Matt 8:5-13, 21:31-43).
--- Shapiro once said Arabs like to live in open sewage. He supports US/Israeli invasion of Muslim countries; civilians need not be spared, as their lives are worth far less than those of US/Israeli troops. He urged the total removal of Palestinians from Palestine. Later he retracted some of this. In 2013 he tried to smear Israel-critic Chuck Hagel by falsely linking him to Hamas. (Wikipedia)

Aug 11, 2019

The very first point in Shapiro's book arrested my attention. He talked about the concept of Happiness. What is happiness? His perspective comes from Orthodox Judaism, and he centers on the idea that happiness really equates to morally right living and purpose. This stands in contrast to the fleeting sense of "bliss" that people today are taught to chase after, and which they ultimately fail at, because we were created with purpose, and our rights can only coexist with accepting our responsibilities as well. Living life rightly, and embracing our purpose actually brings joy and satisfaction.

Shapiro was educated at Harvard Law School, and what I really appreciated was his compelling case for the lost study of Western Civilization. We have been increasingly hammered with opposing viewpoints, as popular media demands that we reject this field of study. The results are tragic: our history is remade in the image of socialists and atheists with a radical agenda.

His book serves as a very effective yet concise outline for western philosophy. He does this in a way which is very accessible, and engrossing, and I enjoyed the way in which he provided a historical narrative, to build a mental timeline of these people and they way in which they impact us today. I found his views of Christianity especially interesting, given his perspective in Judaism. We have ordered a couple personal copies of this book, for the family, and I plan to go through it a second time, making notes, because it's a fantastic starting point to delve into the subject matter.

Aug 07, 2019

Great and important book unfortunately titled in a way that will alienate the people who will most profit by reading it.

Jul 03, 2019

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
Bertrand Russell
further reading:
“That’s Not What They Meant : Reclaiming the Founding Fathers From America's Right Wing”
Michael Austin
Prometheus Books 2012, pbk, 253 pages
ISBN-10: 1616146702, ISBN-13: 978-1616146702
“Enlightenment Now : The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”
Steven A. Pinker 1954-
Viking 2018, hc, 576 pages
ISBN-10: 9780525427575, ISBN-13: 978-0525427575
“Fixing America : Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media, and the Religious Right”
John Buchanan (author), John McConnell (foreword)
Trine Day 2005, pbk, 270 pages
ISBN-10: 0975290681, ISBN-13: 978-0975290682
“Imagine There's No Heaven : How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World”
by Mitchell Stephens
St. Martin's Press (Feb. 25 2014, hc, 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1137002603, ISBN-13: 978-1137002600
“Wrong and Dangerous : Ten Right Wing Myths about Our Constitution”
Garrett Epps
Rowan & Littlefield Publishers 2012
ISBN-10: 144221676X, ISBN-13: 978-1442216761

Jul 03, 2019

The author does a basic survey of western history and the main pillars which built it. That being two great ancient cities.....Athens and Jerusalem. Athens which gave us reason, and Jerusalem which gave us our spiritual and moral framework (the Judeo-Christian worldview). That those two influences worked to compliment one another to form western civilization, and eventually the United States which is the freest and most prosperous nation on earth.

Early on he makes the case for the pillars which built our modern society, but ask the question why are we being so foolish to screw this good thing up?!

He states that America is essentially running on the fumes of what built our society but we're heading towards a serious fall. We reject reason and objective truth in favor of emotionalism and subjectivism. We reject individual rights in favor of mob rule and collectivism. We reject God and the powerful foundational idea that all people are made in God's image.

The author points out that there are many nations on earth blessed with resources for great wealth, but that is not enough. Its the ideals and morality of western civilization that has made the west great, not it's resources. That if we erode these ideals we will bring ourselves to ruin.

In the end his solution for how we can fix this just doesn't go far enough with me, and that's the only thing I didn't like in the book. The west is literally committing suicide.....from elementary schools to our elite universities we have stripped our history down to a bare bones starvation diet. Our young people don't know how awesome their own history is, and sadly this has been by design since the days of John Dewey. We don't have a perfect history, who does, but we have a very remarkable story.

All in all I loved this book, it's probably my favorite read of 2019. Whatever your political persuasion..... I highly recommend it.

May 18, 2019

Great read

May 08, 2019

This book is based on pure fantasy. The author obviously has never read a real history book.

May 04, 2019

Shapiro traces the ideas that form the foundation of Western civilization (religion and reason), and how those ideas have been eroded over time, culminating in the current political climate (no religion, reason is subjective).

Broad and thought provoking.

Apr 18, 2019

If you've watched any of his youtube videos, then this book probably isn't necessary. Fear-mongering and propaganda in his carefully veiled "hey, I'm just telling that truth that most people are too scared to speak" style. Nothing new to see here folks.

Apr 17, 2019

Yet another amazingly fashioned novel by Ben. Five out of five.

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