Tom Rhodes reviews Gunther Roosevelt’s Tales of a New America:
Tales of New America (ToNA) is a series of related vignettes to describe the idea of what/how a new conservative America might look and be formed. From the description I started out thinking I’d enjoy the book and it would offer additional insight into both libertarian and Christian thought. ToNA starts out feeling like some stereotypical pro-white-supremacist-extremist-christian-conservative Idaho utopia to counter dystopia leftist urban failure and never escapes that stereotype. If I hadn’t promised to review it I wouldn’t have read past the first vignette. Not because I disagree with the patent facts presented but because I found the means of presentation not only lacking as a literary work, but uncompelling.
If you’re a feminized politically correct irrational thinker you will quickly dismiss the book and the ideas presented as misogynistic patriarchal racism, and use it as proof of your politically correct beliefs about white men. I am not only not PC, but enjoy non-PC writings but although ToNA is politically incorrect but the method it was written seems as though it was purposefully written to piss-off the politically correct thinkers as much as possible, and discredit the politically incorrect ideas it presents. If I were a liberal trying to write a book to discredit libertarians and Christians, I might write ToNA as a way to discredit objective truth. That said, finding some small nuggets like this make it an interesting if uninspired read
“Okay, Captain. I’ll bite. What was it you wanted me to observe?”
“The milk of human kindness.”
“You and I, you probably more than me since you’re so much younger, well, we’re going to do a lot of cruel things by the time we’re finished. When the war comes, you’ll be called up. You’ll do things you won’t look back on fondly. It doesn’t mean you weren’t right, but doing the hard things, things that make others suffer — that doesn’t feel good either. So I want you to see that if you get the chance, not stupidly or recklessly, but just a chance, you try to do some good when you can. Something you can look back on and be proud of having done.”
“Those women, I know them. They won’t subvert the Region with the way they live. We’re always going to have such people around. Our own children sometimes. Who knows? There’s a certain level of variation from the norm that we’ll always have. We can be tolerant. We just can’t let people be stupid about it.”
The core of ToNA is to attempt to expose politically incorrect but objective truths. It accurately describes the differences in how men and women think and behave, and the arguments against universal suffrage are clear and valid. The reading however comes off adolescent and condescending. In the end I found that not only was it difficult to relate to the cardboard characters but I found myself not caring if they succeeded or not. What both the book and characters lack are charisma.
ToNA attempts to explore harsh truths that most of society doesn’t want to address. It has some insights and wisdom that demand further exploration and discussion. Although some wonderful nuggets like, “for men like to pretend they’re immune to being hurt, yet nurse grudges forever, and rarely forget a slight.” can be found, overall it is not a convincing read.
Gunther Roosevelt fearlessly addresses race and racism as ToNA’s dominant theme. A huge contradiction from observable truth undermines the hypothesis he presents. The entire football related sub-story pushes the idea not only are whites as strong, fast, and capable as blacks, but are smarter. This ignores the observable fact that genetically some races of people provably have better abilities in some areas than others, and implies that whites are superior in every aspect to blacks and only reverse-racism allows the disproportionate distribution of blacks in football and other areas. This obviously flawed position does much to make other valid points appear equally invalid.
The reality that blacks have not and do not maintain modern civilization anywhere they are in control, as is observed from Detroit to Zimbabwe. ToNA does acknowledge and present interesting arguments to illustrate the more primitive tribal nature to which blacks revert, but the inference that the white race is superior in all things, even in aspects that they are observably as a group less capable, undermines the validity of the factual arguments on racial differences.
Other simple errors like saying Kennewick is south of Yakima, (which is like saying Tampa is South of Orlando), further make any arguments seem less valid. FYI – Although nominally south, in the drive from Yakima to Kennewick you take I82 east, just as Tampa is nominally south of Orland, you get take I4 west. It’s a small trifle thing but it generally makes all of the author’s ideas appear poorly researched and thought out, decreasing the overall credibility of the book.
I liked the ploy of using a female character to define female imperative and emotional nature of women and win a debate on why woman’s suffrage is not part of New America. The clear point that even though a woman can recognize and articulate logical reasoning their emotional desires override rational thought. The cameo character, Christian psychologist Rhonda Martin, says: “Now, women by nature are emotional and will be ruled by their emotions unless they’re taught to develop reason and judgment in a way that isn’t used simply to support emotion and feeling, but actively challenges emotionalism itself. The fact is, more than likely, that’s not going to happen, so you’ll get plenty of smart women who can argue a million ways ‘til Doomsday over what they want, but never figure out that what they want is just plain wrong.” and foreshadows Kevin’s girlfriend Janet rejecting her own logical arguments and the breakdown of their relationship.
Besides feminism and race the unifying theme of how a society that valued and required individual responsibility, and what it might look like. I enjoyed the presentation of the idea that even in government people should be accountable for their actions.
“Finally, just as private citizens had always been liable for damages and injuries to others, public servants were also. It tended to make them less arrogant, power driven, and stupid when violating anyone’s civil rights or failing to do their jobs in a timely manner. If a bureaucrat responsible for approving your passport and creating the document failed to accomplish the task by the scheduled date costing the applicant time or loss due to plans being interfered with, that bureaucrat could be sued for triple damages. Threat of serious accountability put a little spring in a public employee’s step.”
Overall as a literary work it was mercifully short, and although the major themes presented are objectively true the delivery reminded me of a lot of “Christian” fiction. Preachy and ineffective, it fell prey and read exactly like the Hollywood Entertainment vignette. I’d never recommend Tales of New America to anybody I actually wanted to have a rational discussion on feminism, racism, or libertarian ideas, as it will only make those who expose objective truth look like dumb white Nazi’s. Even at the paltry sum of $3.99 to purchase Tales of New America, I’d have felt like I wasted my money, at best it’s a 99¢ ebook.
Tom Rhodes is a chemist who formerly worked as a public school chemistry
teacher and computer programmer, is the current vice chair of the
Libertarian Party of Citrus County, and the Chair of the Libertarian
Party of Florida Platform Committee.