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We Know You're Right, Michelle - Mostly

Reviewing "You Know I'm Right: More Prosperity, Less Government"

By Petrarch  |  December 23, 2010

From its inception, the conservative movement has always been founded on books.  The left often likes to make feel-good arguments that cannot bear deep analysis; most conservative thought, in contrast, requires serious explanation and consideration to get its point across.  That's one reason that successful talk shows are conservative - there simply isn't that much that's worth saying about liberal ideas.

While there are many great conservative classics, not too many young moderns walk around carrying The Wealth of Nations; they prefer more current and less intellectual fare.  So we are very glad to see You Know I'm Right: More Prosperity, Less Government by Michelle Caruso-Cabrera (Simon & Schuster), which rolls out a full set of answers for the most important issues of our day.

Beginning with the first page of the introduction, Ms Caruso-Cabrera aims squarely at the sort of person who blew their first political activism on Barack Obama's statism and now has second thoughts:

I never used to be a political person.  In fact, I used to hate talking about politics... What I've learned from the BP oil disaster, housing debacle, and financial collapse is that government is overregulating our lives, and yet it's never going to protect us.

As conservatives, it's easy to get bogged down in the details: this corrupt politicians, that unwarranted government intrusion, the other egregious tax.  You Know I'm Right goes straight to the first principle: that you and I know how to run our lives better than the government ever can, so why should it try?

Which is not to say the book is devoid of facts; far from it.  Page after page overflows with dates, names, costs, and details of mistakes by both parties, from big-spending President Bush to the impending bankruptcy of Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare.

A real gem is buried in the chapter "In Defense of Defense," which has perhaps the clearest plain-language explanation for why, exactly, having the dollar as the world's reserve currency is so valuable and why it must be defended at all costs:

Because we have the world's reserve currency, we have a distinct advantage over everyone else: when our finances go to hell and the world is on the verge of crisis, our borrowing costs actually go down, because so many people out there want to own U.S. Treasuries, the safest investment in the world.  There is no other country out there with that blessing.

That's but one example of the real strength of this book: it says what conservatives have been arguing for years, but restates the arguments in terms non-conservatives can understand; gives evidence and supporting proofs without an intimidating avalanche of data; gives clear prose without high-flying rhetoric.

Even where Ms Caruso-Cabrera is mistaken, her clarity is a blessing.  Very little of the book is spent on socially-conservative issues, to which she is generally opposed on the principle that

I don't want Washington insiders to tell me what to think and how to behave in the privacy of my home.

Agreed, wholeheartedly!  The problem is that, for example, homosexuals demand not just personal privacy but public acceptance and acclamation, and abortionists wish to end the life of a genetically distinct human being.  Her privacy principle is sound, however, and provides a firm basis for conservatives to clearly explain its limits.

There are countless Americans who first encountered conservatism via talk radio and through regular listening have been converted.  That's more difficult these days because of a never-ending stream of liberal invective aimed at Rush, Sean Hannity, and the others.

Instead of the big names whom many people will dismiss out-of-hand, why not send someone Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's book as a stealth weapon to do intellectual combat on your behalf?  Even if the only result is that a liberal thinks a little, the world will be a better place.