Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Classics of Conservatism - part viii - Mainspring of Human Progress - Henry Grady Weaver

Click here for previous editions of "Classics of Conservatism."

7th printing - 1965

This month's "Classic of Conservatism" answers some questions central to the nature of civilization itself:
For 60 known centuries, this planet that we call Earth has been inhabited by human beings not much different from ourselves. Their desire to live has been just as strong as ours. They have had at least as much physical strength as the average person of today, and among them have been men and women of great intelligence. But down through the ages, most human beings have gone hungry, and many have always starved.

In "Mainspring of Human Progress," Henry Grady Weaver contrasts the vast majority of human history with the modern western world - and in a way that may surprise you. Weaver weaves today's economic and political questions into their proper historical framework. And he does it all in a pocket paperback that originally cost 95 cents.

Weaver writes about socialism and statist government. But mostly he writes in depth on the "revolution" that is the American way of life. And by revolution, he does not mean the war that was fought in 1776. He means an entire way of thinking that places the individual at the forefront. He describes how individualism leads to industry and economic growth - how the inventions of Jacob Newton, John Deere and Benjamin Franklin flowed from this country's emphasis on individualism. Prosperity does not just happen. It certainly is not inevitable with the passage of time. It happens only when the individual is free to pursue his own ideas and keep the fruits of his labor.

"Mainspring" is an easy read and a refreshing break from the partisan nastiness and memorized talking points that permeate today's politics.

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