the war on normal people feature

On Our Bookshelves – The War on Normal People

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BOOK: The War on Normal People

AUTHOR: Andrew Yang

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2018

When I am personally acquainted with the author, I always buy the book, and I went to school with Andrew Yang. I know him to be a smart and kind person, and I’d recently learned that he was running for President of the United States, so I was curious to learn more about his beliefs.

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His main argument here (and the main platform in his campaign) is the need for a universal basic income (UBI) to stabilize our economy, reduce poverty, protect our society from the disruption caused by automation and the resulting unemployment, and quell political unrest and other social ills. He proposes $1,000 a month per American adult (independent of need). He’s a capitalist, but a human-focused one. It would be expensive, no doubt, but he points out, “You know what’s really expensive? Dysfunction. Revolution.”

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It’s a rather clear-eyed look at our current problems (and they are legion…inequality, violence, distrust in our institutions, economic dislocation, racism, misogyny, addiction, financial insecurity—don’t quit reading this one halfway through!) and some big and bold ideas about how to solve them. I am not an economist and do not claim any expertise in political science—but I appreciate his intellectual honesty, his optimism in the face of the severe challenges he describes here, and his critique of neo-liberalism in favor of the higher ideals of courage, compassion, and contemplation.

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Yang’s ideas are ambitious, and worthy of consideration.  I think that perhaps he tries to do a little bit too much here; he can’t solve all of society’s woes with these basic ideas, and a short chapter on health care doesn’t delve nearly deeply enough into the policy complexities, and rather brushes aside the concerns of those who would lose out financially should his policies be implemented. That being said, I look forward to more of Yang’s work and seeing his theories developed further.

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Here’s his conclusion—whether or not it will inspire us is yet to be determined:

“Through all of the doubt, the cynicism, the ridicule, the hatred and anger, we must fight for the world that is still possible. Imagine it in our minds and hearts and fight for it. With all of our hearts and spirits. As hands reach out clutching at our arms, take them and pull them along. Fight through the whipping branches of selfishness and despair and resignation. Fight for each other like our souls depend on it. Climb to the hilltop and tell others behind us what we see…The better world is still possible. Come fight with me.”

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RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 3 1/2 Whistles

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HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon

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Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com.

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Lead-In Image (Crowd Of People) Courtesy of  ProStockStudio / Shutterstock.com

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