A Must-Read: 'Letters to a Young Progressive'
In a 2004 Townhall column titled “Up From Atheism,” UNC-Wilmington Professor Mike Adams wrote, “Ever since I became a columnist, people have been asking me to explain exactly how I abandoned atheism. I think it would be better to talk about how I could have avoided it. I also think that the right reading list for high school seniors would make a lot of teenagers less susceptible to the anti-religious influences they encounter in college.”
In his latest book, Letters to a Young Progressive: How to Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting
Things You Don't Understand, Adams writes to a student (a composite of several students he's taught over the years) about progressive views and policies. Adams is also the author of two other books on higher education, Feminists Say the Darndest Things and Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel. I asked Adams what sets this book apart from his others. He told me, "I think it's different in that it hammers home the idea that if you reject the Biblical view of human nature (which is not pretty) you get everything wrong. Also, it strays from the political into the sociological - crime-related issues. etc - moreso than my previous musings."
I got an advanced copy of Letters to a Young Progressive (it's out today!) and read it over the weekend. I also have a fun interview with him today over at Townhall. The book addresses how progressives' ideology is poisoning generation after generation. Among the topics he discusses are racism, Marxism, homophobia, abortion, and victimology.
In the chapter "Social Security and Racism," Adams makes a cogent point about modern-day racism:
To anyone interested in understanding why racism seems, counterintuitively, to be increasing in recent years, I recommend reading When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter.
In this book, the authors found that a group who predicted that the world would end on a certain date did not disband after their predicted doomsday date passed and the prophecy failed to come true -- as one would intuitively expect. Instead, they continued to set numerous new dates for the world to end, even as the world kept right on going each time.
The idea is simple -- people who had invested a lot of effort in a cause could not handle the idea that their efforts were in vain. So instead of disbanding the group, they simply set another date for the end of the world -- and then another, and another.
Something similar has happened to civil rights organizations in America. After worthy goals such as school desegregation had been accomplished, civil rights groups set other goals, such as expanding affirmative action programs. As time went by, each successive goal became less significant and bore less resemblance to the original goals of the organization.
In other words, if the world still goes on, so must the calls for racism (and sexism) so that these progressives have meaning in their life. And, coincidentally, paychecks and media bookings.
Over the years I've gone to Adams with my own questions. Some were about religion, as I had become an atheist in my 20s. I've always found it interesting that Adams' conversion started with becoming a Christian and led to becoming a conservative. For years I told myself my atheism made me a better conservative.
I read many of the books he and others like Eric Metaxas suggested to me over the years. In January 2012, I broke free from atheism and became a Christian. Since then I've been selective in who I've admitted this to because I didn't want the "I told you so" lectures. I was already embarrassed enough by my years of living in the cynical darkness and didn't want it thrown back in my face. I was glad to read in Letters to a Young Progressive that "Zach," the composite student, is not belittled for asking questions or holding beliefs that Adams knows to be wrong. Instead, Adams gives him the history and makes a logical case against the progressive movement's efforts.
This is not a book for conservatives to read and then pat themselves on the back for already knowing the answers. It's a book to be shared with progressive friends and family. We're always quick to post snarky comments on a progressive friend's political post on Facebook (and respond to their snarky comments on ours). Letters to a Young Progressive serves as an example for engaging in real conversations on these issues.