Jack Criss Aims Right
I have been working very hard on catching up with my reading and have had Jack Criss's book, Ready, Aim, Right! Editorials, Essays and Reviews, 1990-2004, sitting by the side of my computer waiting for a mini-review for much too long.
As discussions of "left-libertarianism" and "right libertarianism" proceed, I found it of interest that Criss discusses his own "odyssey" from "Marx, Ginsberg, Siddhartha, long hair and 'Rock Against Reagan' ... to Ayn Rand, Aristotle, Ludwig von Mises, Voltaire and business meetings," as he puts it in the Preface of his book. He praises "laissez-faire, individual freedom, high culture"—values "most often identified with the Right," while having no sympathy for the Libertarian Party (though he clearly agrees with the LP's core principles and "party message").
All this seems pretty "Right-wing" to me, including some of his stances on the current war.
But Criss is no traditional conservative. As he wrote back in 1995:
Put up your Playboys and hide the liquor in the cabinet. They're at it again. I mean, of course, the Grand Ol' Party and their rather empty banter about family values. Empty—content of ideas certainly has precious little to do with legislation in Washington—but potentially liberty-threatening. ... These men honestly seem intent on somehow defining a very intimate sphere of human existence as they see fit, and then enacting legislation to see that their definition is enforced. At best, this is amusing. At worst, it is moral totalitarianism. ...
Liberals interfered with families with the Great Soceity of the sixties and it got us to where we are today. ... But conservatives now wish to intervene again with government programs to cure what government botched in the first place. It won't work. It shouldn't even be considered as a viable option. Government already dictates entirely too much of what we can and cannot do in our economic lives; to allow the behemoth to enter our homes and regulate our most private and cherished institution is equally evil and should not be tolerated.
Dems fightin' words. In fact, Criss has a fightin' style to his writing: very colorful and very entertaining. Even when you disagree with him on any specific issue, you marvel at his way with words.
The book is not all politics, however; I was most enchanted by his various musings on his personal life. A tribute to his father and his reflections on becoming a father offer the most poignant moments in the book.
All in all: A very enjoyable read.