The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great by Ben Shapiro

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you’re a fan of Western philosophy and religion, boy have I got the book for you! I can honestly say I’ve never read a book that gave me so much to think about in such a succinct manner.

I should begin by telling you I am not a fan of nonfiction books. As in, I actively avoid them at all costs.

As to my reason for picking out this book, I cannot tell you. I guess I’ve been stuck in a bit of a reading rut, going over the same sorts of topics and feeling a little disappointed. Maybe even a little bored.

So I thought, why not spice up my life with a little Ben Shapiro?

And spicy it was, indeed.

I’m not going to review this book in terms of what I do and don’t agree with, as that would only take into account my preexisting feelings and beliefs and none of the writing. That sort of takes away from this kind of review, don’t you think?

So, throwing my personal beliefs out the window for the moment, I want to say that this was just plain a fantastic book!

I could tell right off the bat Shapiro did his research. He cites everything from modern research, to historical documents, to the Bible and the Torah. And he uses them exceedingly well in his argument about the importance of the values of Western civilization that we have lost in modern times.

This book was published last year, making its information extremely relevant to our lives today, maybe even more so than it would have been just one year ago.

My only complaint is that some of the descriptions got lengthy, as in I got a little sleepy. But everything he said had a purpose to it, so I can forgive the slower parts.

“America is struggling right now in a lot of ways. But its largest struggle is the struggle for our national soul. We are so angry at each other right now. That anger is palpable. Where did it come from? It came from the destruction of a common vision.”

— Ben Shapiro

I mean, woah!

Shapiro argues that the West is falling apart because we have lost our common vision, and that is to live under God and worship God, acting in accordance with His will.

While I was aware that Western civilization is not nearly as religious as it used to be, I didn’t exactly consider that might be the root of our problems.

One of the other aspects of this book—besides than the mindblowing revelations about religion and philosophical thought—that I love most is that Shapiro writes simply, but with great purpose.

No sentence is merely a glob of words. It’s a meaningfully constructed entity that makes me look at the world through a new lens. Not on political issues, as I already know where I stand, but on life as a whole. That’s the beauty of a book written about philosophy and religion, even if it is penned by a political figure. It focuses on something greater than our lives right here and right now.

“My father is fond of saying that in life, there aren’t six directions (east, west, north, south, up, and down). There are just two: forward and backward. Are we moving toward something or away from it?”

— Ben Shapiro

This might be one of my favorite quotes of all, because it can mean so many things in so many different contexts.

Think about it: isn’t the whole point of life to move forward, toward something?

I love that thought, though I might not have the slightest idea what that final destination is that I am working my way toward. But what better way is there to live than to look at oneself, one’s actions, one’s beliefs, and ask: am I moving forward?

From a community standpoint, it’s also interesting to think about where society is moving. What are we headed toward in the future? Is it wiser to look to the past for advice, paying careful attention to what has previously been proven successful in western countries, and what shaped us? Or do we disregard where we came from and look in another direction entirely?

“If we fight alongside one another rather than against one another, we are stronger.”

— Ben Shapiro

I tried to find the perfect quote to wrap up this review and, sure enough, there it was!

Can we all agree on this one point? I hope we can all agree on this one point.

Individuality is wonderful. Believe me, I am the biggest proponent of individuality, the poster child of being a loner and doing what I want.

But Shapiro is absolutely right that we are stronger united.

Whether we band together under religion, beliefs, interests, or simply under the fact that we are all human beings, we are stronger together.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you for encouraging me to read this book. I am 55 pages in, and it is giving me A LOT to think about. This book definitely is not a “light read.” It is a perfect book to read for the year 2020. Ben Shapiro is one sharp guy. His knowledge of religion and philosophy is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree that it contains a lot of heavy material. It felt almost textbookish at times, but I love it. I’m glad you’re enjoying it too!

      Like

    1. I’m happy to hear I could bring a little light to this book. Profound is the perfect word to describe its detail richness and overall fascinating qualities.

      Like

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