Devoting hours of one's life to reading a book is an extraordinary commitment, especially in this modern age of digital distraction. The very least one can ask of a book is that it won't lower one's opinion of President Donald J. Trump, the most successful chief executive in American history. Unfortunately, Ned Ryun's Restoring Our Republic fails to clear even this exceedingly low bar.
Trump is perhaps the most outstanding literary figure since the invention of the printing press. As such, the president's endorsement of Ryun's book was a seminal moment in the history of American literature. It was also a rare misstep from an intellectual heavyweight who ought to know better.
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Before reaching the table of contents in Restoring Our Republic, the reader is confronted with a quote in a foreign language—never a good sign, especially for a book that claims to promote American values. The passage from the Roman poet (and polytheistic heretic) Horace concerns the crafting of a "monument more lasting than bronze." The arrogance astounds, while the table of contents leaves much to be desired.
How many times should the word "transcendent" need to appear in a book about the history of the American republic and how to "reclaim" it from the communists? Once? Twice? Surely, 13 times is excessive, but Ryun lets it fly like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stuttering at the podium. The word "Trump," meanwhile, appears just one time and only in the context of praising the administration's efforts to reform the Department of Agriculture, an agency that ought to have been abolished by now if we are serious about promoting "small government" in this country. Alas…
Readers interested in a CliffsNotes-style overview of America's founding would be better off—and I don't say this lightly—consulting the work of mainstream media outlet ABC, producers of the Schoolhouse Rock! video series. At least the musical numbers are entertaining. Instead, Ryun force feeds a gluttonous diet of foreign influence, from the ramblings of French tourist Alexis de Tocqueville to the so-called wisdom of ancient Greece—a country so wise it went bankrupt.
Ryun's solutions for "restoring our republic" are just as inane. First of all, his diagnosis misses the mark. Despite the historic election of Donald Trump, the author insists that American democracy is not "robust and fully healthy." One assumes Ryun would have preferred a Hillary Clinton presidency, under which the NRA would be abolished and the California feces crisis would afflict every state in the union.
Ryun's prose at times reads like the soft-bodied whimpering of disgraced former Republican Matthew Dowd:
It may seem odd to think of "love" in such political terms, but casting a vote for a statesman, lobbying your state legislature to repeal an onerous law, or speaking out against corruption at a local town hall meeting can all be ways to demonstrate love to your neighbor because it shows that you actually care.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise when Ryun suggests that Election Day be made a national holiday in order to "emphasize civics and patriotism and love of country." The implication here—that not enough citizens are exercising their right to vote—would have appalled the Founders, but Ryun doesn't seem to care.
"Our need today is not so much to return to the principles of the Founding as it is to renew them, to apply them afresh, in our age," the alleged conservative writes, sounding an awful lot like one of those libs who wants to "update" the Constitution to make hijabs mandatory in public schools.
It gets worse. "[A]t the end of the day, the Constitution is a piece of paper," he writes dismissively while arguing that American values can be safeguarded from socialism by—I kid you not—drafting hardworking patriots into a small army of "active community leaders." Sound familiar? This country (barely) survived eight years under the community organizer-in-chief and his ACORN affiliates. Such behavior is the last thing we should be trying to "restore" in this country, thank you very much.