Tag Archives: carry a big stick

TR and FDR

“There are two figures that dominated the American scene in the twentieth century. the first was Theodore Roosevelt. The second, remarkably, was his young cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Both men possessed great personal charisma, keen political instincts, penetrating social consciences, seemingly boundless energy, and brilliantly diverse intellects. Both of them left a lasting impress upon the world. But that is where the similarity between the two ends. In every other way, they could not have been more different.

“Theodore Roosevelt was a conservative social reformer who wanted to firmly and faithfully re-establish the ‘Old World Order.’ Franklin Roosevelt, on the other hand, was a liberal social revolutionary who wanted to boldly and unashamedly usher in the ‘New World Order.’

“Theodore Roosevelt’s motto was ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Franklin Roosevelt’s motto was ‘good neighbors live in solidarity.’

“Theodore Roosevelt spoke forcefully, but led the world into a remarkable epoch of peace – he even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. Like his mentor, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt spoke of peace, but led the world into the bloodiest confrontation of man’s tortured history.

“The difference between the two perspectives was fundamental and presuppositional. Whereas Franklin Roosevelt’s liberal global vision was informed by an unhesitatingly humanistic worldview, Theodore Roosevelt’s conservative civic vision was informed by an uncompromising Christian worldview. In fact, while Franklin Roosevelt rejected the faith of his fathers in early in his life, Theodore Roosevelt held tenaciously to the spiritual legacy that had been passed on to him by his father and grandfather. He often reveled in his Dutch Reformed and Scottish Covenanter roots. And the family ties to ‘that stark Puritan divine Jonathan Edwards’ was for him a point of special pride.

“The practical outworking of these two models for American life and culture was dramatic: Franklin Roosevelt’s led to invasive bureaucracy at home and intrusive adventurism abroad, while Theodore Roosevelt’s led to progressive grassroots reform at home and sagacious cooperation abroad. Franklin Roosevelt’s vision paved the way for modern liberalism, accomodationism, federal interventionism, and the New Left. Theodore Roosevelt’s vision paved the way for modern conservatism, anti-communism, communitarian responsibility, and the New Right.

“Both men understood the very critical notion that ideas have consequences. As a result, the twentieth century in America has largely been the tale of two households – of the Roosevelts of Sagamore Hill and the Roosevelts of Hyde Park.”

~ George Grant, Carry A Big Stick (Pt. II, pp. 179-181)

On the Bookshelf

Knowing God by J.I. Packer
I can’t believe I’m only now discovering this book. What an amazing read, in every way deserving of the title “classic”. I’m about halfway through it at this point, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
I started this one primarily because I was interested in seeing the movie (which hits theaters next month). I’ve learned to appreciate it for its own merits, however, and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best espionage thrillers I’ve ever read. The plot is intricate and smart, the tension is gradually built but relentless, and George Smiley is now one of my all-time favorite literary characters.
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
A scathing and profound indictment of a media-drunk society obsessed with being “entertained”. Neil Postman is a brilliant writer, both smart and darkly humorous, and his examination of the cultural effects of show-business and television are eye-opening and thought-provoking.
Knox’s Irregulars by J. Wesley Bush
A sci-fi military thriller set in the 25th century. The author served as an airborne infantryman, military intelligence cryptolinguist, NGO worker, and historian… and he’s also a Reformed Christian. To quote one of the reviewers on Amazon.com, “Take a Tom Clancy novel like The Teeth Of The Tiger… set it in a universe like the one depicted in Firefly… sprinkle in a respect for the sensibilities of the Protestant Reformation, and you’ve got J. Wesley Bush’s new novel Knox’s Irregulars.”
Empire by Niall Ferguson
A well-written account of the rise and fall of the British World Order, as well a fascinating account of its impact – both positive and negative – on the surrounding world. I’m not entirely certain I agree with all of the author’s conclusions (and I don’t believe he’s writing from a Christian perspective), but nevertheless, it’s a superb read so far.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
What can I say? It’s a classic and I should’ve read it years ago. I’m not the biggest fan of Dickens’ – it is my personal opinion that he waxeth a little too verbose sometimes – but I have to say I’m really enjoying this one.
Carry a Big Stick by George Grant
An inspiring little biography of the inimitable Theodore Roosevelt, one of my favorite historical figures. I had to laugh at the Amazon.com reviews denouncing it as a “right-wing Christian propaganda piece”. *gasp* Well imagine that! A book about a Christian man written from a Christian perspective? *double gasp* Preposterous! How dare they…
Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Who knew economics could be so interesting and fun to study? Hazlitt does a superb job of making even the most complex economic theories easy to grasp, without dumbing them (or the reader) down. Concise, painlessly intructive, and a vigorous contender for free-market capitalism. Definitely recommended.
A Summary of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof
A brief but instructive presentation of the Christian religion written in the 1960s. So far, very little of the subject matter is new to me (one of the advantages of growing up in a Christian home), but I always welcome a good “refresher”.

What’s on your bookshelf right now?