Acton Institute Powerblog

Review: The Battle

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On his website, David Bahnsen reviews The Battle: How the Fight between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future by Arthur C. Brooks:

The strongest points of the book, and the reason Brooks has done such critically important work here (World magazine has already recognized the book as its Book of 2010, by the way) are found in these two areas:

(1) The moral nature of the battle that exists

(2) The fundamental materialism that underpins the left’s approach towards creating income equality.

I heard Dr. Brooks speak about the latter at the annual Acton Institute dinner in 2009 and wrote about it here. Brooks concept of “earned success” is indisputably true and of fundamental importance in how we approach the problems in today’s world. Understanding the idea that true happiness comes from “earned success”, and not simply receiving a bigger slice of society’s overall wealth pie via government-coerced redistribution, is not mere economics. This latter point makes his former point all the more compelling. For what could be more immoral than advocating a policy worldview that dooms millions of people to unhappiness by robbing them of their human dignity? The arguments against the coercive and progressive and inefficient portions of our tax code are important (and all valid), but they miss the most important point of all: They fail to do what they set out to do, and make life worse for those they set out to help.

Read “The Battle for our Hearts and Souls” by David Bahnsen.

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for marketing and advertising, media relations, and print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in the news, events and corporate communications fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


  • Great review. I myself reviewed the book as well and had the pleasure of interviewing Brooks about it. My interview is here:

    Speaking of materialism, here’s a taste:

    Myself: You argue that socialism is “an ideology driven by raw materialism,” but how can a broke, college-age socialist be more materialistic than a wealthy banker?

    Brooks: Because the college-age socialist believes that the way to increase happiness in society is to move chunks of cash around. This is an entirely mechanistic, materialistic view of the world. Now, the wealthy banker may well be guilty of this, too (because there are certainly materialistic bankers around). But the banker just might have already discovered that wealth doesn’t bring happiness — and that you can’t share the happiness by sharing the wealth. Happiness comes from something else. It comes from earned success.