Cal Thomas has been a conservative voice of reason and insight in culture and politics for many years. His new book, What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America, presents material from some of his columns and speeches, as well as new material, in plans for what works in our changing world.
That Thomas is a conservative will surprise no one who has read his columns (much less anyone who remembers that he was vice president of the Moral Majority). There is probably very little that he and Rush Limbaugh would find to disagree on. But as entertaining as Rush and other conservative radio commentators are, Thomas brings a level of logic and good will that sets him apart.
Thomas has little patience for over-reliance on government for social policy, especially with regard to poverty relief. He writes that government has been come a first resource rather than a last resort. Contrary to a welfare state mentality, "real compassion consists not in endless government checks but in helping those less fortunate become 'unpoor' by moving them away from government dependence."
In another section, I enjoyed his take on criminal justice. (Here he breaks from the typical "tough on crime" red-meat conservative.) He calls for "alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, nondangerous offenders" which "have a better chance of transforming lives." He emphasizes restitution to victims and rehabilitation for criminals. He makes a strong case and makes me wish some of this thinking could be put into practice right now.
So if you're wondering what works to solve problems of the economy, health care, crime, family issues, and governance, Cal Thomas has some good answers. He's frank, principled, and well-grounded. We can only hope that someone in Washington is listening.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!