mini-Review: Ark of the Liberties: Why American Freedom Matters to the World By Ted Widmer
This book covers the history of America as an actor on the world stage, with particular focus on how American actions and rhetoric have influenced both the ideas and the reality of liberty through out the world. There were some things I like about this book, particularly the fact that the book started back before the Revolution showing how the great awakening and other early events influenced America’s relationship with ideas of liberty, and how the book traced the influence of religious ideas on American society through our history.
Widmer emphasizes through out the book how changing and unclear the definition of “freedom” and “liberty” often are when you look at how people use them. But he does not pause to consider what the words really do mean. He obviously does have a definite of idea what the correct definitions of the words are. But Widmer’s definitions are never stated, they are left unexplored and unexamined, though the assumption can be seen in the way statements are evaluated as correctly refracting, or not reflecting, liberty.
This was a major problem with the book for me. Because while I agreed with some points he considered part of liberty, I see other points he included, like “the right of everyone to a good job,” to be unconnected or even antithetical to liberty. Without Widmer’s reasoning and assumptions being made explicit it was impossible to know which of his evaluations I could trust.
This review was based on the audio edition, read by William Hughes