Sunday, October 15, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: How The Left Was Won - Richard Mgrdechian

I can't pronounce the author's name (I'm guessing Mur-deck-ee-an) and I don't care much for the title How The Left Was Won ... a play on How the West Was Won by Louis L'Amour (too pedestrian), but I loved the book.

The subtitle is far more descriptive of the book's contents: "An In-Depth Analysis of the Tools and Methodologies Used by Liberals to Undermine Society and Disrupt the Social Order."

The book is an extremely well-organized, well-written, and a well-deserved attack on the liberal left in America. The theme of the book: liberals are truly going to get us killed or destroy Western Civilization in the process; and Mgrdechian's attack doesn't leave any left-leaner out.

One reviewer said "with an entirely new set of analytical techniques" ... I can't agree with that. Every one of the author's "Tools and Methodologies" has been around and used for some time.

The author says in his afterword, "we have been able to construct a new framework for segmenting and isolating these statements, actions and behaviors" (199). I just don't agree that there is that much new about the material, but perhaps the operative word is "framework." That may very well be true.

On the same page Mgrdechian informs us "the ultimate goal of this book - - to ensure rational people are able to immediately recognize and understand the true nature of these liberal shenanigans ...." But again, what am I to do with these newly acquired revelations? Remain frustrated and intellectually abused?

Throughout the reading I had a nagging desire to say, "So?" Putting titles to common knowledge and organizing them in a highly readable fashion is one thing but writing to motivate or animate is another thing altogether. I don't feel Mgrdechian wrote this fine book with the idea of causing people to do something about what they read.

Let me offer an example: World Magazine's blog had a mini-post the other day which fits my point perfectly; not only does the piece high-light some of the same things Mgrdechian is saying (perhaps Vincent read his book before posting) but his final sentence encouraged me to modify my own blogging behavior.
Communication experts define between seven and eleven separate propaganda techniques. Among them: bandwagon (an appeal to follow the crowd); glittering generalities (using words whose connotations demand agreement without thinking); stereotyping (reducing complex situations to a simple choice between good and evil); and transfer (linking two disparate subjects two [sic] create a negative impression of one of them.) I've seen all those techniques and others used by Worldmag bloggers. But each of those techniques, whether employed by liberals or conservatives, is easily demolished by reason.

That's why another propaganda technique often used here bothers me most: Name-calling. Name-calling cannot be dismantled by reason (which is largely the point), belittles other human beings, and makes the name-caller appear churlish and juvenile. Here's what I don't understand: How is it that some among us both expect to have their arguments taken seriously and yet consistently use a tired, stale, tactic that is not only readily identifiable as mere propaganda, but also makes them look like unreasonable, unserious people?

Posted by Vincent at October 9, 2006 08:40 AM
There is certainly no doubt that I know the material better now that I've read HTLWW, but I'm not now acting any different than before I read the book. Don't get me wrong, it is really a well-written book but it just wasn't finished.

Mgrdechian's excellent organization and presentation make behavioral and logical analysis of left-leaners easier and it was an enjoyable read ... kudos to the author's writing skills.

It is a real shame you won't see it on many college reading lists, if any at all. I recommend it but be prepared to finish frustrated.
REVIEWER NOTICE: The above is a review of "How The Left Was Won" by Richard Mgrdechian; Mgrdechian is an electrical engineer from California Institute of Technology, with an MBA from Columbia University; for all intents and purposes this is his first attempt at political non-fiction, other works by the author - 3000 Years, an award winning tech novel; the book's publisher is Century Circle, a division Omniscient Books. My copy was provided free of charge by the author and the publisher, courtesy of Active Christian Media and my dear friend Stacy Harp.

I'd recommend the book but can only give it a 4 on a five-point scale because it wasn't a completed work as I mentioned above.

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