My first book is available now

PoliticsOfCrazy_YLW2Here’s a little secret about the GOPLifer blog. For almost seven years, you folks have been helping me write a book. Now it’s available as an ebook from Amazon at this location, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X1EM3AW. Since you helped write it, you’ll have a chance to get a copy for free.

Back in 2008 I worked as hard as I could in my precinct and on the phone to get John McCain elected President. For years, back in Texas and in Chicago, I had watched the rise of a certain brand white racial identity politics in the GOP with growing concern. By putting McCain in the White House I felt we had an opportunity to live under experienced, capable leadership at the national level, but we would also get something more.

Senator McCain had demonstrated a willingness to stand up to the crazies inside the GOP. If he won we might have had an opportunity to right the Republican ship, restoring competent, rational people to positions of authority in the party infrastructure. If he lost, the door would be open for characters like Sarah Palin, his greatest mistake, to become the face and brain of the party.

You know what happened.

McCain’s loss marked the last near-term opportunity for people like me to exercise much, if any, direct influence on the party. There was nothing left to do but write about the situation. In the course of recording my thoughts I hoped I might discover some insights about the forces that spawned such a tsunami of insanity. The book is the result of that long effort.

The Politics of Crazy: How America Lost Its Mind and What We Can Do About It lays out those insights and describes a few simple, common-sense strategies that might restore some sanity to our system. Starting next week from June 15-19th, the ebook will be available as a free download.

If you enjoy the blog and you like the book there are a few things you could do to offer support.

– Post a review at Amazon.

– Tell someone about the book. Maybe even tell two people, or three, or more!

– Post about the book on Facebook, and perhaps like the Facebook page for this blog at Building a Better GOP.

– Follow the book’s Twitter feed @PoliticsOfCrazy or post about it using #politicsofcrazy.

– Follow my author page on Amazon for more updates.

I’m excited about the book and I look forward to your feedback. Over the next two weeks I’ll be posting excerpts from the book to the blog. Next week I’ll write about it at the Chronicle also.

I have to take this opportunity to thank the many of you helped polish this work through years of reading and comments. There are almost a dozen people who have been following and commenting on this blog since before it was featured on the Chronicle. The first person ever to post a comment on the blog at the Chronicle, who posts under “Turtles Run,” is still active here. Thank you all for your support and criticism over the years. The two go hand in hand and have helped shape this effort.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Politics of Crazy
47 comments on “My first book is available now
  1. goplifer says:

    By the way, for anyone waiting breathlessly for the free promotion to begin it starts on Monday, not Sunday. Small glitch.

  2. bubbabobcat says:

    Late to the game but congrats Chris! Will download and peruse as time permits. Your time crunch scenario in the superseding blog entry is so apropos even for childless families.

    Though I do believe the electronic social media is an alternative method to allow people to engage more in one’s preferred community outside of day to day responsibilities and life. Not as in depth as face to face interactions or real one on one connections even by electronic means, but what’s the alternative? Disengaging entirely and isolating/self-exiling exclusively to your own immediate family and work silo as that is all time will permit?

    Even reading and commenting on your blog and other discretionary down time between meetings and deadlines at work and between meals and requisite family and “face to face” interactions at home optimizes what one can and prefers to do in our limited “free” time. And slicing/multi-tasking that precious down time to whatever morsel you can grab at any given moment DOES maximize efficiency in personal as well as professional lives and allows us to cram more into an immutable 24 hour cycle of daily life.

  3. Well, Chris, although I’m a Kindle-unlimited kinda guy, I went ahead an bought it – good on ya.

    As you might expect, my disagreements pretty much start from page one. Although the coddled class can posit that history has ended and the struggle over political ideals is over, 100’s of millions of Muslims and billions of Chinese, not to mention a large gaggle of Russians, might strenuously object. Communism is merely a subspecies of totalitarianism, and totalitarianism is alive and getting along swimmingly around the world, thank you. Based on the current administration’s conduct over the past six years, totalitarians of all stripes are feeling emboldened and and more than a bit peckish, so to speak.

    As has always been the case throughout (ongoing) history, totalitarians don’t need a “meaningful, globally persuasive ideology.” Nor do they have any desire to “compete with us politically.” They know that only three things are both necessary and sufficient: 1) Violence. 2) A monopoly on violence. 3) The means to project violence. That’s it. Q.E.D.

    Speaking of emboldened, with every incremental usurpation of individual and state authority, the executive branch of the federal government and its administrative Leviathan take *us* a step farther down the road to serfdom (as Hayek would put it). Throughout (ongoing) history, the strategy of every successful homegrown totalitarian has been to take over the bureaucratic apparatus of the preexisting administrative state. The more powerful the administrative state, the more secure the despot. The Framers acknowledged these perils, and borrowing from thinkers like Locke and Montesquieu, designed a federal system to mitigate these dangers. We depart from their design at our own peril.

    • goplifer says:

      It’s good to see that Hobbes will never die, even after Marx has been forgotten. That comment would make an excellent Amazon review…

      Thanks for the purchase. I expect it will deliver page after page of irritation, but hopefully it’s the good kind, like a good spicy plate of enchiladas.

    • johngalt says:

      “Further down the road to serfdom..” That’s lunacy. The Framers of the Constitution designed a framework for an agrarian society in a lightly populated wilderness. Fewer than 4 million people lived along the entire eastern seaboard – that is two-thirds as many as in metro Houston. Federal regulation of interstate commerce was non-intrusive because it barely existed. It was scarcely possible to travel from New York to Boston in a week and it cost a month’s average income. Debtors were routinely imprisoned and life expectancy was about 50, if you survived childhood. My iPad could store every book printed in the colonies to that date with lots of room to spare.

      The world is vastly more complex today than it was 2+ centuries ago. It is also vastly richer, healthier, and more interconnected. Maintaining a functioning society requires a more complex and, indeed, larger government that was needed in 1790. The framework designed has been interpreted by those whose constitutional job it is to do so to progressively incorporate this complexity. I am not more of a serf than I would have been 200 years ago because of it; in fact I am far freer than I would have been then to pursue my life, liberty and happiness.

      • johng, as my pappy was found of saying, the only difference between us the Cro-Magnons is that we build a better nut and bolt. Human nature hasn’t changed any more than history than history has ended. The Framers designed pretty much our entire framework of governance as a bulwark against despotism. Modern despots are no different than Cleisthenes, Polycrates, or Pisistratus; the means such people use to achieve power are unchanged through time, as are the means to confound them.

        Separation of powers and the federal system as laid out in the Federalist papers are good things. The cancerous growth of the federal government (and particularly the executive branch administrative bureaucracy) that we’ve witnessed pretty much since the TR era is a very dangerous thing. We’ve reached the point where we are only more or less OK so long as there’s a reasonably benevolent hand at the tiller. Should someone with a more despotic bent reach the oval office, all bets are off. That should give you pause regardless of party affiliation. And that’s all I have to say about that.

      • goplifer says:

        That’s all well and good, but I won’t take your argument seriously until you record yourself saying “Pisistratus” ten times really fast.

        Couldn’t resist.

        I disagree both with the framing and with your conclusions. I believe in evolution, and as a consequence I think that Hegel had a much more cogent approach to the arc of history than Hobbes. Hobbes strikes me as the kind of guy who hangs around the workshop reciting all the reasons everyone is already aware of for why their project can’t possibly work. And of course, he’s always right…until he isn’t.

        Also, I think that our founders had absorbed the wrong lessons from Roman history. Those lessons led them to construct the perfect government for a slave republic, a legacy that we cannot seem to shed. http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2012/09/the-fall-of-the-roman-republic-revisited/

        When I describe the “end of history” I see nothing utopian about it. It’s a fine development, fantastic even, but not some kind of Messianic era. It is the closing of a phase of our evolution that has lasted for some 3000 years, an epochal shift.

        We still have lots of problems, some of them are actually going to be a lot worse, but one of the central problems we have struggled with for most of our long struggle to operate a civilization is effectively over. So yay.

        That said, I am genuinely grateful to have someone laying out such a solid example of the strongest case against my conclusions. That is authentic, old-school Southern conservatism laid out in a few paragraphs

      • johngalt says:

        Let’s frame this argument a little differently: think of the places you’d be willing to live other than the United States. Do any of them have LESS government than we do?

      • Well, Chris, as the scion of Russian Jews on the one side, Icelandic peasants on the other, and an upbringing in the deserts of Arizona, to boot, I’m not sure how well that “old-school Southern conservatism” label is going to stick. I’ve merely echoed the same criticisms to your thesis as might be raised by John Locke or Edmund Burke, were they around to join the party. In that sense, a more apropos label might be “classical liberal.”

        Labels aside (for they can become tedious), despots tend towards utterly banal Hobbesian antics. It’s what they do. Locke prescribed the antidote, and Madison perfected that antidote’s recipe, long ago. It’s not their fault if we can seemingly no longer muster the will and discipline to distill that heady elixir for ourselves.

        I believe in evolution, too. It’s just that as an Earth scientist, I’ve a keen appreciation for how plodding the process really is. I hope you are right about your “epochal shift,” but I rather doubt we’ve solved your “central problem.” Some trends in human societies seem as relentless as entropy, as fractally self-similar as a Fibonacci spiral. Among them is the ineluctable concentration over time of political power at the seat of central governance. When you figure out how to reverse that flow, be sure to drop me (and the brothers Gracchi) a line.

      • johngalt says:

        I think the people of East Germany and Poland would disagree that the march towards totalitarianism is inexorable. For all China’s repression, it is hard to argue that they are more totalitarian than they were under Mao, where he killed tens of millions (nor is Russia, despite Putin, worse off than under Stalin). Went to Korea for the first time last week and saw the effects of their shrugging off a military dictatorship ~40 years ago. The resultant freedom and (a rather managed form of) capitalism has seen a construction boom the equivalent of an entire NYC in Seoul. A century of totalitarianism towards blacks is over in South Africa; Nigeria just transferred power between civilian governments for the first time ever. Seventy years ago, the second-largest country on earth was a foreign-controlled colony; today it is a vibrant, if messy, democracy. Indonesia and Malaysia have gone from military control to elected governments. None of these are perfect, but they all trend in the right direction and most of these occurred without many shots fired.

        But from the myopic view of American conservatives, totalitarianism is on the rise because you have to buy health insurance, which most of you already had.

      • 1mime says:

        Just wait until cars are equipped with mandatory “breathalyzers” to shut down vehicles for alcohol-impaired drivers. Many lives will be saved but I expect there will be a conservative backlash never the less over “personal freedom”. Some things are just good for society but do intrude on personal liberty. That bothers one less if a drunk driver is coming at you going the wrong way on a busy road. Then, the idea of their car refusing to drive looks pretty good to me.

        Civilized societies have to be structured to function. That will intrude in our personal liberty but will provide a larger benefit for its people.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Ah yes. The ‘Greater Good’ argument. Of course, that argument must be primary, with individual rights subservient in all cases. And a government to determine exactly what that is, and enforce it as well is just what our government was designed for. Somebody was pining about Eminent Domain here a while back. Naturally property owners should be stripped of their land if it can be rezoned for the greater good, and taxed accordingly. And nobody in their right mind is going to suggest that alcohol, for example, doesn’t cost society mightily. Ban it for the greater good. This argument was used in the past, but was ultimately overruled by the Classical Liberal dinosaurs. And that goddam Bill of Rights! Don’t get me started on that. God, what an impediment to order some of that antiquated crap is!

  4. Turtles Run says:

    Congratulations. I got my copy and look forward to reading it. Keep up the good work. I knew I was one of the first people to comment on your blog but did not realize I was the first.

  5. flypusher says:

    My first impression of the book cover was that the blots sort of resembled vertebrae (something very lacking in most of today’s politicos). But a closer look revealed the donkeys elephants and rhinos. Nice cover!

    I will most definitely get a copy when I get home from vacation in a few days and have access to the computer with all the passwords. Looking forward to reading it. I’ll see what I can do to help promote it.

  6. johngalt says:

    Fantastic, Chris. Congrats on this achievement – I’m looking forward to reading it.

  7. way2gosassy says:

    I am so excited for you and can hardly wait to read your book. I am sure it is as thought provoking as your blog.

  8. fiftyohm says:

    Got it. Thanks, Bud. And the very best of luck with it.

  9. RobA says:

    Very cool. Hope it gets a wide readership, it’s an important topic. Very relevent to today’s politics.

  10. 1mime says:

    I’m a little further into the book now and I am intrigued with your analysis of the generational values/beliefs. As a 71 year old female, I relate to the 30 somethings more often than I can to many of my same age/class/race, while still believing in the benefit of government as a social underpinning. Sort of a “combination” of generational thought, possibly. I readily admit that my I-phone is smarter than I am and that I’m only able to use a portion of its capability. That’s interesting to me as I try to better understand where some of the more conservative posters are coming from and try to co-exist politically. I wonder how many exceptions to the broad age generalizations there are in your construct? Further, what brings about these deviations from the norm? Is it association, or education, personal experiences, or occupation, or, is it something less identifiable?

    Anywho – really enjoying the book, its many notable phrases and thoughts. Of course, I expected it would be as good or better than your posts, and I’m not disappointed at all.

    • goplifer says:

      *** I wonder how many exceptions to the broad age generalizations there are in your construct?***

      A lot of them. Always tough drawing useful observations from large groups. Important to recognize the difference between what cultures and institutions do and think, versus the thoughts and actions of the individuals within those cultures and institutions.

      • 1mime says:

        Vive la difference!

      • 1mime says:

        Chris, I’ve finished reading your book, The Politics of Crazy, and really thought it was interesting. Your closing chapter was a nice reminder of what we have to be grateful for in America, despite the many problems and shortcomings of our complex society. You are forward-thinking, creative, and realistic in your personal assessment of big issues. I hope your ideas find traction in the GOP arena you support. It needs to make changes in order to provide a balanced counterweight in the political arena and help our country work better for all its people.

        Thank you for your insight, great blog posts, and for elevating the discussion on all things political. I would have liked a little more direct discussion on the income divide issue, and how that bears on your ideas for future changes. I enjoy following your blog and highly recommend The Politics of Crazy to all who have a serious interest in how the political process works in America.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Ms. Mime, according to Lifer’s book, because of your age, YOU have a LOT of time on your hands! True or false?

      • 1mime says:

        True or false: “lots of time on my hands”. Both. If I were not a full time caregiver for my husband (Parkinson’s Disease), we both could be enjoying more leisure at this time of our lives. As it is, I’m pretty busy managing our family situation. Fortunately I love reading and am still able to participate on a limited basis in those activities that bring me pleasure.

        Broadly speaking, if one has worked and saved, has decent health, there is time following retirement to indulge in a less (or more – depending upon the individual) structured lifestyle. As Lifer indicates in his book – time has become the most precious commodity in our personal lives. Use it well, Tutta, use it early, because one never knows what may come.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, you make an important point about the supposed age advantage that Lifer cites with respect to political power. The older you get, the more likely you are to be ill and infirm, or caring for someone who is ill and infirm, so the less likely you are to be active in the political process, aside from simply voting. I guess his theory would apply to those just over 60, or newly-retired, still healthy enough to be active.

      • 1mime says:

        True, Tutta. It can be a mixed blessing, as you learned. You can’t roll back the clock on some things nor can you walk away in tough times.

        My interest in the political process is deep and somehow, I will always be involved. Lifer’s blog has introduced me to a smart crowd with differing views in a convenient, accessible format. I’m grateful for that. It allows me to continue to grow intellectually (some might dispute that!) and express my own views and challenge others. That’s satisfying. My only complaint is it would be great to actually know many of you personally. There is still no substitute for personal interaction.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I’m sorry to hear about your husband. For about 3 years I cared for my elderly mom, who had dementia and was in diapers, and I realized then that over the years I had spent way too much time and energy on my job and not enough time with her, so I used those 3 years to be closer to her. I guess her illness was a mixed blessing.

      • Ladies, my figurative hat is off to you both. You are both, if I may be so bold, the very epitome of grace.

        1mime, the truth is that there is *always* a choice. *Always*. When times are tough you can literally just walk away (and some do), or climb into the bottle, or simply check out in a variety of other ways. It speaks volumes about your character that you *choose* to do otherwise. You husband obviously chose his spouse well. (Although, honestly, I suspect in most cases the choosing is actually in the other direction.)

        There was a great line spoken by Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius in, “The Gladiator,”

        “Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.”

        Not a completely terrible philosophy, all in all. As for myself, I’d rather die while living than go to my death having never lived at all. I take prudent steps to ensure my safety and security, but in the end such things are illusory phantasms. So I continue to enjoy my motorcycles and my outdoors adventures, and if my Maker should call me home whilst I’m pursuing such pastimes, then so be it.

        In much the same vein I’m loathe to trade freedom for security, for while the is first is my own, the second is not, and can be taken by the vagaries of chance at any time, regardless of what any politician promises to the contrary.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Tracy. Live life to the fullest. Freedomdoesn’t always look like we expected it to. Life throws curve balls, and, even though I’m a pretty good catcher, there are challenges. As Big Willy said, support your man and be glad for it. That’s the vow I took and will keep. Things could be much more difficult if I were older, we had fewer resources (private home care is really expensive, but so important), or I was in poor health. My hat is off to Tutta for not only caring for her mother but cherishing the time they shared.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tracy – Sam Harris has much to say about the “it is always now” philosophy you suggest, though I pretty much know you come to that conclusion from a largely different direction. It is at once curious and sad that those most afraid of dying act the most afraid of living as well.

        [Apologies for barging into the conversation, gals!]

  11. BigWilly says:

    Congratulations, I’ll be sure to read it.

  12. Tuttabella says:

    Congrats. I downloaded the book for free with my Kindle Unlimited subscription. (I hope you still get a percentage
    of the proceeds.) I read through the table of contents and smiled as I recognized the title of almost every chapter as the same as the titles of your past blog entries. But I saw no mention of the minimum income in the table of contents?

    I went straight to the section about social media vs social capital and was struck by 2 concepts — that social media creates a false sense of intimacy; and that participating in political social media risks being just an intake of empty calories, with little substance, if we’re not careful.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I like the sincere, earnest tone of the author — a rarity in today’s snark-filled political environment. This.book.is not about.getting people.riled up. It’s to.make.us more mindful and aware of the situation. It has a grounding, even sobering effect. In that way it reminds me of the.Coates article about reparations.

    • goplifer says:

      Thanks for the comment. That concern kind of hangs over the writing here. Always a little nervous about getting so wound up in doing this that I can’t keep track of what’s happening on my street.

  13. GG says:

    Congratulations. Sounds like a great book. I will definitely download it.

  14. stephen says:

    Just downloaded the book. I look forward to reading it tonight.

  15. vikinghou says:

    Congratulations Chris. I will download the book and read it. Maybe Laurence O’Donnell will have you on his show since he has already acknowledged your Blue Wall ideas.

  16. EJ says:

    Congratulations Chris!

  17. blogimus says:

    Congratulations. And I will certainly read and review your book. I look forward to it. And thank you for continuing to shine a light on the radical element ruining not only the Republican Party but the entire government.

  18. antimule says:

    Is it possible to acquire free book w/o kindle?

    • goplifer says:

      Until August it will only be available via Amazon. After that period has expired it will be available on Google, Apple, etc. Should be able to do another free promotion once I add another platform.

  19. 1mime says:

    Congrats, Lifer, on your book! Here’s hoping you are able to reach more people and impact the positive change you advocate. I have ordered my copy and look forward to reading it. Love the cover! Really creative and fun. May you make a bundle AND make more converts for good government.

    Hope your trip was super. See you on your book tour if you get to the Houston area! Maybe I’ll get to meet some of the rest of the gang as well. That would be nice.

    • Doug says:

      “May you make a bundle AND make more converts for good government.”

      Well, I hope he makes a bundle. 😉

      Congrats, Chris. Just bought a copy.

      • 1mime says:

        Aw, Doug, we both want good government, we just want to get there in different ways (-:

  20. neko says:

    awesome!

  21. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Ha! Way to go!

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