Reason, Justice, and Common Sense, by Leonard A. Semas
Review by W. J. Rayment / ConservativeBookstore -- It has fallen to my lot to write two back-to-back book reviews of essay collections. The other, How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth is composed of essays by the world's purported thinkers. Most of the essays are impractical and bear no real connection with reality, often even mis-diagnosing what the world's problems actually are. Meanwhile, in "Reason, Justice, and Common Sense: A Collection of Essays from the Sierra Sage", one man, Leonard A. Semas, has managed to speak to the issues intelligently, propose concrete solutions, and keep my attention all at the same time.
The Sierra Sage is a conservative website and magazine that addresses current politics from a philosophic perspective. As editor Mr. Semas has done yeoman work in an effort to inform the electorate on how things really work, and explain why conservatism is the best way to deal with the world's problems. This collection of essays is drawn from the best of his writing over the last several years.
I found the essay on "Failed Systems: The Law" to be particularly engrossing. It describes the mass of laws that come out of Congress (and the various state houses) daily as being cumbersome, burdensome, and corrupting. Mr. Semas voices a concern I have long had about Congress, that it reacts to every news item as if the exceptional event requires some form of legislation. When, in fact, the laws in place, if they had been enforced in the first place would have handled it, or, conversely, the laws in place were the root cause of it. He makes some practical suggestions on how to curb the epidemic proliferation of laws.
The ability to create new legislation must be reined in. I would suggest allowing the introduction of new bills in only alternate legislative sessions. In the remaining sessions, actions would be limited to the abolition, consolidation, or simplification of existing laws...All new laws should have "sunset provisions to ensure that they are truly necessary in relation to the cost of their implementation and enforcement, and after a reasonable time to allow for evaluation...All elected officials should serve limited terms for reasonable total periods of 6-12 years...Reading of all legislation should be mandatory, and a reasonable time allowed for such reading - say 2 weeks...Lastly, all laws should include citation of the constitutional authority by which they are authorized.
Whether or not you agree with his suggestions, at least he is willing to propose clear solutions. For example, I personally take exception to term limits. I figure we deserve the people we elect, and we should have the opportunity to get what we deserve. However, I would back his other ideas.
Though the essays often address timely subjects, they are timeless and can profitably be read today, tomorrow, and far into the future, as the concepts are broad and applicable to any age of history. Reading through these essays is an excellent way to improve your understanding of conservatism, and form your own opinion on important issues. Highly Recommended.
Reason, Justice, and Common Sense: A Collection of Essays From the Sierra Sage, by Leonard A. Semas is available at Amazon.