Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden

When You Ride Alone is a short and funny book with a lot of good points. It was published one year after 9/11, but I read the revised edition released last year, which as Maher says, isn't very revised at all. A lot of the problems he talks about are still problems today. Things like airport security aren't hot topics anymore, but that doesn't mean they're fixed. What I respect about Maher is that his views are really based on what he thinks, and not toeing some party line. He's seen as a complete bleeding heart liberal, but his preference for safety over political correctness and everything else shows he just says what he believes is right.

Despite the serious topics discussed, When You Ride Alone is a very quick read. It's structured around a bunch of posters styled like Government propoganda, with some of them directly based on real ones from the World War II era, like the one on the cover. They all make points that Bill expounds in the next few pages before moving on. A major theme is how society just doesn't sacrifice like it used to, and the Government hasn't done anything to really ask us to. Priorities are all screwed up. Not everything is bad - Maher makes the point that of all the superpowers that human civilization has seen, the United States is easily the least abusive of its status; but while not dominating others is good, declining to help them as much as we can isn't. Even if you don't agree with most of his views, anyone could probably take something from this book.

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