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Our Endangered Values
America's Moral Crisis
President Jimmy Carter


Book Review by Kim Hughs @ Amazon

Even at his most irate, Jimmy Carter projects cool, communicating with a poise that commands attention while gently
signaling to opponents that they better do their homework before mounting any sort of debate. Perhaps that's why
the former president, Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and bestselling author ranks as one of the planet's most respected
voices in the areas of human rights, diplomacy, and good government. And when a clearly agitated Carter suggests
America is on a slippery slope, globally speaking, as he does throughout Our Endangered Values: America's Moral
Crisis, it's wise to pay heed even if the book's overriding Christian perspective may trip cautionary bells in secular
readers.

More a set of loosely connected essays than a single, precise argument, Our Endangered Values outlines Carter's
worldview while pondering what he posits are key problems looming in the 21st century. Thematic touchstones such
as the war, environmental negligence, civil liberties, the rich-poor divide, and the separation of church and state
form the book's backbone, with Carter filtering each through the prism of his own vast experience. He doesn't much
like what he sees. Though much of the data Carter presents to support his arguments is familiar, it's worth repeating
that "the rate of firearm homicides in the United States is nineteen times higher than that of 35 other high-income
countries combined." That "In addition to imprisonment, the United States of America stands almost alone in the
world in our fascination with the death penalty, and our few remaining companions are regimes with a lack of respect
for basic human rights." That when it comes to sharing the wealth with poor nations "Americans are the stingiest of
all industrialized nations. We allow about one-thirtieth as much as is commonly believed [or] sixteen cents out of
each $100 of the gross national income." America: land of the free, home of the brave? Try global bully with a bad
attitude and reckless sense of entitlement.

Carter spends significant time contextualizing his own spirituality, as if to underscore the urgency of his message
that fundamentalism in any form is bad, especially when it encroaches on government. Indeed, Carter persuasively
links fundamentalism to harmful policy, the subjugation of women, general xenophobia, and a host of other ills
occurring all around him. And while George W. Bush in particular and the current administration in general take
fewer clips on the chin than might be expected, Carter's arguments for common-sense change are deeply resonant
nonetheless.
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