Debut author Nottrodt uses reason and logic to justify a very specific way of looking at the world.
According to the author, there was once a time when marriage was truly valued, responsibility was prized, streets were safer, men were the heads of their households, women were not “obliged to do double duty as mothers and wage-earners,” and tax rates were low. The sexual revolution in the 1960s, along with the popularization of moral relativism, changed all that, she says, and she asserts that things have continued to get worse. Hoping to rein in the immoral behavior that she sees throughout the world with principles of logic and reason, Nottrodt revisits her college ethics book, Man as Man by Jesuit priest Thomas J. Higgins, which emphasizes the idea of natural law: “It is the inward monitor that determines the right or wrong of human activities,” Nottrodt writes. She then works her way through classic philosophical and social quandaries, such as virtue, happiness, belief, and unbelief, drawing primarily from Higgins but also pulling quotes from William Shakespeare, Confucius, and classical Western philosophers to build logical arguments for her conservative or religious premises. The author then switches gears, sharing stories from a writing class. In these, she writes of her time skiing in Switzerland and her encounter with a wild animal in her home, and offers a short history lesson regarding the bells in Baltimore City Hall. These pieces are sweetly told but unlikely to gain more than mild reactions. Nottrodt’s ethics, however, are sure to infuriate some readers; progressives, for instance, may scoff at the book’s arguments for traditional family structures and gender roles, and assertions such as, “Socialism is a violation of natural rights.” But although the author’s conclusions do tend toward a specific conservative, Christian viewpoint, she does make real efforts to temper her ideas and present them as evenly and fairly as possible. Her early, detailed explanation of how syllogisms work, for instance, shows an admirable desire to share her passion for proper reasoning—but the subsequent arguments still won’t convince everyone.
Short philosophical writings that will only please those who already agree with the author’s conclusions.