Book Review of 'Common Sense Rediscovered' by Dale M. Herder

By Gustav Uhlich
Volume 15, Number 2 (Winter 2004-2005)
Issue theme: "Militant Islam and the West: taking jihad seriously"

Common Sesne Rediscovered: Lessons from the Terrorist Attack on America

by Dale M. Herder

Laingsburg, MI: DMH and Associates

107 pages, $8.95

This is an extraordinary book! In 97 short pages Dale Herder take a significant step in assembling a practical strategy for responding to the 9/11 catastrophe. We are compelled to react. How we act is what counts.

After a review of our emergence as the most powerful free nation, and a brief look at the persistent misery imposed on countless people in the Arab world, Herder remind us of the crucial role common sense plays in the conduct of human affairs.

An appeal to Common Sense by Thomas Paine in 1776 proved very effective in uniting the thirteen colonies in their struggle against British domination. Although currently we are ourselves in the dominant position, we must find a common sense solution to the ongoing conflict with cultures that are stuck in their traditional ideologies; we need to embrace enlightenment rather than our own religious fundamentalism, political dogmatism, and economic imperialism.

In presenting his "Ten Lessons that Can Lead to Action," the author draws attention to problems on our home front, including such touchy subjects as immigration rules, freedom of expression, and our Middle East policy. How can we best define our national identity? Can we promote the assimilation of those who hold fundamentally incompatible religious and political views? How can we foster credibility for our own ideals and aspirations?

It will take determined effort and endurance to come up with answers to these and many other questions. Yet, if we fail to activate our mental potential in that direction, we are doomed to repeat the historical drama of rising and falling superpowers. Herder leaves the reader with no doubt what we need is a renaissance of common sense.

The author's conclusions are based on personal experience gained as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, as a longtime professor of history, and as a lecturer and consultant all over the world. It isn't necessary to agree with each and every one of his conclusions in order to appreciate the overall theme of his book unless we are prepared to use common sense in resolving our confrontation with terrorism, we are not likely to make much progress in winning that war. Quick fix solutions such as "catch and kill every suspected enemy" are not going to work in our favor.

Motivated by Herder's enlightening analysis of past and current events, the reader should be able to contribute his due share in the eternal struggle for survival and happiness for all.

The book is available for $8.95 from your nearest bookseller. The author lives in Charlevoix, Michigan and can be reached at:

About the author

Gustav A. Uhlich, M.D. is a retired gastroenterologist living in Petoskey, Michigan. He has written several contributions for the Social Contract.