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Warning Signs
By Alan Caruba
Merril Press
PB, 130 pgs. US$15
ISBN: 0-9367-8335-4

Conservatism's artillery battery

By Steven Martinovich
web posted March 17, 2003

Warning SignsThere is a danger in describing yourself as the most opinionated man in America, as the publicity material accompanying Alan Caruba's Warning Signs does, given how many people are up for the title. Any one of America's barbers or cab drivers are also potential candidates and there are more than a few pundits who could give them a run for their money. Whether Caruba fits the bill is up for debate but his recently released collection of columns does build a strong case for his inclusion amongst their ranks.

It's hard to visit a conservative web site these days without bumping into one of his columns. A generalist, Caruba doesn't stick to one specialty but instead writes about whatever strikes his fancy. The long list of topics that Warning Signs addresses includes the environment, animal rights, junk science, immigration, militant Islam and the Middle East, global politics and education. Any recent hot button topic has probably been addressed by Caruba in recent years.

It's a surprise then to learn that Caruba's conversion to conservatism was relatively recent. A liberal for most of his life, it wasn't until the Reagan years that he became a confirmed conservative, a move solidified by the Clinton administration. Warning Signs shows that he's made up for those lost years with essays eviscerating every sacred cow of the left.

Take, for example, his essays on education. Pointing out correctly that federal government involvement in education goes against the Constitution, Caruba argues that the system is increasingly being used to indoctrinate children "in values contrary to those on which this nation was based" and that the Department of Education was modeled on Communist theories, more interested in behavior modification then teaching children the basic necessities.

The guns he turns on the environmentalist movement are no less explosive. Decrying it as a "facade of Communism," Caruba describes environmentalists employed by the government as a fifth column. The movement as a whole, he writes, seeks nothing less than to stall human progress and drag it back into a sylvan past that never existed.

"From the 'Alar' hoax about apples, to claims that cell phones cause brain damage, to attacks on genetically modified food and seeds, to allegations about phthalates in plastics, the Greens continue to seek every way possible to thwart any progress that might benefit mankind. In the process, they perpetrate a form of benign genocide."

There's no denying that Caruba calls them as he sees them. Adopting a take no prisoners approach, he clearly enjoys the important task of debating the left about the important issues of the day. As Caruba states in his introduction, he is "very fond of facts. They are hard to refute." Pity the poor activist who isn't prepared to debate someone as informed as Caruba.

Though there are some problems with Warning Signs, there are several distracting grammatical and syntactical errors that an outside editor should have caught and it would have been useful to have publication dates for all of the essays, it is nonetheless an enjoyable, informative and sometimes uncomfortable romp through some very important issues.

Regardless of whether you agree with him, and it's an understatement to say that he can be quite controversial, Caruba's commentaries provide an essential service. With a mainstream media that largely accepts unquestioningly input from the left, it's more important now than ever to have alternate voices fact checking and interpreting what's going on in these turbulent times. The most opinionated man in America? Perhaps. One of the most useful? Definitely.

Steven Martinovich is a freelance writer in Sudbury, Ontario.

Buy Alan Caruba's Warning Signs at Amazon.com for only $15 or order it direct from the author here.

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