Saturday, April 25, 2020

Interview with Author Harvey Havel


A Rumination on the Role of Love During A Condition of Extreme Conservatism and Extreme Liberalism: A Political Essay

Independence Educational Publishers

1.      What inspired you to write your newest book?
I usually pay close attention to the news (television, radio, internet, and print), and ever since the Vietnam War, there has been polarization between conservative and liberal positions.  It started during the 1960s and really gained steam during the Clinton Administration, only to rear its ugly head now during the Trump Administration.  Honestly, I have followed politics closely for most of my life, even as a young child when Jesse Jackson ran on his “Rainbow Coalition” platform, and I’ve never seen it get as bad as this.  I have never seen a polar split so wide between two opposing ideologies.  I knew that something had to be done about it.  But what could I do?  I am only a humble writer after all.  And meanwhile, I had close friends who refused to discuss politics because of their deep-seeded animosity towards the opinions of those they opposed.  As a result, I could not discuss how I felt with anyone.  I wanted to propose solutions to the mess that we’re in, or at least attempt to persuade others to head in that direction instead of miring themselves in a battle that has no real victor and is dangerously close to spinning out of control, especially now that we are closer to November 2020.  And this is what inspired me to write this book: my simple, impartial assessment and response to our current political climate in the hopes that we may steer clear through this storm to a better, more harmonious union among our citizenry.

2.      What is it about?
Basically, it builds on Dr. Martin Luther King’s study of Aristotle and his three forms of “Love”, which are Eros, Philia, and Agape.  Using each of these forms, I try to show how extreme conservatism and extreme liberalism, at their very least, have Eros, Philia, and Agape in common, and those commonalities of love can be used as starting points for better relations between the two polarized parties at this time.  It is a strong argument for d├ętente instead of conflict, a strong argument for the use of non-violence and elements of persuasion, rational, level-headed discussion and debate, and a return to the more traditional forms of conservativism and liberalism – not tearing each other’s throats out – but discussing our issues among colleagues of differing points of view to hammer out solutions to great divide our country finds herself in.  To do this, I propose relying on the discipline of political science and public choice theory as well as the newer generations and their incredible imaginations to create new governmental systems that function much better than our old binary form of democracy.

3.      Politics seems to turn off half the country—why?
Because half of the country that tunes it out of their lives is much better off and even much smarter, if you think about it, than the ones who pay close attention to it, like me!  Stare at this stuff too long, and you will find yourself in an insane asylum.  Ignorance is bliss in this case, and I really couldn’t blame any of them at all for the way politics affects them  It is much better to stay away from politics than to pay attention to it, there is no question.  But somehow, just like a tractor beam, it pulls you back in.  Whether you glance at a newspaper in the check-out line, watch a news break during your favorite program on television, or are hit with reminders of political life when you watch a movie, it is always there waiting to sink its teeth in again and again.  I respect and admire those who are turned off by it, for they are the ones who probably care the most about how terrible our country has been split apart as of late.  Ultimately, though, they will have little choice but to deal with it as we head deeper into this election period.

4.      The half that takes an interest is fiercely split along party lines. How do we break the deadlock?
We have to find things that we share in common.  We have to find policies that both parties believe in.  And most importantly, we have to put the well-being of our own country far ahead of our own self-interests.  This is very hard for anyone to do, but it must be done if we are to save our country from breaking apart in future, should this scenario happen multiple times in future.  We do, indeed, have a crisis in our democracy, and it is no one’s fault, and it is all of our faults.  I think we do have to rely on the best minds of political science to find that bridge, or at least imagine one where there is no bridge now.  We have to employ the colleges and the universities, not to bicker and argue about what policies are best, but to mend fences, finally, and to bridge gaps among deeply entrenched political positions so that consensus can be reached.  Once we get close enough, then we bring it to our public servants to implement these solutions within the policies they write, no matter how unexciting or compromising they may be.  We must remember that “compromise is not a dirty word,” especially now.

5.      Does President Trump get booted by Congress? Will he get re-elected?
He has already been impeached by the House, as we know, but I don’t think he will be convicted in the Senate.  I really don’t know if he’ll be re-elected.  If the economy continues to roll along as it has been as of this interview, he has a good chance of being re-elected, yes.  But really, I don’t know.

6.      What are five reasons someone must read your book?
I will try to come up with five, and thank you so much for the opportunity.

1)      To redirect the reader’s attention away from self-interest and towards a more collective interest that has the entire country in mind.
2)      To return to some ideas that have worked in the past regarding the forming of a more harmonious union rather than a union that is constantly at war with itself.
3)      To insist that even our greatest leaders were also human with real human problems and real human needs, and therefore, we need more humane solutions to the problems of today rather than the fierce vitriol and rhetoric that dominates our public discourse and the fierce reactions to real human social problems.
4)      To remind the reader of some of the things that have plagued all nations when times become difficult – such as bigotry and scapegoating and the need to blame “the other.”
5)      Finally, to give the reader much hope that there are people who are working on the problems that our country, as an entirety, faces, and that even though the reader may never hear of them or from them, there are indeed those out there who are working tirelessly to pull this country together instead of ripping it apart, either in a conscious or unconscious manner, despite the fact that this upcoming election does have to have a one-party victor.  In other words, there is still hope that we can get out of this alive, provided that we find things that we have in common and that we are willing to compromise.  When it comes to our condition, there is no winner or loser.  There is only the choice between existence and non-existence.

7.      What challenges did you overcome to move away from penning fiction to writing about politics?
I have always been interested in politics, so it wasn’t very difficult.  Plus, I studied a lot of political science and public choice theory in the school that I went to, so it has become second nature to follow the news and current events as well.  Currently, I am working on a book about September 11th and the events that led up to it, and this work is incredibly political.  I guess it’s something that I need to write about, despite how unpleasant the subject matter is.  I have written many essays on politics and current affairs as well, so it just makes sense at this time that I would blend the two fields of fiction and politics and hope the reader will find interest in what I am working on.  My other fiction has been mostly about unrequited love and the longing for a woman and things of that nature, so politics is a much welcome diversion from the every day.  Hopefully, I won’t have to return to my former subject matter, assuming all goes well!  I have hope that things will go well.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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