Richard Lawrence's Reviews > Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy

Suicide of the West by Jonah Goldberg
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bookshelves: current-events, politics, social-commentary, economics

“A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
― John Adams, Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife

This book is a great conversation starter and conversations are what are sorely needed at this point in our country's history. Casting aside the "it can't happen here" head-in-the-sand position the author shows that yes, Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics can and are happening here and, more importantly gives a lucid and powerful explanation why this is so and what we need to do to counter them.

This is first and foremost a secular argument; the author states plainly in the beginning of the book that you will not find God in these pages. This is befitting for a number of reasons. First, it puts the ideas of casting people in the "good" and "evil" camps, which is the surest way to end a conversation and start an argument, on the shelf. Secondly, a secular nation such as ours deserves a secular argument when defending the principles it is based on. These principles are the principles that came out of the enlightenment and are a scant few hundred years old. In contrast, our species is tens of thousands of years old and the societal systems we have evolved under are what we call Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics. They "feel" right to us. In contrast, the Enlightenment values of inalienable rights, democracy and the rule of law are foreign to our intuitions and, as such, take work. Work to understand them, work to implement them and work to keep them as the principles of our society. The arguments put forth in defense of this conjecture are lucid and powerful. One may not agree with everything but you will have your work cut out for you rebutting them. Sophistry and jingoism won't do.
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Reading Progress

November 15, 2018 – Started Reading
November 15, 2018 – Shelved
December 8, 2018 – Shelved as: current-events
December 8, 2018 – Shelved as: politics
December 8, 2018 – Shelved as: social-commentary
December 8, 2018 – Shelved as: economics
December 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

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