Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy

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Crown Publishing Group, Apr 24, 2018 - Political Science - 480 pages
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An urgent argument that America and other democracies are in peril because they have lost the will to defend the values and institutions that sustain freedom and prosperity.
 
“Epic and debate-shifting.”—David Brooks, New York Times
 
Only once in the last 250,000 years have humans stumbled upon a way to lift ourselves out of the endless cycle of poverty, hunger, and war that defines most of history. If democracy, individualism, and the free market were humankind’s destiny, they should have appeared and taken hold a bit earlier in the evolutionary record. The emergence of freedom and prosperity was nothing short of a miracle.
 
As Americans we are doubly blessed, because the radical ideas that made the miracle possible were written not just into the Constitution but in our hearts, laying the groundwork for our uniquely prosperous society. Those ideas are:
 
• Our rights come from God, not from the government. 

• The government belongs to us; we do not belong to it. 

• The individual is sovereign. We are all captains of our own souls, not bound by the circumstances of our birth. 

• The fruits of our labors belong to us.

 
In the last few decades, these political virtues have been turned into vices. As we are increasingly taught to view our traditions as a system of oppression, exploitation, and privilege, the principles of liberty and the rule of law are under attack from left and right. For the West to survive, we must renew our sense of gratitude for what our civilization has given us and rediscover the ideals and habits of the heart that led us out of the bloody muck of the past—or back to the muck we will go.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ebethe - LibraryThing

Good subject. the Miracle, which equals the birth of capitalism and classical liberalism, and its tension with nationalism, populism and tribalism. The end message is how people are down on capitalism ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RoseCityReader - LibraryThing

Despite it's grim title, this is essentially an optimistic book, only because Goldberg makes a good case for saving American Democracy. And he does it with equal amounts of philosophy, political argument, and humor. It's a great read. Read full review

Contents

pArt i
3
THE STATE A Myth Agreed Upon
69
THE BIRTH of CAPITALISM A Glorious Accident
88
THE ETERNAL BATTLE Reason Versus the Search for Meaning
120
THE AMERICAN MIRACLE They Put It in Writing
142
THE ELITES Aristocrats Unchained
165
THE PROGREssive ERA The Birth of the Living Constitution and
176
TRIBALISM ToDAY Nationalism Populism and Identity Politics
209
THE FAMILYs Losing WAR AGAINST BARBARISM
262
THE TRUMPIAN ERA The Perils of Populism
278
THINGs FALL APART The American Experiment at Risk
299
Decline Is a Choice
331
Human Progress
353
Notes
381
Acknowledgments
437
Copyright

Pop CULTURE Politics Godzilla Rock Roll and the Romantic
237

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About the author (2018)

Jonah Goldberg holds the Cliff Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a Los Angeles Times columnist and member of the “Fox News All-Stars,” and he appears regularly on NPR’s Morning Edition. In 2019 Goldberg stepped down as a senior editor at National Review after twenty-one years at the magazine.

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