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Book Review – Why America Failed, Morris Berman

September 29, 2019

Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial DeclineWhy America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline by Morris Berman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good overview of many of the problems in American society. But not much positive is offered as an alternative. Granted it is a difficult situation and we do seem hell bent on taking a bad social and economic approach to its logical conclusion. But also I think, this is before the recent events with Brexit, Trump and the fake news phenomenon, where there has began to be more blow back against the unitary liberal/neo-liberal and imperial vision of globalised progress that was being forced upon us. And also, its a fascinating thing, as Berman gives credit to certain values of the South in America that were lost in the civil war, excepting slavery, of course, and it is these people that are the main base of support for Donald Trump.

And yet Trump is an archetypal hustler of the northern states of the US, as he describes them in this book. So, what has happened here? Have people been hoodwinked into accepting an accelerated continuation of the hustling individualist way of life? Or is it something different? Given that his support is mainly coming from those who want to preserve community values. While it is those of the traditionally northern hustling type that are opposed to Trump, as they seem to have largely sold out to globalist values and liberal decadence taken to its extreme. An extreme he decries in his book. Would Morris Berman be willing to give any credit or allow any distinction or nuance here, or would he just carry on with his same old anti-american self hating narrative, a typical narrative of the liberal north actually in its last stages where it takes self deferral to unhealthy and ridiculous extremes in order to delude itself it is on the side of universal moral values that are a leftover from the imperial vision, where it confounds self denial  and hatred with love of all others?

This would reveal his true allegiances, but I would have to read his more recent work to get some idea of this. Nevertheless, for all its overly glass half empty approach, it is a very thought provoking perspective and worthwhile read, and he represents a worthy thinker that must be responded to by those who would like to provide or suggest different more positive alternatives for the future of US society.

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