In American Individualism, Margaret Hoover focuses on what we know so far of the Millennial generation of 20- and 30-somethings who voted 2 to 1 for Barack Obama in 2008. The Millennials welcomed the campaigning Obama's theme of hope and change; yet today they often feel ignored and helpless in the Great Recession and the stagnant Obama administration recovery. Margaret Hoover argues that the Millennials are now open to either of the major parties--or to no politics at all--and that the Republicans can gain the loyalty of the next generation of leaders by emphasizing tolerance, certainty and common sense. Margaret Hoover opens her quest with an anecdote from the 2004 election of George W. Bush, when she realized that the Republicans were deaf to the ambitions and assumptions of the youngest voters with issues as critical as same-sex marriage, immigration, and abortion, and she turned to this extended essay to correct the errors. Margaret Hoover is the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover; she speaks carefully of Hebert Hoover's essay by the same title as this book, "American Individualism," which Hoover published in 1922 while he served the Harding administration as Secretary of Commerce. Herbert Hoover meant "American individualism" as a superior form of governance in competition with Communism, socialism, syndicalism, capitalism and autocracy. Margaret Hoover argues that her great-grandfather was an enthusiastic globalist who presented American individualism as an antidote to what he called "will-o'-the wisp of all breeds of socialism" that preaches altruism while it practices a cynical leveling that leaves bosses in charge.
Margaret Hoover emphasizes a reawakening of American individualism to counter the cynicism of the Federal government. Also, she joins her great-grandfather in seeing that American individualism is under assault not only by the dictator powers and the European Utopians but also by American politicians who aggrandize themselves with pious preaching of shared sacrifices, by which they mean higher taxes and fees on the so-called rich. Margaret Hoover is not uniformly rosy about the future: the Great Recession has frightened the young voters, the Millennials, into alienation and drift. Margaret Hoover does lay out a plan for attracting the Millennials with what she calls "competence over ideology." American Individualism is an edgily critical look at what the GOP is not doing or saying to attract the next generation. The elders of the GOP--I am one--will not welcome a change of music, but then growing old and moving on are not easy to accept. American Individualism is an earnest, often contrary, impatient measure of the GOP at the edge of another national election in which it can listen to the voice of Herbert Hoover through his great-granddaughter or it can lose the future electorate to Barack Obama and the Utopians.
A sad call to further degradation of traditional American valuesPublished on August 15, 2011 by Porter