Patrick J. Buchanan's contentious premise in The Death of the West
is that the United States is no longer a healthy melting pot, but instead a confused, tottering "conglomeration of peoples with almost nothing in common." Relying on United Nations population statistics, and citing such diverse sources as Yogi Berra and Rhett Butler, Buchanan sees for America four "clear and present dangers": declining birth rates; uncontrolled immigration of peoples of "different colors, creed, and cultures"; a rise of "anti-Western" culture antithetical to established religious, cultural, and moral norms; and a "defection of ruling elites" to the idea of world government. His solutions include higher wages and tax breaks for parents than for singles, a dramatic rollback of immigration quotas, and a National History Bee. Buchanan's volatile, adamant book eschews any middle ground. Readers will either applaud his ideas or be repulsed by them. --H. O'Billovitch
From Publishers Weekly
"Historians may one day call `the pill' the suicide tablet of the West," writes former presidential candidate Buchanan in this cri de coeur regarding the perils that await Western civilization. And he is correct in his assessment that the advent of artificial contraception brought about huge changes in the ways American and European cultures dealt with sex, children and family. Buchanan, a staunch Roman Catholic and a conservative, feels that these changes were socially and politically disastrous. Worried about the declining birth rate of European-Americans and increased immigration from nonwhite countries, Buchanan predicts that people who are now celebrating diversity "will spend their golden years in a Third World America." Along with shifting racial demographics, Buchanan also frets about the changes in morality "rampant promiscuity and wholesale divorce and tax-payer funding of abortion." Buchanan is equally upfront about his position on homosexuality: "had the killers of Matthew Shepard chosen a sixteen-year-old girl rather than a twenty-one-year-old gay man, her rape-murder would have been to me an even greater evil." Fearful that American is being "de-Christianized," Buchanan argues that "while the prognosis is not good," America must reevaluate itself and reclaim its white, Christian origins; despite the current "coarseness of her manners, the decadence of her culture, or the sickness in her soul," the nation is worth saving. Buchanan's passionately expressed ideology will be too extreme for most readers, and its proud bigotry is unlikely to play well even among most conservatives.
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