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Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America Paperback – March 8, 2005
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"Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims... From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."
Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on the State of Virginia", response to query 17, (1781).
He starts strong, giving a litany of what he thinks is wrong with American politics and business life. But the more you listen to his positions on big business activities like Enron and WorldCom, you may find yourself thinking "but it's not like you were an outsider during all of this". Reich was in the Clinton White House. He was Secretary of Labor. He was there. Sure, Clinton didn't control the Congress, but people listen when a Cabinet Secretary talks. He didn't speak up then, so he waives a bit of his moral right to speak now.
2. This book isn't actually about Why Liberals Will Win. It's about what Robert Reich thinks is wrong with conservatism. That's fine, but you may find yourself waiting for the conclusion that never comes.
The book becomes a more interesting read today, with Barack Obama in the White House, than it was when it was released during the George W. Bush presidency and the liberal time in the wilderness. You can see how ideas like the ones Reich advocates are coming back into the national discourse. We'll see if it turns out he was right...
No, REASON fails because fair reason, that powerful engine of the Enlightenment and a mainstay of the Founding Fathers, has been short-circuited by 1) the socially corrosive bought-and-paid-for cant of the right-wing libertarian think tank crowd, 2) the intolerant and divisive fulminations of Christian Right and their self-appointed public scolds, and 3) the tendentious free-market fables told by the Chicago "School" to serve and protect the prerogatives of the wealthy. Perhaps most threatening of all to sweet reason is 4) the trillion megawatt transmission system carved out of the public airwaves that stuffs this quasi-philosophic farrago of half-truths and outright lies into the ears of a stunned American public.
Reich intends REASON as a kind of handbook for the politically moderate American who knows that the grand egalitarian tradition is under siege, wants to understand how the Radcons have done it, and wants to do something about it. Reich knows that many Americans who grew up in a more optimistic, yes, a kinder and gentler liberal America are at a loss in trying to understand and counter the manipulative rhetorical tricks and absolutist dogma of the Radcon crowd. (Radcon is Reich's shorthand for the new model conservative -- the radical conservative -- a species of political animal bearing little resemblance to either the traditional Burkean conservative,or to that moderate, fiscally conservative Republican who until just recently held the Radcon's revanchist tendencies in check.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have always enjoyed hearing, and reading, the views of Robert Reich so I thought I might enjoy one of his books. This book is such an eye opener. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ray Chanley
I have always been a conservative until the 2008 financial meltdown and the Bush tax cuts. Not that I like all of this liberal's ideas, but what the Republicans have caused in... Read morePublished 9 months ago by hassel hill jr
Secretary Reich has written an excellent book that explains radical conservatives to liberals, and if they would read it, a good description of what liberals think are radical... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Packrat
from a member of the ONLY presidential administration to actually reduce the national debtPublished 17 months ago by Chief Screw-Up