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92 of 117 people found this helpful
on October 4, 2010
You might think that a book discussing the eventual collapse of the U.S. government seems wildly speculative, over-the-top, or just plain crazy. But a series of profound national events, starting with the 2000 Presidential Coup by the Supreme Court and continuing forward though 9/11, two failed wars, Hurricane Katrina, exploding national debt, the Great Recession and the BP Oil Spill have shown the U.S. government to be simultaneously corrupt beyond redemption, and wholly unwilling/unable to effectively respond to any sort of real crisis facing the population. The icing on the cake was the presidency of Barack Obama, once thought to be the last, best hope for a decent federal government, but now revealed to be the ultimate in cynicism or ineffectuality, whichever way you see it.
And if you think it's far-fetched or fantastic to contemplate the end of the federal government, ask yourself: How will the U.S. resolve its national debt? The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? How will the U.S. solve 20% unemployment and 1 in 8 homeowners facing foreclosure? How will the U.S. respond when Global Warming starts to flood coastal cities and pollution gives 40% of its children asthma?
Which is more far-fetched: the government of the U.S. suddenly reversing a 35-year trend to become functional, wise, unified, effective and decisive? Or a continuation of the gradual, spiraling path toward a crash and burn?
Ted Rall is one of the smartest, most honest, best-educated and hardest working of American political thinkers, having put himself in harm's way twice by traveling in Afghanistan unescorted by the military. He knew from the get-go that the U.S. war in Afghanistan was doomed, and he was among the first to write of the U.S. gulags now circling the globe. He has consistently been ahead of the conventional wisdom and willing to speak of things others fear.
Because Rall is honest, well-educated, smart, brave, and factual, he has been partially marginalized by the mainstream media, and is likely to further marginalized as time goes on. Before our corporate/military/media complex succeeds in banishing him down the memory hole, however, we are afforded a chance to read his Magnum Opus.
Rall is one of many serious thinkers arguing the federal government no longer serves the people of the U.S. What distinguishes him from others is his argument that the system has deteriorated beyond all repair and that a new system is needed. There is no shortage of facts to aid him in his arguments, and anyone who has paid attention to current events for the last decade will know that financial, military and ecological crisis points are approaching.
Not only, says Rall, is the U.S. government FUBAR, but that external pressures and internal cancers dictate that it will inevitably collapse sooner or later, no matter what we do. Rall argues that since our government is doomed, that it is the responsibility for people of good will and good conscience to create an ideological framework and strategic plans so that when it all comes tumbling down, there will at least be the possibility of something better.
Adding weight to this argument is the existence of the Tea Party, the Christian Dominionists, the KKK, Aryan Nation, and other armed ultra-right wing hate groups already poised to take over, should the opportunity arise.
This book presents some grim and frightening prospects, but there are many of us who, after the last 10 years, have sensed that the things talked about in this book are possible.
I can't say if this book has persuaded me that revolution is the only path left for persons of conscience and good will...that, I will need to mull over. Also, I have a problem with violence...I think it is desirable to take action through non-violent means. Nonetheless, I am of the mindset that so profound is our government's disfunction and malfeasance, with such grave consequences for our nation and world, that revolution is an option that should be considered and discussed openly.