Top positive review
137 people found this helpful
Who Will Hear This Wake Up Call?
on March 21, 2006
Kevin Phillips is one of the most widely read and acclaimed in this field. Of his many works, "The Emerging Republican
Majority" written 40 years ago in 1969, gives him the credibility, as well as his 13 other books since. "American Theocracy" discusses the 5 decades of growth many recent developments occurring in the US political, economic, religious and cultural realm in the GOP. He supports his points with lots of research and referencing.
Phillips states the GOP and US government are "a fusion of
petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic
Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex."
At one time, the GOP was the party of stability, order, low taxes, low spending, and small government (in theory at least).
The author notes the transition of the GOP to what many others think and believe today: In 2006, it's over. The Republican party can never argue again that it's the party of low taxes and spending, and small government. The 'big-government GOP' began long before The G.W . Bush administration, but Bush 43 has greatly exacerbated to shift to big spending, big
government, conglomerate control, and the erosion of personal
liberties and freedom of speech. Today there is a Cult of Personality and a lack of critical thought and even disdain -- to the slightest questioning or criticism of American domestic and foreign policy: Bushbots. Federal bureaucratic interference in education with the "No Child Left Behind," Act, and the promulgation of the pseudo-scientific "Intelligent Design." The federal government's interference in the Schiavo case is another clear example of many, noted in "American Theocracy."
"a preference for conspicuous consumption over energy efficiency and conservation,"
"Never before have political leaders urged . . . large-scale
indebtedness on American consumers to rally the economy,"
It was Phillips who coined the well-know term "The Sunbelt. Well, here's another: "National-Debt Culture."
Federal deficits, Social Security, Corporate debt, state & Local
bonds, and massive trade imbalances. "The Financialization of America."
American Per Capita Debt Ratios at Historical All-Time Highs:
On a per capita level, the real estate boom was in part caused by the 1997 "no roll-over" capital gains tax, subsequent tech crash in 2000, and the lowed interest rates in decades.
So what did people do as a result of the boom? Buy more stuff. How? By using their home equity as an ATM machine as they falsely believed they were "wealthier." Will there be consequences?
Perhaps. Perhaps, not.
Petro-Politics and the Military-Industrial Complex:
The U.S. government learned during WWII that high military and defense spending helps the US economy, provides jobs which in turn, spur consumer spending, while redistributing wealth to corporations (defense contracting companies).
When troops first went into Iraq, what was the first thing they
secured? the Iraqi Oil Ministry, and several oil refineries. One of the primary and public arguments for the invasion of Iraq by the US government was 1. it would help the U.S. economy and 2. it would cause oil prices to decline.
As for Phillip's latest, even more convincing is his perspective. He isn't a fan of the Royal Bush family, NOR does he see Hillary as a viable and effective alternative. If Americans can stop pretending that parties are really that different on the political spectrum they can realize, that American culture, habits and behaviour, will be the
deciding factor. However I don't see it happening.
This is a breakthrough book that will receive attention. It's not the first book published recently, that offers these opinions. But it's the credentials of the author, Kevin Phillips that will spur discussion. Things won't change; but things will be discussed. His objective historical notes about previously fallen Empires involved several historical facts that have occurred to other great powers in the past: global usurpation, religious intransigence, debt, and dependency on resources that are *outside* of the nation.
What Phillips is describing is not Earth shattering, bold, nor brave. Because it's a truthful observation based on statistical facts, not necessarily just opinion. And, it's a concept that happens to ALL empires over the course of world history. The Roman Empire declined over a period of 300 to 400 years. The United States does not seem to have that long. I suspect when it starts, which may be now, it will take 50 to 100 years. However, when it will begin exactly , is what we don't know. Like all of history, time moves on, and so does Earth's civilization.
Worth noting again, readers must disassociate themselves from their own natural biases. Like all books regarding the current political, cultural, and religious landscape: don't focus on opposing sides and viewpoints. Focus on the book's various perspectives and then apply to your perceptions. Then, deconstruct this book by yourself.