on May 28, 1998
Naylor and Willimon offer a simple yet challenging suggestion to our churches, schools, universities, and government: grow smaller, not bigger. In so doing, the authors manage to make a credible case for seccession for states.
This book will make you reinvestigate your constitutional views and actually ponder the plausibility of a peaceful breakup or splitoff of the United States. These radical ideas are apt to gain a mainstream following, particularly for those disenfranchised with the state of our current welfare, social security, and public school systems. My only complaint with the book was that the end came too soon.
on November 24, 1997
"Very thoughtful! I enojoyed Downsizing the U.S.A. very much." Richard D. Lamm, former Governor of Colorado; Director, Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues, University of Denver
"Legions of Americans, stalled in traffic jams or holding for the next available customer representative on the telephone, will agree with this book's central thesis: big is bad." Publisher's Weekly
"Practically everywhere [Naylor and Willimon] turn they see Americans paying a high price for the bigness and complexity of modern society, and they warn that imposed unity and universality are false solutions. They invoke the image of the U.S. as a modern-day Babel. Downsizing becomes a tool for clearing away the physical and spiritual clutter in our lives to help us discover that less really can be more." Booklist
"The company's too big to be profitable, so it "downsizes," the trendy word for laying people off. Naylor and Willimon go the corporate managers one better and suggest downsizing everything--cities, government, schools, churches, the military, and the welfare system. The future of business, and of people, lies locally, they argue." The Associated Press
on July 28, 1998
If you also believe the answer to many of our social woes is a return to "community" and a reverse course away from impersonalization, the arguments in this book will appeal to you. More than an emotional cry for "smaller is better", rather one based on deep intellectual and rational thinking.
on July 26, 2015
Mr. Naylor seems to take a look at all of our enormous social problems and then cynically say "Eh, screw it." Mr. Naylor, who is a horrendous author of stupendous nonsense, seems utterly convinced that secession, a process that lead to incredible violence the first time, is now, magically, going to go smoothly (thanks to his input of course). He seems terribly convince that the incredible feelings of anger and distrust that lead him to this conclusion are magically shared by everyone in states like Vermont and elsewhere. Taking his conceit even further, the group Mr. Naylor has inspired, the Second Vermont Republic, have taken their insanity to an international level and advocated for the break up of China and Russia. Which is hilarious. Mr. Naylor and his group seem convinced that the world should downsize into peaceful, wealthy states like Sweden and Switzerland. Anyone with even partial knowledge of the history of those European states knows how laughable that is. Especially Switzerland, a country that is only sustainable and wealthy thanks to it's many centuries of war profiteering. Mr. Naylor lives in a fantasy world and is a terrible writer.
on October 15, 1998
This book could be described as two liberals departing the "Babel" of Big Government Socialism looking for the "Promised Land" of Small Town Grass Roots, Feel Good, Ben & Jerry Socialism. While they've given up on "Big Government" solutions, as true liberals they can't for the life of them endorse home schooling as at least a possible solution or see that federalism as defined in the Constitution (not the mess we have now) WAS the decentralized state they now long for! While the quote the Bible to prove their point "sort of", it's really just to justify the cover illustration of the tower of Babel. It's as if the Bible were silent on anything else related to their subject! I guess the sorta-religious Eerdmann publishing house wanted to go "mainstream", but Amy Grant these guys ain't.
I will take what they say about not buying things at Wal Mart and those nasty mail order houses to "Save America" if they give all the royalties earned from sales of their book here at the "dreaded" amazon.com over to charity!
Some good stuff here. This work is another symptom that Big Government liberalism is falling apart and people who thought they were "politically correct" are becoming "Buchanan Democrats" who are "socially conservative" yet can't swallow the Republican worship of the "free market diety".