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The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot Paperback – September 5, 2007
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Library Journal (starred review)-
This latest offering from best-selling author Wolf, The Beauty Myth, is a harbinger of an age that may finally see the patriarchal realm of political discourse usurped. Here is Wolf's compellingly and cogently argued political argument for civil rights, not women's rights. She contributes this call to action to a canon that from Plato and Aristotle to Hobbes and Locke and forward, with a few exceptions (e.g., Hannah Arendt), has been largely populated by men. Wolf's work is actually closer to the agitated, passionate polemics of Emma Goldman than the ponderous, philosophical musings of Arendt. Readers will appreciate her energy and urgency as she warns we are living through a dangerous "fascist shift" brought about by the Bush administration. Her chapters outline the "Ten Steps to Fascism" citing historical corollaries (as well as the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm), with headings like "Invoke an External and Internal Threat," "Establish Secret Prisons," and "Target Key Individuals." In other words, fascism can exist without dictatorship. Her book's publication through a small press in Vermont that is committed to "the politics and practice of sustainable living" rather than through a large trade house is itself a political act. Highly recommended for all collections.
"One of the most important books that's been written, certainly in the last decade or two, and perhaps in my lifetime."--Thom Hartmann, best-selling author and host of The Thom Hartmann Radio Program
"Naomi Wolf 's End of America is a vivid, urgent, mandatory wake-up call that addresses momentous issues of tyranny, democracy, and survival."--Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of the three-volume Eleanor Roosevelt and distinguished professor at John Jay College
"Naomi Wolf sounds the alarm for all American patriots. We must come together as a nation and recommit ourselves to the fundamental American idea that no president, whether Democrat or Republican, will ever be given unchecked power."--Wes Boyd, co-founder, MoveOn.org
"The framers of our Constitution fully understood that it can happen here. Patriots like Madison, Paine, and Franklin would certainly applaud Naomi Wolf and recognize her as a sister in their struggle."--Mark Crispin Miller, author of Fooled Again
"You will be shocked and disturbed by this book. Most Americans reject outright any comparison of post 9/11 America with the fascism and totalitarianism of Nazi Germany or Pinochet's Chile. Sadly, the parallels and similarities, what Wolf calls the 'echoes' between those societies and America today, are all too compelling."--Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights
From the Inside Flap
An impassioned call to action to Americans from all walks of life to restore the checks and balances and our time-honored protections against abuses of power outlined by our Founding Fathers.
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QUOTE page 27: "The Founders set out to prove that ordinary people could be entrusted with governing themselves in a state where no one could arbitrarily arrest them, lock them up, or torture them."
This book resonates with me, in part because for the past ten years I have been reading heavily and observing the decline of America in all respects--see my chapter on Paradigms of Failure in Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography), both free at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog (as will all my books, but I do recommend the Amazon hard copies).
I might mention that in recent years I have felt I am reading for all of us, and especially for my colleagues in the government who are good people trapped in a bad system. This book is a perfect counterpoint to the fictional angst in TYRANNICIDE (The Story of the Second American Revolution). Our White House is theater, our Congress is corrupt, Goldman Sachs is out of control, and as Thom Hartman puts it so well, we are Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents (Paperback)) at the same time that right here in America we have The Working Poor: Invisible in America and Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy.
The author is elegant, polite, and straight-forward. She compares the downturn in democracy here in the USA to the rise of Mussolini's Italy, Stalin's Russia, and Hitler's Germany, pointing out that Mussolini and Hitler both came to power "legally" within a democracy.
Early on the author mentions the Alien & Sedition Act and this resonates with me, I took a lot of hits for my review of What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States from saying similar things back then.
The heart of the book is a chapter on each of what the author calls the ten steps to dictatorship, and I list them here after observing that the author hits it out of the park in pointing out that all previous wars were of limited duration, while the Global War on Terror (GWOT) is the first open-ended constant state of emergency to be declared in America.
01 Invoke an External and Internal Threat
02 Establish Secret Prisons
03 Develop a Paramilitary Force
04 Surveil Ordinary Citizens
05 Infiltrate Citizens' Groups
06 Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens
07 Target Key Individuals
08 Restrict the Press
09 Cast Criticism as "Espionage" and Dissent as "Treason"
10 Subvert the Rule of Law
Virtually all 1500 books I have reviewed here at Amazon and in more easily sorted fashion at Phi Beta Iota support the tandem thesis that we have lost it here in America, and at the same time have imposed terrible--genocidal--costs on the rest of the world.
The author provides ample detail within each of the chapters and in my view is very restrained. She ends by calling for an American Awakening, and at the end are a full page "The American Freedom Campaign" and a half page "The Pledge of the American Freedom Campaign," both of which will be linked from Phi Beta Iota where I have more freedom to connect.
QUOTE page 29: "The Founders never expected us to fall asleep or get lazy. They counted on us to keep the web of the precious system intact so that an American despot could never arise. They trusted us to cherish liberty as they did. The price of liberty, the generation that debated and created the Constitution understood, is eternal vigilance."
The author does not seek to address the concentration of wealth or the many corruptions of our government and the two political parties that have sold out to Wall Street, but her bottom line word is the one we can all rally around: LIBERTY. We are no more free today than were the pigs in Animal Farm: Centennial Edition.
Three other books within my limit (see the other 1500 in 98 topical areas at Phi Beta Iota, all with links back to Amazon):
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country
I also think that some of Ms. Wolf's bias or personal experience in dealing with the administration has left an imprint on the book. I got a feeling that Ms. Wolf was a strong supporter of the Clinton administration and an equally strong critic of the Bush administration.
All in all, this book is a good one to read in the beginning of your political journey.
This assault comes from a small group of people who want to secure a `permanent majority' status in order to control State power (access to the executive) and State money (the budget).
War on Terror
The means of this assault by those `special interests' is the `War on Terror', which could `involve' the introduction of emergence decrees in order to close down civil liberties, criminalize dissent and create overall `military' tribunals.
By mythologizing and institutionalizing an external and internal threat - indefinitely - the `War on Terror' justifies and secures enormous and permanent security, surveillance and military budgets.
Democracy v. dictatorship
The ground of democracy is truth; the ground of dictatorship is assertion (lies).
Habeas corpus is the cornerstone of every democracy. A system without habeas corpus is the cornerstone of every dictatorship.
Fascism is an anti-democratic ideology that uses the threat of violence against the individual to subdue the institutions of civil society so that they in turn can be subordinated to the power of the State.
The aim of the `surveillance' authorities is the creation of a general existential fear and concomitantly an intimidated civil society, where you can lose your livelihood if you refuse to comply with the party line or if you say to a colleague that you voted against the grain. With `watch lists' people could have difficulty to get a job or travel, if they are `registered'.
By comparing measures taken by her government with those introduced by Nazi - and Stasi - Germany, by Mussolini's Italy or by Chile's Pinochet, Naomi Wolf sounds the alarm bell for all those who cherish liberty as an essential aspect of human life.
Her call to `save democracy' is a real one.
This pamphlet is a must read for all real democrats.