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NEXT AMERICAN NATION: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution Paperback – July 5, 1996
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Michael Lind's unsettling and ambitious new book brilliantly challenges the culture-war extremists of both the right and the left, develops a sweeping reinterpretation of American history, and offers an original vision of a better American future. Even at points of disagreement, I am greatly impressed by the toughness of Lind's intellect, the breadth of his knowledge, and the decency of his aspirations for our country. This book may well prove to be the most consequential book of the year--and several years to come. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
New Republic editor Lind offers a neoliberal agenda for changing conceptions of national identity.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
The book's middle chapters are a devastating critique of today's status quo. Lind finds fault across the political spectrum. "Since the 1970s ... racial preference policies, associated with the political left, have been extended into one area of American life after another ... [Meanwhile] government policies unfavorable to labor, of the kind one thinks of as conservative, have been pursued under both Republican and Democratic administrations." However, "In reality there is no contradiction between left-wing civil rights policy and right-wing economics."
Instead of threatening the system, multiculturalism is corporate America's secret weapon. In the early 1970s it was President Nixon who instituted the first great wave of affirmative action and school busing, with the intent of driving a wedge between the labor and civil rights movements. (The strategy worked.) After the 1990 census, the first Bush administration collaborated with the civil rights establishment to reapportion and create as many black and Hispanic congressional districts as possible, thereby pulling the rug out from under white Democrats in surrounding districts and making it easier for the GOP to win control of Congress in 1994. As Lind notes: "Tokenism provides suitably 'progressive' camoflauge for a system of divide-and-rule politics ... Without the political division of wage-earning white, black and Hispanic Americans along racial lines, it is doubtful that the white overclass would have been able to carry out its agenda of destroying unions, reducing wages, cutting employee benefits, replacing full-time workers with temps, and shifting the burden of taxation from the rich to the middle class, with so little effective opposition."
Today there is no two-party system in the U.S. Rather, we have a one and a half party system -- a socially conservative corporate party (the Republicans) and a socially liberal corporate party (the Democrats). The "conservative" elites on Wall Street and the "liberal" elites in Hollywood both support outrageously high rates of immigration, affirmative action, and a dogmatic commitment to free trade.
Lind puts forward a series of policy proposals that are an iconoclastic blend of conservatism and liberalism. Lind favors a system of "proportional voting" that would blow up the two-party duopoly and open the door to new parties and policy options. He would break the grip of special interests by banning all paid political advertising and replacing it with free and equal media time and mandatory debates. He would raise wages by banning unskilled immigrants (and potential terrorists) from entering the country and by repealing laws that encourage the use of temp labor. He similarly favors a "social tariff" on Third World imports. (Lind is not a knee-jerk protectionist; he opposes tariff barriers between First World countries.) He supports the repeal of affirmative action, not only for women and nonwhites but especially for wealthy white kids who secretly benefit from "legacy preference" in college admissions. He favors a "war on oligarchy" that would drastically reform the legal and medical professions too.
This is an amazingly original and bracing book. Don't hold your breath waiting for Lind's ideas to be implemented any time soon. But he brilliantly spells them out, and that's the essential first step.