Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Reading List:
Kevin Phillips, Theodore H. White

Poor Rip and Read. I have been neglecting it of late. I’ve not really been able to clear off a lot of time to write in my blog, nor read the blogs of others. Work has been busy, and there are many other changes swelling in my life as well.

What little free time I have been able to find, I’ve spent reading. And wishing I could find just a little more time in the day to write about what I’ve been reading.

One amazing read has been Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. The dust jacket sums up Phillips’ argument:

From Ancient Rome to the British Empire, Phillips demonstrates that every world-dominating power has been brought down by an overlapping set of problems: a foolish combination of global overreach, militant religion, diminishing resources, and ballooning debt. [This is] exactly the nexus of ills that has come to define America’s political and economic identity at the start of this century.”

It was a fascinating and frightening read. But it helped me begin to understand much that has happened in the last few years that seemed otherwise inexplicable to me.

This morning, I read the preface of Theodore H. White’s America In Search of Itself: The Making of the President: 1956-1980.

I came across a couple of quotes which I just had to share:

  • “American [academia]contributed so largely to the victory [in World War 2]…and such thinkers would go on to achieve in American life the status of a mandarinate until, like the Chinese mandarins, they lost touch with reality”

  • “Nowhere was a warning [to liberals, overstepping themselves in the 1960s] more clearly voiced than by one of the dominant liberals of the time, John Gardner, then Secretary of Health-Education-Welfare: “ ‘There are some people who have…a vending machine concept of social change. You put a coin in and out comes a piece of candy. If you have a social problem you pass a law and out comes the solution.’ ”

  • “The trouble with the liberal idea was that liberals, looking back, could not distinguish between their genuine triumphs and their failures. Their peril in the eighties would be that the good they had done might be washed away with their blunders.”

  • and lastly:

  • “Reagan would probably be the last United States President to have worn a uniform in World War 2—unless his Vice-President, George [H.W.] Bush, succeed him, in which case, Bush, a genuine war hero, might very well be remembered as the last national leader ever to have served in actual combat.”

Now, as Bush’s son and his cronies, men who escaped combat when they did their service, lead us through a disastrous war, I can’t but help be amazed at the accuracy of White’s prediction…after all….the book was penned in 1982!


    Biby Cletus said...

    Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

    Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

    Biby Cletus

    Alex said...

    Thanks a lot for stopping by...looks like you really ARE on the other side of the moon! India?

    Hope to "see" you here again.