American History, Book Review, Books, government, Politics

Review of “American Character”, A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good by Colin Woodard

I highly recommend this book if you’re somewhat mystified regarding how we go into the political quagmire we’re currently in.  Woodard has divided the book into nine chapters:

  1.  Maintaining Freedom
  2. Two Paths to Tyranny
  3. The Rival Americas
  4. The Elite and the Masses (1607-1876)
  5. The Rise and Fall of Lassez-Faire (1877-1930) ******
  6. The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933-1967) FASCINATING!!!
  7. Dixie Takes Over (1968-2008) REALLY PAINFUL-Hard to read
  8. Rise of the Radicals (2008-)  Unbelievable, including Obama
  9. A Lasting Union

If you can get through the hard parts after everybody was assassinated during Liberalism (1933-67), Chapter 9, where he puts forward his ideas is great!

Democracy is no easy task and we are struggling.  That is clear from all the facts and quotes he has footnoted.  This book brings to light the fact that only watching the way the media portrays the behavior and action of politicians are very misleading.  You have to read FACTS, quotes, proof of what they’ve said and done to have the full picture.  Unless you read American History you won’t know the truth.

Woodard is an excellent writer and knows his history.  He puts the facts right out there for us to chew on and couches nothing at all.  It’s amazing to me that in 150 years (1877-2017), the forces of oligarchy, plutocracy, and Gilded Age Lassez-faire capitalism are still trying to squash individuals like a bug, despite the realities of the French Revolution and the like.  You would think these tyrannical evil ones would get a clue but they have not. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  They all seem to have more time to meet in their groups to try to keep us all down and throw us out on the street while we stare at our tech toy.

At some point here, we better start talking to each other and our neighbors again so that we can agree on what the Common Good looks like and what we need the role of government to be in the meantime.  It is exceeding constitutional reach but that is due to pluralism!!  That’s a good reason!

For the first time in my life (B: 1963), I feel like the American Commune is falling apart due to incredible dysfunction, cynicism and just pure evil from the Federal Government and this handful of right wing nut bags.  The majority of Americans are not like this.  We cannot just default to someone like Trump as many did this last time.

Get to Woodard’s Chapter 9 and the wheels will start turning.

One quote, “The Deep South’s tradition of hierarchical libertarianism is profoundly un-American, being authoritarian in governance, oligarchic in economics, retrograde in human rights”

Yet all of our Presidents from 1968-2008 have been from the south:

  • LBJ
  • Nixon
  • Carter
  • Bush I
  • Clinton
  • Bush II

Woodard contends that despite their party, their record shows that they have done their best to pare down The New Deal put in place by FDR, have given the private sector, Wall St., and the banks more leverage and in some manner, want to de-centralize the government.  The civil war isn’t over.

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