By: George J. Marlin
On: The Island Now
For some years, I have been recommending new political books readers might choose to crack open during their summer vacations. This year, however, I am taking a slightly different approach because many interesting books slated for publication in the spring have been put off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
So, for political junkies, I recommend not only recent publications, but several books published decades ago that I took down from my library shelves and reread while confined to my home. (The out-of-print books can be purchased at abebooks.com.)
“Great Society: A New History” by Amity Shlaes. In light of the recent unrest in New York and other major cities, Shlaes’s work is timely. “Great Society” describes the failed good intentions of poverty programs Lyndon Johnson signed into law in the mid-1960s.
Shlaes explains that the War on Poverty actually erased inroads made by people below the poverty level—both black and white—in the post-war boom and shackled millions of families to permanent government dependence. Shlaes’s analysis should be studied by those attempting to resurrect 1960s social welfare and policing programs.
“The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class” by Joel Kotkin. The executive director of the Urban Reform Institute, Kotkin is in my judgment the nation’s top urbanologist.
In “The Coming of Neo-Feudalism,” Kotkin argues a new aristocracy—the ultra-rich and technocratic elites—has become a secular clergy waging war on the middle class, aka “the deplorables.”
These modern oligarchs “seek to replace the bourgeois values of self-determination, family, community, and nation with ‘progressive’ ideas about globalism, environmental sustainability, redefined gender roles and the authority of experts,” he says
As a result of the growing power of the “clerisy,” Kotkin makes a persuasive case that over time working-class folks will become more like medieval serfs, “with diminishing chances of owning significant assets or improving their lot except with government transfers.”
Read the rest of the piece at The Island Now
Learn more about Joel’s latest book, The Coming of Neo Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class