The gears of the American change machine -- presidents, parties, and social movements -- no longer work together. A new view of America's major political transformations, from Jefferson and Jackson down to the current disarray of progressive forces.
ver the centuries, Americans have built themselves a great engine for
political change. We cannot understand our present situation without
understanding how this machinery was built, how it has been transformed, and how
it threatens to catapult us to disaster in the twenty-first century.
America has become a three-class society. While more than 25 percent of its children now graduate from four-year colleges, the lowest 20 percent inhabit a world of low wages and dead-end jobs.
And then there is the vast middle. Despite the economic boom, real wages for men have declined, and only the massive entry by women into the workplace has prevented many families from sinking to income levels lower than in the 1970s. Trickle-down economics has failed to trickle. Globalization will only make these divisions worse.
When Americans register to vote, they should be issued a credit card by a special public company-- call it the Patriot card and color it red, white, and blue. This card will become the basis of campaign finance.
In Justice John Paul Stevens's despairing words,
Bush v. Gorehas shaken "the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." Coming as it does from a justice known for his sobriety, this judgment should give all of us pause--and I mean Republicans no less than Democrats.
This book is a call to battle -- against the enemy within. The rhetoric is martial. We are in the midst of "a long-running war for control of our legal culture, which, in turn, [is] part of a larger war for control of our general culture." The call is also religious -- the struggle is against "heresy" on behalf of an embattled "orthodoxy." The enemy? Subjectivists who turn their backs on history; relativists who seek to impose their moral prejudices on the American people by reading them into the Constitution. These heretics have entrenched themselves in America's law schools, where they seek to bedazzle and intimidate the judiciary by their fancy theories and false erudition -- and thereby lead the next generation of lawyers astray.