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Lamentations of a Recovering Marxist

"Progress needs the brakeman, but the brakeman should
not spend all his time putting on the brakes."

—Elbert Hubbard

The case for pessimism has been easy to make since Lincoln, and mandatory since Franklin Roosevelt. Today, not much is left of the Old Republic. As early as the 1930's, Frank Chodorov could describe Washington, D.C., as a painted prostitute. Today, it is a whore of Babylonian proportions.

We have become inured to perpetual decline. Most Americans are getting poorer. 2 Live Crew is getting richer. Criminals are victims. The innocent are nobodies. Third-graders learn to put condoms on cucumbers. Virginity is an object of fun. Manners are extinct. Blasphemy is a sacrament. AIDS is a civil right. Martin Luther King is an icon. Rodney C. King is an assistant icon. Max Lerner is a conservative. And European-American culture is—like that dead white male Columbus—to be shoved off the edge of the new flat Earth.

In the midst of this comes Professor Christopher Lasch of the University of Rochester to warn us, in The True and Only Heaven, against a belief in progress. Lasch is an important intellectual historian, and his book reflects his professional status. His thesis—that the idea of progress has caused immense harm to society and should and will be scrapped—is compelling to many people. His analysis...

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