Populist Reveries

Mr. Greider is a hopeful man.  Although he believes the United States is in deep trouble, “deeper than many people suppose and the authorities want to acknowledge,” he also believes the country is on the cusp of a second populist uprising, which will force elites to confront the perils of globalism, militarism, economic inequality, ecological crisis, and debt.  He admits that his friends regard his optimism as “delusional.”  The reader may be forgiven for drawing the same conclusion after studying his persuasive argument for national decline and democratic corruption.

Consider his major theme: “Come home, America.  Instead of trying to run the world, let us tend our own wounded society.”  The advice is sound, but his expectation that “the people” will demand it be done is not.  There is no evidence whatsoever for such an isolationist revival, but rather than deal with what that means, Greider retreats into bombastic self-assertion: “I reject the notion that the United States has evolved into an imperial state, that it is no longer a democracy.”  Yet is not a country (and here I paraphrase Greider) that neglects its own interests in order to run the world an empire by definition?

If we are what we are, then we have a problem—actually two.  First, we cannot afford global domination.  As Greider points out, “the U.S. economic engine...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here