The Snapping of the American Mind

by David Kupelian

If you can tolerate strong political opinions, right or left, keep reading.

If you can't, and you're right of center, keep going. If you're left, stop now. You will find little, if anything, to like, much less agree with, in this book.

However, if you're willing to weigh and consider, you may want to give it a try - if for no other reason than to explore the "American Mind" that Kupelian refers to.

For after all, we each of us, considers ourselves to be the model of the American Mind. Nowhere is this so apparent than in what passes for discourse on social media. The screeching, screaming back-and-forth that passes for discussion on FaceBook and Twitter: "You're an idiot!" "So's your old lady!" "GFY!" and so on, in ever more angry invective, while under cover of anonymity.

However, if one is willing to explore a little, read and not immediately react, a great deal can be discovered by reading the strongly held opinions of those with whom we might naturally agree, or disagree - especially the latter.

Kupelian is an opinionated author. He is an old-school Liberal, modern Conservative, disagreed-with Jerko. In fact, though, he has some things to say.

Like many of his like-minded friends, Kupelian wonders where "his" country - his philosophical kinsmen - have gone. Believe it or not, it is a question worthy of the asking. After all, "America," as it came to be following the revolution against monarchic Great Britain, was not much more than an idea born of the Enlightenment: the astounding idea that we, as individual human beings, got our value and rights not as granted by a ruler or rulers, but from a higher power (a God, if you will, Nature's God if you prefer) that granted that we were all "born equal," and that nobody and no-one could take these rights from us unless we agree to cede them to a limited government - whose limits we described, not the other way around.

Hey, don't yell at me - it was not my idea, nor even Kupelians, but the men and women who decided that Medieval Divine Right of Kings was nonsense, and that we should rule ourselves, for good or ill.

In fact, America (for all that it may have been birthed as a consequence of conquest), was an experiment in whether people could, perhaps even should rule themselves - if they had that capability.

And that, is perhaps, the crux, of Kupelian's argument that the experiment is over, and has failed.

That people lack the skill, the will, and the (okay, I'm rhyming, but it makes sense) thrill garnered from calling their own shots, and sometimes, in fact, often, failing, to do a decent job of self-governing.

Kupelian suggests that we simply haven't hit the mark; we don't want to do the hard work; and we haven't come up with the "stuff" necessary to have our government obey us, but have settled down to agreeing to obeying the government, in return from the largesse it doles out, in what it considers to be fair helpings. And worse, perhaps we have been ruthlessly set up - drugged, lied to, hypnotized, over-fed and paid off - to fail.

Naturally, from neither the point of view of the Right nor the Left does Kupelian's exploration actually work. From the point of view of the Right those who put forth the effort have had their rewards taken from them; from the point of view of the Left the oligarchs still take far more than they're worth, and hand out pitiful shares to those who do the actual work. Both would agree with Kupelian, however, that neither side is making out very well in the deal - except for the very, very  few with an immense amount of power.

Kupelian errs, if err he does, on the side of the Right - though the reader ends up feeling more as though both sides have a valid point, and that the better solution would be closer to the original idea of individual effort and individual reward.

As with most books of its kind, this book won't convince you if you already have a contrary opinion, and will reward you if you are already on "his side." But he does an excellent job of quantifying the loss of that which we once considered "American," and considering what, exactly, will replace it. And what that will mean to you, and your children.


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