Book: The Politics of Crazy

PoliticsOfCrazy_YLW2The United States is the world’s longest-running experiment in self-government. That experiment has been a resounding success in almost every respect.

Each generation of Americans faces unique challenges in their effort to create ‘a more perfect union.’ Those who came before us wrestled with slavery, expansion, industrialization, global wars and a long, frightening nuclear standoff. Now, the great challenge of our time is our own diminished attention span. For reasons we are struggling to understand, our political system has been swamped by bizarre characters, conspiracy theories, and paranoia.

Communism is dead. No enemy on the planet is capable of challenging us militarily, culturally, or politically. Global capitalism and liberal democracy are sweeping the globe. America is the most powerful, influential and prosperous nation not only in our time, but in history. We have inherited wealth and power beyond the wildest dreams of our forebears. So far, our response has been the political version of a nervous breakdown.

Americans are as smart, responsible and generally good as they have ever been, yet our politics is careening out of control. The Politics of Crazy: How America Lost Its Mind and What We Can Do About It, is an effort to explain the forces that have undermined responsible, responsive politics and point the way toward a more solid future.

The book grew out of nearly seven years writing a blog at the Houston Chronicle. That work informed and refined the themes in The Politics of Crazy. If you’d like to see the book and this blog play a wider role in restoring some sanity to our politics, follow the book on Twitter @PoliticsOfCrazy. Or post a review on Amazon.

8 comments on “Book: The Politics of Crazy
  1. Don’t tell the Chinese, N. Koreans, or Cubans that communism is dead. Between ’em I think they outnumber the rest of us.

  2. Creigh says:

    There are a couple of comments that beg to be made on this excellent book. One concerns the notions of work that the book lays out, showing how the “middle class” was really a result of how work functioned in a specific time in our history, and how things have changed since then. This strikes me as the single greatest challenge to our economic thinking: how to cope with the fact that production of life’s necessities and even luxuries requires less and less of our labor, particularly our unskilled labor, and the fact that much of the available labor has been made superfluous. The book lays out some ideas on how things might work out, but I think it still underestimates the seriousness of the problem. A good article on the scope of this problem has just been published in The Atlantic, which notes:

    (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/07/world-without-work/395294/)

    “Industriousness has served as America’s unofficial religion since its founding. The sanctity and preeminence of work lie at the heart of the country’s politics, economics, and social interactions. What might happen if work goes away? “…(W)hen jobs go away, the cultural cohesion of a place is destroyed,” says John Russo, a professor of labor studies at Youngstown State University. “The cultural breakdown matters even more than the economic breakdown.”

    We’re going to need solutions that may not be economically optimal for this one, I think.

  3. sbonasso says:

    Congrats on the book, Chris. Looking forward to reading it.

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