Rebellion How antiliberalism is tearing America apart-again

Robert Kagan

Book - 2024

"The 2024 election could be the last free election held in a unified America. So warns Robert Kagan in this brilliant and terrifying analysis of the perilous state of democracy in the United States today. If Donald Trump loses the upcoming election, as he did in 2020, but refuses to accept the result, as he also did in the last election, he is likely to call on his millions of followers to repudiate the election results. It will be a short step from there to Republican-dominated states rejecting the legitimacy of the federal government and effectively seceding. The United States at that point will cease to be united, with grave consequences for both Americans and the world. In Rebellion, Kagan dives deeper than the op-eds and think pie...ces to explore the historical forces that have brought us to this moment--in particular the long history of opposition to liberalism, and to government, that has shaped America's character from the time of the Revolution to today. Trump's unique capacity to tap into that tradition of dissent and circumvent the American system has brought us to the edge of dissolution--not for the first time in our history but possibly the last. This is an elegant and deeply informed synthesis of history, contemporary politics, and ideas that sheds light on this crucial moment"

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2nd Floor New Shelf 320.52/Kagan (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 19, 2024
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2024.
Main Author
Robert Kagan (author)
First edition
Physical Description
vii, 243 pages ; 20 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 223-243).
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Radicalism of the American Revolution
  • 2. The Antiliberal Tradition in America
  • 3. The Triumph of Antiliberalism
  • 4. The Civil Rights Revolution
  • 5. The Birth of the "New" Right
  • 6. The Rebellion
  • 7. Trump, Savior and Destroyer
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
Review by Kirkus Book Review

An alarming but useful perspective on antiliberalism. According to this timely, well-informed analysis, there is nothing new in the Trump populist movement, save for Trump himself. Kagan, a neoconservative scholar and author of The Ghost at the Feast and The World America Made, demonstrates that the forces of antiliberalism and white supremacy, which extend from the Revolutionary period to today, have never disappeared. Rather, they merely accepted what they were forced to accept--liberal democratic government as established by the Founders--until political and cultural conditions allowed rebellion to flourish once more. The polarized 2024 political landscape bears a striking resemblance to the years immediately preceding the Civil War, writes Kagan, a Washington Post columnist and foreign policy adviser to both Republican and Democratic administrations. The author warns that the coming election may determine whether liberal democracy will survive the new surge in antiliberalism, its racist underpinnings, and the authoritarian, vengeful impulse demonstrated by Trump. This struggle between liberal democracy and those fundamentally opposed to it also continues to shape international politics. In relating how democratic government cannot endure when half the country does not believe in the core principles that undergird the American system, Kagan's survey, not generally given to dire pronouncements, seems overheated at times. Some readers may question his assurance that Trump is a unique, unrepeatable phenomenon or that Trumpism and the greatest risks to the republic will dissipate with his passing from the scene. Nonetheless, Kagan cogently examines the bright long-term prospects for the Founders' concept of liberalism, especially with the nation's rapidly changing demographics--if Trump does not win the election. The author also points out where modern American liberalism is failing, not least in the antiliberal excesses of its progressive wing, and how they fan the antiliberal blaze. A powerful, much-needed political and social analysis that all lovers of democracy should read. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.