Kevin Slack has written a remarkable book. War on the American Republic: How Liberalism Became Despotism authoritatively lays out a new line of reasoning that has become popular among young right-wing thinkers. Many leading figures on the so-called “New Right” profess themselves disappointed with the impotence of the conservative movement to date. Some of them have produced manifestos of their own. But Slack, a professor of politics at Hillsdale College who wrote his first book on Benjamin Franklin, Natural Right, and the Art of Virtue (2017), brings to bear a unique level of scholarly detail in his account of how America ended up in the grips of its current dysfunctions.

The reader of this book will not find a great deal about Marx or Marxism. Although there are a few mentions of Antonio Gramsci and “the long march through the institutions,” Slack ultimately has little patience with accounts that blame external influences for the rot our republic now hosts, or with the Washington think tanks that continue to raise millions off the “long march” trope. Nor will the reader find much about Friedrich Nietzsche and the postmodern movement he inaugurated. America’s problems come not from Europe but from within, Slack argues; our successive periods of progressivism, liberalism, and radicalism were all homegrown.



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