Humans need narratives to understand the world. This was true in antiquity, when earthquakes or floods could be interpreted as divine punishment for a society’s misdeeds. It remains true now, when climate alarmists try to portray natural disasters as cosmic punishment for mankind’s hubris. But these days, the supposed climate crisis is being overshadowed by another worldwide disaster, one that has become nearly impossible to ignore during the span of the Biden Administration: the Western world order is spiraling rapidly into political, economic, and military disarray. What has gone wrong? When did it go wrong? Can it be halted, and if so, how? Like any other big crisis, this one begs for a coherent narrative—a story that can help us make sense of the past and prepare for the future.


Ferdinand Mount’s Big Caesars and Little Caesars: How They Rise and How They Fall—from Julius Caesar to Boris Johnson can be said to represent one popular attempt to derive meaning from today’s growing chaos. It has some things to recommend it: it is acerbic, humorous, and occasionally poignant. It is, however, neither a real study of “Caesarism,” nor a work of history. In truth, Mount—a British columnist who helped formulate the Tories’ 1983 general election manifesto—delivers a polemic in defense of the status quo. In 2024,

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