Review: The Age of Fracture

4 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Culture, Research
Amazon Page

Daniel T. Rodgers

4.0 out of 5 stars An entire book without the words “corruption” or “paradigm failure”,August 19, 2012

I bought this book expecting it to be a six star special, and then was tempted to drop it to three stars for completely missing the point. I’ve settled on four. It is a brilliant work of scholarship that analyzes varying schools of thought without once connecting to either realities or fundamentals–ethics, for example. I do not mean to be cruel, nor hyperbolize for effect, but as I put the book down it occurred to me that this book is a most extraordinary discussion of the clothes not being worn by the Naked Emperor.

Since those who rave about this book are no doubt the norm — intellectual pedigrees without integrity in the holistic sense — let me preface by brief critical comments by bringing forth the importance of whole systems analytic models, and within those model, the importance of integrity. Integrity is not just about honor — one can be honest on the small things while totally lacking in holistic integrity or social integrity — the extremists within the two-party tyranny that has looted the US treasury certainly fall into this category. While this book speaks to the cost of cultural hegemony, and even the cost of class betrayal from the top down, it never gets to calling a spade a spade, a crook a crook, a failed paradigm a failed paradigm. Kuhn, Morgan, Fuller, and Ackoff would all be disappointed.

Chapter 1 Losing the Words of the Cold War seems oblivious to the military-industrial complex or the fact that both Kennedy and Khruschev had to deal with out of control generals as the greater threat, not one another. Alternative reading:

Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Through It

Chapter 2 The Rediscovery of the Market is almost totally devoid of any references to the catastrophic convergence of rampant fraud in the financial marketplace, together with “control fraud” or the failure of government to govern–still today, no one has gone to jail (with two exceptions, both of whom committed the greater crime of robbing the rich instead of the poor). Alternative Reading:

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History

Chapter 3 The Search for Power is the one I find most absorbing, even poetic, and I read this chapter more slowly. Still, it disappoints. It does not really grasp the class war or the cost of a corrupt government in the USA, a corruption shared by the controlled media, the Federal Reserve, and the major banks and corporations, all of whom happily support the mandated 5% kick-back rule set by corrupt Senators and Representatives and Presidential candidates less John McCain.

The Ambition and the Power: The Fall of Jim Wright : A True Story of Washington
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny

Chapter 4 Race and Social Memory and Chapter 5 Gender and Certainty are, like Chapter 3 The Search for Power, little gems of historical reflection and point counter-point, yet they never really manage to touch of today’s realities — I have to check to see that the book was indeed published in 2011, not 2003 or so. We are now in an era where the real unemployment rate is 22.4%, and among blacks, the young emerging from the college bubble, and old guys like myself (60), closer to 40%.

An Atlas of Poverty in America: One Nation, Pulling Apart 1960-2003
The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back

Chapter 6 The Little Platoons of Society is another brilliant (which is to say, intellectual and removed from reality) discourse. It is the kind of discussion that could keep legions of professors up at night without ever once getting down to the level of detail common to political political polling, credit card history analytics, and zip code classifications. There is not much in the way of social media, Internet-fracturing, or democratized mind control, at least that I saw.

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War

The book ends weakly. Chapter 7 Wrinkles in Time and Epilogue 9/11 are annoying. Anyone who can write about 9/11 without understanding that it was the opening act on a series of 935 documented lies that would lead to the three-trillion dollar war and today’s epidemic of 18 veteran suicides a day (more try — these are the ones that succeed), is part of the problem. America is fractured because its eight substantive bodies of thought: academia, civil society including labor and religions, commerce, government at all levels, media, military, and non-government/non-profit, all lost their integrity. Every single organization in the USA is part liar, part thief, and part couch potato.

I’ve run out of authorized links, so let me just end by pointing to my list of lists of book reviews I have done on this very topic:

What’s Wrong with America? Let Me List the Books…. (Huffington Post, 4 October 2010)

Of course I cannot end with mentioning John Lewis Gaddis, Robert Perry, and a number of others who have helped identify the information pathologies that prevent us from coming together and even prevent us from recognizing one another’s humanity and common solutions. This book, Age of Fracture, is of, by, and for tepid intellectuals with tenure. The rest of us are still reeling from real wounds, real blood, real tears.

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