Morris berman dark ages america
Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire by Morris BermanIn Dark Ages America, the pundit Morris Berman argues that the nation has entered a dangerous phase in its historical development from which there is no return. As the corporate-consumerist juggernaut that now defines the nation rolls on, the very factors that once propelled America to greatness—extreme individualism, territorial and economic expansion, and the pursuit of material wealth—are, paradoxically, the nails in our collective coffin. Within a few decades, Berman argues, the United States will be marginalized on the world stage, its hegemony replaced by China or the European Union. With the United States just one terrorist attack away from a police state, Bermans book is a controversial and illuminating look at our current society and its ills.
Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire
This is the sort of book that gives the Left a bad name. In "Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire," the cultural historian Morris Berman delivers a vituperative, Spenglerian screed that makes Michael Moore seem like a rah-rah American cheerleader: a screed that describes this country as "a cultural and emotional wasteland," suffering from "spiritual death" and intent on exporting its false values around the world at the point of a gun; a republic-turned-empire that has entered a new Dark Age and that is on the verge of collapsing like Rome. Berman's book, "The Twilight of American Culture" — which described the country as a highly dysfunctional society afflicted with apathy, cynicism, alienation and rabid consumerism — "Dark Ages America" begins as a grim prophecy of decline and fall, citing four traits shared, he says, by the late Roman Empire and the United States today, namely, "the triumph of religion over reason," "the breakdown of education and critical thinking," the "legalization of torture" and declining respect and financial power on the world stage. Instead of explicating this theme with carefully reasoned analysis, Mr. Berman allows his narrative to devolve into an all-purpose rant against virtually everything American, from the country's foreign policy to its embrace of cars, fast food, television, cellphones and shopping malls; from President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq to the nation's celebration of individualism and free enterprise. Much of the volume reads like a series of summaries of — and commentaries on — other people's books, including much-discussed ones like Robert Putnam's "Bowling Alone" and Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order," and lesser known ones like "The Tragedy of American Diplomacy" by William Appleman Williams.
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Berman's depressing indictment of contemporary American culture and empire may be somewhat overstated but is nonetheless largely valid. Note how, since this book was written, Obama has had to bow to A resounding, if sometimes overwrought, indictment of all that is wrong with American culture, from arrogance to xenophobia and all points between. As sociologist and cultural critic Berman Wandering He lives in Washington, D.