Monday, May 21, 2007

Great modern American history

If there is a better modern American history than Brink Lindsey’s The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America’s Politics and Culture, I have not seen or heard of it. I greatly enjoyed’ the author’s Against the Dead Hand: The Uncertain Struggle for Global Capitalism when it came out a couple of years ago. It now appears that Lindsey has put together two books in rapid succession that are both must-reads as well as greatly enjoyable.

He develops this theme. “Over the course of the sixties and seventies, American society was convulsed by two opposing religious movements: the Aquarian awakening and the evangelical revival. At the core of each was a vital half-truth, though the partisans on either side were unsurprisingly oblivious to their own partiality. The devotees of the Aquarian awakening grasped that mass affluence made possible wider horizons of experience and inclusiveness, but they lacked proper appreciation of the institutions that in turn made mass affluence possible. The leaders of the evangelical revival, on the other hand, were staunch in their defense of alliance-creating institutions – and excessively rigid in their suspicion of the new social and cultural possibilities created by affluence.

“By the 198os, enough dust had settled for the broad outlines of a resolution to become visible. …” (p. 264).