War on our American Republic

War on the American Republic

Book review of:

War on the American Republic: How Liberalism Became Despotism
by Kevin Slack, 456 pages (2023)
ISBN-10: 1641773030
ISBN-13: 978-1641773034

Kevin Slack is a professor of politics at the renowned Hillsdale College. He teaches political philosophy and American political thought, including classes on American progressivism, liberalism, and radicalism.

Kevin Slack's book, War on the American Republic, is exceptional. His initial historical account of liberalism over the last century is followed by clear denunciation of our "decline from a republic to a despotic kleptocracy."

He writes that, "I see my own contribution in this book to be the clarification of the differences between progressivism, liberalism, and radicalism..." He accomplished this admirably.

Historical roots of liberalism and progressivism

The first several chapters cover the history of liberalism and progressivism in America in encyclopedic detail, covering the early 20th century to the present. As someone who lived through many of these decades - naively politically unaware at first - I found Slack's historical account to be amazingly comprehensive and illuminating. These chapters seemed a bit lengthy, but necessarily so in order to adequately document history from this perspective. It's highly recommended reading for younger generations who have had to suffer through slanted education with a decidedly leftist bent. Indeed, this section alone makes the book a serious reference.

In establishing a purpose for the book, Slack asks whether we can:

... decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.

At this juncture, we're living through an important turning point in history, and the answer to this crucial question is not immediately clear.

America's heritage

Slack documents that: "The American people were a people who shared a common way of life and made their land into a home." He notes that when America was founded "individual freedom was inseparable from republican duties." He therefore refers to classical liberalism as republicanism.

Slack writes that "The American founders never meant to supplant virtue with institutions; republican freedom, they said, depended on citizen virtue." He quotes John Adams, who said:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Or as Ben Franklin succinctly stated:

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.

Yet it is not at all clear that we have retained our virtue as we ride the curve of what progressives call the arc of history bending toward an evolving global society.

Progressivism and liberalism

Slack states that the Progressive Movement (1880-1920) "grew from a spiritual crisis, and it constituted a fundamental break with the old order." He points out that the apex and nadir of progressivism was the First World War, writing:

By the 1920s, progressivism was dead as an intellectual movement. Its demise stemmed from a fatal contradiction that lay at its core. Progressives never reconciled their teleology in an absolute historical process with their scientific aspirations, which rejected a priori logic.

He then discusses the liberals (1933-1969) who rejected the progressives' philosophical idealism, observing that "liberal democracy discarded the pretense of popular government for expert management of the people." In other words, replacement of popular government with technocracy and an ever-expanding deep state.

Slack writes that:

The neoliberal system of thought, forwarding a new ethics and economics, justified the marriage between monopoly capitalism and the administrative state. It ascended under Reagan and peaked in the 1990s under Clinton, bringing an era of globalization, mass immigration, and foreign intervention.

Slack recalls Sam Francis's description of neoliberal anarcho-tyranny:

"[A] combination of oppressive government power against the innocent and the law-abiding" with "a grotesque paralysis of the ability or the will to use that power to carry out basic public duties such as protection or public safety." In this "managed pacification and manipulation of the citizens - Americans are increasingly habituated to an entirely passive role in government, economy, culture, and now even basic social functions such as childrearing and health care."

Identity politics became a political force during this era. Slack writes:

Politically, they crafted an identity politics for a new proletariat, in which white radicals would side with oppressed race and gender groups in a revolt against the white middle class.

Liberalism in depth

The second purpose of Slack's book is to offer conservatives "a more informed treatment of American liberalism."

The second section of the book is more relevant to today's fractured political world. It well held my attention, offering substantive analysis and insight.

Slack observes that:

A New Right, sick of the ruling class's treachery, has only begun to rise up to fight for the American way of life and to conserve the American people.

He contends that culture and religion are worth defending, referencing Madison in Federalist 51, who wrote that citizen virtue was the "the primary control on the government."

He emphasizes that:

America must not be an "asylum to all nations" but must prevent the "hordes of foreigners immigrating to America" who "corrupt the public morals" and "prevent the establishment of a national character" through "assimilation."

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)

Slack describes Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and how it contrasts with traditional economics. For those who see the value of a balanced budget, it's a disconcerting contrast. L. Randall Wray stated in 1998 the fundamental premise of MMT: "Balanced budgets, normally unleash deflationary forces, which impede economic growth."

Slack concisely describes that under MMT:

Fiscal "unsustainability" is a myth; it does not exist for a sovereign government with a central bank that controls monetary policy. Understanding the monetary monopoly offered the solution. A currency-issuing government can never go broke... Thus government does not need the public's money to spend; rather, the public needs the government's money to pay taxes....

Government sells bonds not to fund itself but to prevent interest rates in the private economy from falling too low, and it sells higher interest Treasury bonds to banks to raise overall interest rates...

The government is an armed force to collect dollars created by private bankers. This is, by definition, plutocracy, with government as the executive arm of private wealth managing dependent subjects.

One-party rule today

Thomas Friedman wrote "There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today."

Slack observes that:

Today's globalist American empire is a kleptocracy filled with princelings of the political and corporate elite who inherited - and now drain - the wealthiest and most powerful empire in history...

The kleptocracy uses new modes of control, and it divides the people by tribal identities of race and gender.

The Democrat party has been transmogrified, although sadly, many long-term Democrats fail to see how the party has abandoned their traditional values.

Slack clarifies that:

Trump's platform was common sense to half of Americans but an existential threat to the elites. In this moment of clarity, he simply reflected the growing class divide: the Democratic Party was the party of the rich, and the Republican Party the 'deplorables' of the declining middle class.

Continuing his assessment of the kleptocracy, Slack writes:

Following the COVID lockdowns and unlawful 2020 election, the last vestige of legitimacy has collapsed, and the kleptocracy has revealed itself as an incompetent, corrupt class of degenerates... The ruling class is best understood as the hub that uses gatekeeping power to connect segmented fiefdoms... The ruling class wields executive force to protect, milk, and extort the rest of the top .1 percent and offer it the cover of legitimacy...To disempower the American people, the kleptocrats flood their land with pliant immigrants, dilute their vote, undercut their wages, and outsource their production.

Slack discusses how identity politics is used to pit identity groups against mainstream Whites, writing:

The problem with identity politics's focus on systemic racism begins with its definition of racism. Whereas it used to mean unequal treatment under the law, or prejudicial treatment in ethics, it now tautologically and meaninglessly refers to anyone who is white.

He describes how the elites used the Covid China Virus as yet another tool to fragment societal cohesion and dismantle significant components of the economy.

America is now governed by "the establishment" or Deep State, which Slack explains includes the US military, intelligence, State Department, Treasury Department, Commerce Department, Office of the United States Trade Representatives, and the judiciary - all "unaccountable bureaucrats in collusion with Wall Street."

Referring to "our democracy", Slack writs that:

For the Deep State, democracy means importing a new populace to vote for a welfare state run by rich overlords.

And thus our current situation:

As the middle class collapses, the US returns to an ancient politics of oligarchy and demagoguery, the "perpetual vibration between tyranny and anarchy."


Slacks admonishes conservatives with traditional American values not to give up. A demoralized opposition is precisely what the kleptocracy is trying to achieve. Yet the emperor has no clothes - the masks are off, and the stark agenda and intent of the ruling class is blatantly exposed for all to see.

Slack encourages that:

Conservatives should not conclude in discouragement or despair but in ruthless and radical analysis and questioning -smashing the old idols - followed by hope. Increasingly young Americans mock the incompetent, corrupt, and degenerate cosmopolitan ruling class. And they no longer believe in the conservative lies that sold their birthright. They should openly disdain the propaganda designed to convince them that resistance is hopeless, that nothing can stop the shadows of tyranny creeping over the West. Moreover, they must awaken to the truth that they are the West, not a mere idea in musty books but their own flesh and blood, which they can restore when they themselves flourish.

Slack posits two alternatives:

The first is a return to the founders' citizenship revolution, a shared national identity against cosmopolitanism, with colorblind law, absolute free association, and America-First economic policies. Most importantly, it requires a border wall and an immigration freeze so that Americans can assimilate and become one people. It would end dual citizenship for the wealthy who refuse patriotic commitment.

He encourages:

The New Right should not shy from racial discussions. An honest study of the American founders must address their view that republican freedom cannot coexist with today's diversity.

Slack concludes with three observations:

  • "The first word we must resurrect is evil. It is almost impossible to overstate the evil of the globalist American empire..."
  • "The second lesson is that all morality is aggression. Morality is inseparable from demands placed upon others."
  • "The third lesson is that the Right must exercise its moral confidence in and over local and state officials by singling out and holding accountable individuals in the bureaucracy who demand compliance."

Slack's book is essential reading, and an essential addition to concerned patriot's libraries.