Follow Here To Purchase America's Suicide

Author:Michael H. Davison

Publisher: Dry Creek Publishing, LLC

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


My reading of Michael H. Davison’s book, America’s Suicide, coincided with the final stages of the 2014 American mid-term elections. The book’s theme and message went a long way in draining the suspense from that electoral event for Mr. Davison makes a compelling case for the thesis that America’s survival as a prosperous country is not likely to be substantially affected by the outcome of current squabbles between Republicans and Democrats. This notion will be an easy sell to the hoards of Americans that have basically given up on politicians across the board.

Mr. Davison starts by stating that assumed opposites are, in fact, only different sides of a single coin. This applies to communism, socialism, fascism and, more mundanely, to Republicans and Democrats. The true dividing line is between collectivism and individualism, and there’s precious little representation of the latter in latter-day life.

The other dichotomy that figures prominently in America’s Suicide is faith/belief versus reason/science. Mr. Davison makes a compelling case for the idea that through the ages and certainly contemporary history, faith/belief and its carrier, religion, have impeded progress and produced misfortune and misery.

Throughout this fascinating volume, the author invites the reader to join him in marveling at how repeated social experiments with collectivism and mysticism have manifestly failed, while rational individualism has rarely been given a chance. Mr. Davison is at his most vitriolic in his ascribing motives to those that would crush the quest for progress and greatness. Indeed, the rhetoric at times becomes so lurid as to undercut the author’s later pleas to eschew malice and play nice. For example, “Like the street gang that swaggers about beating up dissenters and rivals, mugging citizens and equating its angry puerile rebellion with demonstrations of independence, socialists are rabid conformists who masquerade as individual soldiers of democracy, their hackneyed slogans and non-solutions vomited on the world as spurious mockeries of honest thought.” Pretty pungent stuff.

At many other times, Mr. Davison’s prose exhibits a deeply satisfying lyricism: “Dogmatism flows from deeply wished-for alternatives to the exactions of reality and offers the serenity of certainty. Reason demands an open curious mind, dogmatism unquestioning obedience. Reason’s weapons are demonstrated truth and persuasion. Dogmatism employs guilt and force. Believers have always tried to hustle their religion into a realm where reason and science cannot touch it . Immanuel Kant’s noumenal and phenomenal worlds and Steven Jay Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria” are two examples of that subterfuge.”

At other times, we find the author in a delightfully playful mood: “We should ironically accept St. Paul’s advice to put away the things of a child, including St. Paul and his faith.”

Mr. Davison is not without his solutions and, given the depth of his analysis, it is not surprising that they are found not in particular policies, but rather in education, with specific emphasis on philosophy and, interestingly, psychology.

Preparing himself for the likely onslaught of liberal outrage, the author makes a critical point that is so eminently sensible and obvious it is astonishing that the liberal community has achieved such success in ignoring it. The point is that there is no morality or charity involved in forcing someone else to contribute to a chosen cause. This elementary fact pulls the moral rug from beneath a host of social programs.

The text of this book is lightly footnoted, never more lightly than in its failure to acknowledge the philosophical oeuvre of Ayn Rand, of whose work America’s Suicide frequently comes across as an elegant, often repetitive, but unmistakable paraphrase. Compare, for example: “Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light…” (The Fountainhead) with “In this way socialism receives its financial support from those it seeks to kill. Lenin’s rope is being woven and marketed by those intended to hang from it.” (America’s Suicide)

Perhaps this absence of ideological attribution is the author’s attempt to evade the excoriation which Rand received during most of her life. It won’t work; the ideas are eerily the same, utterly wholesome, and ultimately worrisome to those who have an aversion to paying for their own drinks.

Certain of the author’s positions, for example, his opposition to inherited wealth, seem at odds with his fundamental libertarianism, and at times he gets his history a bit wrong. The Second Amendment is to the Constitution and one of the Bill of Rights, not an amendment to the latter.

Quibbles aside, America’s Suicide is a valuable addition to today’s political discourse which, if properly understood and appreciated, should make most of that discourse an irrelevant distraction to the more important pursuit of philosophical renaissance.