What’s the Matter With Kansas?
I heard about Thomas Frank’s book What’s the Matter With Kansas? on The Daily Show shortly after the presidential election. The author caught my interest and I picked up a copy of the book. I found this book to be a great read. He does a good job of looking at historical precedent and taking apart what has changed.
From the book:
A while back the Wall Street Journal ran an essay about a place where hatred trumps bread, where a manipulative ruling class has for decades exploited an impoverished people while simultaneously fostering in them a culture of victimization that steers this people’s fury back persistently toward a shadowy, cosmopolitan Other. In this tragic land unassuageable cultural grievances are elevated inexplicably over solid material ones, and basic economic self-interest is eclipsed by juicy myths of national authenticity and righteousness wronged.
The essay was supposed to be a description of the Arab states in their conflict with Israel, but when I read it I thought immediately of my dear old Kansas…
Frank does not write from the center. He clearly is pro-liberal, pro-union and pro-choice. However, the text does not turn into self-righteous drivel. In fact, he takes issue with the lack of liberal attitudes in the democratic party — pointing out the weakness that now dominates it.