Christopher Lasch and the Populist Imperative


A son of the Middle Border, born and raised in Nebraska before his parents moved to Chicago, Lasch, writes Eric Miller, “was a surveyor, taking the measure of the wilderness.” The wilderness was modern America. What Lasch discovered there were pathologies advertised as “progress,” promoted by elites for their own benefit with little regard for the common good. Miller, who teaches history at Geneva College, has written a biography of Lasch, with the evocative title Hope in a Scattering Time. A fine, thoughtful, and even moving book, its appearance could hardly be more opportune. In our own day, the politics of progress have passed the point of exhaustion. Were there any lingering doubts on that score, the vast disparity between the expectations raised by President Obama’s election and the dispiriting reality of the Obama Era has dispelled them once and for all. Only knaves and fools will look to Washington to devise solutions to the problems afflicting American society today. Indeed, further deference to established centers of power, on issues domestic or foreign, will surely perpetuate and even exacerbate those problems.

more from Andrew Bacevich at Anamnesis here.