Book Review No. 24 suggests that even declinist writing isn't what it used to be. As I was reading Decline, I recalled that Robert Ringer's How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization was somewhere in the Cold Spring Shops library.
That book has a 1983 copyright date, and as I flipped through it, this passage at page 232 stood out.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the population believes in redistribution of income and assets, thus the demagogue most likely to succeed in grabbing the reins of police-state power will be an FDR-type personality -- i.e., a committed left-winger who is eloquent in getting across his redistributionist promises.Or a weak imitation.
But it is not to the sentiments, or the political economy, or the advice, that I wish to speak.
Rather, I will contrast the style of writing, and the illustrations, and the editing and typesetting, all of which are far superior in Happiness. Both authors are angry with the state of American life, but the anger is rawer in Decline.
And ultimately, that anger works to the disadvantage of both books. The positive message in both is that if you have the means to opt out, or to disengage from the destructive aspects of dealing with other people, or to associate only with people who will not use you, why, do so. To exercise that option, however, does not require preparing for the apocalypse, the implosion of the welfare state, or the introduction of designated hitters in the National League.
Living well as an adult, or as a pensioner, is the best revenge.
(Cross-posted to 50 Book Challenge.)