I spent a couple of hours reading your book on Independence Day. I admire your accurate exposition, and your smooth, descriptive writing style. Your good writing has reinforced my sense of depression.
I found myself in complete agreement with your analysis, and ruefully, your forecast. My natural optimism is injured because I don't think our culture is up to the challenge. Our concerns and pursuits show the kind of decadence common in the later years of the Roman empire unable to assert its identity and defend its sovereignty. We now only give lip service to the idea of American exceptionalism; it is a vestigial concept unless we return to the practice of the principles of liberty centered on personal responsibility and the rights of individuals, not blocs. The disintegration of the e pluribus unum idea verges on the fatal. We are a fragmented population and polity, stuck in rigid interest groups defined by narrow objectives that have lost sight of the big, crucial issues you focus on in your book. The system rewards favored ethnic groups with political power by constantly irritating their deep-seated, never to be requited grievances. The so-called moderate majority is self-sedated against the perils of our addiction to the favors of a bureaucratic state that may no longer be dispensed.
Your final chapter is a fine piece of rational exhortation, but given our decadence, I fear that it won't get us out of this mess. Will enough of us strive to overcome the drivel of pandering politicians? Will enough of us focus on the big picture to forge a reality-based consensus about what government should and should not do? Will we force our congressional capos to make the necessary changes?
Or was Plato correct about the superiority of a philosopher kings to manage a society compared to the tyranny of democracy and excesses of tyrants? History shows us again and again that "the man on the white horse" usually becomes a tyrant. Even so, the virtuous Roman consul, a Cincinnatus-type leader with immense capability (does one exist?) is what we seem unable to produce. Do we need such a leader to shake us out of our torpor and help us return to sanity?
I am now depressing myself. I need a break.