Why listen to me? In my 35 years of work as an international economist I have traveled to about 100 countries and seen and worked first-hand on the performance of various political and economic systems. As a Ph.D. economist I understand the theoretical and empirical issues underpinning political economy, but my career has uniquely enabled me to have direct hands-on and personal experience. I not only have seen and worked with senior foreign country officials to better manage their macro-economic policy, but have played a role in changing policy. My extensive background in dealing with policies helping the poor, including early in my career work as a social worker for the Welfare Department in the Bronx, give me a nuts-and bolts understanding of the failure of liberal poverty programs.
My career as an international economist involved 30 years at the International Monetary Fund, 2 ½ years with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and 2 ½ years with Chemical Bank. My career enabled me to see first-hand the damage that liberal policies have wrought around the world. I came to see the threat of liberalism first in economic terms, not only here but overseas. I was troubled how so many Americans fail to see this threat. I was also troubled that liberals and conservatives could not even engage in basic, constructive dialogue. As a result I have commenced work on a book seeking to understand liberalism from many different angles and perspectives: political, economic, philosophical, epistemological, institutional, moral, judicial, and psychological. Through the course of writing this book I have come to realize the much more pervasive and encompassing threat posed by liberalism
Philosophy of Author
(Where am I coming from philosophically?)
I came to my philosophical opposition to liberalism first from the standpoint of economics. Liberal economic policies whether at the micro or macro level just don’t work. I became particularly alarmed when I saw liberals running up spending and public debt to unsustainable levels. As an economist working on macro-policy at the IMF, I realized how dangerous this is not only economically, but to democracy and society in general. I could simply not understand why liberals were hell bent on continuing these policies in the face of the obvious dangers.
From that point I began to see that the problem with liberalism was a lot more pervasive and encompassing, basically touching every corner of our culture. I then undertook an effort to try to understand the roots of liberalism and why it entailed such dangerous policies.
I myself am a baby boomer, born in 1944, and grew up in the 50s and 60s. I enjoyed the liberties and freedom associated with this period and would consider myself a libertarian in many ways. I also recognize, however, that the narcissism and self-centeredness of the period has become part of the problem underpinning liberalism. I am a big believer in individual freedom and in the importance in giving the development of individuality the utmost priority, but individual freedom entails responsibilities that are now being ignored. Basically, government is pandering to those seeking more individual freedom in their own life, but in the process is growing the State and a culture of collectivism which will destroy individual freedom in the medium and long run.
Why did I write this book?
I believe that this country and Western civilization are heading down a dangerous path. The book is different than most books looking at liberalism in that it’s pitched at a philosophical level, looking at the underpinnings of liberalism rather than getting mired in fruitless superficial discourse and ad hominem political attacks. The book seeks to explain the enduring failure of liberalism by looking at it from a variety of different angles: political, economic, philosophical, psychological, epistemological, institutional, moral, and from the standpoint of justice. It’s not focused on the people in politics, and only slightly on the issues, but rather it looks at underlying forces shaping events and prefiguring our future. However, while the book is philosophical in tenor, it’s not philosophy for the sake of philosophy. The book is intellectual, but not pedantic; it’s aimed at the common man, bringing big ideas down to earth and providing guidance through our current political-economic-social morass.