Sun Tzu writes that if you do not know your enemy, AND you do not know yourself, you are destined to fail. The United States of America is not a Republic anymore, because its public has allowed a two-party tyranny to monopolize both the debate and the funds that we provide. The educational system is a mess, because Carnegie and Rockefeller wanted it to be a mess--it trains obedient non-thinkers, those of us that think survived the US educational system, we think in spite of it.
Below, with short introductory paragraphs, are lists of books that I have have reviewed at Amazon over the past decade, that focus on the specifics of "What's Wrong with America?" There is a counterpart list of books on what could be right with America and the world, I will cover that next week. I agree with the Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi of Japan, who has said, "When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it." I also agree with Russian author Fedor Dostoevsky, who has written: "A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else."
The long list below is organized along the lines of the Revolutionary Prediction Matrix discussed in a short Marine Corps University paper and a longer graduate thesis, to wit: Political-Legal; Socio-Economic; Ideo-Cultural; Techno-Demographic; and Natural-Geographic. It is also available online as Chapter 20: "21st Century Counterintelligence: Evaluating the Health of the Nation" in the new book INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability (Earth Intelligence Network, 2010).
Political-Legal. This analytic area focuses on the rights and duties of both the inhabitants of any given state, and their governing bodies. This would include the character of the ruling elites (do they have integrity?); the priorities manifest by actual spending and behavior; the competency, authority, and legitimacy of regime declarations and actions; and finally, in a fundamental sense, the ability of the regime to respons to change, to assimilate other groups into the mainstream of political life, and to respect and enhance the peace and prosperity of the state over time.
Socio-Economic. This analytic area focuses on the tangible process of fulfilling the functions of the state and is particularly concerned with the allocation of goods and services among constituent groups. Order, protection, and conservation are three of the broad functions of the state. Control over sources of power; the institutional framework within which the economy is regulations; the maintenance of social stability; the protection of the society as a whole and the environment; the nature of coercive forces and how they are used; the overall welfare of the population (itself a major source of national power if-IF-nurtured); and the degree to which the state as a whole is conserved through education, equal opportunity, health, and strong support for research & development--for innovation.
Ideo-Cultural. In contrast to socio-economic tangibles, this analytic domain studies the means by which the state (or the tribe or other groups) address the spiritual means of coordinating the population, establishing the sense of community (or the manufacture of consent), and general intersection of faith, rules, roles, class and other stratifications, normative behavioral patterns, ideological beliefs and cultural traditions, and how violence between individuals and among groups is moderated or remediated.
Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Anger
Techno-Demographic. Technology and the population are critical variables in the development and retention of national power. The technologies of communication, education, and employment are especially vital. The national infrastructures reliability and innovativeness is fundamental. Demographically the distribution of the population in time, space, age, class, education, and general dependency (per cent supported by rest of population) are all important.
Natural-Geographic. This domain was once considered "static" in relation to techno-demographic change, but today changes to the Earth that used to take 10,000 years now take three--the time for real-time science and real-time environmental consciousness has arrived. Energy and mineral wealth sources, as well as the "toxic trash" that our systems produce, vanishing aquifers, transportation lines (e.g. the opening of the Northwest Passage) are all critical to who wins and who loses--and we would note here that the only sustainable solution is a non-zero win-win. Losers in the natural-geographic domain are toxic--they are poison pills for the planet.
Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Climate Change
Next Week: Book Lists on What Could Be Right with America and the World
Every Friday, HuffPost's Culture Shift newsletter helps you figure out which books you should read, art you should check out, movies you should watch and music should listen to. Learn more