Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
How To Destroy America in Three Easy Steps
An account of the political forces threatening to tear America in two
- Read in 12 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 7 key ideas
How To Destroy America in Three Easy Steps (2020) is an account of the political forces threatening to tear America in two. Drawing on history, philosophy, and politics past and present, this book emphatically argues that Americans should remember exactly what it is that unites them.
Key idea 1 of 7
Americans have long been united by three simple and fundamental beliefs.
These days, it seems that Americans have less and less in common. One political row after the other means we’re constantly at each other’s throats. And we’ve become more intolerant and argumentative on social media. Often, it seems the nation is on the brink of tearing itself in two.
It seems that Americans really have fallen into two broad camps. There are those, like the author, who think we’re fundamentally a united people. And then there are those who prefer to focus on the divisions instead. The author calls the first group Unionists. The second group he calls Disintegrationists.
So, how did we get here? To answer that question, we first need to understand the traditional philosophy of the United States.
The key message here is: Americans have long been united by three simple and fundamental beliefs.
According to Unionists, there are three basic beliefs that have always underpinned American unity. They are enshrined front and center in the Declaration of Independence.
The first is an insistent focus on rights – namely, the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” According to the Declaration and to those who uphold its values, these rights are natural human prerogatives that can never be taken away. In this view, humans are automatically entitled to certain basic provisions because human beings are inherently valuable and possess the ability to reason. Rights, in short, rest on human nature.
The second unifying belief also appears in the Declaration. It’s the assertion that all men are created equal.
Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone has equal abilities and characteristics. We all know that some of us are smarter than others, some kinder, and some more athletic. What equality does mean here is that the law should apply to everyone equally. Rather than discriminating between citizens on unfair, arbitrary grounds, authorities should treat everyone equally and impartially.
Now for the third and final unifying belief. This is the idea that the government exists in order to protect our rights and to make sure we’re treated equally – and that it should do very little beyond that. In other words, the government shouldn’t interfere with the private lives of American citizens. Provided people don’t meddle with anyone else’s rights, Unionists argue, the traditional American attitude is to let them do whatever they please.