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Democracy is being destroyed by an ancient evil, and modernity is in denial. In the Tyranny of Greed, Timothy K. Kuhner reveals the United States to be a government by and for the wealthy, with Trump-the spirit of infinite greed-at its helm. Taking readers on a tour through evolutionary biology, psychology, and biblical sources, Kuhner explores how democracy emerged from religious and revolutionary awakenings. He argues that to overcome Trump's regime and establish real democracy, we must reconnect with that radical heritage. Our political tradition demands a revolution against corruption.
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Fler böcker av Timothy K Kuhner
Timothy K Kuhner
As of the latest national elections, it costs approximately $1 billion to become president, $10 million to become a Senator, and $1 million to become a Member of the House. High-priced campaigns, an elite class of donors and spenders, superPACs, a...
Eugene D Mazo, Timothy K Kuhner
Thanks to a series of recent US Supreme Court decisions, corporations can now spend unlimited sums to influence elections, Super PACs and dark money groups are flourishing, and wealthy individuals and special interests increasingly dominate Americ...
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"What does Donald Trump's rise to power say about the United States and the culture of greed and corruption? Tim Kuhner courageously takes on that question in this important, timely, and thought-provoking book. I highly recommend it." -- John Bonifaz * constitutional attorney, Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People, co-author of <i>The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump</i> * "Timothy Kuhner masterfully situates Trump's presidency in broad historical perspective. He explains how and why so many Americans have come to tolerate and justify a plutocratic system with the values of greed and corruption that it sanctions. Kuhner's penetrating analysis calculates the enormous costs of our ideological complacency in spiritual, psychological, legal, cultural, and environmental terms. Everyone should heed his call for a revolutionary solution." -- John T. Jost * Professor of Psychology and Politics and Co-Director of the Center for Social and Political Behavior, New York University, author of <i>A Theory of System Justification</i> * "Timothy Kuhner captures the essence of Donald Trump-and modern American politics-in this illuminating book. Trump is many things but above all, Kuhner convincingly argues, he is the embodiment of greed. And his rise to power is no accident but, rather, the predictable product of a system that ignores corruption and enables the wealthy to dominate elections. To fix American democracy, Trump's defeat won't be enough. Instead, we'll have to rebuild the wall between private capital and public power." -- Nicholas Stephanopoulos * Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, co-author of <i>Election Law: Cases and Materials</i> * "A fabulous read! If you want to know why Trump is a demon and, more importantly, why that demon also lies within us and our politics, you must read this book." -- Joo-Cheong Tham * Professor, Melbourne Law School, author of <i>Money in Politics: The Democracy We Can't Afford</i> and co-editor of <i>The Funding of Political Parties</i> * "Stunning! Amidst the avalanche of recent books about how the United States became a kleptocracy headed by a man of naked need and greed, this is the one to read. Combining deep knowledge of constitutional law, savvy analyses of political texts and events, and splendid readings of Dante, Milton, and the Bible, Kuhner reveals how the corrupting force of Mammon steadily gained the institutionalized power to choke the American experiment in democracy, almost to death. This book is as original and gripping as it is persuasive. Its agenda for transformation is essential, no matter who wins the 2020 election." -- Wendy Brown * Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, author of <i>Undoing the Demos</i> and <i>In the Ruins of Neoliberalism</i> * "This book captures the nature of corruption in the Trump Era better than any other in print. The essence of corruption is self-involvement, self-indulgence, luxuriousness, and the loosening and discarding of the restraints of social bonds. Foundational norms of awareness of others and community responsibility are gradually replaced and ultimately overwhelmed by greed in all areas of personal and political life. The ethos of the Trump Era is materialism, impersonalism, and unabashed greed for money and power at any moral cost. How were two centuries of American idealism so suddenly and rapidly overwhelmed? This book tells us how we got here. And it tells us how we can fight the virus of corruption that threatens to destroy our shared culture and fragile democratic institutions." -- Laura S. Underkuffler * J. DuPratt White Professor, Cornell University, author of <i>Captured by Evil: The Idea of Corruption in Law</i> * "A learned and exceptionally creative meditation on our current predicament and
Timothy K. Kuhner is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Auckland. He is the author of Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution (SUP, 2014).
Contents and Abstracts1A Parable chapter abstractWhy is Donald Trump such an enigma? Why is the political opposition so overwhelmed and divided? Trump is so many things to his opponents-a racist, a sexist, a xenophobic nationalist, an authoritarian, a traitor, and a con artist-that it is difficult to process his presidency. Adapting an ancient parable to modern times, this chapter examines the difficulty of comprehending Trump's significance. Rather than shying away from the widespread sense of political apocalypse, it urges readers to confront head-on Trump's uncanny power and the infernal transformation he has brought about in American society. Could it be that Trump is worse than anyone suspects? Our advanced democracy has succumbed to an ancient evil. 2The Demon chapter abstractAccording to the Bible, there were a number of fallen angels besides Satan. Mammon, who represents greed, is another one of the Seven Princes of Hell. This chapter exposes aspects of Trump's business and political dealings that ought to make us wonder, Is Trump a mere devotee-just a Mammon worshipper-or is he an actual incarnation of the Mammon? Revealing the centrality of greed in Trump's life history and the political regime he has established, this chapter completes the inquiry begun in chapter 1. Only one of Trump's many sins is central to his history and modus operandi. Anyone wishing to understand or combat Trump must focus here, on greed, and must be willing to descend to unforeseen depths. And yet, those depths are not entirely unfamiliar. Trump and Mammon are more representative of the American experience than most of us would like to admit. 3Genesis 11:2016 chapter abstractWeaving together the Biblical origin story with democracy's origin story, this chapter highlights the key role played by corruption. The fall from Eden and the fall of American democracy share the same cause: human beings' vulnerability to corruption. Evidence from anthropological and biological studies suggest that humanity can never escape the curse (and promise) of its own cognitive revolution-not just our ability to know good and evil, but our unavoidable task of choosing between them. Those Biblical and cognitive lessons overlap with lessons from the fall of the first English republic. The American Revolution later reaffirms democracy, but greed derails the project again in the forms of slavery, the Gilded Age, and 1970s neoliberalism. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down campaign finance legislation, declaring that money is constitutionally protected speech and democracy a marketplace. The court's exercise in constitutional interpretation is reimagined as a spell, summoning Mammon. 4Mammon for President chapter abstractKey events between 1976 and 2014 made Trump's 2016 victory possible. This is the third era of American plutocracy (after slavery and the Gilded Age), another period of rising economic inequality, rising political inequality, and systemic corruption. Key passages from Supreme Court cases and statistics on money in politics are examined, leading up to the "April Revelations of 2014"-bombshell documents from the fields of law, economics, political science, and psychology, announcing that plutocracy had peaked once more. Trump's 2016 election is inseparable from that moment in history. These factors underlying Trump's rise to power are laid out, alongside the contributing circumstances of the election itself. A portrait is drawn of the legal and illegal forms of systemic corruption that have extinguished democratic integrity. The journey from American democracy to American plutocracy and kleptocracy is demystified. It is the journey from Homo sapiens to Homo economicus. 5Out from the Eighth Circle of Hell chapter abstractThe depths of Trump's kleptocracy will surprise even the most cynical readers. From child detention to environmental destruction, Trump has profited from grotesque abuses of public power. After describing how h