Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

America Challenged: Issues Foreign and Domestic

Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

America Challenged: Issues Foreign and Domestic

Article excerpt

America Challenged: Issues Foreign and Domestic Dwight Murphey Council for Social and Economic Studies, 2007

The slender but powerful monograph by Dwight Murphey draws on some previous scholarship, sober reflections, and thoughtful insight to give an intellectual basis for the general discomfort many Americans feel about engaging a rapidly changing world. Such engagement, as the author points out, is evidenced by the high volumes of immigration, international trade, and U.S. political/military intervention abroad.

Echoing the themes lately championed by journalists Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan, Professor Murphey wonders if the social contract and its attendant values that made for the ascendancy of American society are being eroded by such entanglements with the outside world. He points to the folly of expending resources in intervening abroad purportedly to expand democracy where it perhaps cannot thrive, of having too many people within the United States from cultures that are very different than the accepted American mosaic, and of free trade pushing down prices and wages of the American middle class. Each of those strands of thought is substantiated by scholarship from like-minded authors, chilling anecdotes, and historical perspective.

And therein lies the fundamental strength of Murphey's monograph: he has seamlessly woven data, anecdotes, and literary output to make a case not for disengagement per se, but for extreme caution in choosing the path of engagement. The central question in the monograph becomes something akin to this: can utterly alien people be worth welcoming, trading with, caring about, if such a course of action threatens the social fabric of the American middle class as it has existed since the second World War?

Murphey alleges, with some evidence, that the opinion leaders (entertainment, academia, journalists) and policymakers have largely come to comprise an elite that is solidly pro-engagement. This elite-neo-liberal or neo-conservative-both ignores the wishes and welfare of the American middle class as it goes along with its ideological agenda to spread democracy abroad and its pro-corporate agenda to import cheap labor at home. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.