Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country – Shelby Steele

Shelby Steele’s book, Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country is a stunning portrayal of America and the shift from Thomas Jefferson’s version of liberalism, which included free speech, equality, and freedom to the version of liberalism that emerged in the ’60s. Steele summarizes:

This new liberalism does not pursue the actual uplift of minorities and the poor. It pursues dispensation from America’s past sins for whites – the imprimatur of innocence. Minorities and the poor, seduced by all the promises scattered like rose petals in their path, are thus manipulated into bestowing that imprimatur.

This new liberalism which has essentially held America captive since the days of the Johnson administration has only grown and been perpetuated by President Obama and Biden. Steele adds, “It befriends them, promises them all manner of programs and policies. It makes a show of being deferential toward their woundedness, of bowing before their past victimization as before an irrefutable moral authority.” In short, new liberalism lies to minorities, short-circuits their path to productivity and success, and curtails their liberty.

Steele’s explanation of the scourage of so-called new liberalism continues: “Liberalism in the twenty-first century is, for the most part, a moral manipulation that exaggerates inequality and unfairness in American life in order to justify overreaching public policies and programs.” The author’s excursion into the slough of progressivism helps readers understand why so many people are held captive by this pernicious ideology. It reveals the underbelly of one of the most destructive forces in America, which falls under the banner of the Democratic Party.

Shame is more descriptive than prescriptive, which in no way detracts from the effectiveness of the book. Steele’s penetrating insight and analysis of the lie of new liberalism (i.e. progressivism, neo-Marxism) is a welcome addition to the growing number of critiques and will help set the trajectory for a more stable future.

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