Depolarized, by Nick Airus: #BookReview.

272 pages
Perspectives on Law/Government/Civil Liberties & Political Activism

Subtitled ‘Transcending the False Left, Right Narrative’ this book is basically a plea for rational discussion to replace the current fashion for polemic and knee-jerk reactions to so many disagreements. It is also much more than this.

The world seems to have descended into extreme factions, if the language of exchanges on social media is any guide. There is an unhealthy tribalism, driven mostly by major media giants as a means of gaining bigger platforms and therefore higher advertising revenue. Looking around the globe, it is obvious that while many countries are ruled by extreme governments, the people of those lands are actually more inclined toward unity. And, let’s face it, the world has never been in a situation as dangerous as now due to the approaching climate emergency and species extinction, never been in more need of a united stance. A central path.

The author makes it clear his book is written from an American point of view. He approaches this aspect with a mix of pride and humility and without the arrogance so often characteristic of American writers. It is the political divide, characterised by the ascendency of a politically astute but ill-educated and narcissistic gameshow host to the position of leader of what the author calls the free world, that drives the narrative. Not an expert in USA politics, and not much interested in their system of government that is as much in denial of democracy as is my own UK, I nevertheless found a great deal of real sense and compassion in the thrust of the book.

The author urges readers to step back from what he terms the Problem Paradigm and embrace instead the Solution Paradigm. There is much to be said for this approach. In fact, unless such a change occurs, it is likely the world will descend into global disfunction leading to outright war as the many challenges facing humanity grow in complexity and importance.

We live in a time of extremes and extremists. The Left and the Right continually yell abuse and worse at each other, never allowing themselves to see their common ground, which is far greater than their differences. But extremists shout loudest and are therefore more attractive to a media in both print and digital form that remains focussed entirely on the conflict it can create by encouraging the fight. This, after all, increases the number of their active users, readers and commentators, and therefore increases the profit such organisations can make from advertising. The sacred Dollar, a representative of a tool initially invented to make transactions easier, now rules the world. We, the tool users, are now ruled by a tool we invented.

I found some lesser aspects of his appeal to common action less easy to accept; the vague mysticism, the ambiguous approach to religion and God, the references to The Order of the Quest, among others. But the bulk of the message, the kernel, was something that instantly found my agreement.

The Solution Paradigm works toward unity, discourages conflict and encourages consensus, a vital ingredient of public and political life if we are to progress or even survive in the next few decades.

Systems of government, the world of business, the whole of the global economic set-up have all failed to keep up with technological advances that have entirely altered the way in which we interact and conduct our lives. We have powerful media outlets run by individuals and companies with little or no concern for the welfare of their users and an obsessive concern to maintain and grow their power base and their profit margin. The author cites a small but powerful elite as the responsible parties for what looks alarmingly like imminent societal breakdown. And, whilst this may attract accusations of conspiracy theory, there is plenty of evidence to support such a view. When a mere one percent of the population owns 43 percent of the world’s wealth, one is forced to question a system that permits such brutal and obscene inequality, and suspect that this small elite is doing everything possible to maintain it.

The author suggests we all learn the Socratic Method, a system of debate pursued by many private educational organisations because of its ability to create debate without rancour; a thoughtful and improving method of discussion that must be preferable to the current abuse and destructive mindless argument between the two main parties.

This book is not an easy read: any serious work is bound to require work from the reader. But it contains some vital ideas and promotes a different approach to public and political life that just may turn out to be the saving of humankind, provided enough people can be encouraged to get on board.


[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]

14 thoughts on “Depolarized, by Nick Airus: #BookReview.

  1. Pingback: Depolarized, by Nick Airus: #BookReview. – foltel

  2. It sounds very American. I understand your perception – references to the “leader of the few world,” and religious or mystical overtones. In an effort to overcome the great political divide in US (and elsewhere), the huge misperceptions and gaps around these issues need to be addressed first. There’s no humility or sense that they could at all, ever, possibly be wrong, not just there but everywhere. Many of us seem to have adopted an attitude that opinion and/or belief is fact.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Spot on, Lynette. There seems an overwhelming attitude at present that epitomises the expression, ‘Because I say so.’ Critical thought and the ability to respond intellectually rather than emotionally has all but disappeared from the public arena, and this atmosphere has been encouraged and led by political leaders. We need change right now, but I fear it will take a long time arriving.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Stuart this is an excellent written review. High praise I think coming from you. Things have truly gotten out of control in America. However the entire world, as you mentioned could be in danger of extinction if we don’t do something soon. I honestly don’t know if we still have time to save our world even now. However it sounds like this book may have some interesting and necessary points to make if we want to survive.

    Great review Stuart. It certainly sounds like it is worthy of a read.

    You and Valerie have a great weekend my friend. Hugs 🤗 Joni

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dear Stuart and Joni,

      I agree with both of you. The book is worthy of being read, though, as Stuart has partially pointed out, there are indeed quite problematic areas marring the validity and reliability of the book in certain important aspects that the author has attempted to tackle.

      Regarding the statistics that “a mere one percent of the population owns 43 percent of the world’s wealth”, the issues are not just limited to economic and resource polarizations as well as people’s relationship with money and convenience but also consumerism and the unsustainable rate of consumption of products and natural resources.

      Then there has been worsening inequality, rendered all the more acute and dire by the rich and powerful. Social and economic polarizations can further exacerbate the issues of education and wealth, and such polarizations are increasing for the following reason: The USA is very much plagued in varying degrees by misinformation, disinformation, post-truth politics, demagoguery, plutocracy, oligarchy, ochlocracy, kleptocracy, kakistocracy, narcissistic leadership, neoliberalism and globalization, as discussed and analyzed in great detail on my website in a post entitled “Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity“.

      Let’s just take one of them under the microscope. Whilst Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet, the planet of America has already ascended to plutocracy.

      According to Wikipedia:

      Plutocracy (Greek: πλοῦτος, ploutos, ‘wealth’ + κράτος, kratos, ‘rule’) or plutarchy, is a form of oligarchy and defines a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens. The first known use of the term was in 1631. Unlike systems such as democracy, capitalism, socialism or anarchism, plutocracy is not rooted in an established political philosophy. The concept of plutocracy may be advocated by the wealthy classes of a society in an indirect or surreptitious fashion, though the term itself is almost always used in a pejorative sense.

      The term plutocracy is generally used as a pejorative to describe or warn against an undesirable condition. Throughout history, political thinkers such as Winston Churchill, 19th-century French sociologist and historian Alexis de Tocqueville, 19th-century Spanish monarchist Juan Donoso Cortés and today Noam Chomsky have condemned plutocrats for ignoring their social responsibilities, using their power to serve their own purposes and thereby increasing poverty and nurturing class conflict, corrupting societies with greed and hedonism.

      Historic examples of plutocracies include the Roman Empire, some city-states in Ancient Greece, the civilization of Carthage, the Italian city-states/merchant republics of Venice, Florence and Genoa, and the pre-World War II Empire of Japan (the zaibatsu). According to Noam Chomsky and Jimmy Carter, the modern day United States resembles a plutocracy, though with democratic forms.

      More from Wikipedia:

      Effects on democracy and society
      Economists Jared Bernstein and Paul Krugman have attacked the concentration of income as variously “unsustainable” and “incompatible” with real democracy. American political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson quote a warning by Greek-Roman historian Plutarch: “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Some academic researchers have written that the US political system risks drifting towards a form of oligarchy, through the influence of corporations, the wealthy, and other special interest groups.

      Also from Wikipedia:

      United States
      Further information: Income inequality in the United States § Effects on democracy and society
      See also: American upper class and Wealth inequality in the United States

      Some modern historians, politicians, and economists argue that the United States was effectively plutocratic for at least part of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era periods between the end of the Civil War until the beginning of the Great Depression. President Theodore Roosevelt became known as the “trust-buster” for his aggressive use of United States antitrust law, through which he managed to break up such major combinations as the largest railroad and Standard Oil, the largest oil company. According to historian David Burton, “When it came to domestic political concerns, TR’s Bete Noire was the plutocracy.” In his autobiographical account of taking on monopolistic corporations as president, TR recounted

      …we had come to the stage where for our people what was needed was a real democracy; and of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of a plutocracy.

      In any case, it is going to be an arduous task because saving and rehabilitating the USA aside, we also need the political economy of saving the planet. Yet the entrenched and insidious issues of plutocracy have loomed even larger, thus continuing to thwart many efforts mounted to save the nation and the planet. Whilst Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet, the planet of America, so to speak, has already ascended to plutocracy. Social and economic polarizations can further exacerbate the issues of wealth, and such polarizations are increasing for the following reason: The USA is very much plagued in varying degrees by misinformation, disinformation, post-truth politics, demagoguery, plutocracy, oligarchy, ochlocracy, kleptocracy, kakistocracy, narcissistic leadership, neoliberalism and globalization.

      The underlying opposition is not so much between the Democrats and the Republicans as between the rich plutocrats and the rest of the population. The Democrats need to (re)form their party to unite the 90% of the people living at an entrenched economic and political disadvantage in order to deal with the Plutocrats. In any case, it is going to be a very tall order for Biden to turn things around. It would have been much easier if some Republican senators had been far more honest and incorruptible, for they have been very greedy, uninspired, cowardly and lack criminal, moral and political accountabilities. It is all quite a big mess in danger of getting bigger still. Even a global pandemic still cannot unite folks in the USA and wake them up. Perhaps it will take an even bigger crisis to do so, such as a series of climate change disasters.

      The best and most dedicated amongst the likes of us are also inveterate teachers of everlasting, transcendental wisdom to save humans from themselves, their self-interests and their destructive ways. I often even have to coin new words to do so. The latest example is my neologism “Viral Falsity“, which you can see in my extensive and analytical post entitled “💬 Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: 🧠 Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity 🦠“. This post of mine now has twelve major sections (plus a detailed annotated gallery) instantly accessible from a navigational menu.

      In this said post, I have attempted to unpack as much as I can the core issues and fundamental causes that have plagued many folks, whether or not they are victims or perpetrators.

      The last section named “Denouement: Democracy, Education, Legislation & Sustainability” even gives a very dire warning of what humanity is heading towards if there is still no concerted, meaningful and large-scale change for the better. It also provides a multipronged solution to “get humans to cooperate at scale in ways that put in sufficient limits to ensure survival and empowers creativity and freedom to support individuals to do whatever they responsibly choose.”

      I would like to wish both of you and your respective families a very happy June. Thank you very much, Stuart, for your commendable effort in reviewing Nick Airus’ book entitled “Depolarized: Transcending the False Left, Right Narrative”.

      Yours sincerely,

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, SoundEagle. Your posts and comments are always comprehensive and fact based, which is why you have such a following. The major point of the book is to persuade people to move away from carping on differences in political matters and to seek instead the common ground held by most of the population. The idea is to encourage a move toward consensus and away from the conflict so beloved by politicians, who seem to view their role in government as something approaching the ‘entertainment’ aspect of the old Roman gladiatorial combats. It will not be easy. An unthinking emotional response to a perceived error of judgment is so much easier, and quicker, to make than a thoughtful and considered view concentrating on a positive aspect. We live in a world of ‘quick fixes’, spontaneous responses, knee-jerk actions, and false easy solutions to complex problems. Much of this drive to the superficial originates with the overuse of the mobile phone. As Elon Musk has said, ‘Your phone is already an extension of you. You are already a cyborg.’ A perceptive and chilling description of the reduction of humanity that is happening to so many humans.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello and happy Sunday again Stuart and Sound Eagle,

        Wow that was a lot of information and also well written.

        You have made some great points as did the information in the referenced book, along with Stuart’s review.

        Here are some very plainly written opinions about what I believe is going on in our world.

        1) There are more billionaires in greater China in 2021 than in the United States. However, the greatest amount of wealth is still in the United States.

        2) I honestly believe that there is such a lack of concern for our planet that if it survives and resembles anything like it is today by the year 2050, I would be greatly surprised.

        3) I expect most species of animals will be held behind bars or in zoo like environments, water will be rationed and locked up (only the rich will likely have access to regulating what that amount will be) and pollution will be so bad that without some sort of protection against the radiation in the environment, we will all live primarily indoors.

        4) The rich control what happens in the world and they show very little concern for the poorest of the poor. Therefore I believe there will likely be civil unrest at a rate that we have never before seen on this planet.

        5) I believe the most valuable commodity in the future will be trees. With deforestation continuing to occur in many areas in order to build bigger and better structures for the rich with no concern for nature, we are quickly killing our planet. In 2020 we lost approximately 5 million acres of Amazon rainforest (MONGABAY), the greatest amount in history.

        6) Also, everyone knows where I stand who follows me in regards to religion I am a person of great faith. I believe both in God and the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and the Virgin Mary who bore and gave birth to Jesus. Unfortunately, religion has been used and continues to be used as a way to divide people, political parties, and basic issues – in many ways it only degrades those who call themselves religious in my opinion.

        We all have to occupy our planet regardless of our religious beliefs, so we need to find a way to work together to ensure our collective survival.

        Respectfully Joni ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You make some cogent points, Joni. Wealth, of course, has always been unequally distributed. Our system of world finance makes it easier now for individuals to accrue vast amounts of monetary wealth, a situation that spans borders and increases poverty at the cost of the poor. The solution is to treat extreme wealth as an addiction, and to remove the temptation of hoarding more by regulating the tax system to prevent any individual acquiring more than a set amount – a maximum ‘wage’ to counter the minimum wages currently finding favour in many lands. Together with a basic living income for all, this would go a long way to reducing inequalities.
          The environment is of more concern to modern youth worldwide than it has been to older generations. The young are going to have to live with the world current older generations have created. One solution to the problems would be a strictly applied and properly regulated worldwide carbon tax, so that all items and services could be priced according to their sustainability rather than the current idiotic system dictated by supply and demand.
          Species extinction goes well beyond the cuddly and interesting creatures any zoo would welcome. Many amphibians, invertebrates, and insects are charging toward extinction. We need to educate the world about the value of diversity in flora and fauna so they give more value to the many unseen creatures that make life possible for we more complex beings.
          Inequality is now so widespread, and so visible, it is inevitable there will be a backlash from the poor. Rich countries are currently dealing, badly in most cases, with influxes of refugees escaping either poverty or persecution due to the many different extremist religious groups. The influx will become an invasion as resources grow more and more scarce unless the rich countries make serious changes to spread wealth more evenly. A system of reparation for the theft the wealthy states have subjected the poorer nations to over the centuries could have positive and beneficial effects, given time.
          Trees take time to grow, are essential guardians of hilly land, and form an important portion of the world’s oxygen generating lifeforms. Many countries have begun tree-planting schemes and others will follow suit. One solution would be for the world to recognise the basic shared nature of natural resources and for those countries without trees in any quantity to pay a contribution to lands such as Brazil to compensate them for their production of oxygen and allow them to deal with local poverty without destroying an environment that is crucial to all of us.
          Religion has been with us for about 40,000 years. It is clearly a human need, probably arising from part of our evolutionary progress, when some sort of ritual life was necessary to form sound connections between tribal members initially and, later, to whole swathes of civilisation. If we could educate everyone to understand that all Gods are the creation of humanity, not the other way round, we could perhaps reduce the otherwise inevitable tribal rivalries that result from different interpretations of ‘sacred’ texts written by (mostly) men for purposes that have little to do with spirituality. Faith serves as an essential comfort blanket to billions in a world where so much injustice occurs. The reduction in such unfairness would do much to counter the passionate defence of various sects by the more extreme religious adherents. If resources are dealt with more equably, the need to defend the ‘tribe’ is also reduced, creating a more harmonious society.
          I deal with most of these issues as themes in my latest novel, so I’ve done a huge amount of research relating to these issues.
          To get back to the book that raised these comments, the central theme of that is the urgent need for humanity to engage in reasoned dialogue, to understand that as people we have far more in common with each other than that which divides us, and to express ourselves in ways not aimed at causing further division but at uniting us in action at a period of our history when unity is our most urgent need.
          Thank you for your thoughtful and considered comments, Joni.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Dear Joni,

          Hello! Your well-reasoned and thoughtful reply is such a commendable and important summary of your acute awareness and concerns that it will indeed benefit my readers if you could be so kind as to copy and paste your previous comment to the comment section of my post entitled “Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity“, to which your comment clearly pertains and also belongs. Please feel free to expand on your comment if you have additional matters to convey about my said post and any aspects of its contents. Thank you in anticipation.

          Happy mid-June to you and your family!

          Yours sincerely,

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you, Joni. It’s not an easy read, but its central theme is so important. I have already found myself adopting a modified view to the comments made by others on topics where I might previously have reacted with anger, passion, or even ridicule. Such responses don’t work for the good, but cause the original commenter to increase their diatribes because they’ve received some response, which is what so much of social media is about for so many. We desperately need a central path to bring the extremes together and actually get something done.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I certainly agree with that my friend. Diversity should be a wonderful thing where we learn from one another. So well said my friend. Hugs to you both. Love ❤️ Joni

        Liked by 2 people

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