"Running water. Electricity. Antibiotics. Dentistry. Air conditioning. Democracy. The rule of law. Such things are not only remarkably new inventions in human history, they are all alien to humanity's natural habitat. Here is what is natural: poverty, hunger, violence, tribal hatred, and an early death. If the Garden of Eden existed, it was a slum. Only once in the last 250,000 years did humans lift themselves out of their natural environment of poverty. It happened in eighteenth-century England--and it was an accident. If democracy, individualism, and the free market were humankind's destiny, they should have appeared and taken hold a bit earlier in the evolutionary record. The emergence of freedom and prosperity was nothing short of a miracle. Indeed, it was the miracle of human history. As Americans we are doubly blessed, because the radical ideas that made the Miracle possible were written not just into the Constitution, but in our hearts, laying the groundwork for our uniquely prosperous society... In the last few decades, these politcal virtues have been turned into vices. As we are increasingly taught to view our traditions as a system of oppression, exploitation, and privlege, the principles of liberty and the rule of law are under attack from left and right. At a moment when authoritarianism, tribalism, identity politics, nationalism, and cults of personality are rotting our democracy from within, Jonah Goldberg exposes the West's suicidal tendencies on both sides of the ideological aisle. With his trademark blend of political history, social analysis, pop culture, and wit, Goldberg makes the timely case that America and other democracies are in peril because they have lost the will to defend the values and institutions that sustain freedom and prosperity. For the West to survive, we must renew our sense of gratitude for what our civilization has given us and rediscover the ideals and habits of the heart that led us out of the bloody muck of the past - or back to the muck we will go."--Page [2-3] of cover.