Flawed Premise And (Slightly) Lacking Documentation Mar Otherwise Intriguing Discussion. Make no mistake – Provost and Kennard show quite a few corporate abuses in several different areas throughout this book, and they do in fact make a strong case that this has influenced government to a very strong degree in the post WWII era. Where their premise is flawed (which is where one of the two stars deducted comes from) is that they constantly state that this is “overthrowing democracy” when in fact it is *utilizing* democracy to effect a form of democracy known as “corporatism” – which is a term the authors never once use in the text at all, and which is actually much more precise to their overall premise. The other star deduction comes from the bibliography coming in at just 18% of the text, which is slightly under the 20-30% that is more typical of such texts in my own experience. (Though given how many books of late are coming in closer to 15%, I may in fact need to examine all relevant data and perhaps revise this down?)
Still, even with the flawed premise and not quite enough documentation supporting it, this really is quite an eye opening look at the various abuses of corporate power across the globe and how they have caused quite a bit of harm and perhaps unintended consequences, and for these looks alone, it is absolutely worthy of reading and could enhance the overall discussion of related topics. Recommended.
This review of Silent Coup by Claire Provost and Matt Kennard was originally written on April 25, 2023.
Better Title: On Fascism I Disagree With. In this text, MacWilliams does something I’ve literally never seen before, at least not this blatantly. He takes the concept of “prooftexting” from Christian nonfiction/ preaching, wherein the speaker (or writer) selectively quotes particular passages in “proof” of whatever point they are making, and uses the same technique using American History itself as his “inerrant” source. And as with all prooftexters, MacWilliams does indeed make a solid point here or there, but specifically in relation to the other St Martin’s Press title whose review spurred this one – Divided We Fall by David French – this book is but a pale comparison at best. To the level that if one can *only* read one of the two, go with French’s text over this one. Yes, it is longer, and yes, it still comes from a particular ideological background. But it is also *far* more balanced, nuanced, and I daresay insightful. Here, MacWilliams blatantly ignores virtually all authoritarianism from the left, including from current Presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden while consistently railing against that of the current President of the United States, Donald J Trump. He further has a very narrow definition of “democratic” and claims that anyone who doesn’t meet that definition for any reason whatsoever is “authoritarian”, seemingly completely unaware that Anarchists exist and fight “democracy” as nothing more than the iron fist of authoritarianism in the velvet glove of being benevolent to the chosen few.
Finally, in an irony that cannot be ignored by myself in particular – as I run a Facebook page called “He Didn’t F*cking Say That” – MacWilliams begins and ends the text referencing Benjamin Franklin’s “a republic, if you can keep it” line… which didn’t appear in the American lexicon until 1906 according to the Yale Book of Quotations, over a century after Franklin’s death. And yet despite this (or seemingly ignorant of the quote being apocryphal), MacWilliams seems to be unaware of his hypocrisy as he decries McCarthy’s butchering of some of Lincoln’s lines during his own quest for power.
On the whole, this was an interesting and at least quick read. But if one is looking for a complete – or even moderately adequate – takedown of fascism and an exploration of its history in America, sadly this is not such a text. Recommended if only for the few salient points it does make and its brevity.
This review of On Fascism by Matthew C MacWiliams was originally written on September 2, 2020.