This is an interesting and challenging book. It argues that democracy (particularly in its more militant forms) is the enemy of the individual (i.e. individualist) and that we need a great deal more individualism, particularly in an era of mob politics fueled by social media.
KDW exemplifies this individualism; in part the book is a response to his being fired by the ATLANTIC because of his pro-life views. That individualism (for those who are not yet familiar with his work) is also exhibited through a gonzo style replete with vulgar expletives and over-the-top expressions. This is, by turns, exhilarating and embarrassing. Many of his targets may deserve a none-too-subtle bludgeoning but in the backs of our heads we hear the old admonition that profanity is the attempt by the feeble mind to express itself forcibly. Since some of his targets will be shared by the reader there will be some mitigation of these excesses. Marc Lamont Hill . . . ok . . . but St. John the Evangelist? Some of his heroes of individualism are also dubious, e.g., Milton's Satan. He was a hero to the romantics, of course, but the romantics are (unlike KDW) feelers rather than thinkers; the only real thinker in their midst is Coleridge, whose thought is often derivative. The Satan as hero notion was long ago demolished by C.S. Lewis but Satan's intellectual failure is manifest in every line he speaks. He is a Manichaean but God is not. This very large fact should not have been overlooked. Feelers may find him to be a hero but thinkers cannot.
I found several notions of particular interest, first, the degree to which ideologues are delusional:
" . . . someone should break the bad news to Antifa and their imitators online and in the real world: There isn't any Nazi menace lurking in the United States. And the play-acting on that score would be embarrassing for thirteen-year-olds—for thirty-two year-olds, it's delusional and neurotic. There is no secret cabal of Cultural Marxists out there; patriarchy is a figure of speech; white supremacy is not the American zeitgeist" (p. 140).
This is coupled with the famous declaration by Eric Hoffer:
"Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life" (p. 141). The lonely and forgotten try to find meaning by associating themselves with a crusade replete with grievances. Hence we get mass movements.
This reinforces Fukuyama's point with regard to nations. They seek thymos, recognition. As we say in smaller ambits: people seek attention who would otherwise not receive it. KDW sees this in Henry Adams' insight:
"'Politics is the systematic organization of hatreds,' and those hatreds are based on status. Status is at the root of envy, jealousy, covetousness, spite, ressentiment, and—consequently—politics" (p. 156).
This is all exacerbated by social media and that is where we now find ourselves. I think he is right and I applaud his having the courage to say so. We are, he says, on the "Road to Smurfdom," a land of small, blue people at a time when we require mass quantities of independent thinking.
Four and a half stars (because his style is delightful 90% of the time but sometimes gets in the way of his very significant arguments).