Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others

Overview

Politicians and the political process, even in ostensibly democratic countries, can be deadly. James Gilligan has discovered a devastating truth that has been "hiding in plain sight" for the past century - namely, that when America's conservative party, the Republicans, have gained the presidency, the country has repeatedly suffered from epidemics of violent death. Rates of both suicide and homicide have sky-rocketed. The reasons are all too obvious: rates of every form of social and economic distress, inequality...

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Overview

Politicians and the political process, even in ostensibly democratic countries, can be deadly. James Gilligan has discovered a devastating truth that has been "hiding in plain sight" for the past century - namely, that when America's conservative party, the Republicans, have gained the presidency, the country has repeatedly suffered from epidemics of violent death. Rates of both suicide and homicide have sky-rocketed. The reasons are all too obvious: rates of every form of social and economic distress, inequality and loss - unemployment, recessions, poverty, bankruptcy, homelessness also ballooned to epidemic proportions. When that has happened, those in the population who were most vulnerable have "snapped", with tragic consequences for everyone.

These epidemics of lethal violence have then remained at epidemic levels until the more liberal party, the Democrats, regained the White House and dramatically reduced the amount of deadly violence by diminishing the magnitude of the economic distress that had been causing it.

This pattern has been documented since 1900, when the US government first began compiling vital statistics on a yearly basis, and yet it has not been noticed by anyone until now except with regard to suicide in the UK and Australia, where a similar pattern has been described.

This book is a path-breaking account of a phenomenon that has implications for every country that presumes to call itself democratic, civilized and humane, and for all those citizens, voters and political thinkers who would like to help their country move in that direction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A quirky book that deserves to be taken seriously ... Gilligan'sinferences are standing up."
New York Review of Books

"Gilligan offers far more than a statistical argument. InRepublican ideology, dependence is associated with dishonour andshame. Gilligan offers a compelling model of how this ethictriggers intolerable feelings of being discounted, disrespected, or'dissed' that issue in violence."
Times Literary Supplement

"Amazingly, until this book appeared nobody had spotted thistrend."
The Diplomat

"By fusing together the scientific rigour of evidence-basedmedicine with a wealth of theoretical insights from the socialsciences, Gilligan’s book (provides) new and exciting ways ofunderstanding the social and economic determinants of healthand well-being."
LSE Politics Blog

"Gilligan's book deserves a wide audience. It is inspiring tofind a social/behavioral study that may turn out to be of greatimportance, and one that may also prove useful in furtheringinvestigation of the emotion of shame."
Contemporary Psychology

"Irrefutable evidence that the politics of the right canactually kill you."
Morning Star

"If you believe politicians can make a difference then thesestatistics will confirm your beliefs."
Sydney Morning Herald

"The Republicans and Conservatives are bad for your health. Theyshould come with the same warning that took years to becomeemblazoned on cigarette packets. This book goes a long way inworking towards that."
Tribune

"For everyone interested in American politics, this book is amust. It will change the way you think about our two majorpolitical parties."
George Soros

"James Gilligan has given us a new formula for thinking aboutAmerican politics: smoking is to cancer as republicans are tosuicides and homicides. His findings are not guesswork or politicalwishful thinking, but based on old-fashioned digging throughthousands of pages about data. Gilligan is telling us, in essence,that how we vote is a life or death decision."
Seymour M. Hersh

"A hugely important book, which needs to be widely known - notsimply for its impact on voting, but also to make politicians moreaware of the consequences of their actions and the non-votingpublic more aware of the importance of politics."
Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745649825
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 973,851
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

James Gilligan is collegiate professor and MD at New York University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii

Introduction: Murder Mysteries 1

1 A Matter of Life and Death 11

2 What Kind of a Man Are You? 39

3 Nothing Succeeds Like Failure 51

4 The Shame of It All 97

5 Who Wants To Be Redundant? 117

6 Red States, Blue States: Honor vs. Guilt 123

Conclusion: The Mystery Solved: What Is To Be Done? 155

Appendices

How Accurate and Complete Are the Data? 195

Figures and tables 205

Bibliography 210

Index 219

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