THE EXCEPTIONAL SOCIETY
In his insightful, award-winning work Fire and Ice, Environics president Michael Adams explored the growing divergence between American and Canadian values. Using the same mixture of polling and analysis in American Backlash, Adams fixes his penetrating gaze on contemporary America—the exceptional society.
Exploding the accepted wisdom of an America divided bitterly into camps of red and blue, Adams's data show that the values rift between Republicans and Democrats is negligible when compared with the gulf between politically engaged citizens (of either party) and the nearly half of Americans who are politically disaffected.
American Backlash goes beyond the red and blue dichotomy, beyond the litany of divisive political issues that receive so much attention in American public discourse: abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, Darwin versus Genesis, and prayer in schools. Widening the lens to examine the psychology of American society as a whole, Adams's research suggests that it is neither Red nor Blue American that represents the overall trajectory of social change in the United States. Rather, it is politically disengaged Americans, people who increasingly embrace values of brash individualism and hedonism, who are the greatest barometer of where American society is headed.
Michael Adams is president of the Environics group of marketing research and communications consulting companies with offices in the United States and Canada. He has written three bestselling books, including Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values, which won the prestigious 2004 Donner Prize for the best book on public policy in Canada.