Philips points to three unifying themes holding this coalition together. First, its tie to oil and the role oil plays in American and world events. Second, to the coalition of social conservatives, Evangelicals and Pentecostals in this Republican coalition. Finally, he points to the "debt culture" of this coalition, and to a coming "debt bubble" related to the debt of the U.S. Government and U.S. consumers. He argues that similar issues have been prevalent in the past, when other world powers, such as the Roman Empire and the British Empire declined from their peaks and fell into disarray.
While working as a strategist in the presidential campaign of Richard Nixon, Philips wrote "The Emerging Republican Majority." In that book, Philips predicted the formation of this very coalition that he criticizes in his current book. In "American Theocracy," he admits that while these "mutations," as he calls them, could have been predicted, he did not foresee the extent to which they would develop and dominate the coalition he helped put together. The last chapter of this book references his first work, and is called "The Erring Republican Majority."
Phillips suggests that American greatness in the 20th century was built on oil, much as British greatness in the 19th century was built on coal, and Dutch greatness before that was built on wind and water power. When these energy sources became scarce or were replaced with a new source, argues Phillips, these countries lost their greatness to the master of the new energy source.
He points to American society and geography being built around oil, with widely disbursed suburbs and exurbs. He criticizes the "S.U.V. gas-hog culture" and points to geological estimates that oil supplies in most of the world have peaked, in the most pessimistic of views, or will peak within the next few decades, which ranks in with the optimistic view, with the result being prices continuing to increase and oil becoming more scarce.
Phillips points to political ramifications. He cites statistics that people who use more oil are more likely to vote republican. These people are more likely to drive larger domestic trucks and S.U.V.s and live further from the urban center of a city, thus driving more in less efficient vehicles. Of the top ten oil states, eight voted for George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential election.
Finally, Phillips suggests that oil has been the driving force in U.S. foreign policy for nearly thirty years. He suggests that the U.S. military has been transformed into a world-wide oil protection force. He suggests that various military events in the 1980s, as well as the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, were primarily oil driven. Phillips makes a point that with Iraq at war for the past 25 years, and thus Iraqi oil production depressed for that time period, that most of Iraq's oil is still in the ground.
Philips starts this section by tracing the history of American religion. He argues that the pilgrims who emigrated to the New World before the American Revolution were religious outsiders, who were non-conformist and more radical than the establishment would allow (which was why they left Europe in the first place). He points to a history of highly emotional religious practices in the 17th and 18th centuries. He then argues that after "fundamentalist religion" (particularly Evangelical and the newly-formed Pentecostal branches) were set back after the Scopes Monkey Trial, they appeared to have been dealt a permanent blow. Philips cites statistical studies that suggest that after this point, fundamentalist religion grew at a rapid rate, while mainstream denominations actually declined (this was covered to most observers at the time due to other circumstances, such as the increase in population at the time.)
Philips argues that religion is, by far, the most accurate predictor of political and ideological belief. He cites this as the primary determinate of who picked what side during, what he refers to, as the three great civil wars between English speaking peoples: the English Civil War in the 17th century, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War.
Theocracy, theocracy, theocracy.(American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century)(The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right's Plans for the Rest of Us)(Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism)(Thy Kingdom Come: How The Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical s Lament)(Book review)
Aug 01, 2006; American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips...
Empire Falls.(American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century)(Book review)
May 05, 2006; American Theocracy The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century Kevin Phillips Viking,...
America's first religious party?(American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century)(Book review)
Sep 01, 2006; American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century By Kevin Phillips...