The triumph of ignorance and bliss

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Polk, James

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A brilliant analysis which shows that North Americans have largely abandoned the public sphere for the sake of individual fortune.

In The Triumph of Ignorance and Bliss, Polk examines the foundations of a culture that he sees as favouring firepower over diplomacy, passions from the pulpit over rational critique, and the star appeal of media idols over a debate about the real problems. Where engaged public discourse should channel effective dissent, there is ignorance; where public outrage should ignite corrective action to oppose the blatant wrongs, there is bliss.

Polk portrays a society sidetracked by television-inspired fantasies of fame, fun, and perfect bodies, where public school systems are close to collapse, where millions live without health insurance, where tax policies openly favour the wealthiest, where corporations brazenly take control, not only of decision-making processes, but also of the very means by which issues, content, and public priorities are defined, where the optimism of the past has been replaced by a sense of despair and foreboding because of abuses of trust.

James Polk’s portrait of America is riveting … his arguments are sound and convincing. An important, fascinating book written with a strong message. – Norm Goldman,

James Polk holds a PhD in philosophy for his work on Kant and Heidegger. Other publications include essays and translations in social philosophy and comparative social history. He teaches at the University of Southern California.