“Americans are being duped” is one of the central messages of We the People: Servants of Deception; Reconsidering Social Reality, a sociology title by Christopher M. Dawson, a retired insurance executive who previously taught at two colleges in North Carolina. While Dawson does not hold a PhD, this compilation of his lectures is essentially a Sociology 101 course bound between two covers.
Indeed, Dawson structures the book like a college course. He defines his terms, lays out his program, and provides graphs, charts, maps, tables, and other illustrations to support his points. Each chapter concludes with an academic exercise in the form of a list of questions that readers/students are asked to ponder, explore, and discuss.
This, however, is not the dull, dry primer some might fear. Dawson’s opinions and politics are liberal and echo much of what is being said by those involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement. His anger at and disdain for the moneyed classes, whom he charges have “hijacked” the American dream, will turn away many on the right and probably everyone on the far right, but will play well to the opposite end of the political spectrum.
Dawson fakes to the left but actually aims for the middle—for the great majority of Americans who consider themselves politically independent, moderate, or undecided. As any good teacher should, he challenges his audience to think. He wants them to explore what America was, is, and may become should “the elites of our society,” as he terms them, continue to work at “protecting their self interests at the expense of so many.”
Dawson explores many themes, from racial and sexual discrimination to what he decries as “the doping of America.” He debunks the arguments of those who label single-payer health plans as “socialism,” and chides those who have used terrorism to frighten Americans into certain courses of action and spending which he finds excessive, unwarranted, and dangerous. The author also takes on corporate America, and exposes what he believes is the exploitation of working people and the intentional undermining of the middle class by the wealthy.
Dawson writes like a college instructor. His prose is one of measured anger, and he backs up his charges and points with facts, statistics, quotations, and footnotes. This is not a mere rant, but a solid argument presented within the framework of a sociological study. Some might suggest Dawson tone down his rhetoric, but the more progressive will likely applaud him for his passion.
We the People: Servants of Deception; Reconsidering Social Reality is not earth-shattering, but it will challenge those who plow their way through it—and they will be better-informed citizens for that effort.