Placebocracy and Other Ailments
A Classical Liberal Take on America Today
Winner! 2020 Independent Press Award

by Mark J. Hartwig

published by Yucca Ash Press

produced by Sweetgrass Books

  • Winner! 2020 Independent Press Award

    "Hartwig presents eloquent and consistent arguments that eschew right or left paradigms, offering many details." -Kirkus Reviews

    Rights lost are rarely found again.

    America is in trouble: politically, economically, and socially. But there is still hope for avoiding a course for self-destruction, and Mark J. Hartwig's provocative and insightful new book offers suggestions for righting the "ship of democracy."

    Hartwig posits that America has become what he coins a placebocracy: "A system of governance whereby a state--likely a devolving democracy--its institutions and codependent private sector entities introduces ineffective mechanisms overtly designed to manage public frustrations in lieu of resolving actual political, economic, and sociocultural problems."

    Hartwig lays a considerable amount of blame at the feet of America's politicians: excoriating both the Democrats and Republicans: ripping into their failed policies, unwillingness to work together, corruption, cronyism, and elitism. He also has a bone to pick with the news media, and insists media outlets must stop their partisan approach to coverage and go back to old-school journalism so the rest of the nation can consider the facts and conduct fair and reasonable public discourse to resolve the issues it faces. Adding to this malaise, he suggests, is that America's middle class has decayed to an extent that it has become a "distinct minority" in large part because it has not been re-defined economically in decades. Hartwig's underlying proposition is that American democracy is imperiled as a result of institutionalized ignorance on the part of her constituents. He argues it is the sum of these failings which fosters the current atmosphere of political instability.

    Hartwig takes an intellectual, fact-based approach to highlighting our biggest problems, warns us what the future could bring, and shines a light on potential solutions. His purpose is to present a perspective not presently embraced by pols or pundits, and to suggest a dialogue within the U.S. that realistically and holistically embraces the issues facing all Americans. "There is an urgency for national debate," he writes. "It must be an honest discussion, culminating in our resolve to make substantial changes. We've heard enough from the fringes. It's time we take responsible action."

320 pages, 6 x 9, PUR Casebound

ISBN 10: 1591522609
ISBN 13: 9781591522607






Placebocracy and Other Ailments
A Classical Liberal Take on America Today

Placebocracy and Other Ailments align=

Born in Canada and raised on a ranch in British Columbia, Mark J. Hartwig emigrated to the United States in 1979, acquired his GED at the age of 32 in 1987, and went on to acquire a BA in International Relations and a law degree. Hartwig practiced law in Seattle and Montana through 2018--representing domestic and international clients--and has undertaken a variety of small realty development projects. Prior to embarking on his law career, Hartwig worked in the commercial maritime industry. During that time, he was engaged in the Alaskan salmon and crab fisheries; the Hawaiian lobster fishery; and, tug, tow, and salvage operations. He describes himself as having been a lousy fisherman, but adept at navigation and boat handling and only recently gave up his Master Mariner's license. Hartwig has also worked as an oil spill response coordinator, investigator, wildland fire fighter, ranch hand, in the construction industry, and has volunteered as a search and rescue crew member.

He has traveled extensively, and over time, developed a passion for following and studying sociocultural, political, and economic progressions both domestically and internationally. Politically, Hartwig is an independent: defining himself as a classical liberal. Philosophically, Hartwig avows that "Our purpose in life can only be to learn; that ultimately, we are no more than the sum of our experiences and knowledge." Alongside his wife, Hartwig operates a fledgling farm in Arizona and immerses himself in writing and painting. He has three children and two stepchildren, "All of whom I am proud of and who are infinitely smarter than me." The family divides their time between Montana, Arizona, and Mexico.

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