Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
My rating: 4 out of 5
I should be the ideal audience for Naomi Klein’s “No is Not Enough” – I’m very much a liberal, very much opposed to all the things Trump, and a strong believer in the positives of immigration. However, I did struggle with this book, and in the end found myself skimming pages towards the end.
Naomi Klein is incredibly articulate and very informed on all these topics, the book is clearly well researched. My problem is that it reads like a tedious activist’s manifesto. Her arguments, and I apologise for this, can be broken down to: unions good, business bad.
She bemoans Trump for negotiating a killer deal on a NYC hotel that he bought in the 70s, depriving NYC of $350 million dollars of future taxes, but doesn’t criticise those who made the sale. Trump is a business man, of course he wants the best deal he can, the problem here is not him, but the muppets who sold him the property on such a bad deal for the city and the state.
Likewise, I disagree with her support of Anticorporate street demonstrations, the ones to be expected now at all G8/G20/etc meetings. She writes about how the protesters receive unfair bad press, while acknowledging “yes, there had been battles with the police and broken store windows”, but there’s no criticism of this violent behaviour, of masked protesters vandalising property and terrifying residents, just disapproval that the press are hostile to the cause.
Similarly, she claims that the IMF’s goal was the “abject humiliation” of Greece in return for bailouts. This wasn’t the case, Greece was heavily over spending on public services while not collecting income through taxes and needed to reform. As an example, public servants could retire at 50; the IMF’s requests were only to put the country inline with other EU members. Without those reforms, Greece would be continually asking for further EU/IMF bailouts, which would be unfair on the other European tax payers who didn’t have such great terms themselves.
And finally, all good books should include all the information to paint a true picture, not just the facts that suit the author’s argument. This was done extremely well by Matthew D’Ancona’s in his recent Post-Truth. Naomi, as I said before, reads like an activist, strong-arming all her opinions as the only truth. While I deplore Trump, I can understand that he gained voters turned off by some of the liberal agenda – if you’re about to lose your job and your house, you don’t care what symbols are used on toilet doors, you don’t care about reparations for slavery that happened 300 years before you were born, you just want to see fixes for your problems, steps to improve your life. The argument in this book is that if you voted for Trump, you can’t see how the dots are connected like us smart liberals can, you can’t see that you’re being taken for a ride, like us smart liberals can.
I never write reviews this long, but this book frustrated me so much in that it missed such a wonderful opportunity. But all people who voted for Trump don’t walk around with their knuckles dragging on the floor, the average salary for a Trump voter was $60k (quoted on a recent Intelligence Squared podcast). And I do feel that this liberal we’re-smarter-than-you mantra does more harm than good, you don’t win an argument by telling the other side that they’re stupid. That’s one of the reasons why the UK voted to leave the EU.
Still, disagreeing with an author’s view is healthy, especially an author who I respect so much. So, 4 out of 5, a well-researched read, with some interesting points made.