What is the man who cannot be known apart from his socio-political environment? As Zbigniew Janowski asserts, one does not ask who this man is, for he does not even know himself. This man is suppressed and separated, and not by Fascism or Communism. In present-day America this has been accomplished by democracy.
"Only someone shortsighted, or someone who values equality more than freedom, would deny that today's citizens enjoy little or no freedom, particularly freedom of speech, and even less the ability to express openly or publicly the opinions that are not in conformity with what the majority considers acceptable at a given moment. It may sound paradoxical to contemporary ears, but a fight against totalitarianism must also mean a fight against the expansion of democracy."
Janowski all at once brazen and out of bounds states what he calls the obvious and unthinkable truth: In the United States, we are already living in a totalitarian reality. The American citizen, the Homo Americanus, is an ideological being who is no longer good or bad, reasonable or irrational, proper or improper except when measured against the objectives of the dominating egalitarian mentality that American democracy has successfully incubated. American democracy has done what other despotic regimes have likewise achieved--namely, taken hold of the individual and forced him to renounce (or forget) his greatness, pursuit of virtue and his orientation toward history and Tradition.
Homo Americanus, Janowski argues, has no mind or soul and he cannot tolerate diversity and indeed he now censors himself. Democracy is not benign, and we should fear its principles come by and applied ad hoc. It is deeply troublesome that in the way democracy moves today it gives critics no real insight into any trajectory of reason behind its motion, which is erratic and unmappable. The Homo Americanus is an ideological entity whose thought and even morality are forbidden from universal abstraction.
Janowski mounts the offensive against what the American holds most sacred, and he does so in order to save him. After exposing the danger and the damage done, Janowski makes another startling proposal. It is a "diseased collective mind" that is the source of this ideology, the liberal anti-perspective that presses man into the image of the Homo Americanus, and its grip can only be broken through the recovery of instinct. Homo Americanus cannot be free again until he is himself again. That is, until the shadow that belongs only to him is restored, and he is thereby no longer alienated from others. Despite the condemnation Janowski seems to be levying on the citizen of the United States, he betrays a great hope and confidence that the means to shake ourselves awake from the bad dream are nevertheless in hand.
Janowski's work is the next title in St. Augustine's Press Dissident American Thought Today Series. It occupies a controversial overlapping terrain between the philosophical descriptions of liberalism as a tradition, psychology and the fundamentally influential critiques of democracy offered by Thucydides, Jefferson, Franklin, Tocqueville, Mill, Burke and more. More anecdotal than analytical, Janowski offers the contemporary proof that the reader is right to be scandalized by democracy and his or her own likeness of the Homo Americanus. Once upon a time it was the despicable Homo Sovieticus fruit of tyranny, but now we fear democratic society too might fall and all its citizens never be found again.