Michael Savage is an angry man and it has made him a very successful one. His daily three-hour talk show The Savage Nation reaches an estimated listening audience of 12 million people on more than 230 radio stations across America.
Savage’s rage at President Barack Obama is personal and palpable. But Savage does not fit easily into the usual framework of Right-Wing shock jock talk show hosts. In fact he does not fit into them at all.
His anger and rage are targeted as much at mainstream Republicans as Democrats, and in a year when both parties are being rocked by unprecedented popular outsider insurgencies, Savage’s take in his recent book Government Zero is important and well worth reading.
It is a safe bet that his core followers will be supporting the remarkable populist campaign of Donald Trump to win the Republican presidential nomination.
Most books by radio talk show hosts are clearly either ghost-written for them or cobbled together by poorly paid copy editors from transcripts of their daily diatribes. Here too, Savage breaks the mold: His book is well organized and presents coherent, successive arguments and theses. The tone of the writing is clearly that of the author. The thoughts are his own.
Also, Savage is a much more rounded and well-read figure outside the tired and trampled marketplace of common political clichés, we know all too well.
A figure who will devote regular three-hour talk shows to such issues as mental health or the case for global catastrophism destroying civilizations in the recent archaeological record is not a figure to be easily categorized or lightly dismissed.
Savage’s thesis in this book is stark and clear: Both main US political parties are so mired in corruption, complacency and irresponsible greed and incompetence that they have produced a state of “Government Zero” – a government that has zero commitment or capability to protect the genuine economic interests, security and even physical survival of the American people.
Savage boils this down to a state of national drift and a negative agenda pushed as purposeful policy by the federal government in Washington. These forces, he maintains, are relentlessly driving American society towards utter dissolution – a “zero point” of no borders, no common English language and no common national culture.
Savage fearlessly attacks sacred cows on both the left and the right. The limitless flooding of the nation with unregulated illegal immigrants breaks down the most essential barriers and controls essential to maintain law and order, a process that the inhabitants of US border states with Mexico now know only too well.
Tackling this subject automatically puts Savage on the hit list of the liberal Democratic Party establishment, but it also outrages the neo-conservative and post-Reagan era orthodoxy of the Republican Party that has long favored open borders, ostensibly to fulfill the supposedly perfect economic teachings and precepts of Adam Smith and David Ricardo – English theoreticians who lived 200 years ago. But in practice the mainstream GOP agenda favors unlimited immigration to ensure cheap labor for short-sighted business interests.
Savage is a pessimist: No “Brave New World” of zero border controls and unlimited free trade bringing great and rapid prosperity for him.
Instead, Savage recognizes, as I documented in my 2012 book That Should Still Be Us, that the world is not flat, that there is no such a thing as full and fair free trade, but that the negotiating tables of the world are always tilted: Some nations will prosper by effectively defending their major industries and agriculture. But others will fail to protect their own and be impoverished as a result. America has fallen into that latter category for the past half century.
Savage takes clear and unrelenting aim at the hypocrisy and venality of the Clintons, husband and wife alike, but he does not spare the ineffably stupid George W. Bush either.
Yet this book is not merely a jeremiad of unrelenting rage and despair. Savage has a driving sense of urgency: But he also clearly sees the policies and principles of national regeneration lacking on both right and left that can still rescue and restore the United States.
Many of Savage’s contentions will strike casual readers as wildly off the wall: However, they would do well to hold their breaths and actually look at the evidence he amasses.
Global climate change is certainly real: Having seen at first hand dramatic climactic changes from Alaska to the Siberian steppe, and just today digging out of Washington’s famous three-foot snowstorm I can attest to that. But such changes are far from unprecedented in recent human history. And Savage digs out the incontrovertible evidence of far more dramatic global climactic swings in the 17th century and the high Middle Ages, when the climate of Greenland was vastly more temperate than it is today, to make his case.
Savage’s recommendations are bold and radical: He argues the case for separating American nationalism from conservatism. He argues that nationalism should take over celebrating the core values to which Republican conservatives have long paid lip service but never practiced, like balanced budgets, respect for individual rights, and distrust of rapidly metastasizing federal powers, especially to coerce the domestic citizenry.
He also recognizes, as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt all did, that there are streams of American liberalism that can and should embrace a renewed American nationalism.
Savage is fierce in his denunciation and distrust of excessive government run riot. But he is no libertarian either. He rejects that easy but suicidal intellectual shortcut. He recognizes that effective government is needed to maintain law and order, ensure secure and civilized life and most of all-man the borders of the nation.
An effective government is also needed to restore and maintain the US armed forces, which Savage sees as essential to defend the nation from myriad threats, most of all the global crusade of jihadism. But he is no mindless war hawk like Lindsay Graham, John McCain and so many flailing old Republican hardliners.
Unlike them, Savage advocates a restoration of friendly, civilized ties and cooperation with Russia, the only nation on earth that can match the US thermonuclear arsenal, and that therefore is capable of destroying the United States and the American people in matter of hours. I came to the same strategic conclusion in my most recent book Gathering Storm: The Seventh Era of American History & the Coming Crises That Will Lead to It.
It is remarkable that a man so fearless, so angry, so politically incorrect and therefore so intolerable to the established orthodoxies and conventional wisdoms of left and right alike should have prospered so well in 21st century America.
That he has done so gives ground for hope that we may yet escape total ruin and revive American life in a new age, as I maintain in my political history, Cycles of Change: The Three Great Cycles of American History & the Coming Crises That Will Lead to the Fourth.
That book explores the patterns of US affairs from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama. And it also reveals the forces of recovery that awake in American life in the darkest hours of national crisis to regenerate the nation.
Michael Savage is certainly a Prophet of Anger, it is easy to write him off as just a Prophet of Doom, but above all else, in pointing to new ways that can yet rescue us from our old follies, he is a Prophet of Hope.
Martin Sieff is an editor at Sputnik, the Russian-owned news organization. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (2008), Gathering Storm (2014) and Cycles of Change: The Three Great Eras of American History and the Coming Crisis that will Lead to the Fourth (2014). Follow Martin on: @MartinSieff