THE 15% SOLUTION: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022 by Johnathon Westminster. 480 pp. Thomas Jefferson Press (1996). $29.95 paper.
The 15% Solution reads like a cross between a novel and a textbook on political history. It is a hybrid of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here.
Set in the year 2048, the 25th anniversary of "the Restoration," The 15% Solution traces the history of how religious political extremists took control of the United States, creating the apartheid state of the New American Republics. In 2023, following the conclusion of the Second Civil War, constitutional democracy was restored in the United States.
The lessons we learn from The 15% Solution are that the maintenance of constitutional democracy requires eternal vigilance, and that those forces whose aims are essentially fascistic in nature must never be allowed even one bite of the apple of governmental power. For once they have bitten into it, they will eat the whole apple, core and all. Regurgitation happens only by the application of extreme force.
Besides the wonderful cast of characters, the most fascinating aspect of The 15% Solution is the author's use of today's crop of religious political extremists. He utilizes real people and the words they have actually said and written; he uses groups familiar to us all, and describes events that we have witnessed. They're all there, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and even Bob Dole. Plus, the Christian Coalition, the National Rifle Association, the Coalition on Revival, and a host of others.
While frighteningly entertaining, the book's principle purpose is to show how fascism can be introduced into any country, even the world's greatest democracy, through constitutional means. Today, the Radical Religious Right is using democracy as a means to create theocracy. This battle is happening right before our eyes. Hopefully, The 15% Solution is not prophetic, but that remains to be seen.