Andy Slavitt’s Preventable is a 336-page indictment of Donald Trump, Trumpworld, America’s lack of social cohesion, greed and big pharma. He laments needless deaths, hyper-partisanship and populist disdain of experts and expertise. The word “evil” appears. So does “privilege”.
Slavitt, recently departed as a senior adviser to Joe Biden on Covid response, is himself a product of the Ivy League: the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard business school. He also did stints in the Obama administration and at Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and United Healthcare.
His book reads like Covid-porn for blue America. Unfortunately, he does not reflect on how the US reached this place.
The saga of Albion’s Seed – English Protestants who slaughtered each other in the old country, overthrew the crown in a new land then waged a second civil war – does not figure in Slavitt’s calculus. Said differently, if kin can repeatedly raise arms against kin, the social fabric can never be taken for granted – especially not as demographics convulse. E pluribus unum has limitations.
Slavitt sees Trump’s cruelty at the southern border but fails to acknowledge the grievances of those in flyover country. Brexit and Trump were not one-offs. They were inextricably related. Displacement exacts a price.