One might hope that Caldwell is a prisoner of the last election cycle. But The Age of Entitlement is not a Trump-inspired book. Caldwell sketched out the argument at a Harvard lecture in 2014, well before the famous escalator ride.15 What’s impressive, or disturbing, is how the past five years slipped into the argument with bespoke precision—to the point where many reviewers assumed it was conceived as a how-you-got-Trump book. In a sense, deciding if Caldwell “lucked” out—if the 2010s were merely a feverish interregnum, the growing pains of the new constitution—is a verdict on his argument.
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