...include John Kenneth Galbraith and Nietzsche. OK, they’re both overrated. Galbraith wasn’t much of an economist, although he has a nice prose style and looked good playing an economist on TV. And our society really and truly is affluent. Nietzsche tried to be the first wholly post-Christian postmodern, but he only succeeded in being really, really modern. (We learn both from his penetrating criticism and personal example that everything we proudly call postmodern is really hypermodern.) It is true enough, though, that if I have a "why," then I can get by with just about any "how," and so any conception of freedom that’s all about "the how" and reduces "the why" to a mere preference is worthless, is nihilism. Nietzsche certainly was a brilliant critic of the herd morality lurking at the heart of liberalism. And he saw clearly what liberalism would do to key social institutions, such as marriage. But his observation that "God is dead" was plain wrong, and so the desperation that fueled his extremist rhetoric was, to be gentle, misguided. Read Tocqueville instead.