the fractured republic renewing america s social contract in the age of individualism

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The Fractured Republic

Author : Yuval Levin
ISBN : 9780465093250
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 74. 77 MB
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Americans today are frustrated and anxious. Our economy is sluggish, and leaves workers insecure. Income inequality, cultural divisions, and political polarization increasingly pull us apart. Our governing institutions often seem paralyzed. And our politics has failed to rise to these challenges. No wonder, then, that Americans--and the politicians who represent them--are overwhelmingly nostalgic for a better time. The Left looks back to the middle of the twentieth century, when unions were strong, large public programs promised to solve pressing social problems, and the movements for racial integration and sexual equality were advancing. The Right looks back to the Reagan Era, when deregulation and lower taxes spurred the economy, cultural traditionalism seemed resurgent, and America was confident and optimistic. Each side thinks returning to its golden age could solve America's problems. In The Fractured Republic, Yuval Levin argues that this politics of nostalgia is failing twenty-first-century Americans. Both parties are blind to how America has changed over the past half century--as the large, consolidated institutions that once dominated our economy, politics, and culture have fragmented and become smaller, more diverse, and personalized. Individualism, dynamism, and liberalization have come at the cost of dwindling solidarity, cohesion, and social order. This has left us with more choices in every realm of life but less security, stability, and national unity. Both our strengths and our weaknesses are therefore consequences of these changes. And the dysfunctions of our fragmented national life will need to be answered by the strengths of our decentralized, diverse, dynamic nation. Levin argues that this calls for a modernizing politics that avoids both radical individualism and a centralizing statism and instead revives the middle layers of society-families and communities, schools and churches, charities and associations, local governments and markets. Through them, we can achieve not a single solution to the problems of our age, but multiple and tailored answers fitted to the daunting range of challenges we face and suited to enable an American revival.

The Fractured Republic

Author : Yuval Levin
ISBN : 9780465098606
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 73. 65 MB
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21st century America is anxious and discontented. Our economy is sluggish, our culture is always at war with itself, our governing institutions are frequently paralyzed, and our politics seems incapable of rising to these challenges. The resulting frustration runs broad and deep: It fans populist anger while driving elites to despair. It persuades progressives that America is stuck while convincing conservatives that we are rushing in the wrong direction. It manages to make people on all sides of most issues feel as though they are under siege simultaneously. Why should this be? And how can we overcome our frustration? In this groundbreaking exploration of America's 21st-century challenges, Yuval Levin argues that our anxiety is rooted in a failure of diagnosis. Our politics is drenched in nostalgia, with Democrats always living in 1965 and Republicans in 1981, and is therefore blind to the profound transformations of the last half century. America's midcentury order was dominated by large, interconnected institutions: big government, big business, big labor, big media, big universities, mass culture. But in every arena of our national life—or at least every arena except government, for now—we have witnessed the centrifugal forces of diffusion, diversity, individualism, and decentralization pulling these large institutions apart. These forces have liberated many Americans from oppressive social constraints but also estranged many from families, communities, work, and faith. They have set loose a profusion of options in every part of life but also unraveled the social order and economic security of an earlier era. They have loosened the reins of cultural conformity but also sharpened our differences and weakened the roots of mutual trust. Building on our strengths while healing our wounds, Levin argues, would require a politics better adapted to the society we have become—a politics rooted in neither an ethic of centralized power nor a spirit of radical individualism but a regard for the potential of a modernized subsidiarity and civil society.

The Fractured Republic

Author : Yuval Levin
ISBN : 9780465093250
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 44. 77 MB
Format : PDF, ePub
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Americans today are frustrated and anxious. Our economy is sluggish, and leaves workers insecure. Income inequality, cultural divisions, and political polarization increasingly pull us apart. Our governing institutions often seem paralyzed. And our politics has failed to rise to these challenges. No wonder, then, that Americans--and the politicians who represent them--are overwhelmingly nostalgic for a better time. The Left looks back to the middle of the twentieth century, when unions were strong, large public programs promised to solve pressing social problems, and the movements for racial integration and sexual equality were advancing. The Right looks back to the Reagan Era, when deregulation and lower taxes spurred the economy, cultural traditionalism seemed resurgent, and America was confident and optimistic. Each side thinks returning to its golden age could solve America's problems. In The Fractured Republic, Yuval Levin argues that this politics of nostalgia is failing twenty-first-century Americans. Both parties are blind to how America has changed over the past half century--as the large, consolidated institutions that once dominated our economy, politics, and culture have fragmented and become smaller, more diverse, and personalized. Individualism, dynamism, and liberalization have come at the cost of dwindling solidarity, cohesion, and social order. This has left us with more choices in every realm of life but less security, stability, and national unity. Both our strengths and our weaknesses are therefore consequences of these changes. And the dysfunctions of our fragmented national life will need to be answered by the strengths of our decentralized, diverse, dynamic nation. Levin argues that this calls for a modernizing politics that avoids both radical individualism and a centralizing statism and instead revives the middle layers of society-families and communities, schools and churches, charities and associations, local governments and markets. Through them, we can achieve not a single solution to the problems of our age, but multiple and tailored answers fitted to the daunting range of challenges we face and suited to enable an American revival.

The Great Debate

Author : Yuval Levin
ISBN : 9780465040940
Genre : History
File Size : 76. 33 MB
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For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left/right divide in America by examining the views of the men who best represent each side of that debate: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans. Levin masterfully shows how Burke and Paine’s differing views continue to shape our current political discourse—on issues ranging from gun control and abortion to welfare and economic reform. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington’s often acrimonious rifts, The Great Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.

Imagining The Future Science And American Democracy Easyread Large Edition

Author : Yuval Levin
ISBN : 9781458763549
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 51. 40 MB
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From stem cell research to global warming, human cloning, evolution, and beyond, political debates about science in recent years have fallen into the familiar categories of America's culture wars. Imagining the Future explores the meaning of science and technology in American politics today. The science debates, Yuval Levin argues, expose the deepest strengths and greatest weaknesses of both the left and the right, and present serious challenges to American democratic self-government. What do arguments about embryos, climate, or the origins of man reveal about contemporary America? Why do issues involving science seem to divide us along the same fault lines as so many other issues in our political life? Is science morally neutral, or is it an endeavor filled with moral promise - and peril? Are American conservatives really waging war on science? Is the American left justified in calling itself the party of science? Most of the science debates, Levin concludes, are not about particular theories or facts or technologies. Rather, they come down to a profound dispute between liberals and conservatives about the right way to think about the future. Science is only one subject of this broader dispute; but today's science debates can illuminate the contours of our politics and clarify the rift at the heart of our polity.

The Star And The Stripes

Author : Michael N. Barnett
ISBN : 9781400880607
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 85. 61 MB
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How do American Jews envision their role in the world? Are they tribal—a people whose obligations extend solely to their own? Or are they prophetic—a light unto nations, working to repair the world? The Star and the Stripes is an original, provocative interpretation of the effects of these worldviews on the foreign policy beliefs of American Jews since the nineteenth century. Michael Barnett argues that it all begins with the political identity of American Jews. As Jews, they are committed to their people's survival. As Americans, they identify with, and believe their survival depends on, the American principles of liberalism, religious freedom, and pluralism. This identity and search for inclusion form a political theology of prophetic Judaism that emphasizes the historic mission of Jews to help create a world of peace and justice. The political theology of prophetic Judaism accounts for two enduring features of the foreign policy beliefs of American Jews. They exhibit a cosmopolitan sensibility, advocating on behalf of human rights, humanitarianism, and international law and organizations. They also are suspicious of nationalism—including their own. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that American Jews are natural-born Jewish nationalists, Barnett charts a long history of ambivalence; this ambivalence connects their early rejection of Zionism with the current debate regarding their attachment to Israel. And, Barnett contends, this growing ambivalence also explains the rising popularity of humanitarian and social justice movements among American Jews. Rooted in the understanding of how history shapes a political community's sense of the world, The Star and the Stripes is a bold reading of the past, present, and possible future foreign policies of American Jews.

Tyranny Of Reason

Author : Yuval Levin
ISBN : UOM:39015049612552
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 80. 7 MB
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The astonishing success of the natural sciences in the modern era has led many thinkers to assume that similar feats of knowledge and power should be achievable in human affairs. That assumption, and the accompanying notion that the methods of modern science ought to be applied to social and political questions, have been at the heart of a number of prominent philosophical schools in the modern age, and much of the politics of the past century. Is the application of scientific logic to the study of human affairs philosophically defensible? Does it aid or hinder our efforts at a genuine understanding of the human world? Why have so many modern ideologies, including those responsible for some of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century, advanced themselves under the banner of science? Why, in other words, do we assume that modern science holds the key to an understanding of human affairs? Are we right to make this assumption? And what does the assumption mean for contemporary society and politics? Tyranny of Reason, which is designed for the interested lay reader and for undergraduate or beginning graduate students in the social sciences, attempts to answer these important questions in the context of the history of philosophy.

Stories Of Peoplehood

Author : Rogers M. Smith
ISBN : 0521520037
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 83. 17 MB
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Assesses the role of 'stories of peoplehood' in building and binding political societies.

A People Adrift

Author : Peter Steinfels
ISBN : 9781439128411
Genre : Religion
File Size : 45. 38 MB
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In A People Adrift, a prominent Catholic thinker states bluntly that the Catholic Church in the United States must transform itself or suffer irreversible decline. Peter Steinfels shows how even before the recent revelations about sexual abuse by priests, the explosive combination of generational change and the thinning ranks of priests and nuns was creating a grave crisis of leadership and identity. This groundbreaking book offers an analysis not just of the church's immediate troubles but of less visible, more powerful forces working below the surface of an institution that provides a spiritual identity for 65 million Americans and spans the nation with its parishes, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, clinics, and social service agencies. In A People Adrift, Steinfels warns that entrenched liberals and conservatives are trapped in a "theo-logical gridlock" that often ignores what in fact goes on in families, parishes, classrooms, voting booths, and Catholic organizations of all types. Above all, he insists, the altered Catholic landscape demands a new agenda for leadership, from the selection of bishops and the rethinking of the priesthood to the thorough preparation and genuine incorporation of a lay leadership that is already taking over key responsibilities in Catholic institutions. Catholicism exerts an enormous cultural and political presence in American life. No one interested in the nation's moral, intellectual, and political future can be indifferent to the fate of what has been one of the world's most vigorous churches -- a church now severely challenged.

The New Normal

Author : Amitai Etzioni
ISBN : 9781351478564
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 66. 3 MB
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Amitai Etzioni argues that societies must find a way to balance individual rights and the common good. This point of balance may change as new technologies develop, the natural and international environments change, and new social forces arise. Some believe the United States may be unduly short-changing individual rights that need to be better protected. Specifically, should the press be granted more protection? Or should its ability to publish state secrets be limited? Should surveillance of Americans and others be curtailed? Should American terrorists be treated differently from others? How one answers these questions, Etzioni shows, invites a larger fundamental question: Where is the proper point of balance between rights and security? Etzioni implements the social philosophy, "liberal communitarianism." Its key assumptions are that neither individual rights nor the common good should be privileged, that both are core values, and that a balance is necessary between them. Etzioni argues that we need to find a new balance between our desire for more goods, services, and affluence, particularly because economic growth may continue to be slow and jobs anemic. The key question is what makes a good life, especially for those whose basic needs are sated.

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