Democracy and Its Friendly Critics: Tocqueville and Political Life Today

Democracy and Its Friendly Critics: Tocqueville and Political Life Today

Hardback Applications of Political Theory (Hardcover)

Edited by Peter A. Lawler, Contributions by Patrick J. Deneen, Contributions by Marc D. Guerra, Contributions by Ralph C. Hancock, Contributions by Matthew S. Holland, Contributions by Joseph M. Knippenberg, Contributions by Peter A. Lawler, Contributions by Daniel J. Mahoney, Contributions by Harvey C. Mansfield, Contributions by Wilson Carey McWilliams

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  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Format: Hardback | 204 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 231mm x 10mm | 113g
  • Publication date: 11 August 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Lanham, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0739107615
  • ISBN 13: 9780739107614
  • Edition statement: New ed.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

In this edited collection, Peter Lawler presents a lucid and comprehensive introduction to a diverse set of political issues according to Tocqueville. Democracy and Its Friendly Critics addresses a variety of modern political and social concerns, such as the moral dimension of democracy, the theoretical challenges to democracy in our time, the religious dimension of liberty, and the meaning of work in contemporary American Life. Taking innovative and unexpected approaches toward familiar topics, the essays present engaging insights into a democratic society, and the contributors include some of today's leading figures in political philosophy. No other collection on Tocqueville addresses contemporary American political issues in such a direct and accessible fashion, making this book a valuable resource for the study of political theory in America.

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Author information

Peter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College.

Review quote

There are many ways to read Tocqueville, but the authors of the essays collected in this extraordinary volume read him in the best way - as a partner in conversation about some of the most important issues confronting us today: democracy, America, and the fate of democracy in America. -- Damon Linker, Editor, FIRST THINGS These "friendly critics of democracy" go beyond the classic to illuminate American culture and politics. Indeed, these superlative essayists are forced to become friendly critics of Tocqueville in order to complete their work, which culminates, in the most ambitious essays, in the articulation of the relationship between reason and revelation. Thus, the book is an invaluable reminder of the need to understand America as containing within herself the highest themes of political philosophy and hence as possibly the best regime. -- Ken Masugi, The Claremont Institute and editor Thirteen essays, presented by Lawler, frequently use the observations of de Tocqueville as a jumping off point for their reflections on such topics as religion and materialism, the moral foundations of democracy, citizenship as vocation, and other matters. Reference and Research Book News Here in America, the land of sunny tolerance, it sometimes seems that the criticism of modern egalitarian democracy is the only truly unpardonable offense left ? a sin that is doubly heinous, since it combines the theological vice of heresy with the political vice of treason. But America deserves better than that, and the good health of democracy requires it. This stimulating and valuable collection gives fresh force to Tocqueville's great and enduring insight, that the liberal-democratic ethos can beat its best only when it is held in tension with the friendly criticism of other principles... -- Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Here in America, the land of sunny tolerance, it sometimes seems that the criticism of modern egalitarian democracy is the only truly unpardonable offense left - a sin that is doubly heinous, since it combines the theological vice of heresy with the political vice of treason. But America deserves better than that, and the good health of democracy requires it. This stimulating and valuable collection gives fresh force to Tocqueville's great and enduring insight, that the liberal-democratic ethos can be at its best only when it is held in tension with the "friendly criticism" of other principles. -- Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Table of contents

1 What Tocqueville Says to Liberals and Conservatives Today 2 National Character and National Soul 3 Liberty, Equality, Nobility: Kolnai, Tocqueville, and the Moral Foundation of Democracy 4 Tocqueville on Pantheism, Materialism, and Catholicism 5 The Modern Revolution and the Collapse of Moral Analogy: Tocqueville and Guizot 6 Alexis de Tocqueville on the Incommensurability of America's Founding Principles 7 Citizenship as a Vocation 8 Compassionate Conservatism and Biotechnology: Some Tocquevillian Reflections 9 Religion and the Limits of Liberal Pluralism 10 Profiles in American Thomism 11 Christian Love and the Foundations of American Politics: Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln 12 Democracy's Darkside? Robert Kraynak's Catholic Reflections on the Soul in the Liberal Democratic Dispensation 13 Machiavelli Meets the Mob: Palminteri'sA Bronx Tale