Democracy Reconsidered

Democracy Reconsidered

Hardback

Edited by Elizabeth Kaufer Busch, Edited by Peter A. Lawler, Contributions by David Alvis, Contributions by Martha Bayles, Contributions by James W. Ceaser, Contributions by Eric Cohen, Contributions by Jocelyn Jones Evans, Contributions by Ann Hartle, Contributions by Joseph M. Knippenberg, Contributions by Peter A. Lawler

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  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Format: Hardback | 292 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 226mm x 30mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 30 June 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Lanham, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0739124803
  • ISBN 13: 9780739124802
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

Democracy Reconsidered provides an enlightening study of democracy in America's post-modern context. Elizabeth Kaufer Busch and Peter Augustine Lawler explore some of the foundational principles of democracy as they have been borne out in American society. The essays included in this volume examine the lessons that novelists, philosophers, and political theorists have for democratic societies as they progress towards postmodern skepticism or even disbelief in the absolute principles that form the foundation of democracies. Led by the provocative observations of Lawler, a member of President Bush's Council on Bioethics, the first section lays out the predicament caused by the gravitation of democracy towards a disbelief in absolute truth, leading to a "crisis of self-evidence." The second section searches for tools that one might use to restore health to the individual and community within American democracy, including spiritual faith, creative autonomy, and philosophic inquiry. The third section addresses the supposed "crisis in liberal education" caused by our "crisis of self-evidence." Included essays explore the extent to which the professed aims of liberal education may be at odds with the cultivation of dutiful citizens. The book closes by considering some of the political consequences of employing content-less freedom as the primary standard by which human behaviour is judged.

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Author information

Elizabeth Kaufer Busch is assistant professor of American Studies and Government and co-director of the Center for American Studies and Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University. Peter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College.

Review quote

The contributors to this fine collection offer a Tocquevillian reflection on democracy in America today in two respects: their investigation of thought and its relation to political action comprehends philosophy, science, religion, and the fine arts; and they write as friends of democracy who address what they regard as contemporary challenges to American government. -- Murray Dry, Middlebury College Democracy Reconsidered is a remarkably lively and wide-ranging collection of essays that addresses the impact of democratic relativism on the modern-and American-character and soul. Whether exploring the contemporary "crisis of self-evidence," the thought of Rorty, Montaigne, Tocqueville, and Strauss, or the role that liberal education can play in opening up democratic hearts and minds, these essays instruct, provoke, and charm. -- Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College

Table of contents

Part 1 Introduction: Why a Reconsideration of Democracy is Needed Part 2 Part One: Democratic Relativism: A Crisis of Self-Evidence Chapter 3 Chapter One: Our Crisis of Self-Evidence Chapter 4 Chapter Two: The American Context of Leo Strauss's Natural Right and History Chapter 5 Chapter Three: Gender Feminism in America: A Reconsideration of Nietzsche's Anti-Feminism Chapter 6 Chapter Four: Anti-Snobs and Anti-Artists Part 7 Part Two: Democracy's Transformation of the Human Character and Soul Chapter 8 Chapter Five: Autonomy and Cruelty: Rorty and Montaigne on the Social Bond Chapter 9 Chapter Six: Democracy and Philosophy as a Way of Life Chapter 10 Chapter Seven: A Tale of Two Liberals: Re-Discovering American Liberalism in Flannery O'Connor's The Barber Part 12 Part Three: Educating the Democratic Mind and Spirit Chapter 12 Chapter Eight: The Rift in the Modern Mind: Tocqueville and Percy on the Rise of the Cartesian Self Chapter 14 Chapter Nine: Religion and Community in Liberal Education and Liberal Democracy Chapter 15 Chapter Ten: A Plea to Protect and Promote the Small Liberal Arts College as Such Chapter 16 Chapter Eleven: Liberal Education and the Democratic Man Chapter 17 Chapter Twelve: Liberal Education: A Friendly Critic of Liberal Democracy Part 18 Part Four: Democracy in American Politics and Society Chapter 19 Chapter Thirteen: Friendly Critics: Tocqueville and Croly on American Political Parties Chapter 20 Chapter Fourteen: Bioethics and the American Characterwith a response by Eric Stone entitled "Of Revulsion and Joy" Chapter 21 Chapter Fifteen: Progress or Tyranny? The Goodridge Dissents Chapter 22 Chapter Sixteen: Women Against Liberation: Opposing Feminism in a Democratic Age