Download e-book for kindle: American Liberalism: An Interpretation for Our Time (H. by John McGowan

By John McGowan

ISBN-10: 0807831719

ISBN-13: 9780807831717

ISBN-10: 0807885088

ISBN-13: 9780807885086

Americans dwell in a liberal democracy. but, even though democracy is commonly touted at the present time, liberalism is scorned by way of either the perfect and the left. the U.S. stands poised among its liberal democratic culture and the intolerant choices of liberalism's critics. In a fascinating and informative dialogue, McGowan deals a ringing endorsement of yankee liberalism's simple ideas, values, and commitments. He explains that the liberalism of the founders allotted strength greatly to be able to restrict the facility anybody entity may workout over others. Their target was once to supply for all a good freedom that mixed definitely the right to self-determination having the ability to in attaining one's self-chosen ambitions. In tracing this heritage, McGowan deals a transparent imaginative and prescient of liberalism's foundational values as America's top warrantly this present day of liberty and the peace within which to workout it.

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Extra info for American Liberalism: An Interpretation for Our Time (H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series)

Sample text

Humans strive for absolute power, and contrivances short of violent conflict cannot stop that headlong rush. The response to this drastic view can only be that the proof is in the pudding. Neither abstract thinking, nor general claims about “human nature” and “social laws,” nor projective thought experiments can tell us in advance whether liberal expedients can produce societies in which citizens manage to live together in peace for a relatively long time because enough of them possess a large enough portion of freedom, security, and prosperity to make risking it all seem a bad bet.

Those strong and ruthless enough (think Machiavelli and Nietzsche) to recognize that power is all and to pursue it full bore will be the world’s masters. Whatever power the law possesses comes from the force with which it is made to prevail. Only violent enforcement makes the law effective—and it is made effective solely to serve the accumulation of power by some in face of the desire of others to grab that power for themselves. It is all struggle all the time, and no liberal expedient can hope to mitigate the conflicts.

Courtroom experience is frustrating, even infuriating. As already noted, the law must constrain, but also allow productive (revisionary) interaction with, the demos. The same dynamic informs the law’s relation to morality. Liberalism strives to resist a tyranny exercised by some 24 H liberalism: principles and values citizens over others in the name of morality. 23 The law is not—and should not be—the articulated morality of the society. That is because any such articulation of a morality would never capture the moral convictions of every member of that society.

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American Liberalism: An Interpretation for Our Time (H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series) by John McGowan

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