Download Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century by Richard M. Rorty PDF

By Richard M. Rorty

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Publish 12 months note: First released 1998. content material from The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures within the heritage of yank CiviUzation in 1997.

Must the sins of America's earlier poison its desire for the long run?

Lately the yank Left, retreating into the ivied halls of academe to rue the nation's disgrace, has responded definite in either be aware and deed. In Achieving Our Country, one among America's most suitable philosophers demanding situations this misplaced iteration of the Left to appreciate the position it may well play within the nice culture of democratic highbrow hard work that all started with writers like Walt Whitman and John Dewey.

How have nationwide delight and American patriotism come to appear an endorsement of atrocities--from slavery to the slaughter of local american citizens, from the rape of old forests to the Vietnam struggle? Achieving Our Country lines the assets of this debilitating mentality of disgrace within the Left, in addition to the damage it does to its proponents and to the rustic. on the heart of this background is the clash among the previous Left and the hot that arose throughout the Vietnam struggle period. Richard Rorty describes how the paradoxical victory of the antiwar flow, ushering within the Nixon years, inspired a disappointed iteration of intellectuals to pursue "High Theory" on the fee of contemplating where of rules in our universal lifestyles. during this flip to conception, Rorty sees a retreat from the secularism and pragmatism championed by means of Dewey and Whitman, and he decries the tendency of the heirs of the hot Left to theorize in regards to the usa from a distance rather than partaking within the civic paintings of shaping our nationwide future.

In the absence of a colourful, energetic Left, the perspectives of intellectuals at the American correct have come to dominate the general public sphere. This galvanizing ebook, tailored from Rorty's Massey Lectures of 1997, takes step one towards redressing the imbalance in American cultural lifestyles by way of rallying these at the Left to the civic engagement and suggestion wanted for "achieving our country."

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Extra resources for Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America

Sample text

Yet Whitman's vision exposes and explodes that pass for the they began desert. In history of our life. and have a suc- Perhaps be- special interest in philosophical restatements of moral ideals, I think that John Dewey was the most successful and most useful of these imitators. "" the words Dewey was uses "truly democratic" as a obviously envisaging an achieved America. Both Dewey and Whitman viewed the United States as an opportunity to see ultimate significance in a human, historical project, rather than in and nonhuman.

Marxism encouraged us to look for such purity. Marxists suggested that that only the revolutionary proletariat could embody virtue, bourgeois reformers were "objectively reactionary," and that failure to take Marx's scenario seriously was proof of compUcity with the forces of darkness. Marxism was, Tillich and others righdy noted, more of secularist program for social change. Like a as Paul rehgion than a all fundamental- 45 46 ACHIEVING OUR COUNTRY sects, ist emphasized it Lenin, purity. demanded complete freedom from sin Savonarola, like and undeviating obedience.

Which to epoch, but to be a moral agent now him what makes for each of us, there are we ought But has a different conception of For to person, imagine Uving with acts. suppose that one has in done one of the fact things one could not have imagined doing, and finds that one is still alive. At that point, one's choices are suicide, a bottomless self-disgust, and an attempt to do such He a thing again. thinks Dewey recommends you should remain an your agents — past. He life of never to the third choice.

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