America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire

America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire

by Claes G. Ryn
     
 

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ISBN-10: 141281331X

ISBN-13: 9781412813310

Pub. Date: 05/31/2009

Publisher: Transaction Publishers

Urged on by a powerful ideological and political movement, George W. Bush committed the United States to a quest for empire. American values and principles were universal, he asserted, and should guide the transformation of the world. Claes Ryn sees this drive for virtuous empire as the triumph of forces that in the last several decades acquired decisive influence

Overview

Urged on by a powerful ideological and political movement, George W. Bush committed the United States to a quest for empire. American values and principles were universal, he asserted, and should guide the transformation of the world. Claes Ryn sees this drive for virtuous empire as the triumph of forces that in the last several decades acquired decisive influence in both the American parties, the foreign policy establishment, and the media.

Public intellectuals like William Bennett, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Michael Novak, Richard Perle, and Norman Podhoretz argued that the United States was an exceptional nation and should bring "democracy," "freedom," and "capitalism" to countries not yet enjoying them. Ryn finds the ideology of American empire strongly reminiscent of the French Jacobinism of the eighteenth century. He describes the drive for armed world hegemony as part of a larger ideological whole that both expresses and aggravates a crisis of democracy and, more generally, of American and Western civilization.

America the Virtuous sees the new Jacobinism as symptomatic of America shedding an older sense of the need for restraints on power. Checks provided by the US Constitution have been greatly weakened with the erosion of traditional moral and other culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781412813310
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
05/31/2009
Pages:
234
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Preface

Author’s Note

Prologue: War without End

1. The Crisis of Western Civilization and the Rise of Jacobinism

2. The New Jacobinism

3. Creative Traditionalism or Radicalism?

4. Democracy: Plebiscitary or Constitutional?

5. Contrasting Forms of Morality and Society

6. Aristocratic and Anti-Aristocratic Democracy

7. The Father of Democratism

8. Love of One’s Own and Love of the Common

9. Moral Universality: A Philosophical Interlude

10. Pluralistic Political Morality

11. Democracy in Peril

12. The New Jacobins and American Democracy

13. Democracy for the World

14. Jacobin Capitalism

15. Equality

16. A Center that Cannot Hold

17. Responsible Nationhood

18. Needed: A New Moral Realism

Index

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