Democracy And Its Friendly Critics

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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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Editorial Reviews

Reference and Research Book News
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.
Damon Linker
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.
Ken Masugi
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.
Wilfred M. McClay
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739107614
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 8/11/2004
  • Series: Applications of Political Theory Series
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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Table of Contents

1 What Tocqueville says to liberals and conservatives today 1
2 National character and national soul 7
3 Liberty, equality, nobility : Kolnai, Tocqueville, and the moral foundations of democracy 17
4 Tocqueville on pantheism, materialism, and Catholicism 31
5 The modern revolution and the collapse of moral analogy : Tocqueville and Guizot 49
6 Alexis de Tocqueville on the incommensurability of America's founding principles 59
7 Citizenship as a vocation 77
8 Compassionate conservatism and biotechnology : some Tocquevillian reflections 93
9 Religion and the limits of liberal pluralism 111
10 Profiles in American Thomism 125
11 Christian love and the foundations of American politics : Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln 137
12 Democracy's darksides? : Robert Kraynak's Catholic reflections on the soul in the liberal democratic dispensation 155
13 Machiavelli meets the mob : Palminteri's A Bronx tale 177
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