American culture is on life-support. Beginning in the 1960s a generation of activists twisted and bent long-held American beliefs into an ideology of blame and political correctness-weakening and disrupting the nation. As John Harmon McElroy powerfully demonstrates, the counter-culture has become pervasive, with devastating results. He shows how we neglect to educate our children and call it "teaching self esteem;" how we assail the worth of America and call it respecting "diversity;" and how we refuse to take responsibility for our lives and call it "social justice." In tracing the roots and impact of the counter-culture's rejection of historical American beliefs, McElroy powerfully defends the bedrock principles of responsible individualism, practical improvement, and equal freedom under God.
What do strict materialists, deconstructionists, sexual liberationists, radical feminists, extreme secularists, politically correct educational "theorists," racial and ethnic grievance mongers, neo-socialists, and others on the hard left of American politics have in common? They are driven by antagonism to the political, moral, and religious beliefs that have historically been at the heart of American culture—-beliefs to which true reformers from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King appealed in calling the nation to be true to its ideals. In Divided We Stand, John McElroy brilliantly diagnoses the leftist rejection of historical American culture and offers a powerful critique of the ideas that spokesmen for the counter culture propose to put in their place.
John McElroy has written a thought-provoking analysis of what has gone wrong and how to make it right.
In this elegantly written work, John McElroy brilliantly counters the counter-culture. No book could be more timely as America stands perplexed both at home and abroad.
John Harmon McElroy, professor emeritus of the University of Arizona, has also taught at Clemson and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and been a Fulbright Professor of American Studies at universities in Brazil and Spain. His previous books on American cultural history include: Finding Freedom: America's Distinctive Cultural Formation (1989) and American Beliefs: What Keeps a Big Country and a Diverse People United (1999).
1 Foreword 2 Introduction: The Culture War in America in the Late Twentieth Century 3 The Rejection of American Culture 4 Perfection vs. Practical Improvement 5 Class Struggle vs. Equal Freedom 6 Bending: A Means of Deconstructing a Culture 7 Bending Education 8 Instrumental Government 9 Strict Materialism 10 Will American Culture Be Replaced? 11 Appendix A: Beliefs of American Culture 12 Appendix B: A Brief Homily on Needs 13 Appendix C: Some Recommended Further Reading 14 Sources and Notes 15 Acknowledgments