The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt against the Liberal Elite


Drawing insight from two thousand years of history and philosophy, Lee Harris argues that today's populist revolt is a watershed moment in American history
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The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt Against the Liberal Elite

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Drawing insight from two thousand years of history and philosophy, Lee Harris argues that today's populist revolt is a watershed moment in American history
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230102712
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee Harris is the author of the critically acclaimed The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West and Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History. A frequent contributor to Policy Review, The Weekly Standard, The New Atlantis, The Wall Street Journal’s "Opinion Journal," and, he has become one of the most sought-after commentators on the post-9/11 epoch. He lives in Stone Mountain, GA.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Is America Still Governable? The Message of the Town Hall Revolts

• Freedom and its Ambiguities

• Freedom, Utopia, and the Intellectual

• American Exceptionalism

• Common Sense

• The Life Cycle of Liberty

• Crazy for Liberty

• Self-made Men, Self-made Societies

• The Tao of the Ornery

• The Making of Ornery Americans

• Why Libertarianism is not Enough

• How the Little Guy Got his Freedom

• Can Everybody Really be Free?

• Conserving the Spirit of Liberty

• Conclusion: The Fate of Freedom and the Future of the Western Civilization

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A very good book that should be read with an open mind by both sides - the populists are in need of inspiration and the liberal elites are in need of illumination and this book is the answer for both of them.

    Lee Harris presents the proposition that the current liberal tilt of the federal government has created a strong reaction of the people in favor of rebalancing the political bench.
    Ideologically, Americans have been satisfied to be governed through a push and pull motion where the extremes of both parties had a hard time influencing for long the governance of the country and changing the American way of life. Whenever social or economical changes were made, their acceptance was predicated on the people being ready to incorporate them in the philosophical/religious "cosmic script" that governed their lives. America founded its meritocratic system on the idea that every single person deserves of trying for the highest mountain and thus there is no need to bow to those that have already got on top. People expect to be valued for who they are. Their input of how to run the society is as important as the one resting on thick layers of scholarly diplomas. The author does not lessen the importance of liberal elite in the workings of society.
    He acknowledges that in this time and age the existence of scientism - the cosmic script that rests on the naturalism and science - is unavoidable.
    It could be no other path for our society but the one where science is recognized as essential to human existence.
    Mr. Harris argues that the Brights (the moniker for liberal elites) should be less dismissive of the beliefs and moral leanings of the rest of us. Americans may not be as enlightened as the liberal elites would prefer but they have an innate understanding of what they need to make their life fulfilling.
    Americans have always put the highest price on their freedom and they still are. Even after decades in which the liberal elites have tried to push, nudge and frightened the people into less liberty and more controlled social settings where the good of all should take precedent over the free individual striving and failing, Americans are still unconvinced of advantage of the former compare with the latter.
    Mr. Harris arguments support his conclusion that the people of this country are not anti-elites by default. Their anti-elitist stance is a form of defense against the onslaught of statist ideology and equalitarian philosophy that has become the general mode of thinking of America's brightest (that is where the Brights are coming in). The liberal elite is not guilty of holding the beliefs they do but of wanting to dismiss and invalidate any system of beliefs that is not compatible to their own blueprint of what society should look like. While they ask for acceptance and inclusion from everybody else the liberal elites would take away the freedom to choose from all those that make choices that would not fit in the societal script by which the liberal elites leads its life.
    The last few pages in the book are a good synthesis of why people, the mass of individuals who are not regimented in the program of change and improvement promoted by the liberal elites, seem to stir and raise their voices to protest against the present political path of the country.
    Mr. Harris has succeeded to put a good book together because whenever he cites foundational text it does so in a skillfully restrained manner that informs, convinces and enlightens.
    Mr. Harris does not propose the pitch and fork solution to the present but explains why the revolts in the past were not against the idea of progress but against the imposition of progress at the price of

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "Liberal elites" is a bogeyman term on the right

    Mr. Harris is of the opinion that liberal "elites" look at the middle class public opinion and then choose to believe and advocate for the exact opposite position. I am not sure how serious he is on that. But anyway, as a person who shares many of the beliefs of these liberal "elites" ( in support of same sex marriage, end of the drug wars, legalizing and regulating prostitution in brothels, etc), I don't believe and I don't believe other progressives take positions just to be counter to the majority opinion of the nation. For example, suffragists (who were very liberal for their times) advocated for the right of women to vote. Now, did they take this position to run counter of the majority opinion? No, neither did those who before them argued for non-property holding men to vote. Ideas should be tested and valued solely within the merits for or against them. If something is correct or just it does not matter if 1% or 99% favor it just as in science it did not matter that in 1492 the average person believed the earth was not round.

    Now, I must ask, why are liberals called elites all the time? Did not President Obama receive a majority of the popular vote? Are we to believe that the majority of American voters are these so called liberal elites? A strong majority of members of the House of Representatives are Democrats, once again a product of liberal elite voters? Of course that would be silly to say so. The fact is, a good chunk of Americans have values that are liberal. They aren't all academics working in "ivory towers" at Harvard or Stanford. But why I must ask, aren't conservative elites called, for what they are, elites? Newt Gingrich isn't an elite? George Will? Aren't they conservative intellectual elites? Sean Hannity isn't more of an elite then I am or the average liberal professor at say, the University of Toledo? Is elite then just a term (like political correctness) to be tossed at any position of someone on the left, without having to engage in debate?

    The rightwing, including Harris, plays up that they are populist. Really, or is it a faux brand? The fact is, the rightwing (as a movement but not all individuals of course) advocates for weaker oversite of big business on workplace safety, product safety and on Wall Street. Is this really populism? I know Sarah Palin is folksy but really ask yourself, does the policies that she and others favor lead to more power and influence for big corporations or less?

    Lastly, why would there have to be any kind of civil war, literally or methaporically? Don't we have a political process in place where conservatives can gain power and elected office? The fact is, if the left was just made up of a few elites, they would have no power in a democratic nation. There wouldn't be enough of them. So, the idea that there this is a debate of liberal elites against conservative masses is grossly misleading and simplistic. The fact is, for all the talk of conservatives standing for liberty there are issues (especially social issues) where I believe that much of the right are likely to encroach and limit the rights of individuals to live their lives such as bans or limitations on contraceptives, a right to die, medical marijuana etc.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2010

    Liberal government?

    The extreme right had to replace "the commies" with someone after the cold war. If there is another civil war it would be between the poor and working poor, since there will be no middle class, against the wealthy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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