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The Cultural Contradictions of Democracy: Political Thought since September 11
     

The Cultural Contradictions of Democracy: Political Thought since September 11

by John Brenkman
 

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ISBN-10: 0691116644

ISBN-13: 9780691116648

Pub. Date: 07/02/2007

Publisher: Princeton University Press

"Brenkman's book is a fascinating read. His sophisticated analysis—situated in a deep understanding of political philosophy—of what democracy and freedom mean for the United States and the West against the backdrop of the 'global war on terror' and the invasion of Iraq provides compelling insight into both domestic and foreign policy. Brenkman's

Overview

"Brenkman's book is a fascinating read. His sophisticated analysis—situated in a deep understanding of political philosophy—of what democracy and freedom mean for the United States and the West against the backdrop of the 'global war on terror' and the invasion of Iraq provides compelling insight into both domestic and foreign policy. Brenkman's compelling work will surely raise the level of debate about these issues in the United States and Europe."—Steven A. Cook, Council on Foreign Relations

"In this fine book, John Brenkman tells us the story of the nefarious marriage of fear and hubris in post-September 11 U.S. international and domestic politics. In a lucid and powerful language, Brenkman makes an original contribution to political theory. He reminds us of the fragility of democracy, of how easily political creativity can turn against itself and become an agent of destruction, rather than a foundation and consolidation of civil life."—Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University

"This brilliant essay on post-9/11 political thought tackles democracy's inherent contradictions: civic and liberal freedom, U.S. domestic and foreign policy, human rights and civil rights, and cosmopolitanism and liberal nationalism. Brenkman puts into play Kant and Hobbes's divergent political visions of sovereignty and human nature, Arendt and Berlin's reflections on positive and negative freedom, and Habermas and Schmitt's thoughts on law and human rights. In doing so, he opens up new and surprising spaces of reflection on the challenges confronting democracy in the United States, the European Union, and the Islamic world today. His concluding chapter on the ordeal of universalism is, moreover, the most compelling treatment of the subject I have read in a long time."—Andreas Huyssen, Columbia University

"John Brenkman's The Cultural Contradictions of Democracy is a powerful intervention into the most important political questions of our time. He deliberates over the political thought that has emerged from within the fog of war, and he produces a series of clarifying 'untimely meditations' that probe the drama of political thought in the face of the war on terror, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the occupation of Iraq."—Donald Pease, Dartmouth College

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691116648
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/02/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
218
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Political Thought in the Fog of War 1
War and Democracy 1
Hobbes versus Kant? 4
Leviathan 6
The Neoconservative Illusion 9
The Frailty of Human Affairs 12
Crises of the Republic 14
The Argument 19
Seized by Power 24
Death and the Governor of Texas 24
The New American Exceptionalism 28
The Cold Warrior Myth 34
Kant with Arendt 37
Targeting Iraq 41
Al Qaeda and Ultimate Ends 43
A Grammar of Motives 46
The Imagination of Power 51
State of Exception 51
Arendt versus Agamben 55
Schmitt and Hobbes 59
Decision and Covenant 64
The Ordeal of Universalism 71
September 11 and Fables of the Left 78
First Response 78
Multilateral Ambivalence 81
Terrorism as Symptom 84
Chomskian Certitudes 87
Hardt and Negri's Empire 94
The Multitude and Prophecy 98
Iraq: Delirium of War, Delusions of Peace 103
The Idealism of Means 103
The Idealism of Ends 106
Neither Left nor Right 110
The Atlantic Misalliance 117
Diplomatic Intrigues and Political Truths 122
Repudiations of the UN Left and Right 126
The Hobbesian Nightmare: Occupied Iraq 131
The Ordeal of Universalism 137
Democracy and War 137
Postnational Cosmopolitanism versus Liberal Nationalism? 141
Kant with Hobbes 144
Habermas's Agon with Schmitt 146
Hobbes with Kant 152
Europe, or, the Empire of Rights 157
Islam's Geo-Civil War 165
Global Neoliberal Religious Conservatism? 170
No Exit 177
Conclusion: Prelude to the Unknown 182
Ideas and Errors 182
Arendt with Berlin 183
Liberty without Democracy versus Democracy without Liberty? 188
Democratic Striving and Sectarian Mobilization 191
Untimely Meditation 195
Index 201

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