By Richard M. Rorty

Filenote: PDF is searchable snapshot ocr. PDF has 184 pages and experiment from hardbook edition.
Publish 12 months note: First released 1998. content material from The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures within the background of yank CiviUzation in 1997.

Must the sins of America's earlier poison its wish for the longer term?

Lately the yank Left, chickening out into the ivied halls of academe to rue the nation's disgrace, has replied certain in either be aware and deed. In Achieving Our Country, one in all America's finest philosophers demanding situations this misplaced new release of the Left to appreciate the function it may play within the nice culture of democratic highbrow hard work that began with writers like Walt Whitman and John Dewey.

How have nationwide delight and American patriotism come to appear an endorsement of atrocities--from slavery to the slaughter of local american citizens, from the rape of historical forests to the Vietnam conflict? Achieving Our Country strains the assets of this debilitating mentality of disgrace within the Left, in addition to the damage it does to its proponents and to the rustic. on the heart of this heritage is the clash among the previous Left and the recent that arose through the Vietnam struggle period. Richard Rorty describes how the paradoxical victory of the antiwar move, ushering within the Nixon years, inspired a dissatisfied new release of intellectuals to pursue "High Theory" on the fee of contemplating where of rules in our universal existence. during this flip to idea, Rorty sees a retreat from the secularism and pragmatism championed by means of Dewey and Whitman, and he decries the tendency of the heirs of the recent Left to theorize in regards to the usa from a distance rather than engaging within the civic paintings of shaping our nationwide future.

In the absence of a colourful, lively Left, the perspectives of intellectuals at the American correct have come to dominate the general public sphere. This galvanizing ebook, tailored from Rorty's Massey Lectures of 1997, takes step one towards redressing the imbalance in American cultural lifestyles by way of rallying these at the Left to the civic engagement and proposal wanted for "achieving our country."

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Extra resources for Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America

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Insofar as a Left ceases to be a Left. becomes I shall spectatorial and retrospective, be claiming in these lectures that the American Left, once the old alliance between the and the unions broke down in the course of the to sink into an attitude it like Henry Adams'. intellectuals Sixties, began Leftists in the academy have permitted cultural politics to supplant real politics, and have collaborated with the Right in making issues central to public debate. They cultural are spending energy AMERICAN NATIONAL PRIDE which should be directed at proposing new 15 laws on dis- cussing topics as remote from the country's needs as were Adams' musings on the Virgin and the Dynamo.

Such a country cannot contain castes or classes, because the kind of self-respect which ation is is needed for free participation in democratic deliber- incompatible with such social divisions. For Whitman and Dewey, a the sort of society classless which American twentieth century trying to construct ural nor more rational than the cruel and casteless society have spent the leftists — is neither societies more or of eighteenth-century Virginia. All that can be said in fense is that it would produce any other, and that it is less the best means — those individuals.

What he dreaded was which everybody would stasis: a time in take for granted that the purpose of had been accomplished, an age of spectators rather history than agents, a country in which arguments between Right and Left would no longer be Dewey Hegel to purge himself Whitman Christianity. was enough Hegel," ica — is heard. read a lot of Hegel to first read only a litde, later delight. in his notebooks, "is enough and free enough. " of orthodox but what he read make him exclaim with Whitman wrote large when he was young.

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