In his provocative, well-reasoned discussion, Walzer asks why these secular democratic movements have failed to sustain their hegemony: Why have they been unable to reproduce their political culture beyond one or two generations? In a postscript, he compares the difficulties of contemporary secularism to the successful establishment of secular politics in the early American republic—thereby making an argument for American exceptionalism but gravely noting that we may be less exceptional today.
Walzer offers an eloquent defense of toleration, group differences, and pluralism, moving quickly from theory to practical issues, concrete examples, and hard questions. His concluding argument is focused on the contemporary United States and represents an effort to join and advance the debates about "culture war," the "politics of difference," and the "disuniting of America." Although he takes a grim view of contemporary politics, he is optimistic about the possibility of coexistence: cultural pluralism and a common citizenship can go together, he suggests, in a strong and egalitarian democracy.
In the standard versions of liberal theory, autonomous individuals deliberate about what ought to be done—but in the real world, citizens also organize, mobilize, bargain, and lobby. The real world is more contentious than deliberative. Ranging over hotly contested issues including multiculturalism, pluralism, difference, civil society, and racial and gender justice, Walzer suggests ways in which liberal theory might be revised to make it more hospitable to the claims of equality.
Combining profound learning with practical wisdom, Michael Walzer offers a provocative reappraisal of the core tenets of liberal thought. Politics and Passion will be required reading for anyone interested in social justice—and the means by which we seek to achieve it.
Getting Out approaches these issues in two sections. The first, entitled "Lessons Learned," examines seven historical cases of how and how not to withdraw: Britain's departure from the American colonies and from India, the French withdrawal from Algeria, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and the U.S. decision to leave (or not leave) the Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam. These cases offer a comparative perspective and an opportunity to learn from the history of political and military retreats.
The second section, "Exiting Iraq," begins with an introduction to just how the United States got into Iraq and continues with an examination of how the U.S. might leave from a diversity of voices, ranging from those who believe that the Iraq war has produced no real good to those who hope for a decent ending. In addition to essays by volume editors Walzer and Mills, Getting Out features contributions by Shlomo Avineri, Rajeev Bhargava, David Bromwich, Frances FitzGerald, Stanley Karnow, Brendan O'Leary, George Packer, Todd Shepard, Fred Smoler, and Stanley Weintraub.
This first volume, Authority, addresses the basic question of who ought to rule the community: What claims to rule have been put forward from the time of the exodus from Egypt to the establishment of the state of Israel? How are such claims disputed and defended? What constitutes legitimate authority? The authors discuss the authority of God, then the claims of kings, priests, prophets, rabbis, lay leaders, gentile rulers (during the years of the exile), and the Israeli state. The volume concludes with several perspectives on the issue of whether a modern state can be both Jewish and democratic. Forthcoming volumes will address the themes of membership, community, and political vision.
Among the contributors to this volume:
The dominant attitude over the last half century on the subject of religion and international relations was expressed well by Dean Acheson, Harry Truman's secretary of state: "Moral Talk was fine preaching for the Final Day of Judgment, but it was not a view I would entertain as a public servant." Was Acheson right? How a nation "commits itself to freedom" has long been at the heart of debates about foreign aid, economic sanctions, and military intervention. Moral and faith traditions have much to say about what is required to achieve this end. And after September 11, no one can doubt the importance of religious beliefs in influencing relations among peoples and nations. The contributors to this volume come at the issue from very different perspectives and offer exceptional and unexpected insights on a question now at the forefront of American foreign policy.
How does Jewish law accommodate--or fail to accommodate--the practice of democratic citizenship? What range of religious toleration and pluralism is compatible with traditional Judaism? What forms of coexistence between Jews and non-Jews are required by shared citizenship? How should Jews operating within halakha (Jewish law) and Jewish history judge the use of force by modern states?
The authors assembled here by prominent political theorist Michael Walzer come from different points on the religious-secular spectrum, and they differ greatly in their answers to such questions. But they all enact the relationship at issue since their answers, while based on critical Jewish texts, also reflect their commitments as democratic citizens.
The contributors are Michael Walzer, David Biale, the late Robert M. Cover, Menachem Fisch, Geoffrey B. Levey, David Novak, Aviezer Ravitzky, Adam B. Seligman, Suzanne Last Stone, and Noam J. Zohar.