After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State

Princeton University Press
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In this trenchant challenge to social engineering, Paul Gottfried analyzes a patricide: the slaying of nineteenth-century liberalism by the managerial state. Many people, of course, realize that liberalism no longer connotes distributed powers and bourgeois moral standards, the need to protect civil society from an encroaching state, or the virtues of vigorous self-government. Many also know that today's "liberals" have far different goals from those of their predecessors, aiming as they do largely to combat prejudice, to provide social services and welfare benefits, and to defend expressive and "lifestyle" freedoms. Paul Gottfried does more than analyze these historical facts, however. He builds on them to show why it matters that the managerial state has replaced traditional liberalism: the new regimes of social engineers, he maintains, are elitists, and their rule is consensual only in the sense that it is unopposed by any widespread organized opposition.

Throughout the western world, increasingly uprooted populations unthinkingly accept centralized controls in exchange for a variety of entitlements. In their frightening passivity, Gottfried locates the quandary for traditionalist and populist adversaries of the welfare state. How can opponents of administrative elites show the public that those who provide, however ineptly, for their material needs are the enemies of democratic self-rule and of independent decision making in family life? If we do not wake up, Gottfried warns, the political debate may soon be over, despite sporadic and ideologically confused populist rumblings in both Europe and the United States.

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About the author

Paul Edward Gottfried is Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and author of, among other books, Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory, The Search for Historical Meaning; and The Conservative Movement. Editor in chief of This World, he is also a senior editor of Telos and a contributing editor to Chronicles and Humanitas.
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Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 2, 2001
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9781400822898
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Paul Edward Gottfried
Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt extends Paul Gottfried’s examination of Western managerial government’s growth in the last third of the twentieth century. Linking multiculturalism to a distinctive political and religious context, the book argues that welfare-state democracy, unlike bourgeois liberalism, has rejected the once conventional distinction between government and civil society. Gottfried argues that the West’s relentless celebrations of diversity have resulted in the downgrading of the once dominant Western culture. The moral rationale of government has become the consciousness-raising of a presumed majority population. While welfare states continue to provide entitlements and fulfill the other material programs of older welfare regimes, they have ceased to make qualitative leaps in the direction of social democracy. For the new political elite, nationalization and income redistributions have become less significant than controlling the speech and thought of democratic citizens. An escalating hostility toward the bourgeois Christian past, explicit or at least implicit in the policies undertaken by the West and urged by the media, is characteristic of what Gottfried labels an emerging “therapeutic” state. For Gottfried, acceptance of an intrusive political correctness has transformed the religious consciousness of Western, particularly Protestant, society. The casting of “true” Christianity as a religion of sensitivity only toward victims has created a precondition for extensive social engineering. Gottfried examines late-twentieth-century liberal Christianity as the promoter of the politics of guilt. Metaphysical guilt has been transformed into self-abasement in relation to the “suffering just” identified with racial, cultural, and lifestyle minorities. Unlike earlier proponents of religious liberalism, the therapeutic statists oppose anything, including empirical knowledge, that impedes the expression of social and cultural guilt in an effort to raise the self-esteem of designated victims. Equally troubling to Gottfried is the growth of an American empire that is influencing European values and fashions. Europeans have begun, he says, to embrace the multicultural movement that originated with American liberal Protestantism’s emphasis on diversity as essential for democracy. He sees Europeans bringing authoritarian zeal to enforcing ideas and behavior imported from the United States. Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt extends the arguments of the author’s earlier After Liberalism. Whether one challenges or supports Gottfried’s conclusions, all will profit from a careful reading of this latest diagnosis of the American condition.
Book 32
This volume in Religion and Public Life, a series on religion and public affairs, provides a wide-ranging forum for differing views on religious and ethical considerations. The contributions address the decline of social capital-those patterns of behavior which are conducive to self-governance and the spirit of self-reliance-and its relation to the demise of the civic-humanist tradition in American education.

The unifying theme, is that classical studies do not merely result in individual mastery over a particular technique or body of knowledge, but also link the individual to the polity and even to the whole of the cosmic order. At the same time, American republicanism, in its exaltation of the common man from the Jeffersonian agrarian soldier to the apotheosis of Lincoln tempers the classical ideal into something less exalted, if more democratic. The effects on the contemporary state of the liberal arts curriculum are demonstrated in articles critical of the market-model university. Two essays explore the historical and philosophical significance of the discipline of rhetoric, that has suffered under the hegemony of rationalistic philosophy. A concluding contribution, invokes Giambattista Vico as an eloquent defender of the humanities.

Humanities and Civic Life includes: "Rome, Florence, and Philadelphia: Using the History of the Humanities to Renew Our Civic Life" by Robert E. Proctor; "The Dark Fields of the Republic: The Persistence of Republican Thought in American History" by David Brown; "Unleashing the Humanities" by Robert Weisbuch; "Liberal Arts: Listening to Faculty" by Dennis O'Brien; "Historical Consciousness in Antiquity" by Paul Gottfried; "Taking the Measure of Relativism and the Civic Virtue of Rhetoric" by Gabriel R. Ricci; "The River: A Vichian Dialogue on Humanistic Education" by Randall E. Auxier.

Gabriel Ricci is associate professor in the department of philosophy at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. Paul Gottfried is professor of political science at Elizabethtown College. He is the author of The Search for Historical Meaning and The Conservative Millenarians.
Barack Obama
In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Obama called “the audacity of hope.”

The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama’s call for a different brand of politics—a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces—from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media—that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.

At the heart of this book is Barack Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats—from terrorism to pandemic—that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy—where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, and members of the Senate is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.

A public servant and a lawyer, a professor and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Barack Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes—“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”
Book 32
This volume in Religion and Public Life, a series on religion and public affairs, provides a wide-ranging forum for differing views on religious and ethical considerations. The contributions address the decline of social capital-those patterns of behavior which are conducive to self-governance and the spirit of self-reliance-and its relation to the demise of the civic-humanist tradition in American education.

The unifying theme, is that classical studies do not merely result in individual mastery over a particular technique or body of knowledge, but also link the individual to the polity and even to the whole of the cosmic order. At the same time, American republicanism, in its exaltation of the common man from the Jeffersonian agrarian soldier to the apotheosis of Lincoln tempers the classical ideal into something less exalted, if more democratic. The effects on the contemporary state of the liberal arts curriculum are demonstrated in articles critical of the market-model university. Two essays explore the historical and philosophical significance of the discipline of rhetoric, that has suffered under the hegemony of rationalistic philosophy. A concluding contribution, invokes Giambattista Vico as an eloquent defender of the humanities.

Humanities and Civic Life includes: "Rome, Florence, and Philadelphia: Using the History of the Humanities to Renew Our Civic Life" by Robert E. Proctor; "The Dark Fields of the Republic: The Persistence of Republican Thought in American History" by David Brown; "Unleashing the Humanities" by Robert Weisbuch; "Liberal Arts: Listening to Faculty" by Dennis O'Brien; "Historical Consciousness in Antiquity" by Paul Gottfried; "Taking the Measure of Relativism and the Civic Virtue of Rhetoric" by Gabriel R. Ricci; "The River: A Vichian Dialogue on Humanistic Education" by Randall E. Auxier.

Gabriel Ricci is associate professor in the department of philosophy at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. Paul Gottfried is professor of political science at Elizabethtown College. He is the author of The Search for Historical Meaning and The Conservative Millenarians.
Paul Edward Gottfried
Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt extends Paul Gottfried’s examination of Western managerial government’s growth in the last third of the twentieth century. Linking multiculturalism to a distinctive political and religious context, the book argues that welfare-state democracy, unlike bourgeois liberalism, has rejected the once conventional distinction between government and civil society. Gottfried argues that the West’s relentless celebrations of diversity have resulted in the downgrading of the once dominant Western culture. The moral rationale of government has become the consciousness-raising of a presumed majority population. While welfare states continue to provide entitlements and fulfill the other material programs of older welfare regimes, they have ceased to make qualitative leaps in the direction of social democracy. For the new political elite, nationalization and income redistributions have become less significant than controlling the speech and thought of democratic citizens. An escalating hostility toward the bourgeois Christian past, explicit or at least implicit in the policies undertaken by the West and urged by the media, is characteristic of what Gottfried labels an emerging “therapeutic” state. For Gottfried, acceptance of an intrusive political correctness has transformed the religious consciousness of Western, particularly Protestant, society. The casting of “true” Christianity as a religion of sensitivity only toward victims has created a precondition for extensive social engineering. Gottfried examines late-twentieth-century liberal Christianity as the promoter of the politics of guilt. Metaphysical guilt has been transformed into self-abasement in relation to the “suffering just” identified with racial, cultural, and lifestyle minorities. Unlike earlier proponents of religious liberalism, the therapeutic statists oppose anything, including empirical knowledge, that impedes the expression of social and cultural guilt in an effort to raise the self-esteem of designated victims. Equally troubling to Gottfried is the growth of an American empire that is influencing European values and fashions. Europeans have begun, he says, to embrace the multicultural movement that originated with American liberal Protestantism’s emphasis on diversity as essential for democracy. He sees Europeans bringing authoritarian zeal to enforcing ideas and behavior imported from the United States. Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt extends the arguments of the author’s earlier After Liberalism. Whether one challenges or supports Gottfried’s conclusions, all will profit from a careful reading of this latest diagnosis of the American condition.
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