Democracy and Solidarity: On the Cultural Roots of America's Political Crisis

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Democracy and Solidarity: On the Cultural Roots of America's Political Crisis
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The long-developing cultural divisions beneath our present political crisis

Liberal democracy in America has always contained contradictions--most notably, a noble but abstract commitment to freedom, justice, and equality that, tragically, has seldom been realized in practice. While these contradictions have caused dissent and even violence, there was always an underlying and evolving solidarity drawn from the cultural resources of America's "hybrid Enlightenment."

James Davison Hunter, who introduced the concept of "culture wars" thirty years ago, tells us in this new book that those historic sources of national solidarity have now largely dissolved. While a deepening political polarization is the most obvious sign of this, the true problem is not polarization per se but the absence of cultural resources to work through what divides us. The destructive logic that has filled the void only makes bridging our differences more challenging. In the end, all political regimes require some level of unity. If it cannot be generated organically, it will be imposed by force.

Can America's political crisis be fixed? Can an Enlightenment-era institution--liberal democracy--survive and thrive in a post-Enlightenment world? If, for some, salvaging the older sources of national solidarity is neither possible sociologically, nor desirable politically or ethically, what cultural resources will support liberal democracy in the future?

ISBN: 
9780300274370
Publisher: 
Binding: 
Hardcover
Publication Date: 
April 23, 2024