America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire

Transaction Publishers, 01.01.2003 - 221 Seiten

Urged on by a powerful ideological and political movement, George W. Bush committed the United States to a quest for empire. American values and principles were universal, he asserted, and should guide the transformation of the world. Claes Ryn sees this drive for virtuous empire as the triumph of forces that in the last several decades acquired decisive influence in both the American parties, the foreign policy establishment, and the media. Public intellectuals like William Bennett, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Michael Novak, Richard Perle, and Norman Podhoretz argued that the United States was an exceptional nation and should bring â democracy,â â freedom,â and â capitalismâ to countries not yet enjoying them. Ryn finds the ideology of American empire strongly reminiscent of the French Jacobinism of the eighteenth century. He describes the drive for armed world hegemony as part of a larger ideological whole that both expresses and aggravates a crisis of democracy and, more generally, of American and Western civilization. America the Virtuous sees the new Jacobinism as symptomatic of America shedding an older sense of the need for restraints on power. Checks provided by the U.S. Constitution have been greatly weakened with the erosion of traditional moral and other culture.

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LibraryThing Review

Nutzerbericht  - chrishoebeke - LibraryThing

An exceptionally fine explication of America's current predicament in world affairs. The author takes great pains to define current political and cultural terms, distinguishing their traditional ... Vollständige Rezension lesen

Ausgewählte Seiten


The Crisis of Western Civilization and the Rise of Jacobinism
The New Jacobinism
Creative Traditionalism or Radicalism?
Democracy Plebiscitary or Constitutional?
Contrasting Forms of Morality and Society
Aristocratic and AntiAristocratic Democracy
The Father of Democratism
Love of Ones Own and Love of the Common
Democracy in Peril
The New Jacobins and American Democracy
Democracy for the World
Jacobin Capitalism
A Center that Cannot Hold
Responsible Nationhood
Needed A New Moral Realism

Moral Universality A Philosophical Interlude
Pluralistic Political Morality

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Über den Autor (2003)

Claes G. Ryn is professor of politics at the Catholic University of America where he was chairman of his department. He has taught also at the University of Virginia and Georgetown University. He is chairman of the National Humanities Institute and editor of the journal Humanitas . In 2000 he gave the Distinguished Foreign Scholar Lectures at Beijing University His many books include A Common Human Ground, Will, Imagination, and Reason (2nd., exp. ed. published by Transaction), and Democracy and the Ethical Life .

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