America at Risk / Part 2: Creeds and Parties

by kris bishop on February 2, 2009

EXCERPTS from America at Risk, a new collection of writings by eminent thinkers and writers asked to address the question that must be addressed by the Obama Presidency: What are some of the greatest dangers facing America today and what might be done to meet them?

Defending Liberty: Liberal Democracy and the Limits of Public Power / p. 57
by William A Galston

“Life would be simple in the political community of civic republican dreams, where religion is wholly ‘civil,’ where citizens fly to the assemblies, where parents care only whether their slain warrior sons fight bravely and whether their city prevails over its foes. But this is not the world in which we live. An honest examination of our experiences suggests that our obligations are plural and heterogeneous, that they often conflict, and that our civic obligations should not always prevail over the rest.”

A Clear and Present Danger: The Doctrine of Political Nonfoundationalism / p. 75
by James W. Ceaser

“The greatest threat to America today comes from a theoretical doctrine that has been offered in all sincerity as the friend, even the savior, of liberal democracy. For want of a universally accepted name, this doctrine will be designated here by the label of political nonfoundationalism. Political nonfoundationalism holds that liberal democracy is best maintained by renouncing public reliance on a first principle (or “foundation”) that claims to embody an objective truth–something, for example, along the lines of the “Laws of nature” that are invoked in the Declaration of Independence.”

The Dangers of Conservative Populism / p. 96
by Alan Wolfe

“Conservatism is at its best when liberalism is at its worst. Fortunately for American conservatives, liberals chose to be at their worst for a considerable portion of the post-World War II period. After uniting most of the country around a national security consensus of in the early years of the Cold War, and then carrying forward an ambitious sense of national purpose, including a bipartisan commitment to civil rights during the Kennedy-Johnson years, liberalism began to put its worst foot forward in the 1970s…and conservatism grew indeed.”

Full Contributor List:

  • Traci Burch
  • James W. Ceaser
  • Robert Faulkner
  • Niall Ferguson
  • William A. Galston
  • Hugh Heclo
  • Pierre Manent
  • Harvey C. Mansfield
  • Peter Rodriguez
  • Kay Lehman Schlozman
  • Susan Shell
  • Peter Skerry
  • James Q. Wilson
  • Alan Wolfe

Full Excerpts List (click to read):

Read more about America at Risk HERE.

Other University of Michigan Press Titles Related to this Section of America at Risk:

EDUCATORS: Request exam copy HERE.


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