Book picks similar to
The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origins and Background by Hans Kohn
Ernest Gellner - 1997
It has underpinned the emergence of many states, and the conflict it has often generated has caused enormous suffering, both directly and indirectly. Nationalism remains a powerful influence today; in the former Yugoslavia and the successor states of the Soviet Union it has instigated great violence and attrocity.In this incisive and provocative book, completed just before his death, Ernest Gellner - described as "one of the last of the great central European polymath intellectuals" by the Financial Times - explores the phenomenon of nationalism, tracing its emergence and roots in the modern industrialized nation state, its links with romanticism and its creation of national myhs. He investigates its various manifestations and reveals how in long established states such as France, it has been relatively benign, while in Eastern Europe in particular - where nationalist feeling preceded the emergence of modern states - its influence has been far more problematic, and at times disastrous. Finally, the book explores the prospects of minimizing the influence of nationalist feeling and cautiously anticipates the possibility of its decline in this decade of continuing atrocities and "ethnic cleansing."Lucid and direct, Gellner's work combines politics, history, philosophy, and anthropolgy with the multidisciplinary flair for which he was renowned. As nationalism continues to inform contemporary politics, often with vicious and tragic results, Gellner's last words on the subject are essential reading.
Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality
Eric J. Hobsbawm - 1990
his incontrovertible excellence as an historian, and his authoritative and highly readable prose'. Recent events in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics have since reinforced the central importance of nationalism in the history of political evolution and upheaval. This second edition has been updated in the light of those events, with a final chapter addressing the impact of the dramatic changes that have taken place. It also includes additional maps to illustrate nationalities, languages and political divisions across Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Don't Panic: ISIS, Terror and Today's Middle East
Gwynne Dyer - 2015
Can we somehow manage to avoid the well-trodden path of overreacting to the provocations of Islamist extremists?With the rise of ISIS, a new style of terrorism that publicly gloats over acts of extreme cruelty has reawakened the fears of the global audience. But in Don't Panic, Gwynne Dyer argues that the advent of "Islamic State" and its clones does not substantially raise the risk of major terrorist attacks in Western countries. It does, however, pose a grave threat to the Arab countries of the Middle East.In Don't Panic, Dyer first explains why the Middle East has become the global capital of terrorism. He then examines how terrorist organisations in the Arab world have evolved over time, with particular emphasis on the events of the past fifteen years and the current situation in Syria and Iraq. And in the end Dyer departs from his long-standing position that foreign interventions always make matters worse to argue that a little military intervention of the right kind may avert a genocide in Syria.
Utopistics: Or Historical Choices of the Twenty-First Century
Immanuel Wallerstein - 1998
In Utopistics, Immanuel Wallerstein argues that the global order that nourished those dreams is on the brink of disintegration. Pointing to the globalization of commerce, the changing nature of work and the family, the failures of traditional liberal ideology, and the danger of profound environmental crises, the founder of world-systems analysis argues that the nation-state system no longer works. The next twenty-five to fifty years will see the final breakdown of that system, and a time of great conflicts and disorder. It will also be a period in which individual and collective action will have a greater impact on the future than has been possible for 500 years. Utopistics distills Wallerstein’s hugely influential work on the modern world-system in an accessible way. This fascinating and provocative look into our collective political destiny poses urgent questions for anyone concerned with social change in the next millennium.
The Seven Deadly Virtues: 18 Conservative Writers on Why the Virtuous Life is Funny as Hell
Jonathan V. Last - 2014
The Seven Deadly Virtues sits down next to readers at the bar, buys them a drink, and an hour or three later, ushers them into the revival tent without them even realizing it. The book’s contributors include Sonny Bunch, Christopher Buckley, David “Iowahawk” Burge, Christopher Caldwell, Andrew Ferguson, Jonah Goldberg, Michael Graham, Mollie Hemingway, Rita Koganzon, Matt Labash, James Lileks, Rob Long, Larry Miller, P. J. O’Rourke, Joe Queenan, Christine Rosen, and Andrew Stiles. Jonathan V. Last, senior writer at the Weekly Standard, editor of the collection, is also a contributor. All eighteen essays in this book are appearing for the first time anywhere. In the book’s opening essay, P. J. O’Rourke observes: “Virtue has by no means disappeared. It’s as much in public view as ever. But it’s been strung up by the heels. Virtue is upside down. Virtue is uncomfortable. Virtue looks ridiculous. All the change and the house keys are falling out of Virtue’s pants pockets.” Here are the virtues everyone (including the book’s contributors) was taught in Sunday school but have totally forgotten about until this very moment. In this sanctimony-free zone: • Joe Queenan observes: “In essence, thrift is a virtue that resembles being very good at Mahjong. You’ve heard about people who can do it, but you’ve never actually met any of them.” • P. J. O’Rourke notes: “Fortitude is quaint. We praise the greatest generation for having it, but they had aluminum siding, church on Sunday, and jobs that required them to wear neckties or nylons (but never at the same time). We don’t want those either.” • Christine Rosen writes: “A fellowship grounded in sociality means enjoying the company of those with whom you actually share physical space rather than those with whom you regularly and enthusiastically exchange cat videos.” • Rob Long offers his version of modern day justice: if you sleep late on the weekend, you are forced to wait thirty minutes in line at Costco. • Jonah Goldberg offers: “There was a time when this desire-to-do-good-in-all-things was considered the only kind of integrity: ‘Angels are better than mortals. They’re always certain about what is right because, by definition, they’re doing God’s will.’ Gabriel knew when it was okay to remove a mattress tag and Sandalphon always tipped the correct amount.” • Sonny Bunch dissects forbearance, observing that the fictional Two Minutes Hate of George Orwell’s 1984 is now actually a reality directed at living, breathing people. Thanks, in part, to the Internet, “Its targets are designated by a spontaneously created mob—one that, due to its hive-mind nature—is virtually impossible to call off.” By the time readers have completed The Seven Deadly Virtues, they won’t even realize that they’ve just been catechized into an entirely different—and better—moral universe.
The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise
Joe Scarborough - 2009
Delivering a searing indictment of the political leaders who have led us astray, Scarborough inspires conservatives to reclaim their heritage by drawing upon the strength of the movement’s rich history.With independent thinking and straight talk, Scarborough explains:• How Washington and Wall Street conspired to create the housing bubble that caused America’s financial meltdown• How the “candidate of change” has not only maintained but accelerated the reckless spending policies that led us to this historic economic collapse• How Washington’s bailout culture will cripple America’s future if left unchecked• How Barack Obama’s stimulus plan devolved into a socialist spending spree that would make FDR and LBJ shudder• And how conservatives need to take a closer look at Ronald Reagan’s political career before claiming his great legacyA fearlessly argued conservative manifesto that brings American conservatism into the twenty-first century, The Last Best Hope is a must-read for all who care about the direction America is heading.
Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century
Daniel Oppenheimer - 2016
By going deep into the minds of six apostates—Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens—Oppenheimer offers an unusually intimate history of the American left, and the right’s reaction. Oppenheimer is a brilliant new voice in political history who has woven together the past century’s most important movements into a single book that reveals the roots of American politics. Through the eyes of his six subjects, we see America grow, stumble, and forge ahead—from World War I up through the Great Depression and World War II, from the Red Scare up through the Civil Rights Movement, and from the birth of neoconservatism up through 9/11 and the dawn of the Iraq War. At its core, Exit Right is a book that asks profound questions about why and how we come to believe politically at all—on the left or the right. Each of these six lives challenges us to ask where our own beliefs come from, and what it might take to change them. At a time of sky-high partisanship, Oppenheimer breaks down the boundaries that divide us and investigates the deeper origins of our politics. This is a book that will resonate with readers on the left and the right—as well as those stuck somewhere in the middle.
Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution
Wendy Brown - 2015
What happens when this rationality transposes the constituent elements of democracy into an economic register? In Undoing the Demos, Wendy Brown explains how democracy itself is imperiled. The demos disintegrates into bits of human capital; concerns with justice bow to the mandates of growth rates, credit ratings, and investment climates; liberty submits to the imperative of human capital appreciation; equality dissolves into market competition; and popular sovereignty grows incoherent. Liberal democratic practices may not survive these transformations. Radical democratic dreams may not either.In an original and compelling argument, Brown explains how and why neoliberal reason undoes the political form and political imaginary it falsely promises to secure and reinvigorate. Through meticulous analyses of neoliberalized law, political practices, governance, and education, she charts the new common sense. Undoing the Demos makes clear that for democracy to have a future, it must become an object of struggle and rethinking.
The Retreat of Western Liberalism
Edward Luce - 2017
Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's economic losers, and complacency about our system's durability--attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Unless the West can rekindle an economy that produces gains for the majority of its people, its political liberties may be doomed. The West's faith in history teaches us to take democracy for granted. Reality tells us something troublingly different.Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the literature and economic analysis, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration, the rise of European populism, and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
Kevin Phillips - 2006
Now Phillips takes an uncompromising view of the current age of global overreach, fundamentalist religion, diminishing resources, and ballooning debt under the GOP majority. With an eye to the past and a searing vision of the future, Phillips confirms what too many Americans are still unwilling to admit about the depth of our misgovernment.
Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
Jonah Goldberg - 2007
Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst? Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism. Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term -National socialism-). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities--where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist. Do these striking parallels mean that today's liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. We often forget, for example, that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler's Germany, and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal. Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. In Germany, fascism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism. In America, it took a -friendlier, - more liberal form. The modern heirs of this -friendly fascist- tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore. These assertions may sound strange to modern ears, but that is because we have forgotten what fascism is. In this angry, funny, smart, contentious book, Jonah Goldberg turns our preconceptions inside out and shows us the true meaning of Liberal Fascism.
Natan Sharansky - 2008
Better to have hostile identities framed by democracy than democrats indifferent to identity.In a vigorous, insightful challenge to the left and right alike, Natan Sharansky, as he has proved repeatedly, is at the leading edge of the issues that frame our times.
Party Politics in America
Marjorie Randon Hershey - 1976
It covers the historic 2008 Presidential campaign and election while looking ahead to assess what the shifting political winds have in store for the future of the major political parties and Americans' political views.
American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us
Robert D. Putnam - 2010
Unique among nations, America is deeply religious, religiously diverse, and remarkably tolerant. But in recent decades the nation's religious landscape has been reshaped. America has experienced three seismic shocks, say Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In the 1960s, religious observance plummeted. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, a conservative reaction produced the rise of evangelicalism and the Religious Right. Since the 1990s, however, young people, turned off by that linkage between faith and conservative politics, have abandoned organized religion. The result has been a growing polarization—the ranks of religious conservatives and secular liberals have swelled, leaving a dwindling group of religious moderates in between. At the same time, personal interfaith ties are strengthening. Interfaith marriage has increased while religious identities have become more fluid. Putnam and Campbell show how this denser web of personal ties brings surprising interfaith tolerance, notwithstanding the so-called culture wars. American Grace is based on two of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on religion and public life in America. It includes a dozen in-depth profiles of diverse congregations across the country, which illuminate how the trends described by Putnam and Campbell affect the lives of real Americans. Nearly every chapter of American Grace contains a surprise about American religious life. Among them:● Between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith; ● Roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives; ● Young people are more opposed to abortion than their parents but more accepting of gay marriage; ● Even fervently religious Americans believe that people of other faiths can go to heaven; ● Religious Americans are better neighbors than secular Americans—more generous with their time and treasure even for secular causes—but the explanation has less to do with faith than with their communities of faith; ● Jews are the most broadly popular religious group in America today. American Grace promises to be the most important book in decades about American religious life and an essential book for understanding the United States today.