✓ Read ↠´ The Next American Civil War by Lee Harris ½ Best books, The Next American Civil War Author Lee Harris This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book The Next American Civil War , Essay By Lee Harris Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please read And Make A Refission For You There is a cultural war occurring in America and it could, according to Lee Harris, explode into The Next American Civil War While I don t agree entirely with Harris, I still think this is an important book to read.
Lee Harris presents a wide ranging and balanced exploration of the roots of the culture war now raging in America and elsewhere, despite the unfortunately provocative title The author is a gay intellectual living in the heart of conservative rural Georgia, and his book can be seen as a celebration of contradictions The thesis is that the significance of the current Tea Party populist revolt cannot be properly understood simply by its own slogans and stated ideals Beyond its apparently narrow appeal to self interest, the author sees in it the current phase in a long struggle for personal liberty To explore this idea, we are led on a journey through western history and philosophy, from ancient Athens to medieval England and modern America.
The author presents two different views of the origin of liberty According to John Locke or Thomas Jefferson, liberty was seen as the natural birthright of all mankind, an inherent right or entitlement This is an example of idealism, where reality is meant to conform to a pre determined abstract ideal And where does this ideal come from Locke and Jefferson would say from God, while those modern idealists with no god have no real answer Idealism amounts to blind faith, with or without a deity to enforce it, and it tends to produce simplistic solutions.
In contrast to idealism, Edmund Burke and Thomas Hobbes argued that liberty could only flourish among those determined to preserve and cherish the rights and privileges that had been won for them by earlier generations They tell us that we only have as much freedom as we can claim and defend for ourselves Thus the abstract concept of liberty is seen as arising from a complex history and series of social relationships Preserving it requires careful stewardship, and attempts to tinker with it based on simplistic ideals are viewed with suspicion This is usually considered to be a conservative viewpoint But it is also the only evidence based, evolutionary way to analyze history No external guiding hand is required.
Today liberals claim the mantle of evidence based reasoning This is just one of many examples in history of liberals and conservatives swapping beliefs Conservatives used to be the elitists, opposed to dangerous populism Now they claim to be the populists Liberals used to champion the liberty of the individual against the state, but now look to the state to remedy society s ills So don t bother asking if the author or anyone else, for that matter is left liberal or right conservative Those terms have little real value Look at the ideas presented on their own merits.
Idealism leads directly to its political offshoot utopianism, designing the perfect society based on those unquestioned ideals As Harris so memorably puts it,If religion is the opium of the people, utopianism is the methamphetamine of the intellectualThe problem is the intellectual can underestimate the complexity of society, especially if blinded by idealistic assumptions Harris points out that almost by definition intellectuals fail to understand most of their fellow citizensIf intellectuals shared the ideas and values of the average person, they would not be intellectuals in the first place He adds,The essence of every Utopia is the same the dictatorship of the intellectual, less brutal than traditional thugs, but is potentially far deadly to human freedomThe modern liberal state is dedicated to making life better for its citizens However, we know that psychology reveals that choices are not as free or rational as people think they are People often make poor choices Therefore the expert intellectuals need to nudge citizens to do the right thing We end up treating everyone like children, with the experts in control Now we are led to view the Tea Party as a reaction against citizens losing control over their lives Harris sees this rebellion as a positive force, though he clearly spells out its limitationsPopulists have a simplistic understanding of how the world works, are attracted to demagogues and charlatans, believe in a quick fix They fall prey to paranoid fears, attributing problems to conspiracies of wicked men wanting to turn them into slaves Their resistance seems out of proportion to the problemI would add that while rebelling against the utopian planners, they are pursuing their own idealistic vision of a selectively remembered past.
But it always has been this way in history For example, the Athenian democracy executed Socrates for what we might today call speaking truth to power, and launched disastrous wars that led to the ruin of the city Leading intellectuals such as Plato and Aristotle opposed democracy and correctly predicted its consequences But that attempt at democracy, despite its failures, eventually led to the liberty in western societies.
The events that led to the American Revolution also do not look quite so glorious when examined in detail The response of the colonists to a reasonable tax to help pay for the wars Britain fought to defend them would be described today as terrorism Yet this resulted in the birth of American democracy.
Complexity and contradiction are the consequences of thinking in historical context Thus we must acknowledge that there are many different kinds of freedoms, and not all of them are compatible with one another As societies become civilized, freedom is curtailed Thus civilization can pose a threat to freedom Yet freedom requires civilization to protect it, and too much freedom can pose a threat to civilization Therefore any struggle for liberty is going to have an ambiguous quality to it Respect for the law and enthusiasm for liberty are not always compatible.
Harris wades into my territory of interest when he discusses Scientism , which I take to mean reductionism and determinism He claims it leads to a new form of fatalism, justifying rule by a new elite class of experts with special knowledge I view scientism as the corruption of science by faith and idealism Unfortunately, in practice Harris has it right He really has a way driving home a provocative point, such asIt is far better for children to reject Darwin s theory of evolution because they cannot believe we came from monkeys than to teach them to repeat the theory by rote as if we were descended from parrotsOuch Lets ignore the judgment word better This is the unfortunate reality of how science is usually taught, as indoctrination into yet another faith The solution is to first teach logical thought and scientific method, then introduce subjects such as evolution or climate change if and when the students are ready for them But who will teach the scientifically illiterate, faith ridden teachers On the question of faith, Harris addresses religion strictly from the point of view of its effect on the actions of the believers as did Edmund Burke He refers to it as a Cosmic Script , which defines our place in the universe Most religions act as what Marx called an opiate for the masses, either because one s place in society is divinely ordained, or the only point of living is to enter the next world The one exception is the Hebrew religion, which offers defiance, rebellion and revolt He makes an interesting case that it is the Old Testament that animates many Western challenges to authority It is Moses who set his people free, not Jesus.
I will let Harris himself write the conclusion of this reviewThe question before us is whether we can still find the wisdom and good sense to strike a satisfactory balance between liberty and civilization when confronted with the unprecedented challenges of the twenty first century For it is an illusion to think that the tension between civilization and liberty can ever be fully resolved, or that there is some method that we can settle for once and for all exactly how much liberty we must give up for the sake of civilization, or how much civilization we must forego for the sake of liberty That is a conundrum that each generation must puzzle out for itself not at the level of theory but at the level of day to day practical realityThis is hardly an incitement to fight the Next Civil War The strength of this book is its attempt to establish historical perspective Contradictions are seen as a fundamental part of reality One can argue he downplays the influence of vested interests on the Tea Party, and ignores the religious fundamentalist side of it But today s parochial politics are only a small part of this exploration of the basis of western civilization and its freedom There are a lot of positively provocative ideas here, often beautifully written I strongly recommend it.
another book I refuse to waste precious time reading I suppose he was trying to appeal to both sides of the political pendulum He failed in my eyes I stopped on page 7 when he typed, the obama death panel is a myth but it is a myth that expresses a genuine anxiety that decisions over our lives and deaths could one day end up being made for us and not by us He s either ignorant or lying by the way the fifteen member panel seat are still empty hopefully they ll remain empty, but the socialist obamacare and the death panel need to be repealed.
This book was interesting There were times where I had to make myself keep reading it because it leans toward conservative arguments, but its message is important and every American should read it and take heed If I had to sum it up I would say that he very nearly says, the tree of liberty must at times be watered with the blood of patriots , but his points have a logic to them He is correct to warn that liberals should not ignore the validity of their opponents arguments I wish he had been equally as skeptical of Sarah Palin he paints her as a phenomenon born of the rage of frustrated ignored segments of the population rather than a self aggrandizing ignoramus IMO she s both If we want to understand the current political rumblings and stalemates it would be well to read the book If we don t want to understand, but prefer instead to stop our ears against the other side s argumentsthen there s nothing to see heremove alongthere s a good fellow I first saw this book on the shelves of a neat bookstore in Manchester, NH this past summer I didn t buy it then, but after getting the gist of it from the cover and a quick look at the table of contents, I thought about its thesis It argues there is currently a cultural civil war going on in the US that is a repetition of other times, including the Civil War of 1861 On one side are beliefs and attitudes best described as populist and on the other side cosmpolitanism Lee Harris has been described as the intellectual brain trust for the Tea Party movement though he must open himself up to the criticism of being a pointy headed intellectual from that same movement I have downloaded the book to my e reader The cultural clash between the populist conservatives and cognitive elite that is hell bent on enlightening them underlies much of the current political tension in the United States Indeed, this division is rapidly replacing he old distinctions of liberal and conservative, left and right, Republican and Democrat Ultimately the natural libertarian must part company with the doctrinal libertarian over the very question of freedomOur operating maxim has ben Liberty for all But the only way that liberty for all can be achieved is through a government that is prepared to stand up the rights of everyone, including the weak, the poor and the oppressedSuch a government msut possess far power thatn the ideological libertarian is prepared to give it It is often forgotten that before Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations he ahd written a book entitled The Theory of Moral Sentiments The earlier book was not dedicate to praising the virtue of selfishness that became the mantra of those free market libertarians inspired by Ayn Rand On the contrary, Smith praised those unusual individuals show could raise above their own narrowly self interested perspective in order to make decisions based on the view of the matter that would be take by an impartial spectator.
I can t say I was all that optimistic when I saw the title, or when the publicist who sent me the copy promised that Harris was the conservative American public intellectual of the new millennium I figured this was just going to be one of those books people read when they want to be reminded that people who think like they do are good and those other folks are a bunch of cretins.
I was happy to find that the book is much better than its subtitle Superficially it s meant to be a defense of the TEA Party town hall disruption Glen Beckian paranoid kvetching Sara Palinish tendency against the liberal elites they complain about But there s actually very little in the book about these things They re mentioned in passing, along with things like Rosa Parks, Wat Tyler s rebellion, the disovery of Tahiti, the English Civil War, the Stonewall Riots, the signing of the Magna Carta, the American Revolution, the rise of Andrew Jackson, and so forth None of these are really analyzed in detail Elements of each of them are brought out as exemplars to support some facet of Harris s thesis.
The gist of which thesis is that these quasi populist, quasi organized, right wing rumblings that have made the news recently are all examples of a latent, liberty loving orneriness that comes to the surface periodically in lucky countries like ours that have the sort of cultural underpinnings that allow healthy, freedom promoting governments to evolve.
The tension between democratic, libertarianesque populism on the one hand, and the guidance of the nation by well meaning, well educated elites on the other, is, according to Harris, itself a blessing We shouldn t root for one side or the other to win though we may have reason at any particular time to hope one side or the other gets the upper hand the fact that these two sides are both vibrant and remain locked in conflict is what ensures the health and utility of republican institutions.
In other words be glad for the TEA Partiers despite their foibles, inconsistencies, paranoia, and anti intellectualism, for it is just such unhinged ornery populists that save us from the inevitable overreaching of the nanny state technocrats who would crush society in order to save it But cherish the technocrats, too, for they too have their virtues, and if the populists were given unfettered control everything would go to hell in short order It s thought provoking to be given a whirlwind tour of Western history seen through the lens of this thesis That said, the book doesn t defend the thesis so much as tell it like a bedtime story pleasant enough, but not very rigorous.