The Politics of Truth and Other Untimely Essays: The Crisis of Civic Consciousness

The Politics of Truth and Other Untimely Essays: The Crisis of Civic Consciousness

The Politics of Truth and Other Untimely Essays: The Crisis of Civic Consciousness

The Politics of Truth and Other Untimely Essays: The Crisis of Civic Consciousness

Synopsis

The Politics of Truth and Other Untimely Essays explores the historical and theoretical underpinnings of personal liberty and free government and provides a trenchant analysis of the crisis of civic consciousness endangering both of them today. Addressing a range of issues in contemporary political philosophy and constitutional theory, the book is especially important today as former countries of the Soviet empire strive for free societies in the wake of the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

Excerpt

The present volume collects occasional pieces written during the decade of the 1990s. Half of them are new to this book, and half have appeared previously elsewhere, as detailed in the acknowledgments. Some of these essays (all revised for publication here) originated as informal talks, others as lectures, still others as technical studies with a full complement of annotation.

The central themes of these essays are those that have most concerned me over these several years, with an emphasis on the most dramatic events of the time: namely, the collapse of the Soviet Russian empire and the struggle toward independence and democracy of the formerly enslaved countries of east central Europe. At the center of the book are the abiding questions of the common elements of human nature, the dignity of personality shared by all human beings, and the mystery of their historical embodiment in such ethnic, political, and religious diversity; of whether liberty and the quest for justice in political regimes is a common possession of all human societies at least potentially, or forever reserved for a fortunate few; and of whether these universal aspirations can be better understood, and may even be more likely to be realized in time, after the long nightmare of our own oppressive century.

While each essay stands alone, the various key elements in the puzzle of identifying the preconditions of liberty for individuals, societies, and the institutional order are addressed. the root is found in the philosophical anthropology of classical philosophy and Christianity as the generic heritage of liberty that has emerged in Western constitutionalism. Specific attention is given to the terms of institutionalization in the American founding as the leading historical . . .

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