Reaping the Whirlwind: Liberal Democracy and the Religious Axis

By John R. Pottenger | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

Intellectual challenges contribute to the growth of knowledge. As happens frequently in the academy—but never enough—students challenge the professor to apply his or her learned perceptions to particular theoretical and practical problems. I deeply appreciate the many times that students in my classes in political philosophy have challenged me to reflect upon the normative implications of classic appraisals of the social and political character of the human condition. Reaping the Whirlwind finds its genesis in the inquisitiveness of students who have become more attentive to and anxious about the increasingly pronounced, even violent at times, turbulence of religion and politics in the public square. They have challenged me to provide an argument to clarify the nature of this turbulence.

In addition to the students, scholars have also challenged and provided me with opportunities to contemplate and reconsider aspects of classic arguments of political philosophy, particularly as they bear on the religious question. I sincerely appreciate Charles Butterworth, Jo Renée Formicola, Nelly Lahoud, Barbara McGraw, Roy Meek, and Allan Spitz for their sage advice and critical insights regarding select arguments that I have presented before professional conferences as well as in peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. It is from critical assessments of these endeavors that many of the claims and assertions in Reaping the Whirlwind find their own geneses.

-ix-

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