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The Art of Politics: The New Betrayal of America and How to Resist It [Hardcover]

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Item Number 393473  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   325
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 5.9" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 25, 2008
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1594032351  
EAN  9781594032356  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The political system of contemporary democracies is far from perfect and our dissatisfactions with it are many. Nevertheless, it is the envy of the world and the finest political system, that has thus far emerged in the course of human history. Its chief merit is that it provides the political goods - such as liberty, toleration, justice, property, and equality - we need for our well-being. Politics involves never-ending disagreements about how to resolve unavoidable conflicts among various goods, and the art of politics is to find, again and again, optimal resolutions to these disagreements.

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More About John Kekes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Kekes is Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the State University of New York, Albany. His most recent books are Moral Tradition and Individuality (1989) and Facing Evil (1990).

John Kekes currently resides in Albany, in the state of New York. John Kekes has an academic affiliation as follows - University at Albany, SUNY Union College University at Albany, SUNY Un.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
How Ideology can choke our Democracy  Nov 16, 2008
This author, though not an ideologue per se, does seem, judging by one of his previous books, "Against Liberalism," to have a pragmatic conservative intellectual bent and outlook. While I have yet to see him critique the more conservative political philosophies as sternly as he has liberalism, his analysis overall is still clean enough to trust his intellectual and academic bona fides. One suspects from this tract that his "intellectual crap detection system" is well developed and remains "on" and in the full non-ideological mode at all times.

Like the book "Against Liberalism," which I admit for me was a seriously uncomfortable but nevertheless honest academic critique of the liberal persuasion, this one too is a supremely levelheaded, mostly philosophical and high level analysis of the art of politics, American style. And although it brings to light many of the factors that have sustained American democracy, it suggests that our democratic principles can not stand alone and defend themselves, but require a politic of reason, stability, and a non-ideological spirit. It is not the same as your "run-of-the-mill" fawning pseudo-patriotic sloganeering that has now become a fixture among today's conservative ideologues.

Here Kekes gives a larger much more careful nuanced narration of the reasons why American democracy is the envy of the world by explaining that it is due to our visionary politics, which value all of the intangibles of a strong political system, above all else; viz, a penchant for law and order and stability, a foundation and history of struggles to maintain and advance liberty, unencumbered free markets, a sensibility towards peace and prosperity, civil rights and a tolerance for minority concerns, including equality and non-discriminatory practices, a concern for health welfare and education, smooth and peaceful transitions of power, and a preoccupation with both internal and external security. All are things that many non-Western nations, pay only lip service to and have yet to learn how to negotiate conflicting claims among them in a peaceful way, or indeed how to fully integrate them into their respective political systems.

The strength of the book is that it exposes the kind of "ideological small-mindedness" that is now slowly taking over the American political spaces on either side of the political divide. It exposes them as having the same basic shape and form and therefore represent the same inherent dangers to a thriving democracy such as ours. They have become dangerous enough to choke out our democracy, as each side tries with equal ruthlessness to outlaw all the things they consider wrong (i.e., ideologically impure), while embracing and promoting only those things they consider right (i.e. ideologically pure). The flaw in this model, which is the centerpiece of competing political interests in the U.S. is that it is not "self-correcting." Unless ideologues can muster the patriotic vision to see the weaknesses of their own ideologies and the strengths of the adversary, even the best political system can disintegrate into internecine ideological struggles and warfare, which in the long run can do more than just undermine true patriotic spirits. They can also be corrosive, eventually eroding the very foundation of a democratic society.

Well thought out and well argued. 100 Stars

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