THE IRONY OF AMERICAN HISTORY

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The Irony Of American History

Author : Reinhold Niebuhr
ISBN : 9780226583990
Genre : Religion
File Size : 46.18 MB
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“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—President Barack Obama Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace. “The supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.”—Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times “Niebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about America’s tendency—including the left’s tendency—to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.”—Kevin Mattson, The Good Society “Irony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft. . . . The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction
Category: Religion

The Theological Vision Of Reinhold Niebuhr S The Irony Of American History

Author : Scott R. Erwin
ISBN : 9780199678372
Genre : History
File Size : 50.86 MB
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This book argues that an appreciation of Reinhold Niebuhr's theological vision is necessary for understanding the full measure of his 1951 work, The Irony of American History. The work is important because Niebuhr remains at the center of a national conversation about America's role in the world, and commentators with divergent political and religious positions frequently look to Irony for guidance. Niebuhr described his theological vision asbeing "in the battle and above it," and, in more extensive terms, explained it to be a "combination of moral resoluteness about the immediate issues with a religious awareness of another dimension of meaning and judgment." This book claims that this vision led Niebuhr, in Irony, to assert that America must both take "morally hazardous action" in combating the aggression of the Soviet Union and engage in critical self-evaluation to prevent the country from assuming the most odious traits of its Cold War foe. The excavation of Irony's theological foundations is necessary since, rather than explicitly advancing his vision in the work, Niebuhr chose to communicate it implicitly--through thehistorical figure of Abraham Lincoln for instance. Moreover, this book argues that the study of both Niebuhr's theological vision and his application of this vision throughout his life is instructive as the contemporarygeneration engages with global problems.
Category: History

The Irony Of Barack Obama

Author : R. Ward Holder
ISBN : 9781317026976
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 54.97 MB
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Drawing on the political theology of Reinhold Niebuhr, described by Barack Obama as 'one of my favourite philosophers', this book assesses the challenges facing the President during his first term. It evaluates his success in adhering to Niebuhr's path of 'Christian realism' when faced with the pragmatic demands of domestic and foreign affairs. In 2008 Candidate Obama used the ideas of 'Hope' and 'Change' to inspire voters and secure the presidency. Obama promised change not only regarding America's policies, but even more fundamentally in the nation's political culture. Holder and Josephson describe the foundations of President Obama's Christian faith and the extent to which it has shaped his approach to politics. Their book explores Obama's journey of faith in the context of a broadly Augustinian understanding of faith and politics, examines the tensions between Christian realism and pragmatic progressivism, explains why a Christian realist interpretation is essential to understanding Obama's presidency, and applies this model of understanding to considerations of foreign and domestic policy. By combining this theological and political analysis the book offers a special opportunity to reflect on the relationship between Christian faith and statesmanship, reflections that are missing from current popular discussions of the Obama presidency. Through consideration of Niebuhr's models of the prophet and the statesman, and the more popular alternative of the political evangelist, Holder and Josephson are better able to explain the president's successes and his failures, and to unveil the Augustinian limits of the political life.
Category: Political Science

The Irony Of Manifest Destiny

Author : William Pfaff
ISBN : 0802719678
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 39.9 MB
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"For years there has been little or no critical reexamination of how and why the ultimately successful postwar American policy of 'patient but firm and vigilant containment of Soviet expansionist tendencies...and pressure against the free institutions of the western world' (as George Kennan formulated it at the time) has over six decades turned into a vast project for ending tyranny in the world. We defend this position by making the claim that the United States possesses an exceptional status among nations that confers upon it special international responsibilities, and exceptional privileges in meeting those responsibilities. This is where the problem lies. It has become somewhat of a national heresy to suggest the U.S. does not have a unique moral status and role to play in the history of nations and therefore in the affairs of the contemporary world. In fact it does not." Cogently, thoughtfully, powerfully, William Pfaff--whose columns and commentary over the past 40-odd years have given him the widest international influence of any American commentator--lays out the historical roots behind the American exceptionalism that has animated our politics and foreign relations for decades, and makes clear why it is flawed and bound to fail. Those roots lie in the secularization of western society brought about by the Enlightenment. "My proposition in this book is that the United States' spearation from 1800 to 1941 from the common history of the west has disqualified it from the mandate it has assumed as the society that embodies the future"...and in many ways is responsible for the impasse in which it finds itself at the end of the disastrous events of the last 8 years. "It has failed to learn from experience because it lacks the indispensable experience Europeans have acquired of modern ideological folly and national tragedy."
Category: Political Science

The Politics Of Irony In American Modernism

Author : Matthew Stratton
ISBN : 9780823255467
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 40.48 MB
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Shortlisted for the 2015 Modernist Studies Association Book Prize This book shows how American literary culture in the first half of the twentieth century saw "irony'" emerge as a term to describe intersections between aesthetic and political practices. Against conventional associations of irony with political withdrawal, Stratton shows how the term circulated widely in literary and popular culture to describe politically engaged forms of writing. It is a critical commonplace to acknowledge the difficulty of defining irony before stipulating a particular definition as a stable point of departure for literary, cultural, and political analysis. This book, by contrast, is the first to derive definitions of "irony" inductively, showing how writers employed it as a keyword both before and in opposition to the institutionalization of New Criticism. It focuses on writers who not only composed ironic texts but talked about irony and satire to situate their work politically: Randolph Bourne, Benjamin De Casseres, Ellen Glasgow, John Dos Passos, Ralph Ellison, and many others.
Category: Literary Criticism

Quetzalcoatl And The Irony Of Empire

Author : David Carrasco
ISBN : 9780226094908
Genre : History
File Size : 68.78 MB
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Davíd Carrasco draws from the perspectives of the history of religions, anthropology, and urban ecology to explore the nature of the complex symbolic form of Quetzalcoatl in the organization, legitimation, and subversion of a large segment of the Mexican urban tradition. His new Preface addresses this tradition in the light of the Columbian quincentennial. "This book, rich in ideas, constituting a novel approach . . . represents a stimulating and provocative contribution to Mesoamerican studies. . . . Recommended to all serious students of the New World's most advanced indigenous civilization."—H. B. Nicholson, Man
Category: History

Moral Man And Immoral Society

Author : Reinhold Niebuhr
ISBN : 9781787204966
Genre : Religion
File Size : 76.15 MB
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Moral Man and Immoral Society, first published in 1932, is Reinhold Niebuhr’s important study in ethics and politics. Forthright and realistic, it discussed the inevitability of social conflict, the brutal behaviour of human collectives of every sort, the inability of rationalists and social scientists to even imagine the realities of collective power, and, ultimately, how individual morality can overcome social immorality. “Every thinking Christian must squarely face the major thesis of this book, or confess the impotence of his faith for a day when the dawn is lowering red.”—The Christian Century “No one can read it without gaining great value.”—Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Category: Religion

The Irony Of Democracy An Uncommon Introduction To American Politics

Author : Thomas Dye
ISBN : 9780495501237
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 67.64 MB
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While most American politics texts address American politics from a pluralist perspective, THE IRONY OF DEMOCRACY: AN UNCOMMON INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN POLITICS, Fourteenth Edition, approaches the subject by addressing the theme of elitism and contrasting it with democratic theory and modern pluralist theory. Its key question is, How democratic is American society? Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.
Category: Political Science