The dark side of the Left: illiberal Egalitarianism in America

Front Cover
University Press of Kansas, 1998 - Philosophy - 426 pages
2 Reviews
Why do people who identify themselves as liberal or egalitarian sometimes embrace intolerance or even preach violence? Illiberalism has come to be expected of the right in this country; its occurrence on the left is more paradoxical but no less real. In this book, Richard J. Ellis examines the illiberal tendencies that have characterized egalitarian movements throughout American history, from the radical abolitionists of the 1850s to the New Left activists of the 1960s. He also takes on contemporary radical feminists like Catharine MacKinnon and radical environmental groups like Earth First to show that, even today, many of the American Left's sacred cows have cloven hooves. He explains how orthodoxy arises within a group from the need to maintain distance from a society it views as hopelessly corrupt, and how individuals committed to egalitarian causes are particularly susceptible to illiberalism -- even poets like Walt Whitman, who celebrated the common people but often expressed contempt for their mundane lives. Political correctness, idealizing the oppressed, and an affinity for authoritarian and charismatic leaders are all parts of what Ellis calls 'the dark side of the left.'

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America (American Political Thought)

User Review  - Robert - Goodreads

There was something almost biblical about this book. Humans are basically flawed and groups of humans, despite their intentions, are also flawed. What I though was most interesting was the author's ... Read full review

Review: The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America (American Political Thought)

User Review  - Drew - Goodreads

the author seemed a bit biased towards radical movements in general, but he did have valid points which should be watched out for Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
The Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
15
Illiberal Utopianism in the Age of Reform
44
Copyright

10 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

Richard J. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Professor of PolitiRichard J. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Professor of PolitiRichard J. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Professor of Politics at Willamette University, and the author of numerous bookcs at Willamette University, and the author of numerous bookcs at Willamette University, and the author of numerous books on the presidency including, "Presidential Travel: The Jous on the presidency including, "Presidential Travel: The Jous on the presidency including, "Presidential Travel: The Journey from George Washington to George W. Bush" and "Foundingrney from George Washington to George W. Bush" and "Foundingrney from George Washington to George W. Bush" and "Founding the American Presidency". the American Presidency". the American Presidency".

Bibliographic information