Eight Ways to Run the Country: A New and Revealing Look at Left and Right
Political partisans want you to choose only between Left and Right, Red and Blue, Us and Them. But the reality is that Americans are deeply divided in more ways than one, and the savvy voter, no less than the savvy politician, must make more sense of things. Eight Ways to Run the Country explains what conventional political theory cannot, offering a profoundly illuminating look at our political past and our present differences. Eight Ways doesn't do away with Left and Right, but it defines them in better terms and adds a whole new dimension to explain what Left and Right can't. It correctly pegs the ideological poles and thus brings easy-to-understand order to the dizzying diversity of political perspectives. It places neoconservatives into historical context, illuminating both what they share with other conservatives and how their differences have wrought a change in the character of the Right. It explains the recurring attempts to define an independent, non-ideological center. It provides the best definition of populism to be found. Finally, it relates the political heritage of the American Founders to the politics of today. Eight Ways identifies four main traditions in the American political experience: BLrepublican constitutionalism, stressing traditional values and decentralized power; BLlibertarian individualism, stressing personal liberty and property rights; BLprogressive democracy, stressing popular sovereignty and social renovation; and BLplutocratic nationalism, defending dominant commercial interests and national power. From these four main traditions, the author traces eight contemporary ideological perspectives: communitarians, progressives, radicals, individualists, and four varieties of conservatives. The author uses the color and drama of well-known individual examples to illustrate each ideology in concrete, everyday language. The result is an entertaining and insightful assessment of each ideology's strengths and weaknesses that may forever change the way you think about politics.
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