Thursday, December 20, 2012

Favorites 5/20: Moral Man & Immoral Society

Moral Man And Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics

Moral Man and Immoral Society by Reinhold Niebuhr (1936). While Arendt presents a view of politics that arises out of her German existenz philosophy training with Heidegger and Jaspers, as well as her plight as a German-Jewish refugee and American émigré, Niebuhr is a homegrown American theologian (Lutheran) that provides an analysis of politics that I found captured my ascent and has maintained it. Niebuhr is rightly categorized as a political realist, but as you would expect from a Christian minister, his concern for fundamental values is not diminished. Indeed, his tragic view of politics has led me to re-read this book as an anchor about how to think of some of the great issues in our times. (I recall specifically re-reading it at the time of the first Iraq War.)

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