A World Beyond Politics?
A Defense of the Nation State
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World Beyond Politics? by Pierre Manent
Book DescriptionWe live in the grip of a great illusion about politics, Pierre Manent argues in A World beyond Politics? It's the illusion that we would be better off without politics--at least national politics, and perhaps all politics. It is a fantasy that if democratic values could somehow detach themselves from their traditional national context, we could enter a world of pure democracy, where human society would be ruled solely according to law and morality. Borders would dissolve in unconditional internationalism and nations would collapse into supranational organizations such as the European Union. Free of the limits and sins of politics, we could finally attain the true life. In contrast to these beliefs, which are especially widespread in Europe, Manent reasons that the political order is the key to the human order. Human life, in order to have force and meaning, must be concentrated in a particular political community, in which decisions are made through collective, creative debate. The best such community for democratic life, he argues, is still the nation-state. Following the example of nineteenth-century political philosophers such as Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill, Manent first describes a few essential features of democracy and the nation-state, and then shows how these characteristics illuminate many aspects of our present political circumstances. He ends by arguing that both democracy and the nation-state are under threat--from apolitical tendencies such as the cult of international commerce and attempts to replace democratic decisions with judicial procedures.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691125671
(229mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Pierre Manent
Metamorphoses of the City, Hardback (October 2013)
Offers a sweeping interpretation of Europe's ambition to generate ever better forms of collective self-government, from ancient city-states and empires to a universal church and the nation-state. But the nation-state is nearing the end of its line, the author states, and what will supplant it remains to be seen.
City of Man, Paperback (April 2000)
Argues that the West has rejected the laws of God and of nature in a quest for human autonomy. This book contends that, in declaring ourselves free and autonomous, we have, paradoxically, lost a sense of what it means to be human. It offers an analysis of the confusions and contradictions at the heart of the modern condition.
Intellectual History of Liberalism, Paperback (July 1996)» View all books by Pierre Manent
Highlighting social tensions that confront the liberal tradition, this book draws a portrait of what we, citizens of modern liberal democracies, have become. It argues that the frequent incapacity of the morally neutral, democratic state to further social causes derives from the liberal stance that political life does not serve a higher purpose.
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Author Biography - Pierre Manent
Pierre Manent teaches political philosophy at L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales in Paris. His books include An Intellectual History of Liberalism and The City of Man (both Princeton).
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