The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America

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9780060159023: The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America

The Present Age challenges readers to reexamine the role of the United States in the world since World War I. Nisbet criticizes Americans for isolationism at home, discusses the gutting of educational standards, the decay of education, the presence of government in all facets of life, the diminished connection to community, and the prominence of economic arrangements driving everyday life in America.

This work is deeply indebted to the analyses of Tocqueville and Bryce regarding the threats that bureaucracy, centralization, and creeping conformity pose to liberty and individual independence in the western world. The Present Age relates a tragedy—the unprecedented militarization of American life in the decades after 1914, as the result of the necessary resistance to National Socialist and Communist totalitarianism that fed into and reinforced the profound tendencies toward centralization within modern society.

Robert Nisbet (1913–1996), former professor of sociology at Columbia University, is the author of Sociology as an Art Form; The Social Philosophers; Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary; The Sociological Tradition; History of the Idea of Progress; and Twilight of Authority, also published by Liberty Fund.

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About the Author:

Robert Nisbet (1913-1996) was renowned worldwide for his scholarship in the history and philosophy of social and political thought. He taught at Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, Smith College, and the University of Bologna.

From Library Journal:

Nisbet, noted sociologist and conservative, argues that a revolution of ideas is needed in America. He deplores the country's moralizing international interventionism that Woodrow Wilsom made popular, because it has resulted in a "prevalence of war." He also criticizes the growth of the federal bureaucracy, which he regards as more absolutist than the divine-right monarchies. Nisbet blames the influence of Rousseau and disregard of Tocqueville for the centralization of power and attendant egalitarianism that he feels presently threaten individual liberty. He is further alarmed about the rampant greed and consumerism that he observes followed World War I. Though much of this is an update of ideas Nisbet has presented in previous works, it is recommended for public and academic libraries. David Steiniche, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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