The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)


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Liberals do their research; unlike offhand, knee-jerk commentary, liberal arguments are rooted in a firm grasp of the issues and are based on comprehensive analysis of the facts. That means that liberals need to do a lot of reading to maintain their knowledge. This is an oldie but goodie, a classic that argues that Americans are all, essentially, thoroughly liberal.

The Top 10 Must-Reads for Liberals

The catalyst for second-wave feminism , Friedan's book pointedly uncovered "the problem with no name": the fact that women in the s and s were extremely unhappy with society's limitations and stifled their ambitions, creativity, and intellects to conform, in the process, accepted second-class status in society. Friedan 's book forever changed the dialogue on women and power. Learn what it takes to fight for social justice from Dees, the son of a tenant farmer who abandoned his lucrative law and business practice to join the civil rights movement and found the Southern Poverty Law Center.


  1. Readings | American Political Thought | Political Science | MIT OpenCourseWare.
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  5. The SPLC is most known for fighting against racism and prosecuting hate crimes and hate groups. This call to arms against radical conservatism asks readers to reclaim the nation's political dialogue on morality by removing it from the social arena and refocus instead on economic inequality as a form of immorality. If one book by Reich is a good liberal read, two is better. Here, Reich explains just how damaging corporate lobbying can be for all Americans, especially workers and the middle class.

    Reich outlines the rise of wealth and income inequality on a global scale and urges a greater separation of business and government. This book argues that liberalism is the only fair path for modern societies because it rests on the dual forces of classical liberalism's laissez-faire economics and modern liberalism's commitment to social welfare.

    This is the book you need in order to combat the most common lies of the far right. Media critic Alterman explains the emergence of American liberalism and the statistical reality that most Americans are fundamentally liberal.

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    One of America's foremost economists and popular New York Times columnist, Nobel winner Krugman here provides the historical explanation for the emergence of the vast economic inequality that characterizes the United States today. China, Fukuyama judges, has a strong central state bureaucracy—indeed, it was the first civilization to have one, some 2, years before the West—and leaders who, if not democratically accountable, have managed to stay focused on the basic needs of its citizens.

    What China lacks most, argues Fukuyama, is true rule of law, which in other nations evolved as an outgrowth of universalist religions and which Confucian China has also traditionally lacked.

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    India, on the other hand, has a stronger rule of law and a remarkably successful democracy. But it now harbors a sprawling public sector without having a strong, competent, modern state with autonomous bureaucracies.

    The country also democratized early, opening the vote to all white males in the s, decades before any country in Europe. But it was relatively slow to create autonomous, impartial state bureaucracies thanks to a national temperament that militated against central governmental authority. But whereas in Europe as well as China, strong professionalized bureaucracies evolved as defenses against military threats, in America they arose from internal political struggle, specifically the Progressive Movement.

    The Progressives succeeded through measures that included the Pendleton Act of , the expansion of the federal civil service system, and the dawn of professionalized state and local government agencies. The result was often agencies with insufficient autonomy from Congress and the courts to resist capture by powerful industries.

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    By contrast, Fukuyama holds up the U. Forest Service as a case study of a bureaucracy that began with integrity but decayed over time. I t is perhaps inevitable that a thinker with such sweeping erudition as Fukuyama, whose interests range from thirteenth-century Mamluk slaveholders to the theories of Oswald Spengler, might get a few things wrong.

    His narrative of the Forest Service is an especially significant example, for it leads him to misconstrue the actual way bureaucracies in America behave, and to miss one of the most profound reasons for their recent decay. While timber harvesting was once unquestionably its job one, the Forest Service never truly had a single mission.

    Liberal Tradition in America

    But neither the Forest Service, nor, to my knowledge, any other federal bureau, was ever truly organized around any such ideal in the first place. An Interior official charged that he had violated federal law by opening Alaskan coal fields to powerful private mining interests. Two Forest Service officials backed the whistle-blower, and Pinchot backed them. But Fukuyama might also have noted that those same interest groups energetically cultivated Chief Pinchot and his top Forest Service aides.

    Pinchot defied his Agriculture Department administrative superiors, ignored a direct appeal from Taft aka the chief executive , and violated agency protocols by writing a letter on the Ballinger matter to a sitting member of Congress, who then publicized the missive on the Senate floor. In fact, following several in-depth investigations, the charges against Ballinger were dismissed. In , Taft fired Pinchot for administrative insubordination.


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    Pinchot also made three unsuccessful bids for a U. In sum, Pinchot practiced Progressive politics, high and low, as a vote-seeking vocation. Tidwell, a thirty-seven-year veteran of the agency who started out as a district ranger, were closer to being professional, nonpartisan public administrators than Pinchot ever was. As documented in a report by the Congressional Research Service, between and the number of acres burned more than doubled, to about nine million, and the number of structures destroyed increased more than sixfold, to about 5, Unfortunately, Fukuyama does not hold that thought about government growth through contracting out.

    The Liberal Tradition in America | HMH Books

    But he needed to puzzle over why Congress has record-low approval ratings yet sky-high incumbent reelection rates. All told, federal, state, and local government tax revenues are equivalent to about a third of GDP, while combined government spending has in recent years hovered around 40 percent of GDP about 24 percent federal and 16 percent subnational.

    Adjusted for cross-national differences in accounting practices, total government spending in the United States as a percentage of GDP is just a couple points below the average for the seventeen so-called euro area democracies. The federal workforce was smaller in than it was in twenty-six of the fifty-three years since , and much smaller than it was in relative to annual federal expenditures about one-fourth as large , pages in the Federal Register about a fifth as large , and the total U.

    Whether in the Forest Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, or many other understaffed federal agencies, is it any wonder that federal workers do not always seem up to their jobs and often report being demoralized? While the post federal civilian workforce has hovered around two million full-time bureaucrats, the state and local government workforce roughly tripled, to more than eighteen million.

    Many subnational government workers function as de facto federal bureaucrats.

    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
    The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books) The Liberal Tradition in America (Harvest Books)
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