Synopses & Reviews
Nothing's the matter with Kansas: Americans voting their values are responding to a real moral crisis. And in this forceful follow-up to The Cheating Culture
, David Callahan argues that the problems for most Americans are not abortion and gay marriage but rather issues that neither party is addressing the selfishness that is careening out of control, the effect of our violent and consumerist culture on children, and our lack of a greater purpose. As Republicans veer into zealotry, liberals can find common ground with the moderate majority. But to alleviate the moral anxieties that drove GOP electoral victories they need a powerful new vision.
In The Moral Center, Callahan articulates that vision and offers an escape from the dead-end culture war. With insights garnered from in-depth research and interviews, he examines some of our most polarized conflicts and presents unexpected solutions that lay out a new road map to the American center.
"After discussing the widespread willingness of Americans to cut ethical corners in The Cheating Culture, Callahan probes deeper, to get at the underlying causes of the nation's moral anxiety, and winds up blaming the free-market economy. The unchecked pursuit of self-interest, he argues, has led to everything from the rise in white-collar crime to the spread of mass media content that brazenly rejects traditional values. Callahan's thesis walks a tightrope for all his talk of 'critiquing the moral downsides of capitalism,' he remains a firm believer in the current governmental framework and socialism never rears its head. In seeking an end to the culture wars, he repeatedly calls upon liberals to tighten up their game; Democrats need to stop questioning the American dream, place more stock in personal responsibility and get tough with Hollywood donors. Conservatives, by contrast, are largely written off as too set in their ways to change, despite his repeated efforts to make them see the light. Unwilling to leave this as just a hypothetical argument, Callahan offers concrete steps toward achieving economic equality, from putting more money into Social Security to increasing benefits for veterans. Building on his initial success, his plainspoken, moderate stance is likely to gain traction with politically minded readers. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Callahan is onto something, notably the insight that patriotism and libertarianism may be incompatible. However, he too obviously tries to market Old Left wine in new evangelical bottles to be persuasive." Kirkus Reviews
In this forceful follow-up to The Cheating Culture, Callahan argues that the problems for most Americans are not abortion and gay marriage but rather issues that neither party is addressing the selfishness that is careening out of control, the effect of a violent and consumerist culture on children, and the lack of a greater purpose.
As the 2008 presidential election nears, Americans on both the right and the left agree that America is in a moral crisis. For most citizens, though, this crisis is not about abortion, gay marriage, or the Òwar on Christmas,Ó but a growing culture of self-interest and a lack of greater purpose. Just as Americans must determine the leader that best represents our true values, Americas elected officials must look to restore our core beliefs of personal responsibility and duty to others. But we need a clear vision. In The Moral Center, now with a new introduction and updated throughout, Callahan explains how progressives and moderates can find common ground to build a new majority and a unified America.
About the Author
David Callahan is cofounder and director of research at the public policy center Demos. Author of six previous books, he writes frequently for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and and other publications. He received a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University and lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
ONE What’s Really Wrong
TWO Family Matters
THREE Sex and Responsibility
FOUR Tipper Gore Was Right
FIVE Punishment for Some
SIX Honoring Work
SEVEN Who Cares About the Poor?
EIGHT The Meaning of Patriotism