The Resource The wish for kings : democracy at bay, Lewis H. Lapham

The wish for kings : democracy at bay, Lewis H. Lapham

Label
The wish for kings : democracy at bay
Title
The wish for kings
Title remainder
democracy at bay
Statement of responsibility
Lewis H. Lapham
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
For the better part of twenty years Lewis H. Lapham has sketched the American social and political landscape with a fine sense of history and a sharp and caustic wit. In The Wish for Kings, his most provocative book to date, Lapham obliges us to take a long hard look at what has become of our hallowed democratic tradition. Although we like to believe that we live by Lincoln's famous words - "government of the people, by the people, for the people" - we have become accustomed to a government by and for the friends of privilege. The promise of democracy is synonymous with the idea of the citizen, but to people who have grown tired of self-government the belief in kings and queens and fairy tales replaces the will to engage in the rude and often uncomfortable arts of politics. Lapham notes the effects of our distaste for objection and dissent - an apathetic public debate, 90 percent of the wealth in the hands of 5 percent of the population, the media and the universities united in their defense of oligarchy - and discusses at length the ways in which a courtier spirit (the obverse of the democratic spirit) subverts and weakens the hopes of a free republic. It is a discussion that has particular relevance to the present moment. If the wish for kings is as old as Babylon and as modern as the worship of Hollywood celebrity, our 1992 presidential election translated the wish into nineteen million votes for H. Ross Perot. Frightened by the weakness in the economy and dissatisfied with the wisdom in office in Washington, a sizable percentage of the electorate embraced in the figure of a Texas millionaire what it imagined to be the comforts of autocracy. The question remains as to whether the enthusiasm for Perot was merely an angry protest against a government that had arrogantly distanced itself from the American people, or whether it expressed a more general longing for a magical figure capable of quieting all our fears and answering all our prayers. The question is an urgent one, and it defines the task of the Clinton administration. Unless President Clinton can sustain the public faith in the practice as well as the theory of Democracy, it is possible that the idea of democratic self-government will come to be seen as a once noble experiment no longer adequate to the specifications of the twenty-first century. The several facets of this question come into brilliant focus in this important book by one of our most incisive social critics. No one who cares about the future of our nation should miss reading The Wish for Kings
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lapham, Lewis H
Dewey number
305.5/2
Index
no index present
LC call number
HN90.E4
LC item number
L36 1993
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
  • dictionaries
  • bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Elite (Social sciences)
  • Income distribution
  • Democracy
  • Political culture
  • Democratie
  • Presidenten
  • Politieke cultuur
  • Demokratie
  • Politische Kultur
  • USA
Label
The wish for kings : democracy at bay, Lewis H. Lapham
Link
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. 191-213)
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
1 online resource (213 pages)
Form of item
online
Specific material designation
remote
System control number
(OCoLC)1036908451
Label
The wish for kings : democracy at bay, Lewis H. Lapham
Link
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. 191-213)
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
1 online resource (213 pages)
Form of item
online
Specific material designation
remote
System control number
(OCoLC)1036908451

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