By Richard J. Ellis
This paintings demanding situations the thesis first formulated by way of de Tocqueville and later systematically built via Louis Hartz, that American political tradition is characterised through a consensus on liberal capitalist values. Ranging over 300 years of historical past and drawing upon the seminal paintings anthropologist Mary Douglas, Richard Ellis demonstrates that American heritage is healthier understood as a competition among 5 rival political cultures: egalitarian group, aggressive individualism, hierarchical collectivism, atomized fatalism, and self sustaining hermitude.
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It poses the puzzle but does not explain or resolve it. How then is one to resolve the paradox of crusading capitalists? Huntington, for instance, identifies the Puritan Revolution as "the original source... What stops such traditions from being dislodged or pried loose from the collective memory? 165 Placing ideas in a social context invites us to probe the process by which ideas are continually negotiated and renegotiated by real human beings. " "Where a man is expected to build his own career by transacting with all and sundry as widely as possible,...
From the decision to opt for community over competition, the collective good over private interests, flows other commitments and behaviors. In the next four chapters I attempt to spell out in greater detail the conflict between these two political cultures as manifested in their contrasting conceptions of property, equality, democracy, and authority. " As an explanation for "why no socialism" this interpretation is not without a certain plausibility. But the antithesis between socialism and bourgeois liberalism, although useful for certain purposes, is inadequate because it offers an impoverished view of radicalism (equating radicalism with a revolutionary, class conscious working class)3 and an undifferentiated view of liberalism (conflating individualism and egalitarianism).
Populists failed to fully transcend their "confinement within a propertied society" or transform a "social landscape... "81 But if the Populists often began from Lockean premises, their rendition of Locke undermined many of Locke’s most cherished tenets, not the least of which was limited government. " "The true principle," explained W.