The Fractured Republic
- Renewing America's Social Contract in the Age of Individualism
- Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
- Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 23-08-16
- Language: English
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
No wonder, then, that Americans - and the politicians who represent them - are overwhelmingly nostalgic for a better time. The left looks back to the middle of the 20th century, when unions were strong, large public programs promised to solve pressing social problems, and the movements for racial integration and sexual equality were advancing. The right looks back to the Reagan era, when deregulation and lower taxes spurred the economy, cultural traditionalism seemed resurgent, and America was confident and optimistic. Each side thinks returning to its golden age could solve America's problems.
In The Fractured Republic, Yuval Levin argues that this politics of nostalgia is failing 21st-century Americans. Both parties are blind to how America has changed over the past half century - as the large, consolidated institutions that once dominated our economy, politics, and culture have fragmented and become smaller, more diverse, and personalized. Individualism, dynamism, and liberalization have come at the cost of dwindling solidarity, cohesion, and social order. This has left us with more choices in every realm of life but less security, stability, and national unity.
Both our strengths and our weaknesses are therefore consequences of these changes. And the dysfunctions of our fragmented national life will need to be answered by the strengths of our decentralized, divers, dynamic nation.
Levin argues that this calls for a modernizing politics that avoids both radical individualism and a centralizing statism and instead revives the middle layers of society - families and communities, schools and churches, charities and associations, local governments and markets. Through them, we can achieve not a single solution to the problems of our age, but multiple and tailored answers fitted to the daunting range of challenges we face and suited to enable an American revival.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Nicky Beet on 06-04-18
the author is either deluded to the forces shaping america's political&economic life
he either doesnt care about the poor or just doesnt get the structural forces in playas he advocates an even more full throttled course of the things that have so badly screwed american workers except for ceo's or tech titans
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By J. Bickett on 09-01-17
Make Subsidiary Great Again
A strong challenge to the left/right conception of individualism and each sides sclorodic policy adgenda. narration could be better, but still a worthwhile listen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Samuel K Osborne on 03-01-17
A cure for what ails 'U.S.'
What made the experience of listening to The Fractured Republic the most enjoyable?
Levin's diagnosis of our political and social disfunction being the result of Baby Boomer nostalgia for the exceptional post-WWII, mid-century decades and the centralized, consolidated consensus which seemed to serve as the underpinning of our collective prosperity and political comity is spot on. Despite his conservative biases, he admits to them and offers an evan-handed analysis of both sides: conservatives long for the moral consensus and social cohesion of the post-war period as well as the economic deregulation and religious right retrenchment championed by Reagan in 1981; liberals long for the corporatism, industrial policy, and social welfare programs of the New Deal days which reached their high-water mark under Johnson's Great Society in 1965. The cultural, social, corporate, and political consolidation and uniformity which allowed for both partisan platforms to exist has disintegrated. Levin argues for both sides to draw upon their historic political traditions (read Levin's previous work "The Great Debate" for an engaging primer on the early rift of Anglo-American liberalism between Burke's conservatism and Payne's progressivism for a greater fleshing out of these ideas) to navigate a new course which Levin terms subsidiarity: strengthening the mediating institutions standing between the autonomous individual and the State (families, religious congregations, civic organizations, charities, neighborhoods, local communities, etc.) which can better address the pressing social, cultural, and economic challenges and ameliorate their deleterious effects more effectively and efficiently. Levin makes the point that conservatives, though themselves beholden to their own brand of nostalgia, are closer to embracing subsidiarity than are Progressives who are increasingly enamored with Statism. Chapter 7 (in the audiobook) is my favorite section, although the entire volume is deserving of every thoughtful citizens earnest consideration.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful