One of the clichés of historians and civics textbooks is that the U.S. is an “experiment” in democracy. The inconclusive November 7 election and the subsequent wrangling over the certification of Florida’s votes have verified that it’s far from an empty cliché. This really is an experiment, and a very messy one.
Democracy is a wonderful form of government, especially compared to the alternatives. Giving everybody a vote provides a nonviolent means of managing conflict and of holding leaders accountable to the will of the majority.
Century editors and contributors present their picks. When readers go to Amazon.com from this site, the Century receives a percentage of all purchases—books, appliances, apparel. The income helps support this site.
America is at war. This is a wartime national security strategy required by the grave challenge we face—the rise of terrorism fueled by an aggressive ideology of hatred and murder, fully revealed to the American people on September 11, 2001. This strategy reflects our most solemn obligation: to protect the security of the American people.
For more than two decades, my favorite Cornel West book was Prophesy Deliverance! (1982). I liked it because his typology of black intellectual traditions helped me to organize my thinking about the role of black culture and religion in American life.
Reading this book is like joining an ongoing conversation, since Jeffrey Stout has been discussing religion and democracy with Stanley Hauerwas, Alasdair MacIntyre and Richard Rorty since the mid-1970s. Often when we interrupt an animated conversation, it’s best to politely excuse ourselves and move on. But this conversation is worth overhearing.
Senator John Kerry’s anti–Vietnam war activities have been ignored by his Democratic opponents during his march to an all-but-certain Democratic nomination. Kerry was, after all, a Vietnam war hero before he became an antiwar activist.