When Christopher Lasch died on Valentine’s day in , America lost the most profound of her critics. His final book, The Revolt of the Elites, was published a. Christopher Lasch was one of those rare figures in American public life who was The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, a collection of essays. Christopher Lasch, who died last year, has been rather undernoticed in Britain. His attention was admittedly focused on American politics and.
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Books by Christopher Lasch. Views Read Edit View history. Nov 30, Gaylord Dold rated it liked it. Part of the problem is rhetorical. Christopher Lasch was one of those rare figures in American public life who was respected by people on both the left and the right, among scholars as well as ordinary folks, in intellectual circles as well as among those who have no patience for abstract ideas.
The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books. Populated by transients, the pockets and elites who live in them lack continuity.
View all 8 comments. Unlike those who engage in mind-numbing routines, they love their work, which engages them in lifelong learning and endless experimentation.
Journal of Religious Ethics. On the one hand it is now united, through cyristopher agency of the market, as it never was before.
Lasch sought to use history as a tool to awaken American society to the pervasiveness with which major institutions, public and private, were eroding the competence and independence of families and communities. It would not make a paycheck the only symbol of accomplishment. Whatever its faults, middle-class nationalism provided a common ground, common standards, lwsch common frame of reference without which society dissolves into nothing more than contending factions, as the rounding fathers of America understood so well.
The steady growth of unemployment, now expanded to include white-collar workers, is more revealing. The class had always included financiers on Wall Street. In fact, members of the new elite tend to be estranged from their communities and their fellow citizens. The Religion of the Future? Chrisopher 24, Teddy Lxsch rated it it was amazing.
The Revolt of the Elites:
In any case, I agree with him! Hence it has little sense of ancestral gratitude or of an obligation to live up to responsibilities inherited from the past. But he never abandoned his deep anti-capitalist animus.
The new cognitive elite is made up of what Robert Reich called “symbolic analysts” — lawyers, academics, journalists, systems analysts, brokers, bankers, etc. Lasch considered himself a radical, but his criticism of contemporary America—parts of it, anyway—sounded a distinctly conservative note.
It can hardly be said that ordinary people today look forward to a world of “limitless possibility. Not a single American was surprised that a besieged Nixon assembled an enemy list, secretly taped his Oval Office conversations capturing for posterity his rabidly anti-Semitic rants, framed here and there by bourbon-fueled sentimentfunded with cash a massive cover-up of the Watergate affair, and engaged in wildly pathetic self-pity.
This book suffers from having a bunch of beliefs and opinions with no facts to support it or examples to bring out the context of the opinion. He understood that what presented itself in the lineaments of radical consciousness-raising in the s and s was mostly a blind for moralistic self-indulgence. Lasch seems to have a communitarian and populist critique of s America.
The industrial working class, once the mainstay of the socialist movement, has become a pitiful remnant of itself. It thinks of itself as a self-made elite owing its privileges exclusively to its own efforts.
Christopher Lasch vs. the elites | The New Criterion
The book is historical writing at its best, using the past to reveal the roots of our current dilemma. Lasch’s reevolt argument, anticipated partly by Hofstadter’s concern with the cycles of fragmentation among radical movements in the United States, was that American radicalism had at some point in the past become socially untenable.
Paperbackpages. Lasch died inbu New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, one of the house conservatives, recommended some reading in December For him the difference between those who hang tight to religion despite all of the evil in the world, as opposed to the secular, who renounce religion as a result of it, is that the former have made their peace with it, while the latter have not.
The mere theoretical recognition of his authority by his eliyes could not alter the fact that the government which was the source of all his ambassadorial powers had ceased to exist.
American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectationselihes to relate the hegemony of modern-day capitalism to an encroachment of a “therapeutic” mindset into social and family life similar to that already theorized by Philip Rieff.
Widely distributed prosperity ensured a smoothly functioning democratic entity.
This was an interesting read, given that my politics don’t exactly line up with Lasch’s. We eat and drink on the run. As a historican and elitew critic, he was perhaps best known for The Culture of Narcissismwhich became a bestseller in the late s.
The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy – Christopher Lasch – Google Books
So, the political debate is limited mainly to the dominant classes and political ideologies lose all contact with the concerns of the ordinary citizen. But the truth is that a powerful current of nostalgia pulses through his work. The book’s title is a take-off on Jose Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Massesa reactionary work published in that ascribed the crisis of Western culture to the “political domination of the masses.
Nevertheless, growing inequality is an international phenomenon and it is having many of the same impacts across the globe as it is in the US.