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After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State. Paperback – September 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: New Forum Books
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691089825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691089829
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #564,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"After Liberalism is no angry screed, but a dense, probing work full of insight from the author's seeming encyclopedic knowledge of Western thought."--World

"The central fact of the nineteenth century was the emergence of the working class. The central fact of the twentieth century is the emergence of a managerial "New Class" elite, reshaping all modern democracies in its own interest. Gottfried's is a gold-standard analysis of this extraordinary phenomenon, heavily encrusted with sparkling jewels of intellectual history."--Peter Brimelow, Senior Editor, Forbes Magazine

"Well-written, very learned, and informative. . . ."--Paul Seaton, Society

From the Inside Flap

"Although I disagree with the author on many of his points, I strongly recommend it. Gottfried's thesis is refreshingly novel, strongly advanced, and clearly presented. Whether one is interested in the future of the welfare state or family values, or the economic and social future of America, this is a book one wishes to read."--Amitai Etzioni, author of The New Golden Rule

"This brilliant and disquieting book should reshape current debates and be essential reading for all who seek to understand them."--Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

"This thoughtful work reflects the intellectual qualities of an erudite political philosopher whose knowledge of European political philosophy in the twentieth century is particularly impressive."--John Lukacs

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on June 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Paul Gottfried has written a fascinating work on the intersection between liberalism, democracy, and what is often called the "managerial state." As Prof. Gottfried tells us, many see contemporary democracy as a valueless search to balance competing group interests. One group jockeys against another with the result that a compromise agreeable to no one is reached. While this is a partial truth, it is certainly not the whole truth. Ever since liberalism ceased being liberal and became socialist, a managerial class has been intent on imposing its values on an often unwilling public.
It is Prof. Gottfried's goal to analyze this phenomenon and tell us how it came about. There is a particularly profound chapter entitled "In Search of a Liberal Essence." Like Masons tracing their rituals and doctrine allegedly back to the Egyptians, contemporary liberals are intent on showing that their values go back to the Greeks. So John Dewey supposedly becomes a follower of John Locke and Socrates. Of course, free market liberals like von Mises are excluded from the pantheon of true liberals. However, it was Dewey and his fellow progressives who broke with liberalism and whose ideas marked a watershed. It is with them that planning became accepted by almost everyone. Even supposed conservatives do little to dismantle the welfare state once they take power. As Prof. Gottfried states at the end of this chapter, the search for the liberal essence is elusive.
Prof. Gottfried's book is not narrowly academic. He provides a number of contemporary examples showing how the managerial elite imposes its values on society.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By G. W. Thielman on February 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In this sobering analysis of the pluralist welfare state,Professor Gottfried castigates statists for dishonesty inexpropriating the term "liberal" from its original meaning as defending individual property rights and maintaining a civil order with culturally and religiously formed social expectations to marginalizing any dissent from the managerial welfare state and its deliberate undermining of once commonly shared moral precepts. He explains how democracy became subverted from community-based self-rule with restricted participation to a mass plebiscite that votes itself largesse from the public treasury. By diluting civic participation from direct involvement in community affairs to a universal right to vote without further responsibility, cultural insurgents were better able to elect demagogues who could promise something for nothing. And Gottfried warns the reader that despite some populist grumbling, the elitist nomenklatura controlling the levers of political power and media influence operate largely without significant opposition to the goals of transforming society from the independent and culturally homogenous bourgeois classes that honor values of thrift, industry and propriety with a motley crowd of peoples who share no common interest except demands for special favors bestowed by an ever expanding and intrusive centralizing government that deliberately blurs distinctions between state functions and public involvement in civic affairs.
After Liberalism describes the pedigree of traditional liberal political philosophy, which included support of a free market and restraints on undisciplined appetites, primarily by informal enforcement of social and cultural norms. The government was afforded the limited rôles of civil order and martial pursuits.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By unraveler on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is poignant and disturbing. It shows how modern liberals have created the "managerial state," which is author's euphemism for the "welfare state." This state has been expanding throughout the twentieth century, reaching frightful proportions. What is most troubling is not its recurring inefficiency, but rather the power that the state has acquired vis-a-vis society. The pretext is protection of the individual set adrift in the industrial society, the rhetoric is that of compassion and assistance, the reality--an ever more powerful state that crushes individuality.
The author notes how cunning the proponents of modern liberalism have been by not talking about things as they are and substituting the rhetoric of compassion for a plain statement of facts. "The uninterrupted exercise of its power may depend upon not talking plainly about such unclean matters. Yet, it is worth the effort to look beyond euphemism to see how political power is exercised. Behind the mission to sensitize and teach 'human rights' lies the largely unacknowledged right to shape and reshape people's lives. Any serious appraisal of the managerial regime must consider first and foremost the extent of its control--and the relative powerlessness of its critics." This assessment is right on target.
This book is written primarily for other scholars and graduate students, and the reading can get dense and heavy on proper names and references to ideological doctrines. Yet, the political bias in academia being what it is, I am a university press agreed to publish this book. I found this book perceptive, erudite, and enjoyable. Pick it up today.
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