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Eight Ways identifies four main traditions in the American political experience: republican constitutionalism, stressing traditional values and decentralized power; libertarian individualism, stressing personal liberty and property rights; progressive democracy, stressing popular sovereignty and social renovation; and plutocratic nationalism, defending dominant commercial interests and national power.
From these four main traditions, the author traces eight contemporary ideological perspectives: communitarians, progressives, radicals, individualists, and four varieties of conservatives. The author uses the color and drama of well-known individual examples to illustrate each ideology in concrete, everyday language. The result is an entertaining and insightful assessment of each ideology's strengths and weaknesses that may forever change the way you think about politics.
"What to my mind makes his book valuable is less its reconceptualization of the categories of left and right than its usefulness as a political and philosophical primer for those who would like to understand the ideological landscape in America….[i]f you'd like to understand and make sense of the various branches of conservatism and libertarianism, as well as the various divisions that exist to this day on the left, Brian Patrick Mitchell has written a useful and worthy introduction that will entertain and inform. Before you know it, you'll know all the lingo, the key people, and a brief history of all these schools of thought. Not bad for such a quick read."-
"Veteran reporter Mitchell refines current conventional wisdom about the Right and the Left in American politics. He begins by exploring the historical context for the current political positions and personalities, and the influence of economic and social contexts. Mitchell identifies four main political traditions (republican constitutionalism, libertarian individualism, progressive democracy, and plutocratic nationalism), that have been boiled down to the Left and the Right, in gross terms. These traditions have actually given rise to eight distinct political perspectives, and Mitchell devotes a chapter to each….Readers will enjoy trying to find themselves on the various scales provided."-
"Dissatisfied with prior schemes for categorizing political ideologies, Mitchell proposes his own typology. He begins by boiling down political differences down to support or opposition to arche (the concept of rank) and kratos (the use of force by the state and others) and then deriving from this distinction the four political traditions of the Anglo-American experience: republican constitutionalism, libertarian individualism, progressive democracy, and plutocratic nationalism. Further identifying intermediate steps between them, he argues that the contemporary American political scene can be characterized as consisting of eight political perspectives: individualist, paleolibertarian, paleoconservative, theoconservative, neoconservative, communitarian, progressive, radical, and individualist. He offers a chapter on each of these perspectives, detailing how they are the result of differing attitudes towards arche and kratos and the positions this leads them towards."-
Reference & Research Book News
"Whether a pro-politico, a C-Span junkie, or a political neophyte, Brian Mitchells Eight Ways to Run the Country is the best shortcut I have seen to really knowing what you are talking about when it comes to the complicated 21st century political landscape. power in these increasingly confusing political times."-