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The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy Paperback – January 17, 1996
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Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The tension between elite and non-elite attitudes is most pronounced with respect to religious belief.Read more ›
According to the author, modern democracy is not only challenged by the masses (as Ortega y Gasset stated in its Revolt of the Masses), but also, and mostly, by the elites. Modern elites are not anymore connected with their geographical and social background and roots, they have a global vision and ambition, and do not accept any constraints and limits in the pursuance of their egotistical interests, which are basically money oriented. It is now common for the leaders and members of the ruling meritocracy to base self esteem upon success, material success, and to downplay humanistic ideals such as respect and tolerance.
The ideas and perceptions of Lash must provoke serious rethinking about the effective level of "democraticity" of the modern political structure, and the remedies that have to be conceived to ensure a truly democratic participation of the citizens in the exercise or control of power and government.
I would suggest that this book has to be accompanied by other works on the subject of democracy and elitism, in order to appreciate the dangers and pitfalls of the transformation and "materialization" of the values of the elites, and its overall effect upon the system analyzed by Lash. So read this book, but also the classic works by Robert Michels and Maurice Duverger about political parties, elites and pressure groups. Also, the book by Vilfredo Pareto "The rise and the fall of Elites" and the recent "Democracy and its critics" by Robert Dahl. You will then understand better this caveat by professor Lash, within the context of modern democracy.
In this book, Lasch's the last one published during the author's lifetime, he argued that America was not in danger from the "Revolt of the Masses" which was the title of Jose Ortega y Gasset's landmark book which was written in 1932, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Fascism, but that we are threatened by a "Revolt of the Elites." In 1994, Lasch had come to believe that the economic and cultural elite of the United States, who historically has insured the continuity of a culture, had lost faith in the traditional values that had animated and organized our culture since its inception. He saw a threat to the continuation of western civilization was not a mass revolt as envisioned by the pro-communist New Left of the 1960's, but a rejection of its liberal and pluralistic values by the educated elite that run its institutions and educate its children. Lasch's last question was an important one: can a society survive when a significant portion of its elite have forsaken its founding principles?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good, not great, book. It covers a lot of fascinating territory, including extended treatment of Orestes Brownson's critiques of Horace Mann on universal education, and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tidewater
A book that can change the way you view things. For many it would be a life-changer. Aptly titled. Read morePublished on December 20, 2013 by Red_Moon
I always love reading Lasch. It's like a good spirited arm-wrestle, in that I don't mind ending up on the losing side - too much. Read morePublished on April 15, 2013 by olyjan
A book to make you reflect and think about what went wrong in America and how to fix it. This book is great food for enlightened conversation.Published on August 28, 2006 by z
Having read both _The Revolt of the Elites_ recently and _The Revolt of the Masses_ several times, I am struck by previous reviewers contrasts and apparent misreadings. Read morePublished on July 31, 2006 by Mordikai Crump
_The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy_ by historian and sociologist Christopher Lasch is an interesting account of the situation we find ourselves in today. Read morePublished on March 6, 2006 by New Age of Barbarism
The aristocratic elitism of modern society's version of royalty--well-educated liberals, university administrators, race and class baiters and political elites who fear accusations... Read morePublished on May 28, 2003 by caroline miranda
This is a rather disappointing work. It was the last work written by Christopher Lasch. Similar to earlier works it is a broad criticism of modern society. Read morePublished on January 19, 2002 by Frank Werner