Holding the Center: In Defense of Political Trimming (Hardback)
  • Holding the Center: In Defense of Political Trimming (Hardback)
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Holding the Center: In Defense of Political Trimming (Hardback)

(author)
£80.99
Hardback 222 Pages / Published: 15/03/2013
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Politicians and pundits often scorn polarization and compromise-the intransigence of the former and the feebleness of the latter-without suggesting an alternative way. Polarization, when opposing forces are equal or close to equal in strength, leads to stalemate. Compromise threatens to betray one's conviction about what is essential. Ideally, a leader must combine conviction about what ought to be done with an open-minded awareness of unintended consequences.

The social sciences are or should be based, largely, on the premise that people are historical and social beings. Holding the Center follows this tradition, while focusing on the "trimming" aspect. In nautical terms, trimming indicates an adjustment of one's vessel to accommodate one's environment. In politics, it is to find common ground between extremes, not for the sake of compromise, but because reason does not have a single location on the political spectrum.

The twelve chapters in this book are brought together by Goodheart's argument that the Whig trimming tradition is the heart and soul of politics in the West, and that both democracy and democratic culture depend upon the trimming tradition's advocacy of toleration. What is needed now, he notes, is a transformation in our political culture in which humility and the admission of error enter the list of political virtues. Non-parliamentary democracy with its separation of powers depends for its proper functioning on compromise, especially in a time like ours of crisis and divided government.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9781412849814
Number of pages: 222
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Goodheart gives us the writing of a penetrating mind, doing its work with precision and lucidity. . . . In Holding the Center, Goodheart examines President Obama's first term in office, a period of economic and political crisis. . . comments on the "alienation" he perceives in the Occupy Wall Street movement. . . analyzes the hyperbolic good versus evil rhetoric that dominates politics and the media. . . delves into the competing claims of "individualism and equality." . . [analyzes] a number of writers and intellectuals in depth, including. . . Tzvetan Todorov and Herman Melville. . . . Goodheart also comments on Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Lincoln, the biographer and historian Isaac Deutscher, the political scientist Louis Harts, the historian Gordon Wood, and others. . . . The problem that Goodheart defines . . . contemporary culture and society are riven by ideology. . . . as Goodheart advises, we should aim for a middle way, for balance, compromise, trimming. . . . [T]he more that we read and reflect upon Goodheart's essays and books, the more we might be drawn to conclude that in his critique of orthodoxy and convention, he indeed is dangerous to familiar categories and commonly accepted distinctions. Goodheart prompts us to reconsider and revise judgments that we thought we were certain about. He is a true intellectual, a writer of high consciousness and conscience."

--William E. Cain, Society

"Grounded in the best that liberals have thought and said, Holding the Center is right on time. Eugene Goodheart's subtle double truths call out crisis-mongers on both the right and left. He teaches us how to keep cool but care in the Obama era."

--Benj DeMott, editor, First of the Month


"Goodheart gives us the writing of a penetrating mind, doing its work with precision and lucidity. . . . In Holding the Center, Goodheart examines President Obama's first term in office, a period of economic and political crisis. . . comments on the "alienation" he perceives in the Occupy Wall Street movement. . . analyzes the hyperbolic good versus evil rhetoric that dominates politics and the media. . . delves into the competing claims of "individualism and equality." . . [analyzes] a number of writers and intellectuals in depth, including. . . Tzvetan Todorov and Herman Melville. . . . Goodheart also comments on Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Lincoln, the biographer and historian Isaac Deutscher, the political scientist Louis Harts, the historian Gordon Wood, and others. . . . The problem that Goodheart defines . . . contemporary culture and society are riven by ideology. . . . as Goodheart advises, we should aim for a middle way, for balance, compromise, trimming. . . . [T]he more that we read and reflect upon Goodheart's essays and books, the more we might be drawn to conclude that in his critique of orthodoxy and convention, he indeed is dangerous to familiar categories and commonly accepted distinctions. Goodheart prompts us to reconsider and revise judgments that we thought we were certain about. He is a true intellectual, a writer of high consciousness and conscience."

--William E. Cain, Society

"Grounded in the best that liberals have thought and said, Holding the Center is right on time. Eugene Goodheart's subtle double truths call out crisis-mongers on both the right and left. He teaches us how to keep cool but care in the Obama era."

--Benj DeMott, editor, First of the Month


-Goodheart gives us the writing of a penetrating mind, doing its work with precision and lucidity. . . . In Holding the Center, Goodheart examines President Obama's first term in office, a period of economic and political crisis. . . comments on the -alienation- he perceives in the Occupy Wall Street movement. . . analyzes the hyperbolic good versus evil rhetoric that dominates politics and the media. . . delves into the competing claims of -individualism and equality-. . . [analyzes] a number of writers and intellectuals in depth, including. . . Tzvetan Todorov and Herman Melville. . . . Goodheart also comments on Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Lincoln, the biographer and historian Isaac Deutscher, the political scientist Louis Harts, the historian Gordon Wood, and others. . . . The problem that Goodheart defines . . . contemporary culture and society are riven by ideology. . . . as Goodheart advises, we should aim for a middle way, for balance, compromise, trimming. . . . [T]he more that we read and reflect upon Goodheart's essays and books, the more we might be drawn to conclude that in his critique of orthodoxy and convention, he indeed is dangerous to familiar categories and commonly accepted distinctions. Goodheart prompts us to reconsider and revise judgments that we thought we were certain about. He is a true intellectual, a writer of high consciousness and conscience.-

--William E. Cain, Society

-Grounded in the best that liberals have thought and said, Holding the Center is right on time. Eugene Goodheart's subtle double truths call out crisis-mongers on both the right and left. He teaches us how to keep cool but care in the Obama era.-

--Benj DeMott, editor, First of the Month

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