The Lincoln that Schaff puts forth cultivated liberal democracy by placing limits and crafting public consensus. In order to see Lincoln in a new light, Schaff applies Aristotle’s ideas of moderation and prudence as his lens. It is not simply that Lincoln knew the good, but, as a good steward of liberal democracy, he embodied the good.
What would be helpful is a book that acknowledge both sets of trends and moves beyond name-calling to begin the hard work of engaging in the tensions and trade-offs between them. Beneficial too would be a clear-eyed encounter with the fact that measures of human happiness and fulfillment have not skyrocketed along with our greater health and wealth. People need more than just more stuff.
MF: Mr. Chesterton, I know you have not received any training in economics at the University level. So, I will keep this simple. The...
We are presented with a complex and even contradictory task. In the name of subsidiarity, we must work to undermine liberal capitalism and create alternative spaces for production and exchange, art and leisure, community and independence. But in the name of solidarity, we must work to ameliorate the system and socialize such common goods as health care, unemployment insurance, education, etc.
One side has dominated the story while the other has tried to dominate the politics. But separating culture and politics is a self-defeating strategy.