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Book Title: Twilight of Authority|
The author of the book: Robert A. Nisbet
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 12.89 MB
Edition: Liberty Fund Inc.
Date of issue: February 1st 2000
ISBN 13: 9780865972124
Read full description of the books Twilight of Authority:We had thought, or our forefathers had, that modern liberal democracy would be spared the kind of erosion and decay that both Plato and Aristotle declared endemic in all forms of state. Now we are not so sure.” So wrote Robert Nisbet in the first edition of Twilight of Authority , published by Oxford University Press in 1975, shortly after the resignation of President Richard Nixon revealed what Nisbet called “only the most extreme and corrupt manifestation of a democratic royalism that has roots in several preceding administrations.” Nisbet argues that the political community in the West has broken down after two centuries of ascendancy. He believes that the West has entered “a twilight age” that will be characterized by political and cultural crises similar to those that preceded the fall of Rome. He foresees the displacement of traditional, liberal society by centralized, collectivized power—what he terms “the war society,” driven by the rising power and expense of a hugely scaled military. “The centralization, and, increasingly, individualization of power is matched in the social and cultural spheres by a combined hedonism and egalitarianism, each in its own way a reflection of the destructive impact of power on the hierarchy that is native to the social bond,” he writes. Nisbet offers no prophecy of inevitable decline; rather, he means to call attention to “the problem of finding the means of generating a social order within which the individual can live and derive a spirit of initiative.”
Robert Nisbet (1913–1996) was renowned worldwide for his scholarship in the history and philosophy of social and political thought. He taught at Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, Smith College, and the University of Bologna, and was the author of several major works, including Social Change and History and The Quest for Community.
Robert G. Perrin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Read information about the authorAmerican sociologist, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Vice-Chancellor at the University of California, Riverside and as the Albert Schweitzer Professor at Columbia University.
After serving in the US Army during World War II, when he was stationed on Saipan in the Pacific theatre, Nisbet founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley, and was briefly Chairman. Nisbet left an embroiled Berkeley in 1953 to become a dean at the University of California, Riverside, and later a Vice-Chancellor. Nisbet remained in the University of California system until 1972, when he left for the University of Arizona at Tucson. Soon thereafter, he was appointed to the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Chair at Columbia.
On retiring from Columbia in 1978, Nisbet continued his scholarly work for eight years at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. In 1988, President Reagan asked him to deliver the Jefferson Lecture in Humanities, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Nisbet's first important work, The Quest for Community (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969) contended that modern social science's individualism denied an important human drive toward community as it left people without the aid of their fellows in combating the centralizing power of the national state.
Nisbet is seen as follower of Emile Durkheim in the understanding of modern sociocultural systems and their drift. Often identified with the political right, Nisbet began his career as a political liberal but later confessed a conversion to a kind of philosophical Conservatism
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