The monarchy of fear A philosopher looks at our political crisis

Martha Craven Nussbaum, 1947-

Book - 2018

"From one of the world's most celebrated moral philosophers, an examination of the current political crisis. In The Monarchy of Fear Martha C. Nussbaum--an acclaimed scholar and humanist--analyzes the political standoff that has polarized American life since the 2016 presidential election and focuses on what so many pollsters and pundits have overlooked: the political is always emotional. Globalization, automation, and the rising costs of higher education have produced feelings of powe...rlessness in millions of American people. Related issues trouble European unity. That sense of powerlessness and a pervasive underlying fear of change bubble into resentment and blame: of immigrants, Muslims, those of other races, and cultural elites. While this politics of blame played a role in the election of Donald Trump and the vote for Brexit, Nussbaum argues it can be found on all sides of the political spectrum--confusingly intertwined, however, with reasonable arguments aiming at greater justice. She argues that retribution is always a bad response to fear and articulates a politics of constructive work and hope. Drawing on a mix of historical and contemporary examples, from classical Athens to the musical Hamilton, The Monarchy of Fear untangles our web of emotions and provides a road map of where to go next."--Dust jacket.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Simon & Schuster [2018]
Edition
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
"July 2018"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
xviii, 249 pages ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781501172496
1501172492
Main Author
Martha Craven Nussbaum, 1947- (author)
  • Fear, early and powerful
  • Anger, child of fear
  • Fear-driven disgust : the politics of exclusion
  • Envy's empire
  • A toxic brew : sexism and misogyny
  • Hope, love, vision.
Review by Booklist Reviews

In the election of Donald Trump, Nussbaum sees not simply the triumph of one politician but also the triumph of a cluster of turbulent emotions: envy, anxiety, disgust, anger, and, above all, fear. One of America's leading philosophers here probes this dangerous fusion of emotions, explaining Trump's twenty-first-century ascendance as part of a distressing human dynamic manifested through history and around the globe. Drawing on ethical thinkers from Aristotle to Mandela, Nussbaum analyzes the origins and consequences of dark emotions and summons readers to the difficult task of replacing them with love, faith, and hope. Readers will notice that the path Nussbaum charts from destructive to generous emotions unfolds along the political principles of the secular left. To be sure, Nussbaum calls for open public dialogue that includes a diverse range of voices. But then she dismisses religionists' theological convictions as a distraction from political activism and waves away conservatives' worries about family life. But even readers skeptical about Nussbaum's political orientation will welcome this call for an emotionally healthier public life. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A contemporary philosopher actually known to the general public, Nussbaum—Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed in the philosophy department and the law school of the University of Chicago—looks at political fragmentation today and argues that politics has always been about emotion. With the world making us feel powerless, everyone is looking for someone to blame. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Divisive politics sprout from primal passions, according to this sparkling pop-philosophy treatise. University of Chicago philosophy professor Nussbaum (Upheavals of Thought) attempts to root political impulses in the psychology of babies, who relieve their sense of helpless fear by squalling imperious demands that parents fulfill their needs; this infantile anxiety is so emotionally formative, she contends, that it makes democracies vulnerable to demagogic efforts to gin up fear of scapegoats, from ancient Athens's conflict with its colony Mytilene to latter-day panics over Muslim immigrants. Fear spawns other emotions that animate malignant politics, Nussbaum argues, such as anger that leads to violence and disgust that motivates racism and homophobia. She calls for such programs as three years of mandatory national service to instill feelings of inclusiveness and solidarity, and endorses a varied group of "practices of hope" (such as religion, protest movements, and Socratic education) as antidotes to fear. Nussbaum's erudite but very readable investigation engages figures from Aristotle to Donald Trump in lucid and engaging prose, though some readers may feel she psychologizes politics without grappling sufficiently with positions' substance. Still, Nussbaum offers fresh, worthwhile insights into the animosities that roil contemporary public life. Agent: Sydelle Kramer, Susan Rabiner Literary Agency. (July) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The moral philosopher presents an examination of America's turbulent political environment since the 2016 election, outlining recommendations for how to mend partisan divides.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The award-winning moral philosopher and author of Upheavals of Thought presents an examination of America's turbulent political environment since the 2016 election, outlining recommendations for how to mend partisan divides.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From one of the world's most celebrated moral philosophers comes a thorough examination of the current political crisis and recommendations for how to mend our divided country.For decades Martha C. Nussbaum has been an acclaimed scholar and humanist, earning dozens of honors for her books and essays. In The Monarchy of Fear she turns her attention to the current political crisis that has polarized American since the 2016 election.Although today's atmosphere is marked by partisanship, divisive rhetoric, and the inability of two halves of the country to communicate with one another, Nussbaum focuses on what so many pollsters and pundits have overlooked. She sees a simple truth at the heart of the problem: the political is always emotional. Globalization has produced feelings of powerlessness in millions of people in the West. That sense of powerlessness bubbles into resentment and blame. Blame of immigrants. Blame of Muslims. Blame of other races. Blame of cultural elites. While this politics of blame is exemplified by the election of Donald Trump and the vote for Brexit, Nussbaum argues it can be found on all sides of the political spectrum, left or right.Drawing on a mix of historical and contemporary examples, from classical Athens to the musical Hamilton, The Monarchy of Fear untangles this web of feelings and provides a roadmap of where to go next.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From one of the world's most celebrated moral philosophers comes a thorough examination of the current political crisis and recommendations for how to mend our divided country.For decades Martha C. Nussbaum has been an acclaimed scholar and humanist, earning dozens of honors for her books and essays. In The Monarchy of Fear she turns her attention to the current political crisis that has polarized American since the 2016 election.Although today's atmosphere is marked by partisanship, divisive rhetoric, and the inability of two halves of the country to communicate with one another, Nussbaum focuses on what so many pollsters and pundits have overlooked. She sees a simple truth at the heart of the problem: the political is always emotional. Globalization has produced feelings of powerlessness in millions of people in the West. That sense of powerlessness bubbles into resentment and blame. Blame of immigrants. Blame of Muslims. Blame of other races. Blame of cultural elites. While this politics of blame is exemplified by the election of Donald Trump and the vote for Brexit, Nussbaum argues it can be found on all sides of the political spectrum, left or right.Drawing on a mix of historical and contemporary examples, from classical Athens to the musical Hamilton, The Monarchy of Fear untangles this web of feelings and provides a roadmap of where to go next.