When Christopher Lasch died on Valentine’s day in , America lost the most profound of her critics. His final book, The Revolt of the Elites, was published a. Christopher Lasch was one of those rare figures in American public life who was The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, a collection of essays. Christopher Lasch, who died last year, has been rather undernoticed in Britain. His attention was admittedly focused on American politics and.

Author: Yozshuran Takora
Country: Malta
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Marketing
Published (Last): 15 July 2006
Pages: 122
PDF File Size: 13.63 Mb
ePub File Size: 8.70 Mb
ISBN: 721-2-27532-429-2
Downloads: 10553
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Tomi

As the chapters progress, this lack of examples there is not a single example! At the same time I’m not sure that his analys is as accurate that it was then.

Feb 15, Peter Mcloughlin rated it really liked it Shelves: I connected more with the beginning, where he talks about the “intensification te social divisions” more than the latter part of the book, where he goes into what he considers a spiritual crisis at the heart tge Western culture. But there is more to it than that. Lasch contends that the American elites — executives of the Fortunethe political class in Washington, celebrities of the mass media, academics, even the heads of the great unions — refuse to accept ordinary limitations and ignore the concerns of ordinary people.

Even though he was not himself a believer. The result of this is that no one has a likely solution to these problems and that there are furious ideological battles on related issues.


Norton Company first published Widely distributed prosperity ensured a smoothly functioning democratic entity. From Ortega’s point of view, one that was widely shared at the time, the value of cultural elites lay in their willingness to assume responsibility for the exacting standards without which civilization cyristopher impossible. Open Preview See a Problem?

The identification and cristopher of “the best and the brightest” is the meritocratic ideal. In this work from his twilight years, he takes on the ‘elites’ with a Prophetic claim for Truth and Justice, over and against ‘progress’, the’therepeutic’ and other ‘modern’ ills.


Thee anchormen and interviewers become celebrities; celebrities in the world of entertainment take on the role of social critics. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, inappropriately enough for a curmudgeonly populist. Lasch’s most famous work, The Culture of Narcissism: Writing in the era of the Bolshevik revolution and the rise of fascism, in the aftermath of a cataclysmic war that had christpher Europe apart, Ortega attributed the crisis of Western culture to the “political domination of the masses.

Views Read Edit View history.

Members of the working and lower middle classes understand, as their betters do not, that there are inherent limits on human control over the course of social development, over nature and the body, over the tragic elements in human life and history.

These men and women come from the educated class and are represented on bothe the left and right of the political spectrum. And the Betrayal of Democracypublished inin which he “excoriated the new meritocratic class, a group that had achieved success through the upward-mobility of education and career and that increasingly came to be defined by rootlessness, cosmopolitanism, a thin sense of obligation, and diminishing reservoirs of patriotism ,” and “argued that this new class ‘retained many of the vices of aristocracy without its virtues,’ lacking the sense of ‘reciprocal thd that had been a feature of the old order.

Thomas Frank talks about this in his book “listen liberal” but Lasch was onto this much earlier than Frank. Defining “social mobility” not as increasing the level of virtue competence, energy and devotion but as a meritocratic way to advance up the social and wealth scale was a central fault.

Although hereditary advantages play an important part in the attainment of professional and managerial status, the new class has to maintain the fiction that its power rest on intelligence alone p39 Social mobility does not undermine the influence of elites; if anything, it helps to solidify their influence by supporting the illusion that it rests solely on rfvolt.

Concomitant with the rise of these new professional elites and very current among financiers was the theology of Meritocracy.

Christopher Lasch – Wikipedia

My library Help Advanced Book Search. The world of the late twentieth century thus presents a curious spectacle. Lasch posited that social developments in the 20th century e. They are more concerned with the smooth functioning of the system as a whole than with any of its parts.


And this is because elites see the city “as a place to work and play, not as a place to put down roots, to raise children, to live and die. He does this in a nonpartisan manner, looking to the lessons of American history, and castigating those in power for the ever-widening gap between the economic classes, which elties created a crisis in American society.

An educational establishment was just as dangerous as a priestly or military establishment.

The Revolt of the Elites:

Lasch’s earliest argument, anticipated partly by Hofstadter’s concern with the cycles of fragmentation among radical movements in the United States, was that American radicalism had at some point in the past become socially untenable. Put another way, democracy works best when people depend mostly upon themselves, their friends and neighbors, functioning as a community. Notes Go to the top of the document. Christopner are not logged in If you have already registered please login here If you are using the site for the first time please register here If you would like access to the entire online archive subscribe here Institutions or university library users please christopjer here Learn more about our institutional subscriptions here.

In a world where overconfident bigotry on the left faces over-confident bigotry on the right, a Deweyan emphasis on the need to live intelligently, but without certainty, is, says Lasch, one of the few hopes for a revival of rational public debate. Return to Book Page. In the last twenty years, only they have experienced a net gain in family income. Jan 19, Gy rated it it was ok Shelves: