248 pages, 6” x 9”, introduction, index
Homeless and at Home in America
Evidence for the Dignity of the Human Soul in Our Time and Place
Lawler, Peter Augustine
Here is a broad and deep exploration of the many ways that today’s Americans are the most and least homeless of the people of the contemporary West. Contemporary Europeans may largely be in the thrall of a postpolitical, postreligious, and postfamilial fantasy, or so alienated that they no longer recognize their alienation. But we Americans are relatively at home with our homelessness, and so comparatively capable of experiencing ourselves not primarily as rootless individuals but as at home as family members, citizens, and creatures still capable of exercising truthfully our familial, political, and religious responsibilities. But the moral and religious practice of Americans is progressively more endangered by their individualistic theory, and even pious, evangelical Americans have trouble explaining themselves to themselves, much less to their fellow citizens. Our democratic concern with the genuine significance of particular individuals – and so with genuinely liberal education – is threatened by the self-denial that produces the theory that human morality can be captured by the theory of selfinterest rightly understood, and even more so by theories that deny the very existence of the self with interests.
Lawler takes on contemporary critics such as David Brooks, Tom Wolfe, Harvey Mansfield, Carey McWilliams, and Bernard-Henri Levy, contentious issues such as judicial review, organ markets, evolutionism, and the future of manliness, classic American films such as Casablanca and The Last Days of Disco, and the most profound commentators on our country such as Alexis de Tocqueville and Flannery O’Connor. Throughout, he shows that evolutionism and other forms of impersonal theory don’t even begin to comprehend our continuing concern for our rights, our nobility, and our dignity, not to mention our love of particular persons that point in the direction of love of a personal God. The main purpose of this book is to aid in the recovery of the words that genuinely account for our human experiences and longings.
Peter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is also a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and editor of the scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science. He is author or editor of twelve books and many scholarly articles. Among his recent books areStuck with Virtue, Aliens in America, and Postmodernism Rightly Understood.