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American Views of Liberty

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Peter Augustine Lawler

American Views of Liberty presents diverse views of the American understanding of human liberty. This book begins rather traditionally with the Declaration of Independence, but with the un-Jeffersonian view that the Declaration's defense of liberty is not free from Christian presuppositions. That public defense differs from Jefferson's private mixture of Epicureanism and secularized Christianity, which is untenable. Attention is then given to the criticisms of American liberty found in four penetrating best-sellers by Bloom, Bellah, D'Souza, and Fukuyama. Liberty as political liberty is examined in The Federalist and George Bush's failed constitutionalism. The noble defense of human liberty against liberalism is displayed through an overview of contemporary conservative factionalism and through Alexis de Tocqueville's criticism of the therapeutic despotism of the administrative state. The guiding intention of this book is to oppose the therapeutic project to put death to death, and so to bring history or human liberty to an end.