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Cover for The Abolition of Emerson: The Secularization of America’s Poet-Priest and the New Social Tyranny It Signals
dc.contributor.advisorBoyd, Richard
dc.creator
dc.date.accessioned2019-07-05T18:12:20Z
dc.date.available2019-07-05T18:12:20Z
dc.date.created2019
dc.date.issued
dc.date.submitted01/01/2019
dc.identifier.uri
dc.descriptionPh.D.
dc.description.abstractMotivated by the present climate of polarization in US public life, this project examines factional discord as a threat to the health of a democratic-republic. Specifically, it addresses the problem of social tyranny, whereby prevailing cultural-political groups seek to establish their opinions/sentiments as sacrosanct and to immunize them from criticism by inflicting non-legal penalties on dissenters. Having theorized the complexion of factionalism in American democracy, I then recommend the political thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson as containing intellectual and moral insights beneficial to the counteraction of social tyranny.
dc.description.abstractIn doing so, I directly challenge two leading interpretations of Emerson, by Richard Rorty and George Kateb, both of which filter his thought through Friedrich Nietzsche and Walt Whitman and assimilate him to a secular-progressive outlook. I argue that Rorty and Kateb’s political theories undercut Emerson’s theory of self-reliance by rejecting his ethic of humility and betraying his classically liberal disposition, thereby squandering a valuable resource to equip individuals both to refrain from and resist social tyranny. Indeed, the democratic cultures Rorty and Kateb envision foster a socially tyrannical disposition, giving rise to an inhospitable atmosphere in which someone espousing Emerson’s religious sensibility and transcendental moral realism would be persona non grata.
dc.formatPDF
dc.format.extent304 leaves
dc.languageen
dc.publisherGeorgetown University
dc.sourceGeorgetown University-Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
dc.sourceGovernment
dc.subjectAlexis de Tocqueville
dc.subjectJohn Stuart Mill
dc.subjectpublic opinion
dc.subjectRalph Waldo Emerson
dc.subjectsocial tyranny
dc.subjectWilliam Ellery Channing
dc.subject.lcshPolitical Science
dc.subject.lcshSociology
dc.subject.otherPolitical science
dc.subject.otherSociology
dc.titleThe Abolition of Emerson: The Secularization of America’s Poet-Priest and the New Social Tyranny It Signals
dc.typethesis
dc.identifier.orcid0000-0002-9856-559X


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