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November 8, 2016

Achieving Our Country

by Richard Rorty

A small, readable book that lays down the promise of "true democracy" ensconced in the philosophy of America's founding principles, and gently excoriates it for not living up to that promise. Rorty here makes unabashed use of such broad terms as religion, time, chance, castelessness, classlessness, metaphysics and eternity, and gives a big shout-out to teachers (while also reminding the Academy of its founding idea of enthusiasm). On this fulcrum-point election day, let's remember that either way there is a future, and it promises to be a tough, gristly slog. And to hang in there! Some words of wisdom, from the first essay in the book, 'American National Pride': "Forgetting about eternity, and replacing knowledge of the antecedently real with hope for the contingent future, is not easy." And, speaking of John Dewey and Walt Whitman as America's philosophical elocutionists, "They wanted the struggle for social justice to be the country's animating principle, the nation's soul." Vote today, people, remind everyone you see to vote, beg if you have to, help them get there, lend them insight, plead for our conjoined future.

-Nicholas Frank