Chip Taylor Communications

Subject: History

Europe and America in the Modern Age Series

Stanford University Professors James Sheehan and David Kennedy present in-depth lectures on the concept of liberalism as a theoretical framework for examining the interrelationships between the histories of Europe and America. Produced by the Stanford University Channel. Programs available on 20 individual Click for more

20. Liberalism Triumphant

20. Liberalism Triumphant

In this program Professor David Kennedy focuses on the consequences of liberalism for individuals within American society. Liberal ideologists have been justifiably concerned over how individual personalities will be shaped by the liberal experience. Will individuals become disaffected and suicidal as Emile Durkheim worried; will they have no more to hope for than "managed unhappiness" as Sigmund Freud suggested; or will they be unscrupulous and amoral as Richard Wright depicted in Native Son? Robert Bellah fears that modern Americans have become arrogantly solipsistic, abandoning all external guidelines, changing their values as they go along, and answering only to themselves. Kennedy believes that the concern for liberal societies is not that individualism has intruded into the public arena, but quite the contrary, that "too much of the structure and liberal procedures of the public world have encroached upon the individual." Kennedy asserts that many of the worrisome potentialities of liberal society are not yet a reality, though they loom as a very real possibility. He believes that human personalities are intricately tied to history, that "modern personalities are historically constructed, shaped, and influenced, and are products of the long historical moment in which we have lived." In conclusion, Kennedy calls for all individuals to "appreciate what it means to live in history and for history to live within them." 99/10DE SCA 50 min.

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