IDEOLOGY AND UTOPIA IN THE UNITED STATES, 1956-1976 by Irving Louis Horowitz


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A collection of broad, often sharp ""think pieces"" by an American sociologist which are patterned after Karl Mannheim's classic Ideology and Utopia. Taking ""ideology"" to signify both political alignment and the spirit of the age, Horowitz seeks patterns in recent history and finds a ""Europeanization"" of the United States. Classical conservatism has reemerged since WW II, while the radicalism of the 1960s has an anti-rational, Sorelian flavor recalling French militancy in the 1890s. The pragmatic turn toward detente, if not convergence, with the Soviets also shows a continental realism, and Horowitz identifies a ""parliamentary"" role now assumed by Congress in its post-Watergate ""restoration"" to power. American workers, however, evince no traditional European class consciousness, but rather a ""Hobbesian"" quest for law and legitimacy--a quest, Horowitz emphasizes, which is not identical with authoritarianism. Presupposing a ""well-defined ruling class,"" he takes the Pentagon Papers as the gauge of its lack of principle, but finds no substitute for this elite. At best, social scientists can help it rise above the biases and pseudo-religions of the era, averting disasters in governmental-academic collaboration like the Defense Department's 1960s ""Project Camelot"" fiasco in Latin America. Social scientists should expose the fallacies of ""utopians""--as Horowitz demonstrates in a 1962 essay on ""Arms Policies and War Games,"" brilliantly lambasting those ""new civilian militarists"" who think the USSR will abide by think-tank rulebooks for limited nuclear war. Sophisticated punditry which at its best becomes memorable analysis.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press