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THE DEATH OF THE STATE by Peter T. Manicas



Pub Date: July 31st, 1974
Publisher: Putnam

We have created States and we have society,"" writes Manicas, ""but we have not created communities."" Putting together a history of political philosophy in the tradition of John Dewey -- where knowledge yields not abstraction, but action -- he calls for the achievement of the kind of individuality that was possible in the polls of the Athenian Golden Age. The goal is not new. Paul Goodman, Jane Jacobs and Arthur Waskow in particular, have long called for smaller groupings, where participatory democracy might prevail and the overwhelming, depersonalizing technocracy be humanized. But what is significant and important about Manicas' book is that it is one of the first in a long time to philosophize in the classical sense: to combine the writing of philosophy -- the molding of a system of ethics -- with the practical call to implementation. Analyzed are the justifications of power, of the state, and the conflicting ""individualities"" that arise in the traditional liberal system. While the author rightly transcends the limitations of ""value free social science,"" he is a little too enthusiastic for the anarchic ideal of ""radical decentralization."" But this is, overall, an exceptional and worthwhile book.