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Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse
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Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Political speech in the United States is undergoing a crisis. Glendon's acclaimed book traces the evolution of the strident language of rights in America and shows how it has captured the nation's devotion to individualism and liberty, but omitted the American traditions of hospitality and care for the community.
Paperback, 236 pages
Published July 30th 1993 by Free Press (first published August 1991)
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Brett Williams
Jun 02, 2014 Brett Williams rated it it was amazing
Portentous subtleties of modern American language and law

Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon provides one of those rare insights into why we are the way we are, exposing what is patently aberrant when externally viewed, axiomatic by force of habit, and an educational system catering to consumerism. Central is our language, that way to the soul of how we view our world and us in it, through rights talk. American rights talk is stark, simple, polarizing, legalistic, excessively bestowing the rights label w
...more
William
Feb 01, 2009 William rated it liked it
Shelves: our-own-copy
A decent discussion of what types of relationships can and do structure politics other than rights-relationships. In particular, the book is critical of defining almost all politics in terms of rights, when rights are most useful in a fairly small number of cases.
Avery
Mar 26, 2016 Avery rated it liked it
This book was written around the time of the collapse of the postwar bipartisan establishment and its replacement with two coalitions of partisan interests (also, confusingly, called "establishments"). The agreement on Judeo-Christian and liberal values that had produced Presidents like JFK, Carter, and Reagan was being laid to rest; instead the liberals were beginning to speak in the language of rights as a form of virtue signaling while their true life ideals went unspoken, and the Republicans ...more
Bruce
Aug 25, 2015 Bruce rated it it was amazing
While recognizing the importance of individual rights, author questions the American tendency--if anything amplified in the years since publication--to cast any political issue as a contest of rights. In an erudite but accessible discussion, she articulates what we lose: a sense of greater responsibility, a sense of community, and mostly the ability to have a conversation about the society we want to be.
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