JIS IV 1992
The Rediscovery of America & Europe, 1992
JIS IV 1992: 1-26
CULTURAL THEORY, ETHICS AND POLITICS
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
Political culture theory enjoyed a revival during the 1980s despite its alleged inability to account for change, values, conflict, and differences within nations. A new school of thought attempts to remedy the shortfalls of Almond and Verba’s The Civic Culture. The grid-group cultural theory, propounded by Thompson, Ellis and Wildavsky, proposes a typology of ways of life as the missing link in a cultural-functional analysis of the formation of preferences. This essay assesses cultural theory as a methodology and a substantive theory or sociology of knowledge. Cultural theory claims that there are only five possible ways of life: Hierarchy, egalitarianism, fatalism, individualism, and autonomy. Yet it fails to address questions of universal values, ethics, power, or human rights and freedoms. There are inherent problems in applying cultural theory as a mode of political analysis. In the absence of exogenous, non-systemic ethical criteria, cultural theory as a social construction of reality begs the question of ethical conduct.
JIS IV 1992: 27-45
REALITY AND TEXTUALITY:
POWER, PEDAGOGY AND POSTMODERNISM
David D. Cooper
Michigan State University
For the past two decades, the humanistic disciplines have been dominated by post-structuralist theories and, more recently, a not unrelated curricular philosophy best defined as hardline multiculturalism, much discussed and often misunderstood. When linked together, they form an internal contradiction that is the moral challenge of liberal education today. Traditional political alignments cannot explain current divisions among the humanities professoriate. Ideological quarrels only obscure a deeper moral debate between an ascendant poststructuralism and a resurgent liberal humanism. It is important to reappropriate liberal humanism in an effort to revitalize humanistic inquiry and renew its place in creative public discourse, and check a danger posed by poststructuralism’s fascination with power and epistemological relativism which threaten to erase the ethical border between education and indoctrination.
JIS IV 1992: 46-62
THOMAS MOORE AND VICTORIAN IRELAND
Deborah McWilliams Consalvo
University of California-Irvine
This essay examines the political environment in Ireland during the nineteenth century and evaluates the impact of national patriotism upon the social landscape. In analyzing the changing topography of Victorian Ireland, religious ideology played a significant role in carving out the model of Irish culture at the close of the century. Thomas Moore’s poetry reflects the cultural significance of both political and religious ideals by his use of imagery and language to unite these two social forces and represent them as thematic cooperatives essential to the identity and survival of Irish nationhood.
JIS IV 1992: 63-80
THE UTOPIAN TRADITION AND WESTERN INTELLECTUALS
University of Budapest
The thesis of this essay is that utopianism is an attempt to arrest the course of time, at a point where the utopian manipulator finds it ripe for a radical transformation. So radical that utopia will lack human features, personhood, family, reformable institutions, knowledge freely acquired, and art also freely created. The utopian manipulator himself is the “intellectual” of modern times whose hatred of the human condition as it is–because God created it–is such that everything deserves to be destroyed. Afterwards, it would be rebuilt, but the foundation of reconstruction would be a different human nature.
JIS IV 1992: 81-102
THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC:
A PARADIGM FOR DEMOCRATIZATION
IN THE COMMUNIST WORLD?
Asheboro, North Carolina
This article explores the often neglected impact on the American political system of Scottish Common Sense Realism and an Augustinian anthropology drawn from both this Scottish philosophy and the American culture’s Puritan/Presbyterian roots. Such insights help us better understand the dynamics of the American system and its possible contribution as a paradigm or model for democratization in the communist world. Significant differences between America and the communist world with respect to their distinct intellectual and cultural histories seem to preclude the applicability of the American system to post-communist nations in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Yet theological convergences among the prevailing religious traditions of these nations and America suggest that the Augustinian anthropological realism of the American system may have relevance to communist world cultures after all.
JIS IV 1992: 103-120
A CULTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE FALL OF COMMUNISM
Stjepan G. Mestrovic
Texas A & M University
The dramatic fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union is analyzed from such cultural theories and perspectives as Oswald Spengler, Pitirim Sorokin, Arnold Toynbee, Thorstein Veblen, and Alexis de Tocqueville. This approach is contrasted with the modern and postmodern approaches found in such works as Talcott Parsons, Francis Fukuyama, and Jean Baudrillard. The essay concludes that the dominant, boosterish view extant today, that Western democratic and free-market institutions can be transplanted onto Slavic culture, is unrealistic, and is itself a product of what Sorokin and Spengler called the “late” or autumnal phase of civilization.
JIS IV 1992: 121-138
PROSPECTS OF A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC
SOCIETY IN HUNGARY
Gyorgy Andrassy & Miklos Fulop
University of Pecs-Hungary
This essay is an historical approach to the thesis that present changes in Hungary are, despite all appearances, parts and results of a long process. Western liberal democracies have served as models for various Hungarian political movments and social classes for some two centuries, and political changes similar to contemporary ones have occurred repeatedly in Hungary. An important feature of Hungarian political and civil attitudes is that these changes usually take the shape of “lawful revolutions.” Most political, legal, and social conditions needed to complete the transition from a communist system to a free and democratic Hungary are now present. However, the process is endangered by a tremendous national debt and national conflicts in the region.
JIS IV 1992: 139-157
CAPITALIST ASPIRATIONS AND THE COMMUNIST LEGACY
Saint Mary’s College
The social mentality of the Poles in the early 1990s reflects a fusion of Solidarity’s heritage, understood in a broader, historical perspective, and the communist legacy of the last forty-five years which consists of five principal elements: the new work ethos; acceptance of a protective character of the state; changes in morality; lack of full acceptance of a free market economy; and adaptation of certain communist doctrines of social equality. The contradictions between these new features and historically-grounded, traditional Polish values manifest themselves in a basic conflict between the communist legacy still present in social mentality that expects the benefits offered by the former socialist system, and capitalist aspirations of Poles toward a new, higher, Western standard of living. From the perspective of the Polish historical, cultural, and religious heritage, a Christian political economy appears most suitable for overcoming the country’s negative legacy.
JIS IV 1992: 158-163
VIRTUE AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATION IN POLAND:
RESPONSE TO WROBEL
Alexander J. Matejko
University of Alberta-Canada
Janusz Wrobel overestimates the impact of Soviet communism on Polish collective and individual consciousness. Some Polish dilemmas predate communism. There is a growing awareness in Poland that the ineffectiveness of the new ruling elite has its pre-communist as well as post-communist roots. This is acknowledged even by such a prominent Polish political refugee as J. Nowak-Jezioranski who in the past was quite enthusiastic regarding the new reality in Poland. In the past, commitment to patriotic martyrdom encouraged generations of Poles to devote their lives to the benefit of the nation partitioned by powerful neighbors and later subdued by Nazi Germany and the Soviet empire. But this did not suffice to create a happier society. Russia and Germany, both traditional enemies of Poles, appear now as potential allies in achieving substantial economic progress.
JIS IV 1992: 164-183
THE RISE AND FALL OF COMMUNISM IN NICARAGUA
Alfred G. Cuzan
University of West Florida
Communism was imposed in Nicaragua in stages, just as in Eastern Europe. Unlike Eastern Europe, however, communism was never consolidated in Nicaragua. Like their East European analogues, the Sandinistas stripped the state of valuable assets before turning the presidency over to the winner of the 1990 election. The Sandinistas outdid their East European counterparts in retaining greater control of the police and military under the new government. The thesis of this essay is that Nicaragua is unique among post-communist polities in that it voted communism out before it had consolidated itself and while a civil war still raged. These two conditions will probably make it more difficult to solidify democracy in Nicaragua than in Eastern