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Ideas Have Consequences

Richard M. Weaver (University of Chicago Press: Sep 1984), 190 pages.

In a nutshell, Weaver takes on the role of doctor — identifying and prescribing a cure for the ailment that had plagued (and still does) the United States, culminating in the barbaric conclusion of World War II. Weaver meticulously describes the ailment, including the chief causes of the crisis: (1) Replacement of transcendent sentiments with utilitarianism & pragmatism; (2) Undermining senses of order and hierarchy (from liberalism/collectivism); (3) Loss of focus and an embrace of fragmentary obsessions; (4) Exercise of raw ego and self-indulgence; (5) Dereliction of media responsibility; (6) Emergence of the spoiled-child phenomena. Despite the rather gloomy prognosis, Weaver does not leave the reader without hope. In the final three chapters, he proposes corrective actions that he believes will get America back on track away from the path of self-destruction: (1) Preserve the sanctity of private property; (2) Use of meaningful language and rhetoric; (3) Embrace notions of piety and true justice. After the elapse of fifty years, Weaver’s estimation of the crisis as well as his proposed corrective actions are as relevant and useful today as when they were first written. I highly recommend this book to historians of American conservative thought as well as those who wish to be inspired by one of the best authors that conservatism has been blessed to have. ~ A Customer @

Table of Contents

    • Introduction
    • I. The Unsentimental Sentiment
    • II. Distinction and Hierarchy
    • III. Fragmentation and Obsession
    • IV. Egotism in Work and Art
    • V. The Great Stereopticon
    • VI. The Spoiled-Child Psychology
    • VII. The Last Metaphysical Right
    • VIII. The Power of the Word
    • IX. Piety and Justice
    • Acknowledgements