An Argument Against a Presupposition

1640 WordsJun 16, 20187 Pages
In The American Democracy and Its National Principle, Herbert Croly makes an eloquent and poignant case for adopting a nationalistic frame of mind. According to Croly, we are rapidly approaching a junction where we must choose between the traditional values, measures and mind set of our past or embrace the opportunities of the future. As a people we should realize that the future holds great promise, and that is why we should focus on empowering a centralized system of governance that replaces the antiquated approach to governance: regional centricity whose players are driven by their self-interest rather than the common good. This may sound like nationalism but this is an inadequate assessment. To Croly, nationalism is a much grander…show more content…
It is entirely logical to deduce from history that nationalism in general can be a great impediment to intelligent and consistent governance (intelligent government was one of the key goals of the Progressive movement). Indeed, those arguing against the trend towards nationalism had a valid concern. Further eroding Croly’s belief in everyone uniting under a democratic nation is the fact that most Americans could not vote. Is the argument Croly is forwarding really for the democratically principled nationalism of America, or is for an American nation that denies most of its citizens the right to vote? Obviously, voting is the physical mechanism of democracy and in 1909 women and most black people could not vote. How could this logical inconsistency endure? Given the prominence of slavery as an example for what can happen when “compromises” are made “in the interest of harmony,” it seems likely that both sides of the suffrage and civil rights debates could be encouraged to radicalize their respective message (as cited in Eisenach, p20). After all, they were both learning from the lesions of history. Croly himself succinctly admits the negative aspect of democracy by stating that the people have chosen this path “for better or worse (as cited in Eisenach, p20).” An interesting deduction from Croly’s argument is that a truly nationalized democratic government would be the manifestation
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