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10 - Rorty and National Pride

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2021

David Rondel
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Reno
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Summary

In Achieving Our Country, Richard Rorty criticizes what he calls the cultural Left for its “Gothic” account of American history, an account that is haunted by specters of power and hypocrisy and that condemns the United States for atrocities for which no future acts can atone. He contrasts this account to the pride the older reformist Left had in the United States and its commitment to fulfilling its still-unachieved ideals of freedom and equality. This paper argues that in relation to a morally burdened past Americans need to learn to practice a form of cognitive dissonance, learning to elide neither its failures nor its possibilities and progress.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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