The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness: A Vindication of Democracy and a Critique of Its Traditional Defense

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The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, first published in 1944, is considered one of the most profound and relevant works by the influential theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and certainly the fullest statement of his political philosophy. Written and first read during the prolonged, tragic world war between totalitarian and democratic forces, Niebuhr’s book took up the timely question of how democracy as a political system could best be defended.

Most proponents of democracy, Niebuhr claimed, were “children of light,” who had optimistic but naïve ideas about how society could be rid of evil and governed by enlightened reason. They needed, he believed, to absorb some of the wisdom and strength of the “children of darkness,” whose ruthless cynicism and corrupt, anti-democratic politics should otherwise be repudiated. He argued for a prudent, liberal understanding of human society that took the measure of every group’s self-interest and was chastened by a realistic understanding of the limits of power. It is in the foreword to this book that he wrote, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

This edition includes a new introduction by the theologian and Niebuhr scholar Gary Dorrien in which he elucidates the work’s significance and places it firmly into the arc of Niebuhr’s career.

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Review:

"His most lasting political book."

--Jordan Smith "Slate "

"[A] brilliant and creative vindication of democracy . . . a theology of Western culture which remains intellectually unsurpassed."--Larry Rasmussen in Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life

[A] brilliant and creative vindication of democracy . . . a theology of Western culture which remains intellectually unsurpassed. --Larry Rasmussen in Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life"

His most lasting political book.
--Jordan Smith "Slate ""

I love him. He s one of my favorite philosophers. President Barack Obama
--President Barack Obama"

His most lasting political book.
--Jordan Smith "Slate ""

"His most lasting political book."
--Jordan Smith "Slate "

"I love him. He's one of my favorite philosophers."--President Barack Obama

--President Barack Obama

"His most lasting political book."

--Jordan Smith "Slate "

"I love him. He's one of my favorite philosophers."--President Barack Obama

--President Barack Obama

About the Author:

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, he wrote many books, including The Irony of American History, also recently republished by the University of Chicago Press.

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9780684718545: The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness: A Vindication of Democracy and a Critique of its Traditional Defense (Scribner library)

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. "The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness", first published in 1944, is considered one of the most profound and relevant works by the influential theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and certainly the fullest statement of his political philosophy. Written during the prolonged world war between totalitarian and democratic forces, Niebuhr's book takes up the still timely question of how democracy as a political system can best be defended. Most proponents of democracy, Niebuhr claimed, were "children of light," who had optimistic but naive ideas about how society could be rid of evil and governed by enlightened reason. They needed, he believed, to absorb some of the wisdom and strength of the "children of darkness," whose ruthless cynicism and corrupt, anti-democratic politics should otherwise be repudiated. He argued for a prudent, liberal understanding of human society that took the measure of every group's self-interest and was chastened by a realistic understanding of the limits of power. It is in the foreword to this book that he wrote, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."This edition includes a new introduction by the theologian and Niebuhr scholar Gary Dorrien in which he elucidates the work's significance and places it firmly into the arc of Niebuhr's career. Seller Inventory # BTE9780226584003

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Book Description University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 2011. Softcover. Condition: New. 224 pages. Softcover. New book. DEMOCRACY. The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, first published in 1944, is considered one of the most profound and relevant works by the influential theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and certainly the fullest statement of his political philosophy. Written and first read during the prolonged, tragic world war between totalitarian and democratic forces, Niebuhr's book took up the timely question of how democracy as a political system could best be defended. Most proponents of democracy, Niebuhr claimed, were "children of light," who had optimistic but na ve ideas about how society could be rid of evil and governed by enlightened reason. They needed, he believed, to absorb some of the wisdom and strength of the "children of darkness," whose ruthless cynicism and corrupt, anti-democratic politics should otherwise be repudiated. He argued for a prudent, liberal understanding of human society that took the measure of every group's self-interest and was chastened by a realistic understanding of the limits of power. It is in the foreword to this book that he wrote, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." This edition includes a new introduction by the theologian and Niebuhr scholar Gary Dorrien in which he elucidates the work's significance and places it firmly into the arc of Niebuhr's career. "Dr. Niebuhr is in our time one of the ablest spokesmen among theologians. And he brings to his chosen task rare gifts and wide-ranging interests." --New Republic "[A] brilliant and creative vindication of democracy . . . a theology of Western culture which remains intellectually unsurpassed." --Larry Rasmussen in Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life (Key Words: American History, Democracy, Political Science, Reinhold Niebuhn, Political Theory, Social Theory, Philosophy of Religion, Theology, Ethics, Gary Dorrien). book. Seller Inventory # 80997X1

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