Rediscovering America’s Values: A Dialogue That Explores Our Fundamental Beliefs and How They Offer Hope for America's Future
By Frances Moore Lappé
Written as a dialogue between contrasting points of view, Rediscovering America’s Values explores the ideals by which we Americans define ourselves—Democracy, Freedom, Community, and Fairness, among others. As the lively debate progresses, the larger themes give way to specific discussions of such universal problems as poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and homelessness. Similarly, possible solutions to these problems—affirmative action, supply-side economics, entitlement programs—are dissected, challenged, and examined.
Ms. Lappe infuses her dialogue with wisdom from great thinkers and opinion-makers of the past including Cicero, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Thomas Jefferson, as well as Rose Friedman, George Will, Michael Novak, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.
With an intellectual enthusiasm as contagious as it is informative, Ms. Lappé encourages all Americans, regardless of their political persuasion, to embark on an eye-opening search for their true values. Impassioned and provocative, Rediscovering America’s Values offers hope for America’s future—a future we will create together.
Table of Contents
A Personal Foreword
Freedom: Choice, Opportunity, and Responsibility
Freedom and the Market’s Efficiency
Freedom: Property, Power, and Civil Liberties
Freedom and Democracy
Freedom, Human Nature, and Hope
Lappé, well known for her writings on world hunger, constructs an ‘imaginary dialogue’ between classic liberal dogma, represented by thinkers ranging from Hobbes and Bentham to Hayek and Milton Friedman, and her own ‘alternative perspective’ that articulates new social, political, economic, and moral imperatives. The dialogue explores some of the central concepts and questions of our time--freedom, democracy, capitalism, wealth, poverty, equal opportunity—in an effort to find ‘shared values fit for the twenty-first century.’ Intellectually provocative."
Immensely readable… entertaining… a welcome and much-needed exploration of those fundamental beliefs that have been so taken for granted."
—San Francisco Examiner
I highly recommend Quickening as an extremely useful and practical guide. It reaffirms that personal and social change are intertwined; that each of us counts; that our lives do make a difference; and that, through involvement and by developing our skills, we can make an even greater difference."
—Reverend Jesse L. Jackson
President and Founder, National Rainbow Coalition
A leading activist in the fight against world hunger, Lappé here envisions a more democratic economy, one in which big corporations would be responsive to community needs, while workers would win decision-making power in their companies. She asserts that society’s failure to tend to the welfare of all citizens has led to ‘damage control’: belated, ineffectual efforts to salvage or warehouse people. She favors a ceiling on wealth accumulation, affirmative action for groups hurt by discrimination and the creation of media channels free from control by corporations or other vested interests. Her brave, challenging essay is valuable for its power to encourage people to assess the kind of society we now have and to envision alternative scenarios for the future."
An incisive and original contribution to the great debate about economic efficiency and social justice, Anyone who believes intuitively that social justice and economic well-being are allies rather than adversaries can find ample evidence in this profound and eminently readable piece of work."
—Robert Kuttner, Author, Obama’s Challenge
Original, provocative.... A remarkable and valuable resource. It will help individual readers clarify their own personal values."
—Los Angeles Times