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Dewey's seminal work of politics. Stemming fully from the pragmatic method, his argument is against principle causes, ideal ends and empty abstractions. In his readable and exact prose, Dewey starts at the beginning, where he defines the public as those who have an interest in the consequences of the private acts of others, defines democracy as the idea of community (self conscious, shared good), and argues that democratic forms, institutions and even philosophy arose out of the purposeful conversion of the structure of society by the ascending captains of industry. They and those who followed them constitute the elite with interest in the current distribution of power, so that ironically the creators of democracy endeavored to subvert the strongest effects of popular participation. Dewey warns against "those who have ability to manipulate social relations for their own advantage," and ominously points to them as "the more serious enemy…deeply concealed in hidden entrenchments."

Dewey was a hopeful and optimistic thinker; he becomes positively stirring in his strong hope for the future of democracy. But he obviously and firmly believes that a radical strengthening of the democratic nature of our societies is the only possibility we have of becoming truly free, not free in the old libertarian sense of free from power, but rather free through and for joint, interrelated activity. He even goes so far as to deny the existence of the individual as a separate being apart from society and in opposition to it. He says that's like opposing Oxygen to its Water in a molecule of H2O.

In the end Dewey argues that only through greatly advanced means of communication can the inchoate public discover itself and its interests. The public must have access to high quality information from many viewpoints. A full and developed culture of information will be a necessary component of true community.

communijournalistocrats, we have a moral mission! -- LynHeadley

He even goes so far as to deny the existence of the individual as a separate being apart from society and in opposition to it.

Interestingly, the concept of the "self" is only three hundred years old or so. Before then, while people used the word "I" they didn't feel as if they were separately entitled apart from either the rest of humanity or God. Personally, I have no idea how this could be true, but that's perhaps an indication about how pervasive and complete the growth of the cult of Self has been. I find it a bit ironic that some have come and folded this concept over on itself to invent EnlightenedIndividualism and our very own BarnRaising. -- SunirShah


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