Real American EthicsTaking Responsibility for Our Country

Real American EthicsTaking Responsibility for Our Country

Albert Borgmann

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226066349

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

America is a country that affords its citizens the broadest freedoms and the greatest prosperity in the world. But it is also embroiled in a war that many of its citizens consider unjust and even illegal. It continues to ravage the natural environment and ignore poverty both at home and abroad, and its culture is increasingly driven by materialism and consumerism. But America, for better or for worse, is still a nation that we have built. So why then, asks this work, are we failing to take responsibility for it? The author asks us to reevaluate our role in the making of American values. Taking his cue from Winston Churchill—who once observed that we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us—the author considers the power of our most enduring institutions and the condition of our present moral makeup to propose new ways in which we, as ordinary citizens, can act to improve our country. This, he shows, includes everything from where we choose to live and what we spend our money on to daunting tasks like the reshaping of our cities—habits and actions that can guide us to more accomplished and virtuous lives. Using prose that is direct throughout, the author's position is grounded neither by conservative nor liberal ideology, but in his understanding that he is a devoted citizen among many.