Reclaiming Patriotism Reviewed by Steve Lagerfeld in The American Scholar

"One For All"

Amitai Etzioni is not a quitter. In a career stretching back to the 1960s, he has published dozens of books on topics ranging from foreign policy to bioethics and countless articles in an unflagging campaign to create a new “communitarian” politics.

Read the rest of the review, as publlished September 24, 2019.

From Empire to Community

From Empire to Community

Whether one favors the U.S. global projection of force or is horrified by it, the question stands - where do we go from here? What ought to be the new global architecture? Amitai Etzioni follows a third way, drawing on both neoconservative and liberal ideas, in this bold new look at international relations. He argues that a "clash of civilizations" can be avoided and that the new world order need not look like America. Eastern values, including spirituality and moderate Islam, have a legitimate place in the evolving global public philosophy.

The Moral Dimension book cover

The Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics

Blending elements of psychology, philosophy, and sociology with economics, Etzioni presents a bold new vision of the social sciences - one which proposes that broader moral, social and political concerns modify economic behaviour and shape individual decision-making. In establishing the necessity of moral and social considerations in economic behaviour, he provides a provocative new framework for a more comprehensive, ethical and realistic approach to the social sciences today.

How Patriotic is the Patriot Act book cover

How Patriotic is the Patriot Act?

In this short book, Etzioni, the well-known and respected public intellectual and communitarian thinker, charts a middle course, or third way 'between those who are committed to shore up our liberties but blind to the needs of public security, as well as those who never met a right they are not willing to curtail to give authorities an even freer hand.'

New Common Ground book cover

New Common Ground

Race, age, political affiliation, country of origin, native language—too often Americans define themselves, and are defined, by the differences that separate them. But if the 2008 presidential campaign has taught us anything, it is that we as a people want to look beyond these divisions to the values and interests that unite us. New Common Ground embodies this zeitgeist, showing the ways that traditional boundaries among ethnic groups, political ideologies, and generations are blurring, and how to hasten the process. New Common Ground demonstrates that even though the deepest divide in America is said to be racial, the differences in viewpoints and values among races are declining, even in an age of increased intermarriage. On immigration and other controversial matters, Etzioni argues for diversity within unity and the means to achieve that necessary end. New Common Ground is a provocative and insightful look into how we as Americans can reach consensus not just in spite of our diversity but also in ways that strengthen our commitment to the good of one and all as we seek to overcome the divisiveness that sometimes results from identity politics. The book closes by looking beyond our shores to the bridges that bring America closer to the rest of the world.

To buy an e-book version click here.

My Brother's Keeper book cover

My Brother's Keeper

In My Brother's Keeper: A Memoir and a Message, one of America's most admired public figures tells the story of his life. Born in Germany in 1929, Amitai Etzioni escaped the Nazi regime and as a teenager dropped out of high school to fight as a commando in the Israeli War of Independence. He went on to earn his doctorate at Berkeley, teach at Columbia University and Harvard Business School, and serve as senior advisor to the Carter White House. Although he has authored or edited over 20 books, Dr. Etzioni's influence extends beyond academic circles as the founder of the communitarian social movement.

An Immodest Agenda book cover

An Immodest Agenda: Rebuilding America Before the 21st Century

To rebuild the decayed ""infrastructure"" necessary for a second economic take-off--the transportation, education, and energy systems--we will have to create institutions that foster ""mutuality"" and ""civility"" (i.e., a sense of the common good). Rather than leaving children to ""work through"" their ego-centered character formation, schools will have to engage in personality-shaping. (Etzioni's suggestions: more resources directed toward the lower levels of education; more work/study programs for teenagers.) Within the family, mutuality and civility can be engendered by ""basic parenting,"" which doesn't amount to much more than common sense. (This is the kind of tract in which people do not converse or discuss, they ""dialogue."" Sometimes they even ""megalogue."") Another predictable concern is consumerism, enemy of the deferred gratification requisite for reindustrialization; still another, the proliferation of social-service ""entitlements."" And piety is heaped upon piety as Etzioni writes that management should recognize the human needs of workers, while simultaneously deferring the ""quality of life society"" until after reindustrialization has been accomplished.

The Common Good book cover

The Common Good

In this book, Amitai Etzioni, public intellectual and leading proponent of communitarian values, defends the view that no society can flourish without a shared obligation to “the common good.” Rejecting claims made by some liberal thinkers that it is not possible to balance individual rights with uncoerced civic responsibility, Etzioni explores a number of key issues which pose important questions for those concerned with promoting the common good in contemporary society. Are we morally obliged to do more for our communities beyond treating everyone as endowed with basic rights? Should privacy be regarded not merely as a right but also as an obligation? And should the right to free speech take priority over the need to protect children from harmful material in the media and on the internet?

Security First book cover

Security First

“Rarely have more profound changes in American foreign policy been called for than today,” begins Amitai Etzioni in the preface to this book. Yet Etzioni’s concern is not to lay blame for past mistakes but to address the future: What can now be done to improve U.S. relations with the rest of the world? What should American policies be toward recently liberated countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, or rogue states like North Korea and Iran? When should the United States undertake humanitarian intervention abroad? What must be done to protect America from nuclear terrorism?

The Monochrome Society book cover

The Monochrome Society

In this book, Etzioni challenges those who argue that diversity or multiculturalism is about to become the governing American creed. On the surface, America may seem like a fractured mosaic, but the country is in reality far more socially monochromatic and united than most observers have claimed.

Spirit of Community book cover

The Spirit of Community

In The Spirit of Community, Dr. Amitai Etzioni explains why the critical institutions of our society are in crisis and shows what we can do to restore them. Dr. Etzioni believes that many of our problems can be traced to the broad range of individual rights many Americans feel they deserve. Tough issues arise when rights such as free speech or the right to privacy conflict with the needs of the community: Can we justify protecting society by restricting hate speech or protecting motorists by allowing the police to conduct random sobriety tests?

Public Policy in a New Key book cover

Public Policy in a New Key

Public Policy in a New Key brings together an important contribution by a major social analyst on some of the most crucial policy questions of our time. These writings, which range widely over the spectrum of domestic and foreign policy questions are linked by a broadly conceived vision of sociological method that acts as a universal key to many social issues.

Next book cover

Next: The Road to the Good Society

The last eight years have seen the rise of the political center in American politics, but, as demonstrated by the recent presidential election, a clear agenda has not been articulated for the next decade. In Next, Amitai Etzioni argues that both parties have failed to address today's pressing domestic issues.

Limits of Privacy book cover

The Limits of Privacy

Privacy is perhaps the most hallowed of American rights—and most people are concerned that new technologies available to governments and corporations threaten to erode this most privileged of rights. The Limits of Privacy argues counterintuitively that sometimes major public health and safety concerns should outweigh the individual's right to privacy. Presenting four concise criteria to determine when the right to privacy should be preserved and when it should be overridden in the interests of the wider community, Etzioni argues that, in some cases, we would do well to sacrifice the privacy of the individual in the name of the common good.

Political Unification Revisited book cover

Political Unification Revisited

Can independent nations unify politically? Amitai Etzioni raised this searching question in his seminal 1965 book, Political Unification: A Comparative Study of Leaders and Forces. In this revised edition—now with an extensive new introduction—Etzioni convincingly argues that the experiment of collective self-determination is the only viable replacement for a perilously overloaded international system.

Martin Buber: und die kommunitarische idee cover

Martin Buber: und die kommunitarische idee

July 13, 1998

Das Büchlein gibt einen Vortrag Etzionis aus dem Juli 1998 wieder. Darin beschäftigt er sich mit der Frage, inwiefern in Bubers Werk (vor allem anhand der Schriften 'Ich und Du', 'Elemente des Zwischenmenschlichen' und 'Pfade in Utopia') zentrale Grundannahmen des Kommunitarismus vorwegnimmt. In der Tat kann Etzioni, der selbst bei Buber in Jerusalem studierte, auf eine Reihe unverkennbar kommunitaristischer Aussagen aus dessen Dialogphilosophie verweisen. Gleichwohl macht er auch auf Unterschiede aufmerksam, wenn er Buber als wenig systematischen Denker bezeichnet oder auf die mystischen Einflüsse in seinen Schriften hinweist. Zudem attestiert er Buber (zusammen mit den ersten Ausformungen des Kommunitarismus) eine gewisse Blindheit für das 'Gleichgewicht zwischen sozialer Verantwortung und individuellen Rechten' (12). Dieses stehe im Zentrum der Bemühungen des neuen, responsiven Kommunitarismus, zu dessen Protagonisten wiederum Etzioni zählt.

Hot Spots: American Foreign Policy in a Post-Human Rights World

In Hot Spots (Transaction Publishers, 2012), a former senior advisor to the White House, Amitai Etzioni, criticizes current trends in American and Western foreign policy and the shifting of attention from the Middle East to China. Etzioni argues that the true hot spots continue to be in the Middle East, not the Far East, and that for now, China should be treated by the United States as a potential global partner, not as an adversary.

Privacy in a Cyber Age book cover

Privacy in a Cyber Age: Policy and Practice

The advent of the cyber age fundamentally reduced our ability to protect our privacy: the main threat is no longer the extent of the personal information is collected by various surveillance systems of the government (or corporations)—but how the information is used. Once collected, information can very often be accessed and misused by anyone in the world. This book lays out the foundations for a privacy doctrine suitable to the cyber age and examines the implications of the availability of personal information to corporations and major federal agencies.

Cover art for Law in a New Key

Law in a New Key: Essays on Law and Society

A book for thoughtful readers–and not particularly lawyers or scholars of law and society–who are engaged in the issues of the day and want something other than “easy” answers from the right and left. Most issues of law and social policy can be understood better through a lens that balances rights and interests–and protects all of us while protecting each of us–says renowned communitarian sociologist Amitai Etzioni in his latest of 30 books.

The New Normal book cover

The New Normal: Finding a Balance Between Individual Rights and the Common Good

Etzioni implements the social philosophy, “liberal communitarianism.” Its key assumptions are that neither individual rights nor the common good should be privileged, that both are core values, and that a balance is necessary between them. Etzioni argues that we need to find a new balance between our desire for more goods, services, and affluence, particularly because economic growth may continue to be slow and jobs anemic. The key question is what makes a good life, especially for those whose basic needs are sated. This book is now available for purchase on Amazon!

Foreign Policy book cover

Foreign Policy: Thinking Outside the Box (2016)

With chapters focusing on the Middle East, China and the EU, as well as articles with a more global focus, the book offers thought-provoking and insightful perspectives on international foreign policy that challenge existing academic debate in the field. The book will be of great interest to students, scholars and practitioners of foreign policy and international relations, as well as to general readers wishing to deepen their understanding of this area.

The New Golden Rule book cover

The New Golden Rule

The New Golden Rule takes its title from the familiar adage to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". But when taken to a society-wide level, the Golden Rule's admonition expands, taking the formulation "respect and uphold society's moral order as you would have society respect and uphold your autonomy to live a full life".

Avoiding War with China book cover

Avoiding War with China

Are the United States and China on a collision course? In response to remarks made by Donald Trump’s secretary of state, China’s state-run newspaper Global Times asserted, "Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the [disputed] islands will be foolish." Some experts contend that conflict is inevitable when an established power does not make sufficient room for a rising power. In this timely new work, renowned professor of international relations Amitai Etzioni explains why this would be disastrous and points to the ways the two nations can avoid war.

With insight and clarity Etzioni presents our best strategy to reduce tension between the two powers, mapping out how the United States can accommodate China’s regional rise without undermining its core interests, its allies, and the international order.