The Vital Center
The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom is a 1949 book by Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. It defends liberal democracy and a state-regulated market economy against the totalitarianism of communism and fascism.
Schlesinger's argument runs as follows: modern man has been detached from his moorings by capitalism and technology. Searching for a new solidarity, he finds this in communism, but it has been really a totalitarian military dictatorship run by the Communist Party since Lenin "exposed Marxist socialism to the play of... influences which divested it of its libertarian elements." Instead of this totalitarian road, a strong and interventionist liberalism is needed, New Deal-style, in the tradition of American leadership in the liberal world order and of the national reforms of Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt. This would be practical and anti-utopian, and would "restore the balance between individual and community."
The deeper issue is the freedom of the teacher to teach his subject according to his most responsible understanding of it, and not according to the ukase of a board of trustees, a legislature, a political party, or a foreign country.
- The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1949.
- The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. 1998. ISBN 1-56000-989-6.
- The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. 1998. p. 64. ISBN 1-56000-989-6.
- Richard Seymour, The Liberal Defense of Murder (London 2008), p. 122.
- Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. (1949). The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom. Houghton Mifflin. p. 208. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
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