The New York Times

A Just Society

ROBERT REICH’S ARGUMENT FOR UPHOLDING A SHARED COMMITMENT TO FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES.

“The Common Good”

By Robert B. Reich

193 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $22.95.

In recent decades, American public discourse has become hollow and shrill. Instead of morally robust debates about the common good, we have shouting matches on talk radio and cable television, and partisan food fights in Congress. People argue past one another, without really listening or seeking to persuade.

This condition has diminished the public’s regard for political parties and politicians, and also given rise to a danger: A politics empty of moral argument creates a vacuum of meaning that is often filled by the vengeful certitudes of strident nationalism. This danger now hovers over American politics. More than a year into the presidency of

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