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Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in…
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Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics (1932)

by Reinhold Niebuhr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I had a really hard time understanding the author. His verbiage is at times vague and difficult. This is a rare case in which I decided to stop at halfway through the book and not waste anymore of my time. ( )
  GlennBell | Jun 4, 2018 |
Explores the ironic element of American history in terms of the contrast between the hopes of the founders and the reality of the present (1932) situation.
  PendleHillLibrary | Apr 20, 2017 |
Niebuhr's central insight is that personal morality and group mentality are incompatible and that the latter will always trump the former. This means that social change can only be achieved through political means and by economic coercion. Ethics and education may change individual minds but they will never overwhelm the inherent selfishness of the collective will. Thus, patriotism is used to justify evil ends, making the individual feel part of a select and morally exempt group.

It's a pessimistic view of the world, but he makes his case eloquently, even if some of his examples are dated (it's hard to share his outrage over the Spanish-American War) and his equation of the proletariat with the working class had more resonance the 1930s than it does now. On the other hand, his discussion of non-violence as practiced by Gandhi and its applicability to the position of African-Americans almost surely inspired the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
( )
  le.vert.galant | Jan 26, 2015 |
Moral Man and Immoral Society is interesting and occasionally thought-provoking, but rather too long. Its central thesis and Niebuhr's arguments in support of it could have been adequately expressed in a forty to fifty pages. Part of the reason for this is that much of what he offers as "argument" is simply assertion or reiteration. ( )
  lukeasrodgers | Feb 18, 2014 |
Very interesting and skeptical view of individual vs. group morality, and would be very useful for one attempting to enact positive change in society. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Reinhold Niebuhrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gilkey, Langdon B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lovin, Robin W.General editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ottati, Douglas F.General editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schweiker, WilliamGeneral editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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