Ideas for the Ice Age is a companion volume to Max Lerner's classic work Ideas Are Weapons. Both were written mostly in the 1930s, as products of a period when the democratic idea was under heavy siege from totalitarian ideologies of the right and left., In its focus, Ideas for the Ice Age is a study of the task of democracy in a revolutionary era, an enterprise that has taken on new urgency in the post-Communist world. For Lerner this task comprises four aspects around which the book is organized: the task of winning the future for American democracy, and planning its organization; the problem of selecting out those elements of a usable past which, when strengthened and extended, can assure a livable future; the problem of acting decisively in moments of international crisis; and the problem of strengthening democracy at home and completing its unfinished business., Within this framework, Lerner selects ideas and personalities that have decisively shaped the modern mind. The selections have lost none of their original timeliness. Among the wide range of figures considered here are Machiavelli, Franz Kafka, Randolph Bourne, Harold Laski, John Strachey. and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Lerner reflects as well on the offices, institutions, and constitutional questions of American democracy in moments of historical crisis. For a new generation of readers, this gallery of thinkers will be essential reading, a must for students of American studies, the history of ideas, and political theory.
Table of Contents
Foreword, Ends and “Totalitarian” Means, 4. Economic Empire and Monopoly State, 5. The People’s Century, 6. If We Own the Future, Part II: The Voyage of the Mind, 1. Machiavelli and Machiavellism, 2. The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes, 3. Randolph Bourne and Two Generations, 4. Franz Kafka and the Human Voyage, Part III: America’s Hour of Decision, 1. In the Time of the Great Debate Continentalism and World Leadership The Daedalian Vision of Waldo Frank, 2. Notes on the March of Fascism An American Yankee at Hitler’s Court Hitler as Medicine Man Hitler’s American Dream Russia and the War of Ideas, 3. Propaganda in Our Time, 4. Democracy for a War Generation, Part IV: The Unfinished Business of Democracy, 1. Case Studies in Democracy: Some Archaeological Notes, The Case of the Corporate Surplus Tax (1936) The Case of “Black Tuesday’’ (1937) The Case of Governor La Follette (1938) The Case of the Spanish Embargo (1938), 2. Constitution and Court as Symbols, 3. Notes on the Supreme Court Crisis The Divine Right of Judges The Lawless Majority The Fate of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court Revolution Labor and Civil Liberties The Personnel of the Supreme Court Landscape with Judges, 4. Constitutional Crisis and the Crisis State, 5. Legalism and Legality, 6. Aspects of Economic Strategy, TNEC: a New Technique Trustbuster’s White Paper Keynes Meets Marx, 7. The Administrative Revolution in America, 8. Notes on the Two-Front War, Harold Laski and the Two-Front War Defense and Slave-Men Meeting the Blitzkrieg on Labor The Burning of the Textbooks Teacher-Hunt Planned Defense Dollar-a-Year Defense The Common Man and a Fighting Faith, 9. State, Class, and Party The Broker State Tweedledum and Tweedledee, 10. The Presidential Office The Job in the White House Hamlet and the Presidency, 11. Two Presidents in Wartime Lincoln in the Civil War I Thought of Lincoln Roosevelt as Symbol, 12. Reflections on a Harsh Age, 13. The Left: End and Beginning, Acknowledgments, Index
Max Lemer, prior to his death in mid-1992, was Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of Human Behavior, United States International University at San Diego. He was also a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post. Among his many books are America as a Civilization: The Age of Overkill; Ideas Are Weapons; The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes; and It Is Later Than You Think.