Ideas for the Ice Age Studies in a Revolutionary Era
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.