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

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times4 min read
How to Get the Most Out of National Novel Writing Month
Embrace your messy first draft and commit to NaNoWriMo’s boot-camp vibe.
The New York Times4 min read
The Right Kind of Exercise May Boost Memory and Lower Dementia Risk
Being physically fit may sharpen the memory and lower our risk of dementia, even if we do not start exercising until we are older.
The New York Times4 min readSociety
Is CRISPR the Next Antibiotic?
(Science Times) In nature, the gene-editing tool Crispr protects bacteria against viruses. Now it’s being harnessed in the fight against superbugs and the flu.