Allan Bloom and the Democratic Man

Over the history of our republic, there have obviously been changes of opinion as to what kind of man is best for our regime. We began with the model of the rational and industrious man, who was honest, respected the laws, and was dedicated to the family [ … ] Above all he was to know the rights doctrine; the Constitution, which embodied it; and American history, which presented and celebrated the founding of a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

A powerful attachment to the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Independence gently conveyed, appealing to each man’s reason, was the goal of the education of the democratic man. This called for something very different from the kinds of attachment required for traditional communities where myth and passion as well as severe discipline, authority, and the extended family produced an instinctive, unqualified, even fanatic patriotism, unlike the reflected, rational, calm, even self-interested loyalty [ … ] required in the United States. This was an entirely new experiment in politics, and with it came new education. This education has evolved in the last half century from the education of democratic man to the education of the democratic personality.

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (Simon&Schuster: 2012) pp. 26-27


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