Social Hope in the Time of Trump

Sunday, May 7th 2017 at 11:00 am
Sunday, May 7th 2017 at 12:30 pm

The election of Donald Trump occurred against the background of a generation of shrinking hope--deindustrialization, rising inequality, attacks on public education, and shredding of the social safety net. His tumultuous first months as president have set the stage for a stunning insurgency of resistance. 

Ronald Aronson

Against this background, and drawing on generations of political struggle as well as philosophy, especially the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Ronald Aronson argues for a unique conception of social hope. Hope, he argues, is not a religious attitude but a secular one, and it is far more than a mood or feeling. The very basis of social will and political action, it entails acting collectively to make the world more equal, more democratic, more peaceful, and more just. Even at a time when false hopes are rife, Aronson argues, social hope still persists. Always underlying our experience--even if we completely ignore it--is the fact of our social belonging, and this can be reactivated into a powerful collective force, an active we which can still create a better future for everyone if we resist false hopes and act together.

Ronald Aronson grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wayne State University, U.C.L.A., the University of Michigan, and Brandeis University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas. He is author or editor of nine books, including Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided, and is an internationally recognized authority on Jean-Paul Sartre.

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