College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
BA (Bachelor of Arts)
Session and Year of Graduation
Honors Major Advisor
John S. Nelson
This thesis argues that the root cause of both climate change and the decline of democracy in the West is neoliberalism’s pervasive marginalization of faith in public action. It responds to the election of Donald Trump by critically analyzing how noted democratic theorist Sheldon Wolin interpreted the election of Ronald Reagan and the lessons to be learned from it. It argues that Wolin is right to ascribe great importance to historical memory in democratic citizenship, but wrong to highlight localism as the primary venue for contestation, especially in the context of global climate change. The antidote to these problems, then, is to reinvigorate people’s faith in public planning by forcefully reasserting the role of the state in areas where the interests of capital are most clearly incompatible with the general welfare. It proposes nationalizing the fossil fuel industry as an example of a policy that would fulfill these needs.
political theory, climate change, neoliberalism, participatory democracy, transitional justice, Sheldon Wolin
Copyright © 2017 Christopher Jackson