Steven Michels

On higher ed, politics and culture, and productivity

Sinclair Lewis was one of the most astute observers of American social and political life. Sinclair Lewis and American Democracy is a highly readable analysis of his novels. The book examines each of Lewis’s novels on key themes in the history of political thought and democracy including freedom and purpose, success and materialism, and nationalism and race. Lewis is revealed to be an unapologetic individualist and a fierce humanitarian.

(with Timothy McCranor) “All the World’s a Cage: Franz Kafka’s ‘The Hunger Artist’”

“Hobbes and Frank on Why Democracy is Overrated”

The Case against Democracy
By Steven Michels

American democracy is not in a good place. But democracy has always been an imperfect form of government. The Case against Democracy surveys the arguments made against democracy by prominent theorists throughout history, as they relate to contemporary problems and issues. The book ends with a series of minor fixes.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Power and the People
1. The World Needs Ditch Diggers,Too:  Non-representation
2. Come Together: Tyranny of the Majority
3. The Trivial Pursuit of Happiness: Materialism and Greed
4. Voting is for Old People: Non-participation
5. Culture, Clubbed: Ignorance and Decadence
6. In the Flat Field: Equality over Merit
7. Red, White, and Blue in Tooth and Claw: Self-interest and Faction
8. A Bridge to Nowhere too Far: Inefficiency and Instability
9. All She Wants to Do is Dance: Isolationism or Exceptionalism
Conclusion: Fixing the Holes

Religious Voices in Public Places
Oxford University Press, USA

(with Brian Stiltner) “Religion, Rhetoric, and Running for Office: Public Reason on the Campaign Trail,” Religious Voices in Public Places, eds. Nigel Biggar and Linda Hogan (Oxford University Press, 2009)

“Who’s the Boss? Springsteen on the Alienation and Salvation of Work and Labor,” Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy: Darkness on the Edge of Truth, eds. Randall E. Auxier and Doug Anderson (Open Court Press, 2008)

(with Mike Ventimiglia) “Can The Daily Show Save Democracy?” The Daily Show and Philosophy, ed. Jason Holt (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Press, 2007)

Public Policy in Connecticut
Sacred Heart University Press

“The Challenge of Higher Education,” Public Policy in Connecticut: Challenges and Perspectives, ed. Gary L. Rose (Sacred Heart University Press, 2005)