Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square
With a level-headed voice, leading policy strategist Clarke Forsythe speaks clearly into the fray of political striving. Here he campaigns for a recovery of a rich understanding of the virtue of prudence, and for its application by policymakers and citizens to contemporary public policy. As Forsythe explains, prudence, in its classical sense, is the ability to apply wisdom to right action. In this book he explores the importance of applying the principles of prudence–taking account of limitations in a world of constraints and striving to achieve the greatest measure of justice under current circumstances–to the realm of politics, especially that of bioethics. In particular, Forsythe applies these concepts to the ongoing debate among pro-life advocates regarding gradual versus radical change as the most effective way to achieve political and legislative goals. Drawing on the Bible, philosophy, and the wisdom of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce, he makes a strong case for a strategy of seeking to achieve the maximal change possible at a given time–or political prudence. As such, it has broad implications for political scientists and strategists both within and beyond the pro-life context.
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