Human civilization is in danger politically, economically, culturally and environmentally, of a final, tragic collapse. New ideas and resolutions are needed now as never before in history. Dr. Fouke has built upon Sir Henry Maine’s formula for how societies progress from “Societies of Status” to “Societies of Contract.” He has added a third stage: the Society of Dignity. While the Society of Contract preaches merit and ability, the Society of Dignity would expand on that to include the worth and dignity of every individual. Historically, not everyone is successful in the Society of Contract—the disabled, minorities, those born into poverty, the luckless. A Society of Dignity is a Society of Contract with Purpose. It represents affirmative rights for all, including a minimum standard of living—dignified and humane work, healthcare, education, freedom from hunger, freedom from discrimination—and these human rights are for all, regardless of merit and ability. The Society of Dignity is one that takes seriously the notion that “I am my brother’s keeper,” one that takes seriously the notion that “as you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.” Using as a case-study Jewish history and culture, and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a refracting lens, Dr. Fouke examines what a Society of Dignity would look like, and how we might achieve such a society in as many parts of the world as possible. His message is an urgent plea, because the economic, social, political and environmental deterioration of world civilization has become too obvious to ignore. It is clear that we need a new architecture of survival, and Dr. Fouke's unique interdisciplinary, pragmatic and positive perspective is just the kind of realistic idealism that is called for.
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