Lewis Lapham sings from his perch at Harpers Magazine, songs that celebrate and criticize America. For 25 years, politics and culture have come under the editor-in-chief’s critique, and just in August of this year, he again played canary in the coal mine. Lapham wrote that the United States was a democracy gone soft and flabby, a country blind to history, and drunk on superlatives. The biggest, baddest, richest, fastest nation of them all. But then came September 11th, and old notions of American exceptionalism and invulnerability crumbled.
Lapham’s current tune: forget about an American jihad against terrorism, its time for an American jihad for democracy.
Lewis Lapham, editor, Harper’s Magazine