Seligman examines the notion of the civil society. He argues that
the combination of individal rights and interests with a social and
political system based on a shared morality found its clearest
concrete expression in 18th-century America. Since then, successive
societies and social experiments have sought in vain to approximate
to the society in which individual interests and the public good
are identical. The problems of modern mass democracies which
require intense centralization to be functional, and the growth of
socialism and the notion of unearned entitlements have served to
undermine the foundations of the civil society.
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