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Reflecting on the most recent stage of his career, the communitarian, Amitai Etzioni, gives three reasons for what he perceives as his loss of influence. First, the media prefers an argument between strongly opposed positions, but Etzioni is neither liberal nor conservative. Second, the media prefers specialized intellectuals, but Etzioni has refused to “stick to his knitting.” Third, Etzioni has taken an unpopular, dovish position on China. I argue that Etzioni is mistaken about the reasons for his and communitarianism’s rise and perceived fall and offer a more optimistic assessment than he does of the potential influence of his thought. I use this local problem of historical interpretation to question Etzioni’s global interpretation of modern history.
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