The Enlightenment project of constructing a rational morality—pronounced dead by commentators on the
left and right—has found a champion determined to resurrect it for the twenty-first century .
acknowledges, with distress, that the moral vocabulary of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Kant now survives only
among conservatives, whose religious orthodoxies and political agendas she rejects. But progressives must
recover that vocabulary, she asserts, if they are to renew society’s commitment to egalitarian justice.
Ideologically disarmed by the collapse of Marxism and philosophically paralyzed by the radical skepticism
of postmodernism, left-liberal thinkers risk surrendering the young to religious fundamentalists and cynical
nihilists if they cannot reclaim the secular ideals of pioneering Enlightenment writers. Committed to the
pursuit of happiness through reason, these writers defy their detractors’ caricatures by soberly
acknowledging the limits of human faculties, even voicing reverent gratitude for nature’s inexplicable
mysteries, while still cultivating hope that human endeavor can advance good and defeat evil. In such
mature hope, Neiman finds the possibility for a twenty-first-century moral heroism that brings to our age
both the protean adaptability of Homer’s Odysseus and his resourceful resolve to shape his own future. An
engaging analysis that will attract even readers who do not share Neiman’s left-liberal premises.
— Bryce Christensen