. . . individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and wellbeing, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market. . . . the market tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles that are antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistable presure on every activity to justify itself in the only terms it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image.

Revolt of the Elites.

About Christopher Lasch
The Overpraised American, by Christine Rosen. Policy Review No. 133 Oct/Nov. 2005.
Christopher Lasch and the Limits of Hope, First Things 148 (December 2004): 26-30.
The Historian As a Social Critic: Christopher Lasch and the Uses of History, by Kevin Mattson, Ohio University. The History Teacher May 2003.
Limits and Hope: Christopher Lasch and Political Theory, by Jean Bethke Elshtain. Social Research, Summer, 1999.
The Gift of Christopher Lasch, by James Seaton. First Things 45 (August/September 1994)
Christopher Lasch vs. The Elites, by Roger Kimball . The New Criterion, Vol. 13, 04-01-1995, pp 9.
Consuming Passions, by Andrew Delbanco. Review of Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage, and Feminism. New York Times, January 19, 1997.

By Christopher Lasch:

On the Moral Vision of Democracy: A Conversation with Christopher Lasch, interviewed by Bernard Murchland. The Civil Arts Review Vol. 4, 1991.
Responses to Rothman: Capitalism Itself Corrupts. The World & I, Issue 11, 1991. [subscription required].
The Culture of Narcissism Revisited, The World & I, Issue 5, 1990. [subscription required]
What's Wrong with the Right? Tikkun 1 (1987): 23-29 [including a response by Lillian Rubin and reply by Lasch].
Corrupt Sports: An Exchange, by Eric Foner, Mark Naison, Paul K. Hoch, Reply by Christopher Lasch. New York Review of Books Sept. 29, 1977.
The Corruption of Sports. New York Review of Books Volume 24, Number 7 · April 28, 1977.
Divorce and the Family in America, by Christopher Lasch. The Atlantic Monthly, November, 1966, issue. Volume 218, number 5 (pages 57-61).
The New Illiteracy, by Christopher Lasch. Excerpt from The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979).

The New York Review of Books has published a number of reviews by Christopher Lasch. Most of them are available exclusively to subscribers, although a few selections from his correspondence with fellow authors is available to the public.

Christopher Lasch In Print:
The Revolt of the Elites : And the betrayal of democracy.

From the Publisher: [Lasch] argues that democracy today is threatened not by the masses, as Jose Ortega y Gasset (The Revolt of the Masses) had said, but by the elites. These elites - mobile and increasingly global in outlook - refuse to accept limits or ties to nation and place. Lasch contends that, as they isolate themselves in their networks and enclaves, they abandon the middle class, divide the nation, and betray the idea of a democracy for all America's citizens. The book is historical writing at its best, using the past to reveal the roots of our current dilemma. The author traces how meritocracy - selective elevation into the elite - gradually replaced the original American democratic ideal of competence and respect for every man. Among other cultural trends, he trenchantly criticizes the vogue for self-esteem over achievement as a false remedy for deeper social problems, and attacks the superior pseudoradicalism of the academic left. Brilliantly he reveals why it is no wonder that Americans are apathetic about their common culture and see no point in arguing politics or voting. In a powerful final section Lasch traces the spiritual crisis of democracy. The elites, having jettisoned the moral and ethical guidelines provided by religion, cling to the belief that through science they can master their fates and escape mortal limits. In pursuit of this illusion they have become infatuated with the global economy. Their revolt, the author warns, is diminishing what is worthwhile about American life. This volume, completed just before the author's death, continues in his tradition of vigorous and original thought and should stir soul-searching among readers concerned about the future of America and its democracy.


Review by Jessie Walker. Liberty Review May 1996.
Liberal Elites, by Steven Hayward. Reason, April 1995.
Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged

In the American political vocabulary, "family" and "family values" no longer simply evoke pictures of harmonious scenes; they also push our buttons (left and right) about what is wrong with society. One of the earliest and sharpest cultural commentators to investigate the twentieth-century American family, Christopher Lasch argues in this book that as social science "experts" intrude more and more into our lives, the family's vital role as the moral and social cornerstone of society disintegrates - and, left unchecked, so does our political and personal freedom.

Haven in a Heartless World is a trenchant analysis of the plight of the family. Lasch takes a clear-eyed look at the institution in which America's future generations are being raised and finds it faltering.

Culture of Narcissism : American Life in an age of Diminishing Expectations.

Penetrating analysis of the Seventies and the development of our narcissistic personality.


Review, by Julian N. Hartt. Theology Today Vol. 36, No. 4. January 1980.
Review, by Gaddis Smith, Foreign Affairs, Spring 1979.
Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage and Feminism

Library Journal: In this collection of essays edited by his daughter, historian and educator Lasch, who died in 1994 and is best known for his best-selling The Culture of Narcissism (LJ 11/15/78), discusses women, feminism, and marriage. The volume contains previously published essays with one exception: "Bourgeois Domesticity, the Revolt Against Patriarchy, and the Attack on Fashion," which analyzes the ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft, Hannah More, and the domestic ideal of the 18th and 19th centuries. The other pieces here review and sometimes deconstruct the works of others in the field of gender studies, such as Carol Gilligan and Betty Friedan. One recurring theme is the observation that the "traditional" family, which most feminists critique, is a fairly recent phenomenon. Lasch's unique insights into women and their roles in history make this a good purchase for academic libraries. - Janet Clapp, Kingston P.L., Mass.


Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage, and Feminism, by Mary Ann Glendon. First Things 70 (February 1997): 40-43.
The True and Only Heaven : Progress and its Critics

Library Journal: Lasch condemns those on both the right and left who continue to believe in progress, i.e., the idea that the American economy can continue to grow indefinitely and lead the way to ``the true and only heaven'' (Hawthorne's phrase) of increasing wealth and ever-higher standards of living. Instead, he argues, we must recognize the environmental limits to economic growth and begin lowering our expectations. (He believes the middle class is already on the verge of extinction.) Lasch analyzes the thought of those who have dissented from the idea of progress and warned of human limitations--Emerson, William James, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King--and concludes that the solution is a conservative morality that accepts limits but ``asserts the goodness of life in the face of limits.'' -- Jeffrey R. Herold , Bucyrus P.L., Ohio
The Minimal Self : Psychic Survival in Troubled Times.