Introduction: Self, Others, and Institutions
McCool provides a concise summary of the ways in which authentic politics and theatrical politics interact in the modern world. He connects this interaction to the malaise and authoritarian tendencies Americans feel in the age of Trump. While paying attention to the theoretical underpinnings of these models from Rousseau, Arendt, and Thoreau, McCool also gives a brief history of the ways in which extreme versions of self-expression in modern society have worked to threaten institutional laws and norms of governance, established by conservatives and counterrevolutionaries like Burke, Madison, and Lincoln. He provides ideological context, suggesting how the virtue of self-expression, originally a leftist phenomenon, has been co-opted by the right in recent years.