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Politics of Meaning

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There’s no doubt that we’re in a period of great cynicism about what government does or can do to improve our lives. Psychotherapist Michael Lerner believes this cynicism and the alienation that Americans feel are a direct result of the ethic of selfishness that pervades American politics, from the White House on down. Lerner is the author of a new book called The Politics of Meaning: Restoring Hope and Possibility in an Age of Cynicism. Michael Lerner gained national exposure when Hillary Rodham Clinton used his phrase “Politics of Meaning” in a speech; the media then started calling Lerner “Hillary’s Guru”. Nonetheless, Lerner’s ideas are the foundation for a growing social movement in the U.S. that blends humanist politics with spirituality, and aims to provide a progressive answer to the power of religious right. Last month, over a thousand participants attended a first national conference in Washington D.C. We’ll now hear an excerpt of a speech by Michael Lerner in which he explains his concept of a politics of meaning and its importance in this era of conservative domination.

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