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"How to Destroy a Democracy Step by Step"

16 Mar 2014

"How to Destroy a Democracy Step by Step" will be presented by Dan Carter of Pisgah Forest, NC at the Sunday, March 16th meeting of the Ethical Society of Asheville, 2:00-3:30 PM at the Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood Road in North Asheville (off Merrimon Avenue near UNCA). Carter will consider "Jeremiad: A long mournful complaint or lamentation. A list of woes. A cautionary or angry warning." He contends that, “Today not a week goes by without a new Jeremiad of an America in economic decline.” This "declension" narrative is part of a tradition going back to the Puritans although there have always been optimists who have resisted. His talk has less to do with the current preoccupation with America's economic woes than its often hidden political crisis. What is a democracy? How has it functioned over our 138 history as a nation? And explores forces are undermining an always imperfect system to the point that it ceases to represent the great majority of Americans in any meaningful way.

Dan Carter is the Educational Foundation Professor of History Emeritus at the University of South Carolina. During his career, he served on the faculty of the University of Maryland from 1967 to 1974 and at Emory University from 1974 to 2000 before ending his career at USC in January of 2007. He has been a visiting Fulbright Professor at London’s Westminster University (1980) and the University of Genoa (2000). He was the Pitt Professor at Cambridge University in 1995-96. the Douglas Southall Freeman Professor at the University of Richmond in the spring of 2007 and the Dow Research Fellow at the Roosevelt Center in the Netherlands in the fall of 2009. He is the author and editor of seven books and more than forty scholarly and magazine articles. Professor Carter has won three major teaching awards and nine scholarly and literary prizes for his works including the 1970 Bancroft Prize for the best book in American history, Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South. His 1995 biography of Alabama Governor George Wallace received the Robert F. Kennedy Prize and was the basis for the 2000 PBS documentary George Wallace: “Settin’ the Woods on Fire.” Professor Carter also received an Emmy from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the Wallace film. Professor Carter was President of the Southern Historical Association in 1995-96. He is currently living in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina where he is completing a biography of the American fascist-Klansmen of the 1950s and 1960s, Asa Carter. Carter assumed a new identity in 1970 and became a successful novelist and author of the best-selling fake memoir, The Education of Little Tree. Professor Carter continues to give lectures and work as a consultant on voting rights issues and historical films. He has been a regular consultant and on-camera commentator for PBS documentaries, most recently on the PBS American Experience film, “1964,” and a forthcoming 90 minute program on Civil Rights in the 1960s which will be broadcast in May of 2014 by CNN as part of their 10 part series on the decade of the 60s.

There will be a discussion period following the presentation. Following the meeting, there will be time for informal conversation. All are welcome!

The Ethical Society of Asheville is a humanist, educational, philosophical, non-theistic alternative to traditional religions. It is affiliated with the American Ethical Union, which is affiliated with the American Humanist Association and the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Members are inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society. Their commitment is to the worth and dignity of the individual and to treating each human being so as to bring out the best in him or her.

For more information contact,, or 828 687-7759.