One by One from the Inside Out Essay - Critical Essays

Glenn C. Loury

One by One from the Inside Out

This volume collects Glenn Loury’s writings of the last eleven years. The most substantial pieces appeared first in such publications as FIRST THINGS, THE PUBLIC INTEREST, and MOMENT. Readers should begin with the newly composed Epilogue, in which Loury confesses that his extraordinary success as a Harvard economist and public intellectual left him spiritually wasted. He acknowledges “slavery to drugs and alcohol,” marital infidelity and severe depression. With a frankness rarely found in academic books, Loury recounts his conversion to Christianity. Since then, his wife has borne him two children, and he joyously dedicates the book to this trio.

Loury’s key positions are most fully presented in “Black Dignity and the Common Good,” “Two Paths to Black Progress” and “Economic Discrimination.” Interesting material appears in the book reviews, where he evaluates works by conservatives such as Charles Murray and Shelby Steele as well as those by such liberals as Andrew Hacker, Derrick Bell, and Cornel West. A notable feature of the collection is Loury’s attention to the strained relations between Jews and African Americans in the 1990’s.

What are Loury’s positions? First, he argues that a “post-Civil Rights” era has emerged but black America has failed to adjust. The Civil Rights movement focused rightly on gaining fundamental citizenship, but Loury believes that using the old approaches is misguided, for this deepens...

(The entire section is 437 words.)