Tyler Flynn

Democracy in the 21st Century: Still in a State of Adolescent Rebellion?
By Tyler Flynn on August 27, 2010

As Walter Lippmann pointed out a century ago, the habit of defining oneself in opposition to something threatening rather than advocacy of positive has a long history and has often been a crutch Americans have turned to when the task of self-rule has been too much to bear. The remedy to this habit is, as Lippmann stated bluntly, to face reality and grow up. 


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about the author

Tyler Flynn
Tyler Flynn

Hello!  Well, a little about me (since you asked). 

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, where I grew up the son of a Baptist clergyman.  When I was 8 our family moved to Connecticut and when I was 13 we moved to Columbus, Ohio, where my parents and two sisters still reside.  As an ungraduate at Miami University I discovered the academic field of history and was drawn, in particular, to American cultural history.  After three years serving as a campus minister through a Presbyterian Church south of Pittsburgh in the former steel mill town of McKeesport, I began graduate studies in 20th century American culture and religion at Penn State University working under the direction of Gary Cross and Philip Jenkins with the help of Joel Carpenter as an outside reader.  Eroding notions of public duty in the modern era interested me, reinforced by my study of Chinese Confucianism as a sub-field.  My dissertation was about the largely-Presbyterian industrial elite in Pittsburgh, 1900-1960, and how they wrestled with their talent for earning profits (which was often in competition with) their Calvinist-originated sense of duty to support various reform ventures in the Steel City.

Currently I am completing my fourth year as assistant professor of History at Eastern University in suburban Philadlephia.  Although my time here has primarily involved teaching multiple courses (U.S. Survey I and II, Western Civ I, Post-WWII America, Gilded Age & Progressivism, Jazz and American History, American Historiography, Introduction to East Asia, and American Intellectual History), I am recently beginning to publish articles about religion, pubilc life, and culture broadly defined. 

Other topics that I love to engage others in discussion about are jazz, film, art and photography, and particularly fermentation.  I have been a mead-maker (fermented honey) for six years and a beer homebrewer for one year now.  Two cases of my homebrewed ale will be accompanying me to the Princeton institute in June, which I hope will facilitate our discussion of self-reliance, the producer ethic, and the citizen virtues required for a robust democracy!