July Fourth: Independence Together

July 01, 1996

“July Fourth: Independence Together” Wall Street Journal, (July 3, 1996), p. A8.
The way we celebrate our holidays tells volumes about the values to which we are committed. Over the last decades, in many suburbs, patriotic parades of bands playing Sousa marches, veterans carrying tattered flags and fire departments proudly displaying the community's shiny new truck have been replaced by barbecues in backyards and an additional day on the beach. We no longer measure the day by the number of flags raised from rooftops and verandahs or the length of patriotic speeches, but by the pounds of hot dogs consumed, beer lapped up and, above all, the record of people killed driving under the influence. Even if there is a concert in the commons, it is likely to be an imitation Beach Boys ("cruising with a girl. . ."),Van Halen or maybe Brahms. Fireworks still abound, but their colors are not necessarily red, white and blue. While in small-town America and in working neighborhoods glimpses of the traditional Fourth, celebrated on Main Street, can still be caught, in many upscale communities it is a day friends hang out with each other, at home or at a private picnic.

Let Teens Bust Cigarette Sellers

June 01, 1996

We have a little militia man in each of us, and he refuses to get out. We are still reluctant to recognize the necessity of a firm authority to maintain social order. Take the most recent fuss about the use of teenagers in sting operations whose purpose is to reduce the sale of cigarettes to minors. The police are sending 15-year-olds, who show their age (not some of those overgrown hunks), to try to buy smokes. When cigarettes are sold to these minors, the offending party is warned the first time and fined as much as $125 thereafter. When liquor is also sold to minors, the business license may be revoked.

Virtue Should Be Seen, Not Just Heard

May 29, 1996

“Virtue Should Be Seen, Not Just Heard” Education Week, (May 29, 1996), p. 40.
Should values be taught in public schools, and if yes--whose? are questions frequently raised as several thousand school board members across the nation prepare for the November elections. The questions are likely to be revisited this year with particular fervor as most Americans are deeply troubled about the moral state of the union and the character of the young. How and above all who is to impart moral education is a subject that has raised vehement controversies in past elections and in between. The left is fearful that the promotion of virtues in public schools will lead to religious indoctrination. The Religious Right suspects that values education in public schools will promote secular humanism and spread "relativism", the notion that there are no ultimate values but only those favored by one group or another of the diverse polyglot that America is said to have become.

Why fear data rape?

May 20, 1996

“Why fear data rape?” USA Today, (May 20, 1996), p. 14A.
At first you are horrified. Your remaining shreds of privacy are being peeled away as if you are caught in a nightmarish forced striptease. Neighbors listen in on your cellular phone. Your boss taps into your e-mail and medical records. Companies analyze what you paid for with your credit card. Furiously, you seek new laws to protect yourself from data rape.

Community of Communities

May 09, 1996

“Community of Communities.” The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, (Summer 1996), 127-138.

Erasing Our Moral Deficit

March 01, 1996

“Erasing Our Moral Deficit” Philanthropy, Vol. X, No. 2 (Spring 1996), pp. 8-9, 35.
Three out of four Americans believe the country is in a moral crisis. I am one of them. I believe we are facing a deep and encompassing crisis of values, a loss of virtue that compels our attention. In effect, we have a moral deficit, one of greater magnitude than the budget deficit. The fiscal deficit itself is partly a moral issue, because through that deficit we are robbing our heritage and cheating our children.

Better Than the V-Chip

February 19, 1996

“Better Than the V-Chip” Washington Times, (February 19, 1996), p. A23.
Big government is dead; long live Big Government. In the same address to Congress in which President Clinton declared an end to liberal government, he called on Congress to require TV manufacturers to equip their TV sets with a chip that would enable parents to screen out violent programs (the so-called "v-chip"). Congress complied. This approach is flawed both in principle and in practice.

The Responsive Community

February 02, 1996

“The Responsive Community,” in Roderick F. French (ed.) An Individual Institution in a Free Society, The George Washington University, Washington DC, 1988, pp. 82-94.

Which Values Matter Most?

November 20, 1995

“Which Values Matter Most?” The Weekly Standard, (November 20, 1995), pp. 17-18.
Intellectuals are about as susceptible to fashion as car makers; a little less so than designers of ties. Currently "civil society" is as chic as it gets. The scholar to quote is Harvard political scientist Bob Putnam. From the headquarters of the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City io the paneled executive dining rooms of the World Bank in Washington D.C., his study of Italian local governments is lionized. Putnam found that the rich traditions of civic culture made for strong democratic institutions in the North, while both are lacking in the South.

The Politics of Morality

November 13, 1995

“The Politics of Morality” Wall Street Journal, (November 13, 1995), p. A14.
Colin Powell, during his brief weighing of a presidential bid, showed a great deal of personal integrity, moral fortitude, and a capacity to speak in moral-religious terms without offending most anyone's sensibilities. What is missing now in the wide array of declared presidential candidates is a leader who will address our nation's gnawing social and moral concerns in terms that speak not only to the right wing but also to the sizable center. This is not a plea for a particular person or political party. Rather, it is for this country's moral crisis to receive the attention that is its due.

Die verantwortungsbewufte Gesellschaft Zur Rolle gemeinsamaer Werte fur das Gleichgewicht zwischen Individuum und Gesellschaft

October 23, 1995

“Die verantwortungsbewufte Gesellschaft Zur Rolle gemeinsamaer Werte fur das Gleichgewicht zwischen Individuum und Gesellschaft,” Warnfried Dettling (Ed.), Die Zukunft denken, International Symposium, (October 23, 1995), 42-49.

A Call for Socially Responsible Lawyers

October 10, 1995

“A Call for Socially Responsible Lawyers” Points of View, Legal Times, (October 9, 1995), p. 22. Also published: The Responsive Community, Vol. 5, No. 4, (Fall 1995), p. 22. Also published: Philadelphia Inquirer, (October 10, 1995).
A lawyer recently confided that if someone were to sue his client, he would imply that the accuser was a child abuser. "Even without any foundation?" a communitarian wondered. The lawyer chuckled: "Many people drop their suits fight then and there. Go prove that you have not abused children!" He added that the media would carry the implied accusation, but because the smeared party would not be on trial, he could not obtain a verdict of innocence, and thus clear his name.

One Fuming Physician

September 18, 1995

“One Fuming Physician” The Washington Post, (September 18, 1995), pp. C3.
For the past five years I have followed closely the practice of one physician who specializes in primary care, the darling of the new revolution in medical care. We had rushed dinners at least twice a week and often discussed her changing practice.
She is now my wife, Patricia D. Kellogg, who practices in Rockville. And, like so many doctors, she feels hemmed in by a bewildering array of ever swelling, inconsistent and changing federal and state regulations. One night, she nearly choked on her dessert with: "How stupid can it get?" and "I did not believe they could top this one, but . . . ."

Is information on how to make a bomb more harmful than porn?

August 24, 1995

“Is information on how to make a bomb more harmful than porn?” Chicago Tribune, (August 24, 1995), Sec. 1, p. 13.
If you can answer the following question, you are ready for big time politics: Why did the U.S. Senate recently vote to put smut on the Internet under wraps but allow mayhem manuals to continue to zip along unperturbed?
Objections raised to regulate either type of material are basically the same; They are said to infringe upon the right to free speech. Nevertheless, shaken by the Oklahoma explosion, legislators initially did take note of Internet messages such as “I want to make bombs and kill evil Zionist people in the government. Teach me. Give me the text files.” They were even more shaken by the responses to such messages: the easy access to detailed text, diagrams and instructions – the “Big Book of Mischief” runs about 93 pages – on how to concoct bombs. Other manuals, such as “The Terrorist Handbook,” are shorter, but no less explicit.

A Moderate Communitarian Proposal

July 10, 1995

On some of the long-debated issues between libertarians and communitarians the two sides are narrowing their differences.