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.

Rethinking Peacekeeping, Beyond Intervention to Mediation

July 09, 1995

Gradually, and to some extent inadvertently, the United States has been developing a new role in the post cold war world.

The Attack on Community: The Grooved Debate

July 01, 1995

“The Attack on Community: The Grooved Debate,” Society, Volume 32, No. 5, (July/August 1995), 12-17.
When an intellectual debate is stuck like a phonograph's needle in a overplayed record groove, a sociologist turns to the sociology of knowledge for explanations. For decades now communitarians have been pointing out to libertarians that individuals are not free standing agents but members of communities. (The terms "liberal," "classical liberal," and "libertarian" have all been used to characterize the critics of communitarians. These labels are confusing; for instance, many readers do not realize that the labels are not confined to or even necessarily inclusive of those who are called liberals in typical daily parlance. Most importantly, because the defining element of the position is the championing of the individual, "libertarian" seems both the less obfuscating term and the one that is substantively most appropriate.) While people survive without communities, the thinner their community bonds, the more alienated and unreasoning they tend to be. Moreover, because for communities to flourish they require that their members not be completely self-oriented, the common good has a normative standing in the same sense that life and health do: they all are essential for our physical and spiritual well-being.

Let’s Build Bridges Instead of Widening the Chasm

June 16, 1995

“Let’s Build Bridges Instead of Widening the Chasm” Philadelphia Inquirer, (June 18, 1995).
Hot-headed feminists, militant blacks, Act-Up gays and “Iron John” white males need a first-rate marriage counselor. In a marriage, the counselor would explain, one makes a basic decision: either to break it up or to fight to recast it. If you choose to stay you must learn to fight with one hand tied behind your back. There are clear rules of engagement that allow one to advance one’s interests and values without dissolving the union.

How to Combat Hate

June 01, 1995

“How to Combat Hate” Ethics: Easier Said Than Done, Issue 29, (June 1995), pp. 34-35.
The ways to counter hate range from the personal informal to the organized and institutionalized. Nat Hentoff, a nationally syndicated columnist who frequently writes about civil liberties, illustrates the personal and informal ways in the following report. Four black students were walking on the campus of Arizona State University when they saw a flyer on a dormitory apartment door. It was labeled :Simplified form of a job application. Form for minority applicants.” The form requested sources of income and listed among the options to be checked off: “theft, welfare, unemployment.” For marital status, the options were “common law, shacked up, other.” The form also asked for “number of legitimate children (if any).”

Why bother calling it Memorial Day?

May 28, 1995

We need a national contest to rename Memorial day. “Memorial-Ale” Day or “Memorable Keg” Day may not quite do, but they’re promising candidates. “First Day on the Beach” is too long. The new name will have to remind my fancy relations that it’s time to lower their boats into the water, never mid the flags.

Shift Power, But Not to States

May 25, 1995

"Devolution" is not exactly a household word. Pray it never will be.

If the large-scale transfer of monies and missions from Washington to 50 state capitals is a way to curb government, then copy machines are a way to cut paperwork. True, state governments, which have become popular since last year's sea change in Congress, are not completely without merit. They can experiment in various ways to end welfare and reduce health care costs, before the whole nation becomes committed to a new course.