New Signposts on the Road to Civilisation

July 15, 1994

OUR CULTURE looks at new-born children through rose-tinted glasses. "They're so cute," everyone coos. Yet looked at objectively their behaviour is rather like that of animals: they take in food, expel waste and shriek. More importantly, they command no inborn moral or social values, and they do not develop such virtues on their own. These facts are the historical reason why families - nuclear and extended - were entrusted with civilising these little creatures.


July 01, 1994

Just how incorrigible is human nature, and what lessons on public policy follow once we come to terms with the sobering answer to this age old question?

Balancing Act. Don’t sacrifice the common good to personal ‘rights’

May 16, 1994

It is no accident that the issue of gun sweeps in Chicago’s public housing recently caught the attention of the president of the United States and the national press. The question of the legitimacy of those sweeps has profound implications for the future of civility in American society.

Statism and the Civil Society in Europe

May 01, 1994

A State Department official ordered this anecdote in a briefing to an American sociologist on his way to Europe to explore interest in communitarian ideas there.

Schools and the Subject of Character

April 03, 1994

Should schools be in the character-formation business? The heated debate on this issue is largely theoretical in the worse sense of the term. Whether educators are aware of it or not, schools do shape the development of their students’ characters, for better or for worse. Schools that follow a policy of automatic promotion - for example, allowing students who are disruptive, truant, or failing, to advance from grade to grade and ultimately to graduate - send a strong message to students that misconduct carries no undesirable consequences. As this message is repeated year after year, throughout one’s school career, it has clear characterological effects.

Starting Over on Welfare

March 31, 1994

A funny thing happened on the way to welfare reform: Both political parties are fashioning a new entitlement, billed as an education training period, that will extend dependency on the dole. It may not seem surprising that the Democrats are moving toward granting generous new benefits, but it’s disheartening to see Republicans leading the way.

What’s Wrong?

February 14, 1994

Young children cannot tell right from wrong. If you scold a 3-year-old for lying, he may not have the foggiest notion why you are distressed. A new report by the American Bar Association’s Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility is written as if a significant number of lawyers had failed to progress beyond this infantile state.

The Responsive Community …a new political movement is born

January 01, 1994

Even inveterate optimists cannot miss the awful signs of social decline in America...

How our Towns Fight Crime

December 31, 1993

While Washington sweats out the crime bill, communities from coast to coast are experimenting successfully with various antiviolence measures.

HIV Sufferers Have a Responsibility

December 13, 1993

“HIV Sufferers Have a Responsibility.” Ethical Health Care, ed. Patricia Illingworth and Wendy E. Parmet. (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006) pp. 140-142.

How to Transform Society, The Health Care Example

November 01, 1993

How does one transform society? The present attempt by President Clinton to reform the health-care system illustrates both the short-term opportunities and the long-term challenges.

Group Searches Are Here to Stay

October 18, 1993

Nobody calls it “group searches,” not to mention “the search and seizure of the innocents,” although both terms would capture an important trend in our courts’ interpretations of the Fourth Amendment. In fact, many observers still cite what is held to be the prevailing interpretation of the Fourth Amendment: that no one is subject to search and seizure unless there is “probable cause” that the particular person has committed a crime, is committing one or appears predisposed to commit one (say, carries a bomb).

The Parental Deficit

October 15, 1993

THE TROUBLE with the recent debate about parental responsibility is that both sides (or more) have a point. Conservatives are right that many families have been neglecting their children, that parents must assume more responsibility for their children, and that they should be sent strong signals that this is their duty.

How to Make Marriage Matter

September 06, 1993

"It is easier in these United States to walk away from a marriage than from a commitment to purchase a used car," says Professor Thomas Morgan of the George Washington University School of Law.

Managers in the Moral Dimension: What Etzioni Might Mean to Corporate Managers

August 08, 1993

The significance of the article by Shaw and Zollers is that it advances socio-economics in several major directions.