Principles to Live By

Civil Society

Spiritual wisdom for the Class of 2020 (New 23 May 2020)
FBI: Hate crimes, anti-Semitic attacks up in 2017 (New 16 Nov 2018)
High CEO Pay Means Disappointing Stock Returns (New 1 Aug 2016)
Importance of Teaching Values (New 24 Mar 2016)
America's economy is a nightmare of our own making (New 25 Jun 2015)
The Stranger in Your Home (New 24 Mar 2015)
The Cost of WWII Air War (New 28 Mar 2014)
Wealth Inequality in America (New 6 Dec 2013)
The Psycholoty of Winning (New 3 Feb 2013)
Crisis of the Middle Class (New 8 Jan 2013)
Income Inequality Grows in TN (New 15 Nov 2012)
Why the Economy is Slow (New 12 Oct 2012)
Veteran's Charity Under Fire (New 15 Aug 2012)
Nursing Homes Vs. Prison (New 12 Nov 2010)
Soul of the Republic (New 30 Oct 2010)
National Purpose (New 16 Oct 2010)
Inside Job (New 14 Oct 2010)
'Big Business' Democrats (New 14 Oct 2010)
Corporate Governance (New 1 Oct 2010)
Common Good (New 1 Oct 2010)
American Wealth (New 19 Sep 2010)
Shrinking Middle Class (New 19 Sep 2010)
Financial Market Failure (New 15 Mar 2010)
Pledge of Allegiance (New 14 Mar 2010)
The Gift of Fear (New Jan 2010)
No Time to Lose (New Sept 2009)
Fiduciary Responsibity (New 7 Mar2009)
What Hamilton Has Wrought (New 27 Mar2009)
What Would Jesus Do? (New 21 Mar2009)
Global Warming (New March 2007)
What I Wish For
Scout's Oath
Osama Bin Laden
Close to Home
Inhumanity to Man
DC Area Snipers
Civil Society
Religious Extremism
Stem Cell Research
Contact Me
Peaceful Civil Disobedience

Fairness Trustworthiness Kindness
Patience Gentleness Knowledge
Discipline Compassion Integrity

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you


There seems to be a growing awareness that the underlying cause of much of man's inhumanity to man is a lack of moral principles. This study appeared to be on to something, but to my knowledge hasn't made much progress.  It could be because some have alledged this whole effort was designed to increase government funding for faith based organizations.
I don't know what was really behind this report, but I am troubled by things like the group's criticism of Modana's desire to be a single mother.  Morality as defined by this group stikes me as a bit judgemental but I may be overly sensitive.

Press Release
May 27, 1998/New York, NY

Today the Council on Civil Society, a nationally distinguished non-partisan group of scholars and leaders, releases its new report, A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truth. The Call represents the first time in a generation that such a diverse body of public intellectuals has so forthrightly examined the moral dimension of Americas current social challenge.

Members of the Council include: U.S. Senator Dan Coats, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Francis Fukuyama, William A. Galston, Mary Ann Glendon, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, Cornel West, James Q. Wilson, and Daniel Yankelovich, among others.

Civil society is the new buzzword of the hour. Many have defined the decline in civil society as a problem of lessening civic participation. In this view, if we as a nation just spent less time as workers and consumers and more time as citizens and neighbors, if we would volunteer more and watch T.V. less, the decline of civil society could be reversed.

The Council on Civil Society sees a deeper problem: Americas civic institutions are declining because the moral ideas that fueled and formed them are losing their power to shape our behavior, to unite us as one people in pursuit of common ideals. Too many Americans view morality as a threat to freedom, rather than its essential guarantor.

The deeper solution, the Council concludes, is to recover the ideas that moral truth exists and that democracy depends upon certain moral truths. Democracy embodies the truth that all persons possess equal dignity.

Hence, the Council concludes that the nations main challenge at the close of the century is to rediscover the existence of transmittable moral truth and to strengthen the moral habits and ways of living that make democracy possible.

Professor Robert George of Princeton University said:

In the Call, a remarkable new consensus emerged: Americans of all people can least afford to be embarrassed by the idea of moral truth. Democracy is a moral imperative, or it is no imperative at all.

Senator Joseph Lieberman stated:

This Call makes an invaluable contribution to our public discourse not just in terms of what it proclaims but who is proclaiming it. The individuals who signed this document, some of the leading thinkers and doers in American life today, represent a wide array of ideologies, religions, and cultural backgrounds. That they have come together to reaffirm the core of common values that have sustained America for most of our history, and to reassert the integral link between moral truth and freedom, shows that it is possible to reach agreement on a common public morality that is both conclusive and inclusive. It should give us hope that we can move beyond the divisive culture wars to begin rebuilding our seedbeds of virtue and restoring the vitality of our democracy.

And the Councils chair, Professor Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago, stated:

This document helps us to re-call what is vibrant and energetic about our democratic tradition at its best its commitment to self-help, mutual aid, and respect.

The Council proposes three major social goals toward the renewal of our democracy:

1. To increase the likelihood that more children will grow up with their two married parents.

2. To adopt a new "civil society model" for evaluating public policies and solving social problems.

3. To revitalize a shared civic story informed by moral truth.

About the Council on Civil Society:

The Council on Civil Society, jointly sponsored by the Institute for American Values and the University of Chicago Divinity School, is a group of 24 nationally distinguished scholars and leaders who have come together as unpaid volunteers to examine the sources of competence, character, and citizenship in the United States. The Councils current goal is to assess the condition of civil society at the close of this century and to make recommendations for the future.