|| Kindness |
|| Knowledge |
|| 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.
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.