Never a Matter of Indifference (Hoover Institution Press, 2003), the first book generated by the Hoover Institution's Initiative on American Individualism and Values, reveals how, over the last several decades, public policy in the United States has weakened the institutions of civil society—which play a critical role in forming and sustaining the qualities of mind and character crucial to democratic self-government.

In this volume, the contributors examine

  • How we deal with the tension between liberty (doing what you want) and virtue (doing what you ought)

  • How the upheavals of the 1960s transformed liberalism for many into a "religion of rights," undermining individual freedom by demanding unbending fidelity to a partisan political agenda

  • The impact of civic associations on our virtues and values—and why the government must resist conscripting them and find a way to preserve their independence

  • How public schools have come to have a negative influence on students' virtues and values—and why neither public nor private schools can replace or compensate for the education of character that takes place outside of school, particularly in the family

  • Why marriage and the family today are in a state of disarray—and how specific public policies can strengthen them

Although no individual author agrees with every observation and every assertion in every essay, they are united in believing that the defense of liberty in our day requires rethinking the complex relation between a citizen's character, civil society, and government.

The contributors are Peter Berkowitz, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and an associate professor of law at George Mason University Law School; David Davenport, Hoover research fellow and is distinguished professor of public policy and law at Pepperdine University; Chester E. Finn Jr., Hoover senior fellow and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation; Doug Kmiec, holder of the Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University; Stanley Kurtz, Hoover research fellow; Harvey C. Mansfield, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University; and Hanna Skandera, research fellow at Hoover Institution.

Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic
Edited by Peter Berkowitz
ISBN: 0-8179-3962-8 $15.00 paperback
161 pages November 2003

Complimentary copies of the book are available to working press from Hoover Public Affairs.

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