Soul of Civil Society: Voluntary Associations and the Public Value of Moral Habits

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Americans care about the public value of moral habits. They like to see virtue rewarded and vice censured, appealing as this does to the nation's deep sense that one's success rests neither in money nor in power but in one's civility. In The Soul of Civil Society Don Eberly and Ryan Streeter look beyond such abstractions as the "voluntary sector" and superficial communitarian solutions to civic anomie to identify the pivotal role played by local voluntary associations in a civil society. Not only important for the services they provide, these "little platoons," as Edmund Burke labeled them, are the public incubators of a "new" morality, their emphasis on civic engagement at the local level central to preserving America's democratic culture on the national and international stage. More than simply championing the promise of a social renaissance, The Soul of Civil Society is essential reading for those seeking to do battle with a culturally entrenched individualism that threatens the core of America's moral vitality.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Novak
Not only is this book a solid, thoughtful argument on a many-stranded subject; it is a treasure house of references and citations to a vast and important literature.
David Blankenhorn
If you want angry partisanship and political name-calling, this is not the book for you. If you want wisdom, lots of fresh ideas, palpable good will, and intellectual seriousness, it is.
Adam Meyerson
Don Eberly and Ryan Streeter are two of America's most thoughtful students of civic and moral renewal. I plan to 'read unto others' their splendid call for a national movement to restore the Golden Rule to American life.
Jean Bethke Elshtain
A major contribution to the continuing debate about the well-being of American democracy. . . . Without in any way downplaying the distinctiveness of the present, [Eberly and Streeter] call upon us to draw wisdom from the past. But, most of all, they orient us toward the future with dedication and hope, with faith in democracy and in one another.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739104231
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 10/15/2002
  • Pages: 162
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Eberly is the founder of several nationally recognized civic organizations, including the Civil Society Project and the National Fatherhood Initiative, and has authored, coauthored, or edited seven books, including The Essential Civil Society Reader: The Classic Essays and The Content of America's Character: The Recovery of Civic Virtue. He has worked for two presidents in more than a decade's service in top policy positions, most recently as Deputy Assistant to the President and the first Deputy Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Ryan Streeter has served as Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute and has worked on local and federal government initiatives to strengthen the role of civil society in America. He is the author of Transforming Charity: Toward a Results-Oriented Social Sector.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction: Voluntary Associations and the Cultivation of Moral Habits Part 2 The Promise of Social Renaissance Chapter 3 The Coming Social Renaissance: Restoring America's Civic and Moral Creed Chapter 4 Toward a Human Scale: Making the World Work at the Street Level Chapter 5 Individuals and a Healthy Civic Order Part 6 Voluntary Associations, Public Policy, and the Marketplace Chapter 7 Voluntary Associations and the Remoralization of America Chapter 8 Targeting Recovery to Low-Income Families Chapter 9 A Humane Economy: The Moral Dimensions of Enterprise Part 10 Moral Habits and the Public Good Chapter 11 Fathers, Families, and Citizenship Chapter 12 Cultivating Moral Habits: Four Social Virtues Worth the Work Chapter 13 The Reformation of Manners Chapter 14 The Golden Rule: A Universal Moral Ethic for Society

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