Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Character Formation and Public Problems

The most important change in how one defines the public interest that I have witnessed - and experienced - from 1965 to 1985 has been a deepening concern for the development of character in the citizenry. An obvious indication of this shift has been the rise of such social issues as abortion and school prayer. A less obvious but I think more important change has been the growing awareness that a variety of public problems can only be understood - and perhaps addressed - if they are seen as arising out of a defect in character formation.

- From On Character: Essays by James Q. Wilson [1985 essay on "The Rediscovery of Character: Private Virtue and Public Policy"]

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