Quotes and Excerpts
See also Part 1:
A Third Way to a Good Society
by Professor Amitai Etzioni:
“The good society is a partnership of three sectors:
government, private sector,
and community. Each one reflects and serves a distinct facet of our
community. ... While these partners may differ in terms of their
respective roles, and these may change with social condition, in a good
society the three sectors seek to cooperate with one another."
"Neither human existence nor
individual liberty can be sustained for long outside the interdependent
and overlapping communities to which all of us belong. Nor can any
community long survive unless its members dedicate some of their
attention, energy, and resources to shared projects. The
exclusive pursuit of private interest erodes the network of social
environments on which we all depend, and is destructive to our
shared experiment in democratic self-government. For these reasons, we
hold that the rights of individuals cannot long be preserved without
a communitarian perspective. ...
A communitarian perspective ...
recognizes that the preservation of individual liberty
depends on the active maintenance of the institutions of civil society
where citizens learn respect for others as well as self-respect; where
we acquire a lively sense of our personal and civic responsibilities....
recognizes that communities and polities, too, have
obligations--including the duty to be responsive to their members and to
foster participation and deliberation in social and political life.
mandates attention to what is often ignored in contemporary policy
debates: the social side of human nature; the responsibilities that must
be borne by citizens, individually and collectively...
The basic communitarian quest for balances between individuals and
groups, rights and responsibilities, and among the
institutions of state, market, and civil society is a constant, ongoing
Not Majoritarian But Strongly Democratic
Communitarians are not majoritarians. The success of the democratic
experiment in ordered liberty (rather than unlimited license) depends,
not on fiat or force, but on building shared values, habits
and practices that assure respect for one another's rights and
regular fulfillment of personal, civic, and collective
responsibilities. ... Out of genuine dialogue clear voices
can arise, and shared aspirations can be identified and advanced. ...
Communitarians recognize--indeed, insist--that communal values
must be judged by external and overriding criteria, based on shared
A responsive community is one whose moral standards reflect the basic
human needs of all its members. ...
Restoring the Moral Voice
...To rebuild America's moral foundations, to bring our regard for
individuals and their rights into a better relationship with our sense
of personal and collective responsibility, we must therefore
begin with the institutions of civil society.
Start With the Family
...bringing children into the world entails a moral responsibility to
provide, not only material necessities, but also moral education and
Schools--The Second Line of Defense
...by default, schools now play a major role, for better or worse, in
character formation and moral education. ... The specter of religious
indoctrination is quickly evoked, and the question is posed: "Whose
morals are you going to teach?"
Within Communitites - A Matter of Orientation
....Many social goals . . . require partnership between public and
private groups. Though government should not seek to replace local
communities, it may need to empower them by strategies of support....
There is a great need for study and experimentation with creative use of
the structures of civil society, and public-private cooperation....
National and local service, as well as volunteer work, is
desirable to build and express a civil commitment. Such activities,
bringing together people from different backgrounds and enabling and
encouraging them to work together, build community and foster mutual
respect and tolerance....
The Human Community
...we believe that in the multiplication of strongly democratic
communities around the world lies our best hope for the emergence of
a global community.... Our communitarian concern may begin with
ourselves... but it rises inexorably to the long-imagined community of
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