Director of the Center for
Communitarian Policy Studies at the George Washington
University, Washington, DC.
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Helpful Quotes &
Church leaders seek a Third Way
Three-legged Stool: A mandatory
partnership between the
public sector (government),
private sector (business),
and social sector
(community, churches, etc.) -- managed through
established by national and international governments.
across the world search for a new political synthesis, the theoretical
debate has offered little to those interested in a new framework for
progressive politics. This essay presents an account of what the Third
Way really means, and roots it in a communitarian vision of the
good society. It argues that such societies achieve a dynamic balance
between state [public sector], market
[private sector] and community [social sector]...."
Amitai Etzioni (Page 5)
Note: In this
"dynamic balance," the state sets the mandatory standards. It also has
the power to enforce those standards. The other two "partners" in this
"balance" will ultimately be serving the state. While it's not exactly
Communism since the state favors capitalism, the state has ultimate
control over everything -- just as in a Communist state. Today's China
is a good example.
Civil society: "...the ensemble of
suprafamilial, nonstate institutions that organize the members of
society into coordinated groups and allow them to express their opinions
and particular interests. Of course, the prerequisite is that
these institutions and organisms are autonomous and are not merely
transferred into offshoots of the state apparatus, or simple
'transmission belts' for state power." Lubomir Sochor,
The Black Book of Communism
or structure of government
"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. Only by serving
all three, rather than fragmenting them or setting one against the other, can we
achieve a society that encompasses the whole person.... 
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.... Most importantly, each partner helps contain the
others.... Maintaining this three-way balance is at the heart of the
good society." 
"Third Way governments do best when
they resist the rush to legislate good behavior. When there is a valid
need to modify behavior, the state should realize that relying on
informal community-based processes is preferable to relying on the law."
Group dialogue to consensus
"At the core of the Third Way ought to be the recognition that a good society
combines respect for individual rights and fulfillment of basic human needs with
the expectations that members live up to their responsibilities to themselves,
their family and friends, and to the community at large....
all means that a good person, a member of a good society, contributes to the
common good. No one is exempt...."
"Responsibility from all is to be paralleled
by responsibility for all. ... This means first of all social inclusion....
Responsibility for all also means ensuring that everyone has access to the basic
necessities of life.... 
"Third way societies must recognize
there are certain basic provisions that are everyone's due. these basics
include food, shelter, clothing and healthcare."
"A balanced society approaches the tension between individual rights and
social responsibilities along these lines and adjusts its policies
"...moral culture is continually recast to reflect new social needs, demands,
insights and, above all, oral claims. This occurs through a process of special
importance to those seeking a good society: moral dialogue. Moral dialogues are
'give and take' discussions that engage values rather than merely interests or
wants. They involve more than facts and reasons; they engage our beliefs....
"Local communities, whole national
societies, and even international communities engage in extensive dialogues
about acute moral issues, such as our duty to the environment, women's rights
and sexual discrimination...."[34-35]
Moral Dialogues: Changing
"Moral dialogues are largely about values.
They are not dialogues among experts but among citizens.... Most importantly,
through the process of moral dialogue people often modify their conduct,
feelings and beliefs.... The profound moral dialogue that developed in the 1960s and 1970s led not merely
to a shared moral sense of our duty to mother earth... but also to a fair
measure of changed behavior.... 
"If a community needs to change its
social fabric in a significant way, moral dialogues are necessary to generate
changes in personal and social conduct, and to underpin public
"...moral dialogues lead them to
reexamine their beliefs, world
views and prejudices and to recast them."[35-36]
Family: the need for a definitive new look
"Before one can settle any of the numerous specific issues that arise from the
transition from traditional forms of families to 'post-modern' ones, we require
a more conclusive examination of the evidence about the effects of highly
divergent social arrangements. To proceed, the government should convene a
'science court', an inquiry composed of expert social scientists. The court
would hold public hearings, interrogating scientific witnesses and
representatives of the various bodies of thought on the subject.... In this way,
it should be able to reach solid credible conclusions about critical issues that
arise concerning our ability to replace the two parent family, and help move to
settle the public dialogue on these issues.
"The science court should
children of young age, especially from birth until five, the years in
which many believe the foundation of character are formed."
"To ensure that this core education principle will be heeded, an annual
assessment should be made in all schools of the educational (as distinct from
teaching) messages they impart, and of their approach to character formation. If
these are defective, schools should be helped by personnel especially dedicated
to this issue to restructure their approach."
Reviews of Etzioni's latest book:
From Empire to Community:
A New Approach to International Relations
Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands:
"Amitai Etzioni's new book offers us an inspiring example of the out-of-the-box thinking that is needed to confront these challenges. Etzioni brings new diplomatic challenges into focus, and
launches a crucial debate about the sort of world we are leaving to future generations and how we can best manage problems and grasp opportunities...."
Per Stig Møller, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs:
"It underlines the need of the legitimating United Nations also to seek hard power to enforce its resolutions. As an echo of Kant's
Perpetual Peace, Etzioni leads us to the ‘good society' based on both the Western legal tradition and social duties deriving from moral suasion. Etzioni is a bridge-builder by the grace of God."
Joseph S. Nye, author of Soft Power:
"Amitai Etzioni applies his communitarian approach to international affairs
and foreign policy...."
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter:
"A thoughtful and timely examination of some of the fundamental issues that modern society confronts."
Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair of the 9-11 Commission:
“...a sweeping and thought-provoking blueprint that gets at many of the key issues of our time.”
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University:
"His vision of a potential East-West synthesis is particularly compelling. Better still, he is not afraid to tackle the very real challenge of creating genuine institutions to govern a potential global polity. A valuable read for anyone interested in the future of global governance."
Leon Fuerth, former National Security Advisor to Vice President Al Gore:
"Professor Etzioni's new book From Empire to Community, delivers on its
promise of 'A new approach to international relations.' ... This book is not about dogma: it is about the hopeful possibility that an evolving and expanding sense of common need among peoples and nations can with luck and vision, bring about a knitting together of a form of global governance that would permit humankind to address its most urgent issues more effectively: with less sovereign authority for national states as we have known them, but greater freedom, combined with enhanced responsibility for people as individuals and as communities."
Training students to rethink God's Word
of Communitarian Words |
Charles Haynes & Communitarianism |
permanent social change
Dissatisfaction (a crisis) for social transformation
Al Gore unveiled the heart of this political vision 1991.
ourselves as separate is the central problem in our political thinking,"
he announced at a Communitarian conference in Washington. [See
Al Gore's Vision of Global Salvation]
Emergent Church leaders seek a "Third Way" as well:
National Coordinator Tony Jones
"As emerging Christian leaders have been
pushing through the polarities of left and right
in an effort to find a
new, third way, we've been
desperate to find partners for that quest," he said. "It's with great joy and
promise that we partner with the leaders of S3K to talk about the future and
(Shawn Landres & Tony Jones, Jan 3, 2006)
Emergent Christian, Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Meeting
(S3K) and Emergent will host a groundbreaking meeting to connect
pioneering Jewish and Christian leaders from dynamic and
on January 16-17, 2006. ...emerging leaders from across America
will share experiences and exchange ideas about
reinventing the meaning and
practice of community in
their respective faith traditions, especially for
unaffiliated Christians and Jews....
Emergent Christian theologian
has met with S3K three times to discuss recent trends among
younger Christians and Jews. 'We have so much
on so many levels,' he noted. 'We
face similar problems in the present, we have
common hopes for the future,
and we draw from shared
resources in our heritage.
I'm thrilled with the possibility of developing friendship and
collaboration in ways that help
God's dreams come true
for our synagogues, churches, and
Emergent Jewish &
Christian Leaders to Meet
British Prime Minister Tony Blair put a
nice, politically correct spin on this global management network:
"...our job is to help people with
that change. Not to resist it, and so suffocate opportunity. But
not just to let change happen, regardless of the consequence.
Our approach, what I call the Third Way, is to
manage that process of change to extend opportunity and
prosperity for all. To find a way which provides for efficiency
in the knowledge economy, and ensuring that everyone feels its
benefit.... We have to democratize the new economy." [See
Reinventing the World]
Third Way Goes from Here Tony Blair: "...the
Third Way to me consisted of four distinctive stances: each takes
progressive politics decisively beyond the old dividing lines
between left and right.
on the economy, acceptance of fiscal and market disciplines
together with investment in human capital, science and knowledge
transfer – in other words ‘flexibility plus’ to cope with market
civic society, a rights and responsibilities approach based
on conditionality in welfare, strong on law and order, but also
social programmes to address the causes of crime;
public services, investment to secure equality of
opportunity, but also restructuring and reform to build more
diverse, individually tailored services built around the needs of
the modern consumer ...
in foreign policy, robust on defence, but international in
outlook: pursuing a broad agenda of engagement with the aim of
building a new global partnership based on shared values. These
ideas enabled us to espouse positions that in the past the Left had
wrongly regarded as impossible to reconcile: patriotism and
internationalism, rights and responsibilities, the promotion of
enterprise and the attack on poverty and social injustice.
This is not to say that there are no hard choices to be made in
public policy, but that we need to move beyond rigid ideas and old
Club of Rome,
an elite think-tank (David Rockefeller, Gorbachev, etc.)
exposed this scheme in its
First Global Revolution:
searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the
threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill..." The
First Global Revolution,
Club of Rome,
an elite think-tank (David Rockefeller, Gorbachev, etc.) working with the UN.
[See Green Lies and
THE European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the European Union can
lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures,
sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European
precedents on civil liberties." Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "Euro-court outlaws criticism of EU,
"He has already been on the front cover of Time and been endorsed by
Oprah. His recent book, The Audacity of Hope, reached number one on the
New York Times bestseller list....
his mid-twenties, Obama left Chicago to enter the bastion of America's establishment,
Harvard Law School.... Having graduated, he returned to Chicago to work as a
civil rights lawyer, and to lecture at the University of Chicago....
further factors are crucial: his consensual style and his public use
of faith.... He goes to great lengths to show that he has considered respectfully
the ideas of his opponents, and tried hard to find such common ground
as exists. In this he shares a talent with both Bill Clinton and Tony Blair....
calls for liberals to articulate a new moral vision, and to do so unfearful of faith, boil down to little more than a type of reheated
When Obama writes that Americans are troubled because 'they want a sense of
purpose, a narrative arc to their lives,' he sounds rather like
communitarian philosopher. Obama, in common with such
thinkers, wants a full vision of the good life to animate our understanding
of politics. This is easier said than done."
Encyclopedia of Philosopy]:
"Drawing primarily upon the insights of Aristotle and Hegel, political philosophers such as
Alasdair MacIntyre...disputed Rawls' assumption that the principal task of government is to secure and distribute fairly the liberties and economic resources individuals need to lead freely chosen lives. These critics of liberal theory never did identify themselves with the
communitarian movement (the communitarian label was pinned on them by others, usually critics), much less offer a grand communitarian theory as a systematic alternative to liberalism. Nonetheless, certain core arguments meant to contrast with
liberalism's devaluation of community recur in the works of the four theorists named above....
1. Universalism Versus Particularism:
"Communitarians have sought to deflate the universal pretensions of liberal theory.
... Whereas Rawls seemed to present his theory of justice as universally true,
communitarians argued that the standards of justice must be found in forms of life and traditions of particular societies and hence can vary from context to context...
3. The Politics of Community:
"...many communitarians seem worried by a perception that traditional liberal institutions and practices have contributed to, or at least do not seem up to the task of dealing with, such modern phenomena as alienation from the political process, unbridled greed, loneliness, urban crime, and high divorce rates. And given the seriousness of these problems in the United States, it was perhaps inevitable that a second wave of 1990s
communitarians such as Amitai Etzioni and William Galston would turn to the more practical political terrain of
emphasizing social responsibility and promoting policies meant to stem the erosion of communal life in an increasingly fragmented society....
"Much of this thinking has been carried out in the flagship communitarian periodical,
The Responsive Community, which is edited by Amitai Etzioni
.... Etzioni is also the director of a think-tank, Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, that produces working papers and
advises government officials in Washington....
"Such political communitarians blame both the left and the right for our current malaise. The political left is chastised not just for supporting welfare rights economically unsustainable in an era of slow growth and aging populations, but also for shifting power away from local communities and democratic institutions..."
(London: Demos, 2000)
Obama, Warren, and the "Covenant for a New America"
Community Policing | Communitarianism