Quotes and Excerpts


Excerpts from:

The Communitarian Network: Preamble


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." [page 24]

"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...


Within History
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 enterprise.

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 human experience.

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 character formation....

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 humankind.

See also See also Training students to rethink God's Word

Charles Haynes & Communitarianism | Facilitating permanent social change

Using Dissatisfaction (a crisis) for social transformation

Catchword For Bush Ideology: 'Communitarianism' Finds Favor

Facilitating permanent social change