[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]


   8-13-95. Sunday NYPaper:

   "Bigger Than the Family, Smaller Than the State: Are
   voluntary groups what make countries work?" [Book review]

      Mr. Fukuyama has shifted his attention from the state to
      society; the result is a fascinating and frustrating
      book, "Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of
      Prosperity." We have settled on the structure of the
      state, he writes, but "liberal political and economic
      institutions depend on a healthy and dynamic civil
      society for their vitality."

      In the world of ideas, civil society is hot. It is
      almost impossible to read an article on foreign or
      domestic politics without coming across some mention of
      the concept. And "civil society" has bipartisan appeal;
      from Hillary Rodham Clinton to Pat Buchanan, politicians
      of all stripes routinely sing its praises.

      Behind much of the new interest in civil society, on the
      part of communitarians as well as social conservatives,
      is the idea that culture and society shape the nature of
      government. But the space between the realm of
      government and that of the family can be filled with all
      kinds of associations, liberal and illiberal. Historians
      have amply laid out how the Nazi Party made its first
      inroads through infiltrating local groups. On a less
      extreme note, many of the small groups that have formed
      in America over the last two decades have been
      thoroughly illiberal in spirit: victims' groups that
      have discouraged individual responsibility, minority
      clubs that have Balkanized the campus and the workplace,
      pseudoreligious cults with violent agendas. Not all of
      civil society is civic minded.

      A report on Timothy J. McVeigh's civil life noted that
      Mr. McVeigh and Terry and James Nichols, would go
      bowling and plan their future. But perhaps we would all
      have been better off if Mr. McVeigh had gone bowling

   YOM_ama (about 14K)