A Communitarian Position on Character Education
Bringing in A New Era in Character Education, William Damon, ed., Hoover Institution Press, 2002
15 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2012
Date Written: 2002
America’s moral and social fabric is weakening. Too often we demand rights without assuming responsibilities, pursue entitlements while shying away from obligations. More broadly, as the increase in antisocial behavior over the last decades indicates, we have lost our commitment to values we all share and next to no new ones have arisen to replace those that were lost.
We should not treat violence, drug abuse, illegitimacy, promiscuity, abusive attitudes towards people of different backgrounds, alcoholism, poor academic performance, and other social maladies as isolated phenomena. They reflect several social factors but key among them is weakness of character, the inability to resist temptation and adhere to pro-social values.
Communitarians maintain that values do not fly on their own wings. To shore up our moral foundations attention must be paid to the social institutions that undergird our values. These include the family, schools, the community (including voluntary associations and places of worship) and society (as a community of communities).
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