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Failing Liberty 101: How We Are Leaving Young Americans Unprepared for Citizenship in a Free Society (Hoover Institution Press Publication) Hardcover – April 1, 2011

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ISBN-13: 978-0817913649 ISBN-10: 0817913645 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The conditions necessary for sustaining a free society are not well understood in today's popular culture. Liberty is understood to mean the freedom to pursue self-centered desires without restriction. . . . This stunted conception is reflected in many young American's notions about their privileges, rights, and obligations as citizens."--Chapter One, pg. 2

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To ensure a bright future for young people and the society they will inherit, every adult community must take seriously its responsibility to raise young people for lives of virtue We cannot expect our free society to long endure if large portions of its citizenry grow up ill-educated, oblivious, and never acquiring a concern for their responsibilities as American citizens—in short, if they fail to acquire any shred of civic virtue. Yet, says William Damon, at the present time, that is precisely the problem in America—we are failing to meet this obligation for major sectors of our youth. We have created this danger by neglecting to foster the civic virtues that motivate moral responsibility, civic participation, and personal sacrifice for the common good. In Failing Liberty 101, Damon shows that we must proactively prepare young people to live in a free society and to participate in the governance of that society—so that they and the generations after them will continue to enjoy access to all the freedoms that political liberty makes possible.

This book’s message is summed up in four assertions: (1) A free society requires, for it very survival, a citizenry devoted in large part to moral and civic virtue;( 2) When virtue loses its public footing, too few citizens accept the responsibilities necessary for sustaining liberty in that society;( 3) In the United States today, we are failing to pass along essential moral and civic virtues to large segments of our youth;( 4) Unless we rectify this failure by placing a higher priority on educating young Americans for lives of moral and civic virtue, the nation will move away from liberty and toward authoritarianism—inevitably and quickly, perhaps within the space of a generation.

If we understand the links between virtue and liberty with even a fraction of the insights that the founders of our democracy brought to bear on the matter, the author concludes, our responsibilities are clear. We must open our schools, our homes, and our popular culture to expressions of civic virtue that can inform and inspire the best life choices among our young people everywhere.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hoover Institution Press Publication (Book 611)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817913645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817913649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,606,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The subtitle claims an argument for "how" we are leaving young Americans unprepared, but this thin volume never moves beyond the claim. Most of what's here has been said by others over, well, the last hundred or so years here in the US. So. No new formulations that might give us useful working insights, and certainly nothing, not even one little clue, as to how we're supposed to get out of the mess we're in. I bought this in Kindle, and if I were rating the Kindle production, I'd give it a 1/2 star. Why didn't somebody attend to the formatting? Why not something that allows the reader to go from footnote to the reference page?
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jedediah Smith on July 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I agree with the first reviewer of this book. I find that it lacks clearer definition of what the author means when referring to the need to teach 'civic & moral virtue' to young people. What specifically is the author proposing ? These terms are vague.

I would like to see American history (rather than p.c. 'social studies') taught in the schools. All students should know & understand the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. They should debate both sides of the most important issues of the American past using documents & writings from those times. ("Democracy In America" by Tocqueville is a must.) What caused the American Revolution ? What were the issues ? What were the arguments of the Federalists and anti-Federalists during the time the Constitution was being drafted ? What about the Civil War; what were the issues ? Take the vital issues and events which shaped our nation and study/discuss them so students have a clear sense of where we are, from where we came. Its from such study of the past that students can get a sense of what is needed to preserve a democratic republic such as ours.
In addition, students should be taught logic and critical thinking. They should be taught how to evaluate an argument and to see through any logical fallacies presented to them. The should understand rhetoric - - the art of persuasion, and modern techniques of propaganda & manipulation so they have a defense against them.

All Americans need to understand the nature of this experiment in human liberty. Why did the students at Tiananmen Square build their own version of the Statue of Liberty and face down tanks ? How did American democratic ideas influence/inspire those students ? Have we lived up to our own ideas ? - - - Where do our freedoms come from ?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many of the points made in this book have been made before, but not in the context of how it is affecting the future of our country and the success of our children. I actually used this book as a tool to teach kids why apathy concerning our civil liberties is so dangerous.
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Failing Liberty 101: How We Are Leaving Young Americans Unprepared for Citizenship in a Free Society (Hoover Institution Press Publication)
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