On Character
Essays by James Q. Wilson, Expanded Edition

James Q. Wilson is the former president of the American Political Science Association and adviser to four presidents on issues related to crime, drug abuse, education and other crises of American cutlure. In this book he has produced a provocative series of essays related to character development and character policy that sets this important area in perspective. He brings his argument into clear focus by negating that public discussion of character is a conservative pasttime. Rather, the development of character is our collective responsibility. The public interest depends on private virtue.

Wilson argues throughout these essays that to have good character one needs to have at least developed a sense of empathy and self control. In various chapters he writes about crime, families, communities and schooling with those two traits--empathy and self-control--as a basis. He presents the current crises of our community in clear perspective: how much can society tolerate? what is the role of the police? the family? what is a moral virtue? Wilson concludes with an argument that all humans have an inborn "moral sense". We are, after all, social beings, dependent on each other and we have an obligation to each other to develop that moral sense if we care about each other. This is a well written, reasoned book by a wise and experienced expert.

James Q. Wilson is a professor of management at the University of California-Los Angeles.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Calling treason by its name: A conversation with Liam Fox

Join us at AEI as the Right Honorable Liam Fox sits down with Marc Thiessen to discuss and debate whether America’s intelligence agencies have infringed on the personal privacy of US citizens.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead

How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.

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