The New Golden Rule

Amitai Etzioni, Author Basic Books $27.5 (336p) ISBN 978-0-465-05297-4
A leading communitarian thinker, sociologist Etzioni contends Americans have overemphasized individual rights in recent years. In his searching treatise, he seeks to restore an equilibrium between personal liberty and the common good, urging the diverse strands of America's social fabric to come together, to commit to a core of shared values that will help renew the family, schools and public institutions. Arguing that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand, he champions the two-parent family, national service involving voluntary participation in agencies such as the Peace Corps and Vista, a nationally standardized public school curriculum, community courts as alternatives to the official judicial system, schools as character-building agents and devolving federal functions to voluntary associations and other community bodies. Challenging liberals and conservatives alike, Etzioni, a professor at George Washington University, cuts through a welter of issues, from bicultural education to curbing alcohol abuse, in this timely contribution to the debate over what constitutes a good society. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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