By James Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson is one among America's preeminent public coverage students. for many years, he has analyzed the altering political and cultural panorama with readability and honesty, bringing his knowledge to endure on all features of yank executive and society. it is a number of fifteen of Wilson's so much insightful essays-drawing on thirty years of his observations on faith, crime, the media, terrorism and extremism, and the old school suggestion of "character." Readers of each political persuasion will come clear of this quantity with a brand new knowing of ways American politics and tradition have advanced during the last half-century. those essays aren't "the grumpy phrases of a conservative who cannot be reconciled to the realities of latest American life," Wilson writes. relatively, they're directly speak from a painstaking empiricist and consummate social scientist who believes in American exceptionalism. American Politics, Then & now could be a compelling portrait of a liked country.
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Additional info for American politics, then and now and other essays
Whether one describes as “fundamental” the changes in institutions and ideas that have accompanied the rise of modern government is in part a matter of style. Yet one must be impressed by the change in the dominant ethos of the times. The period 1890–1920 was the great era of institution building that produced voluntary associations, political parties, corporate enterprises, and congressional leadership, while the last decade or so has been an era that criticized, attacked, and partially dismantled institutions.
Similarly, conclusions about the effect of rehabilitation programs on offenders were most persuasive when they derived from measuring, not the criminal tendencies of persons who in the ordinary course of events might or might not have received some form of treatment, but the actual effect of a particular program on a random sample of persons compared to the effect of doing nothing to an equivalent random sample of offenders. Much of the debate about the original Coleman Report on schooling arose from the fact that it analyzed the natural variation in educational attainment among persons in existing schools.
The storm of controversy that report elicited is well known. Despite Moynihan’s efforts to keep the issue alive by publishing several essays on the welfare problem in America, the entire subject of singleparent families in particular and black families in general became an occasion for the exchange of mutual recriminations instead of a topic of scientific inquiry and policy entrepreneurship. Serious scholarly work, if it existed at all, was driven underground, and policymakers were at pains to avoid the matter except, occasionally, under the guise of “welfare reform,” which meant (if you were a liberal) raising the level of benefits or (if you were a conservative) cutting them.
American politics, then and now and other essays by James Q. Wilson