Civil Society Reconsidered: Little Platoons are Just the Beginning

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. "Civil Society Reconsidered: Little Platoons are Just the Beginning." The Weekly Standard, April 23, 2012.


In the conclusion to Coming Apart, after describing a society that is in even greater disarray (literally, coming apart) than we had supposed, Charles Murray holds out one hope for the future: “a civic Great Awakening.” Previous Great Awakenings in America had been religious. The new awakening would enlist the spirit of evangelicalism in the cause of civic revival, regenerating those aspects of life—family, vocation, community, and faith—essential to human happiness and to a healthy society. Murray has been hailed (in some circles berated) for making morality rather than economics responsible for the ominous divide in American society. Perhaps more important is the fact that he has put the idea of civil society (“civic life” or “civic culture,” as he more often calls it) back into circulation, making it central to “the American project.”


The Weekly Standard