Our Problem of Moral Community: Lessons from the Teachings of Herbert Storing

Harry M. Clor, Political Science Reviewer 29 (2000).


With a view to the enterprise (both inspiring and daunting) of writing about the achievement of my teacher, it becomes necessary to raise the question, In the final analysis, what is the essence or core of Herbert Storing’s work? The question is hard to answer conclusively because of the great variety of his subjects of inquiry and because of the subtlety with which he handled each one. It seems to me however that if one had to identify a single predominant theme, the passage I’ve quoted is as good as any. Storing was an educator deeply concerned with the “moral foundation” of the American polity. He was deeply interested in our problem of “moral community” (as he often called it) from perspectives both theoretical and practical. He wanted to help us think seriously about the problems for the sake of our understanding, and he wanted to help us search for practical, institutional means of maintaining the civic bond against our national predilection for individualistic privatism. He was also a liberal educator whose career is wonderful testimony for his emphatic claim that liberal and civic education need not be in conflict and that, when appropriately pursued, the latter can promote the former.

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