Magazine November 25, 2019, Issue

The Power of Bourgeois Norms

Charles Loring Brace (Wikimedia Commons)
Who Killed Civil Society? The Rise of Big Government and Decline of Bourgeois Norms, by Howard A. Husock (Encounter Books, 176 pp., $23.99)

Recently we have seen a fierce backlash against those who dare to speak positively about bourgeois norms and culture. From the furor caused by a 2017 op-ed (“Paying the Price for Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture”) by Amy Wax and Larry Alexander in the Philadelphia Inquirer, to the negative reaction against Robert L. Woodson’s follow-on piece (“Black Americans Need Bourgeois Norms”) in the Wall Street Journal, liberals and progressives have rejected what were once widely agreed-upon cultural precepts: that you should, for example, finish high school, get married before having children, and respect the laws.

What accounts for the Left’s

This article appears as “The Power of Norms” in the November 25, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Andre M. Archie is an associate professor of ancient Greek philosophy at Colorado State University and the author of Politics in Socrates’ Alcibiades: A Philosophical Account of Plato’s Dialogue Alcibiades Major.

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