In 1977, AEI published a now-famous essay by Peter L. Berger and Richard John Neuhaus that examined the crucial importance of such "mediating structures" as family, church, and neighborhood to a healthy civil society. This new edition contains the original text of that essay, eleven new essays by distinguished social scientists that assess what has happened since, and a response by the original authors to the new essays.
The new and fruitful public policy approaches for the future, Peter Berger and Richard Neuhaus dared to suggest in 1977, do not lie in pursuing the lines of attack long beloved of both liberals and conservatives. They lie in taking up a fresh starting place and heading in a different direction.
Mr. Berger is professor of sociology at Boston University.
Mr. Neuhaus is president of the Institute on Religion and Public Life.
Michael Novak is the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at AEI.