The quest for community will not be denied, for it springs from some of the powerful needs of human nature—needs for a clear sense of cultural purpose, membership, status, and continuity." As sociologist and AEI scholar Robert Nisbet argued in The Quest for Community (Oxford University Press, 1953), twentieth-century American liberalism elevated the centralized national state as the source of community-mindedness for Americans, at the same time undermining the roles traditionally played by family, neighborhood, voluntary association, and other traditional groups. With a new president pledging to bring us together as one great, postpartisan national community, it is clear that Nisbet’s description of liberalism is still accurate. How can conservatism respond to this challenge and begin to revitalize some of the more traditional sources of community in America? William Schambra, senior fellow and director of the Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, will deliver the December Bradley Lecture at AEI.
William Schambra is the director of the Hudson Institute's Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal. Prior to joining the Hudson Institute in 2003, Mr. Schambra was director of programs at the Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before joining the foundation in 1992, he served as a senior adviser and chief speechwriter for Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Office of Personnel Management director Constance Horner, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan. He was also director of social policy programs for AEI and codirector of AEI's "A Decade of Study of the Constitution." From 1984 to 1990, Mr. Schambra served as a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, to which he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. From 2003 to 2006, he served on the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. He has written extensively on the Constitution, the theory and practice of civic revitalization, and civil society in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, Policy Review, Christian Science Monitor, Nonprofit Quarterly, Philanthropy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Crisis and is the editor of several volumes, including As Far as Republican Principles Will Admit: Collected Essays of Martin Diamond (AEI Press, 1992).