This week on Givers, Doers, & Thinkers, Jeremy speaks with Howard Husock.
Howard is a Senior Executive Fellow for The Philanthropy Roundtable and an adjunct scholar in Domestic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Previously, he was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where he served as vice president for research and publications from 2006-2019. He directed the Institute’s Tocqueville Project, which includes the annual Civil Society Awards and the Civil Society Fellows Program. He is also the author of Who Killed Civil Society? The Rise of Big Government and Decline of Bourgeois Norms.
Jeremy and Howard discuss the distinction between norms and material provisions—and why norms are more important for individual flourishing than provisions to scale societal impact. Howard points out that the strength of our civil society has ebbed as the breadth and character of our government have expanded. He emphasizes that he is not anti-government, but there are several things government does not do well that undermine civil society. When the government gets involved, it typically attempts to fix the problem instead of preventing the problem, which Howard sees as reformative rather than formative. Howard also shares wonderful stories of the unsung heroes who have strengthened American civil society in the past and most recently since the coronavirus pandemic. And he beautifully reminds us: “Civil society is its own reward.”
During this week’s practicalities segment, Jeremy chats with American Philanthropic managing consultant Scott Rubush about crafting persuasive messaging for your donors. The assumption that donors are primarily rational decision-makers, Scott explains, is debunked, and he'll have you reaching for some David Hume.
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