In each chapter, a commentator of international prestige explores the meaning and implications of one of the defining principles of conservatism. Margaret Thatcher celebrates courage, particularly as it was displayed by President Reagan. Clarence Thomas reveals how his grandfather instilled character in the midst of poverty. Midge Decter reflects on the madness of a society that undermines the family. George Will explains the misunderstood meaning of republican leadership. Readers will come away from these witty and provocative essays seeing our foundational principles in a new way.
As James Q. Wilson points out in his essay on human nature, the facts of history suggest that the natural tendency of man is not toward democracy. And in our day, with freedom and self-government apparently in global ascendancy, Leadership for America is a useful reminder that democracy thrives only in societies whose people and institutions cultivate certain principles-courage, character, self-government, responsibility, family, enterprise, truth, patriotism, leadership, freedom, faith, the rule of law, strength, and competition.
"On the four cardinal virtues – courage, temperance, justice, and prudence – it is the last, prudence, that the ancient philosophers traditionally placed at the moral apex. They did so, because they understood, quite rightly, that without that practical, seemingly rather dull virtue, none of the others could be correctly applied."