The Public Interest

Moral reform— learning from the past

Joel Schwartz

Spring 1998

A HALLMARK of contemporary conservative thought is that poverty can be reduced most effectively or even only through character training and the creation of moral communities. Thus it is argued that poverty will be lessened only to the extent that a work ethic is inculcated among inner-city residents and stable, two-parent married families again become the norm there. In short, individual attitudes and behavior will need to be transformed; and that transformation is most likely to be accomplished not by government programs but by private, faith-based charities.

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