American Values Decline by Dr. William M. Fox (PDF download)
Original Soft Cover Edition Summary:
Our individual futures, as well as the future of our nation, will be strongly influenced by our understanding of the power of values for good or bad, and what we can do to nurture the right ones in ourselves and in others - in family life, in our schools, in political leadership, in the administration of justice, in domestic and international business, and in other aspects of our daily lives.
This book presents compelling evidence as to why certain values are more productive than others - for us as individuals, and for society as a whole. It shows how these values have made our nation great, and how they are compatible with the rules for productive living of most of the religions of the world. It shows how they are shaped from birth by both heredity and environment - for good and bad - and what we can do to enhance or negate these effects. It documents the problems that have been created by a moral decline in America, and presents proven means for reversing the situation.
About the Author Dr. Fox received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan and his doctorate from Ohio State. He is a consultant in the areas of motivation, group problem solving, performance appraisal, and supervisory skills training. He retired as a Professor Emeritus of organizational behavior and management at the Graduate School of Business Administration of the University of Florida. He is a member of the Society For Organizational And Industrial Psychology and a Fellow in the Academy of Management. He was a Fulbright Lecturer in management and organization theory at the Finnish School of Economics and the Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki, he studied Japanese management as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at Kyoto University, and was a Principal Investigator for leadership research that was supported by the Office of Naval Research. In addition to having published several books, he has published numerous articles and has been a consultant to many organizations.
American Values Decline
Summary by America First Books Editor: This book approaches America's declining ethical behavior from a moderate conservative, grass roots perspective. The real power of this book comes from the hard work that went into collecting and collating insights from social science literature and mainstream news media. It tries to honestly report and interpret the facts. In today's America, even that can be pretty radical.
The book is filled with insights on ways to help repair various edges of our badly fraying society on a local level. On a broader philosophical level, it addresses the kinds of common alues that many different types of societies and cultures have found to be productive. It introduces the reader to ways in which the nature vs. nurture controversy impacts on ethical issues. It also delves into the real social costs of single parenting. It looks at ways to foster responsible conception, examines the concept of the "criminal personality," and probes many other issues typically neglected by conservative literature.
There are many gems of insight spread throughout this work that should be of interest for individuals on all ends of the political spectrum who are genuinely concerned about America's decline.
Larry Moore of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin: "All members at all levels in the criminal justice system should read this book because it offers a very frank approach to many of the problems that American society faces today."
Cindy Penn of The Midwest Book Review: "William Fox's extraordinary book. . .is a must read for every American . . . I found myself quickly caught up in Fox's prose as he lays out the historical and cultural ramification of values. His examples are concrete, with thought provoking ideas that quickly inspired me to consider my own situation, family and work world."
Rebecca of Rebecca@Seasoned with Love.com: "The author shows great attention to detail, a great capacity for thought and knowledge and gives the re der confidence he knows whereof he speaks . . .I enjoyed the fully developed points, the new perspectives and solutions presented. There is hardly a page where I have not highlighted an important fact or well thought out conclusion."
Carolyn Fouts, Ph.D., LMHC: "This is an extraordinary book . . . a trumpet call to individuals who professionally interact with clients of all ages."
Marc of Bookreview Cafe: "Anyone who cares about our Western society should read this book."
Dr. Clarence Boonstra, Career Minister, U.S. Department of State: "A very good handbook for compassionate convervatives."
The Gainesville Sun: "[Fox] examines various means to nurture stronger values in ourselves and others . . . His explorations and conclusions provide the grist for productive debate."
Below are reviews of the earlier American Values in Decline edition that have been posted at Amazon:
Link to Amazon reviews HERE.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Star Rating: Empowering, January 13, 2002
By Sample Reviewer One
The future of a nation and our individual futures are going to be influenced by values. In this multifaceted manuscript, William Fox identifies and documents core values in a unique way. The Index is also extensive and notes have been made for further research. Dr. Fox is a member of the Society For Organizational And Industrial Psychology.
"Above all, we value our freedom, but it cannot survive for long without self-restraint that is guided by shared values." -pg. 24
The author shows great attention to detail, a great capacity for thought and knowledge and gives the reader confidence he knows whereof he speaks. When I looked through the contents pages, I knew this was going to be an intellectually breathtaking read. The main chapters focus on:
Why Certain Core Values are Essential to our Well-Being
The Compatibility of our Core Values with those of Various Religions
Why Our Core Values are being Subverted
How we Acquire Values
The Role of Values in Behavior
How to Nurture Core Values in Ourselves and Others
Core Values in Our Schools
The Need for Nurturing Core Values in Political Leadership
Core Values in the Administration of Justice
Core Values in Business
In each chapter, William Fox presents his ideas along with historical facts, quotes and recent statistics. Not only does he present the conclusions, he presents a way to take the core values and weave them into society in a constructive manner.
While some argue there are no legitimate behavioral absolutes and others argue there is a sacred source which provides absolute guidelines, the author says: "Ethical reality can be complex." Life is filled with ethical dilemmas. Instead of "always" answering the questions, he does at times present the facts and lets the reader come to a conclusion.
"It is simplistic to assume that doing what is right is merely the result of knowing what is right-various factors interact to cause ethical behavior. Among these are situational factors. They are potent, but not all-controlling. Mature logic and the strongly held values that comprise a healthy conscience and feelings of self-efficacy can negate or facilitate compliance with negative external pressures..." pg. 83
The basic theme is how we can use the core values to make the future better. He takes a look at the core values from our founding fathers, why some people are predisposed at birth toward inappropriate behavior, why core values from various religions and cross-cultural sources are compatible and what we can do to enhance ethical behavior in business, politics, the welfare system, criminal-justice system and schools.
Do you take duty, honesty, integrity and being responsible seriously? Can we live our life in a manner that is not harmful to others? The second chapter is was very interesting as it shows how core values in various religions compare with America's core values and how all religions are moving towards agreement in many areas. Maybe they are just becoming more apparent.
I enjoyed the fully developed points, the new perspectives and solutions presented. There is hardly a page where I have not highlighted an important fact or a well thought out conclusion. This book documents some of the problems created by moral decline and then presents a way to reverse the situation.
American Values in Decline, America's Real War by Daniel Lapin and The American Paradox by David G. Myers are all books that present real solutions for America. They show where we have been, where we are and where we all want to go!
Towards a brighter future!
3 of 5 Star Rating: Why there are editors for books, December 13, 2001
By Sample Reviewer Two
Mr. Fox has done a good job of researching facts, figures and trends that support his contention that American values are in a decline, and that there are concrete things we can do as a society to reverse that trend.
Unfortunately, Mr. Fox didn't appear to have the benefit of a good editor to craft this work into a fine book. This is a shame, because the author worked very hard to research his points, and he documents them all with many references and notes.
Fox culls data from famous psychology experiments, compares crime rates during the Depression to our times versus the relative amount of poverty, the increase in illegitimacy, the acceptance of illiteracy as a product of public schools. He comments on the anti-intellectual thuggery that inner city students experience, the strong approval of voucher systems by inner city parents who can get them, and many more factors that contribute or illustrate the decline.
Fox comes up with the not-earthshaking conclusion that boys need their dads, kids need good schools and that poverty alone does not generate criminals. Nothing you haven't heard on Dr. Laura or from Larry Elder, but it is supported here by a lot of data.
His arguments would have had more impact in this book with better editing. This book is valuable, however, as a resource because of its extensive notes. It would be a good reference book for anyone writing essays on the subject of American values.
4.5 of 5 Star Rating: Very relevant - Every concerned citizen should read this, April 4, 2003
By Sample Reviewer Three
I am in agreement with Mr. Fox in feeling that it was our system of values not our affluence which made this country the most moral and most free society this world has ever seen. And like Mr Fox, I feel these values are either dead or in the process of decay. This frightens me tremendously not for myself but for future generations.
Altruistic behavior, the putting aside concern for oneself, for the welfare of society as a whole is essential for the survival of a democratic country. You do not have victorious citizen armies if the individual soldiers are more concerned with their own survival than the victory of their country. There are numerous other examples, of how the stability and even the survival of this country was dependent upon people having more concern for society than themselves. Mr. Fox contends that the development of these behaviors is a product of a set of values. Many may dispute this claim. The modern-day theorists state that it is poverty not values which hinders a person from developing into a contributing member of society. This modern-day ethos is based upon a contradiction, the application of which has undermined the stability of our society. It states that once people are given material possessions, they will enjoy them so much that they will want to do what is necessary to not only maintain them, but acquire more. The contradiction is, if a person is primarily driven by a desire for material possessions or recognition, there exists no basis for him/her to choose to do the moral thing when doing so would cost him money and social acceptance. This was pointedly brought home to me when I was helping at my daughter's high school. The teacher was emphasizing the need to get a good education in order to secure a well-paying job. One of the girls in the class, who lived in the projects, laughed out loud and then said, "Well, I ain't worried about studying. I can sell drugs and make more money in a week than you can in a year." It's true that in poverty-stricken societies where people daily struggle against starvation, there are few principles other than physical survival. But this is an extremely rare situation in the United States. In the projects, we see color television sets, VCR's, and stereo systems. This is not a segment of society facing starvation. Once a certain base level of material needs has been met, the satisfaction from possessions comes not from the possessions themselves, but from the acceptance or adulation that they elicit from other members of society. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is not representative of real material needs, but of a psychological need to feel as important as other people. It is a need, for better for worse, that links us to other people. It is insatiable and often times addictive. It explains the existence of white-collar crime which the aforementioned modern-day panecea can not. Corporate CEO's who already have an abundance of wealth steal from their workers so that they can acquire wealth far beyond what is needed for their physical survival. All of this illustrates that affluence is not even a basis for people not resorting to crime and definitely not a basis for the altruistic behavior that is necessary for a democracy to survive.
Some people accept the proposition that it is values not affluence that is important in producing contributing citizens, but still dispute a decline of values. They point to the advances which both women and minorities have gained over the past few decades. I applaud these gains, but unfortunately they are offset by a multitude of negatives forces growing in America. We have become a nation where more and m re children are born out-of-wedlock and thus more and more children will never know a father's commitment to their lives. This is not limited to the inner-city children of the projects, but is now commonplace in the middle class. The modern-day sociologist had at one time attributed the erosion of the family in the projects as a product of their poverty. As the whole of society has become more affluent, the problem has grown in all social classes. Another example of how affluence is not the solution. We have become a nation that can not find the money to provide a living wage to its teachers, its police, its social workers, but we can find the money to make multimillionaires of those who entertain or excite us. We have become a nation that has more leisure time and more money than our ancestors and yet we show less responsibility for the care of our elderly relatives, we shut them away in nursing homes where their needs and decaying bodies impose little sacrifice upon us. We have become a nation where violence and drugs and sexual promiscuity has become a prevalent part of the lifestyles of children and adults in all classes of society. We have become a nation increasingly dependent upon the importation of our intellectuals because we are gradually producing less within our own borders. This is not the society that our founding fathers envisioned nor is it one that will have the self-discipline not to succumb to leaders who will promise us something for nothing, the self-discipline to willingly sacrifice ourselves and our pleasures for the welfare of future generations.
Approximately 250 years ago, a remarkable and beautiful experiment was reignited. That experiment was called democracy. It was not based, as many would like us to believe, upon the pursuit of material possessions or self-fufillment or the freedom to do whatever excited a person. It was based upon the belief that humanity's destiny lay in the pursuit of the moral life. Mr. Fox offers a plethora of sound solutions to halt the decline of our society and restore the ethics which made us value one another more than we value material possessions, or power, or transitory sensual pleasures.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Star Rating: Our Nation's Urgent Need to Reconnect with Basic Values, April 24, 2002
By Sample Reviewer Four
Many readers may not fully agree with Fox in terms of the nature and extent of the decline of "American values." Most will agree, however that certain basic values -- affirmed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and especially in the Bill of Rights -- have been under severe attack in recent years as our nation continues its struggle to meet global obligations while responding appropriately to domestic problems. Specifically, problems such as those caused by illiteracy, immorality, poverty, hunger, violent crime, fraud, and loss of faith in various institutions such as government at federal and state levels, law enforcement, the legal system, and even religious denominations such as the Roman Catholic Church). Since "9/11," there has been widespread disagreement about how to wage an effective "war" on terrorism (especially in the U.S.) while protecting human rights, even of non-citizens whose loyalty to our nation may be suspect.
In this volume, Fox addresses questions such as these: Why are certain core values essential to our personal as well as national well-being? Are these secular values ompatible with the values of various religious faiths? How and by whom have so many of these values been subverted or at least threatened? Why? And why are these values so vulnerable to subversion? To what extent (if any) should the values in our schools the the same values of our community and nation? Why? Why has there been a decline of basic values in the American political system? What must be done to restore their primacy? Also, why has there been a decline of basic values in the American legal system? What must be done to restore their primacy? Obviously, these are important questions to pose. Whether or not readers fully agree with Fox's responses to them is, I think, much less important than the fact that his responses force us to consider, better yet reconsider what we may now think about prevailing, indeed dominant values as the new century proceeds.
One of my greatest concerns, one with which Fox may agree, is that there has also been a serious decline of the quality of discussion of American values. This is perhaps most evident when viewing network and local newscasts, various "talk shows," and even single-subject "specials." More often than not, immensely complicated issues are addressed with sound bites, simplistic explanations, and self-serving posturing. I fear that we are now at a point in our nation's history when it is politically incorrect to tell the emperor that he not only has no new clothes but, worse yet, he is stark naked.
What to do about all this? Fox offers his own quite specific, indeed eloquent suggestions. Each is worthy of careful consideration. If you disagree, fair enough. Long ago, Voltaire suggested "We should cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it....(for all time or without adequate current, objective substantiation)." Our search for truth must continue. Fox insists (and I agree) that, en route, our journey must be guided and informed by certain values which are even more important now than when they guided and informed the creation of a new nation. Those basic values have not declined; rather, we have neglected, ignored, or compromised them...and as a nation, we have lost our way. Other nations look to ours for leadership. Literally, we are what we believe. Therefore, our effectiveness as a global leader as well as our health as a society will be wholly determined by the same moral and ethical infrastructure. "We hold these truths to be self-evident...." and always must.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Star Rating: Thought provoking - Very highly recommended, January 23, 2002
By Sample Reviewer Five
William M. Fox presents an overview of the values Americans hold in common and what we can do to nurture them in ourselves and others in AMERICAN VALUES IN DECLINE: WHAT WE CAN DO. In a book rich with historical context, modern examples, and elaborate documentation, Fox examines the core values that bind our great nation together and the results of the current erosion to those values. More importantly, he provides thought provoking ideas and proven examples for reversing the moral decline in America.
Such values as honesty, freedom to inquire, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, justice and respect for human dignity were the core values handed down from the founders of our nation. Unfortunately, duty, honesty, integrity and responsibility are currently being replaced by predatory and self-destructive behaviors and the long-term inability to support oneself. Saving for the future has been replaced by the need for immediate gratification. Extended families have been replaced by broken ho es, absent fathers, and single-mothers. The consequence of the breakdown of values is a dependency and lawlessness our country cannot afford.
Fox argues that despite the melting pot of ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and political affiliations, commitment to certain core values binds the people of the United States together. Our current shift from a nation with a common destiny to the individualistic satisfaction of desires has resulted in a decline that threatens the basic foundations of our nation. Individual rights do not negate individual responsibility. Handouts should be replaced with opportunities for learning self-sufficiency. Ethical and legal judgments must be made with common sense and could of society in mind.
William Fox's extraordinary book AMERICAN VALUES IN DECLINE: WHAT WE CAN DO is a must read for every American. While I don't necessarily agree with every solution, for example paying young girls to not get pregnant, his ideas and examples of what already works make for a thought provoking and intriguing discussion. While Fox's treatise is not the type of reading I usually enjoy, I found myself quickly caught up in Fox's prose as he lays out the historical and cultural ramification of values. His examples are concrete, with thought provoking ideas that quickly inspired me to consider my own situation, family and work world. Remarkably approachable, AMERICAN VALUES IN DECLINE: WHAT WE CAN DO comes very highly recommended.
Second soft cover edition (revision and expansion of earlier American Values in Decline), 2005; 438 pages (including notes and index)
Offered by America First Books as an ebook. (The review below is by William B. Fox)
Permissions: Full permissions. Printing and copying allowed
eBook format: Adobe PDF
eBook features: Sight-checked against original soft cover copy. Contains navigational hyperlinks and all original content, such as diagrams, footnotes, and index.
American Values Decline