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Strengthening Civil Society

America is not only a political society. It is also a civil society, in which other institutions play a critical role in strengthening our democracy and our communities.

Yet our civil society faces threats to some of its values and its institutions, and to its ability to play a full role. A failing immigration policy, for instance, means that millions of people are living here illegally or are otherwise not assimilated into our society. That undermines the rule of law and balkanizes America. The failings of our education system means many young people leave school without an appreciation of our civil society and political democracy, or even a basic education, and so are unable to function as full citizens who understand America’s civil and political institutions. And two bedrock institutions are under threat—marriage and religion—not just because of a decline in the general appreciation of those institutions but, alarmingly, because of direct legal and political challenges.

America’s civil society institutions are central to the success and welfare of America.We must take steps to preserve and strengthen them.