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William J. Bennett
1943 -

U.S. Secretary of Education under President Reagan 1985-89, and Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bush 1989-90, author of The Book of Virtues (1993)

Books by William J. Bennett
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The Book of Virtues : A Treasury of Great Moral Stories (1993)
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The Broken Hearth : Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family (2001)
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The Educated Child : A Parent's Guide from Preschool Through Eighth Grade (1999)
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The Moral Compass : Stories for a Life's Journey (1996)
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Discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional, inherently wrong, and destructive of democratic society.

1979 - from Counting by Race, written with Terry Eastland
Those who fight the good fight and win need to be brave only once. Those who lose must show courage twice. So we must steel ourselves for harder things than triumph.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
Others may try to feed our ego, but it is up to us to constrain it.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
This is a free country. Within very broad limits, people may live as they wish. And yet, we believe that some ways of living are better than others. Better because they bring more meaning to our lives, to the lives of others, and to our fragile fallible human condition. Marriage and parenthood should be held up because between husband and wife and in fatherhood and motherhood come blessings that cannot be won in any other way.

Aug. 19, 1992 - from a speech to the Republican National Convention
Education is, after all, a serious business. Its lifeblood is standards. If there are no standards, how do we call something higher education?

Oct. 01, 1990 - from a speech at the University of Notre Dame
We must develop a fair appreciation for the real strengths and limitations of government effort on behalf of children. Government, obviously, cannot fill a child's emotional needs. Nor can it fill his spiritual and moral needs. Government is not a father or mother. Government has never raised a child, and it never will.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from a speech at the University of Notre Dame
It is bad enough that so much of what passes for art and entertainment these days is the rampant promiscuity and the casual cruelty of our popular culture. To ask us to pay for it is to add insult to injury. We will not be intimidated by our cultural guardians into accepting either the insult or the injury.

Aug. 19, 1992 - rom a speech to the Republican National Convention
Democracy presupposes the virtue of its individual citizens.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
...many bad ideas are being put into widespread circulation. It is said that private character has virtually no impact on governing character... that moral authority is defined solely by how well a president deals with public policy matters; ...that lies about sex, even under oath, don't really matter; that we shouldn't be 'judgmental'; that it is inappropriate to make preliminary judgments about the president's conduct because he [wasn't] found guilty in a court of law; and so forth. If these arguments... become the coin of the public realm we will have validated them, and we will come to rue the day we did. These arguments define us down; they assume a lower common denominator of behavior and leadership than we ... ought to accept. And if we do accept it, we will have committed an unthinking act of moral and intellectual disarmament. In the realm of ... ideals and the great tradition of public debate, the high ground will have been lost. ...the arguments invoked by Bill Clinton and his defenders represent an assault on American ideals.

Oct. 01, 1998 - from Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals
Some find it fashionable to ridicule [Alfred Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigage] as a glorification of war and apean to those who blindly, and stupidly, follow orders. But the fact is that there are times when obedient acts of self-sacrifice and courage merit both admiration and profound gratitude.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
... responsibilities are the source of rights.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
Civilized society must give public affirmation to principles and standards, categorical norms, notions of right and wrong. Even though public figures often fall short of these standards -- and we know and we expect some will -- it is nevertheless crucial that we pay tribute to them.

Oct. 01, 1998 - from Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals
True courage is mixed with circumspection, the kind of healthy skepticism that asks, "Is this the best way to do this?" True cowardice is marked by chronic skepticism, which always says, "It can't be done."

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
... the character of the state is determined by the virtue of its individual citizens.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
[Democratic self-government] demands active participation in, and finally, reasoned judgments on, important civic matters. 'Judgment' is a word that is out of favor these days, but it remains a cornerstone of democratic self-government. It is what enables us to hold ourselves, and our leaders, to high standards. It is how we distinguish between right and wrong, noble and base, honor and dishonor. We cannot ignore that responsibility, or foist it on others. It is the price -- sometimes the exacting price -- of citizenship in a democracy. The most popular arguments made by [President Clinton's] supporters invite us to abandon that participation, those standards, and the practice of making those distinctions.

Oct. 01, 1998 - from Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals
... truly great leaders do not disdain small responsibilities.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
... the essence of what we know as justice in civil affairs is people living up to their obligations to one another.

1993 - from The Book of Virtues
It is our character that supports the promise of our future - far more than particular government programs or policies.