This book exposes a very real threat to America's future--a threat far more serious than any foreign enemy could ever pose. The most serious danger that the United States now faces, says William Damon, is that our country's future may end up in the hands of a citizenry incapable of sustaining the liberty that has been America's most precious legacy. In Failing Liberty 101, he argues that we are failing to prepare today's young people to be responsible American citizens--to the detriment of their life prospects and those of liberty in the United States of the future. He identifies the problems--the declines in civic purpose and patriotism, crises of faith, cynicism, self-absorption, ignorance, indifference to the common good--and shows that our disregard of civic and moral virtue as an educational priority is having a tangible effect on the attitudes, understanding, and behavior of large portions of the youth population in our country today. The author places the blame squarely on today's grown-up generation of parents, educators, opinion leaders, and public officials for failing to prepare young Americans properly for futures as citizens in a free society. He explains why, unless we begin to pay attention and meet our challenge as stewards of a priceless heritage, our nation and the future prospects of all individuals dwelling here in years to come will suffer, moving away from liberty and towards despotism--and this movement will be both inevitable and astonishingly quick.
William Damon is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, and a professor of education at Stanford University. Damon's current research explores how young people develop character and a sense of moral purpose in work, family, and community relationships. He also examines how young people can approach careers with an emphasis on creative innovation, excellence, and social responsibility.