Latest Posts





Going Forth on the Fourth

Putting on my sociological hat – which sits to the right of where most social science headgear sits atop others – I can list any number of reasons why many Americans have extra tall hurdles to leap.

To start there’s poverty.

Add extraordinary numbers of young people who are forced to grow up with missing parents.

While claims of racism and other forms of discrimination are regularly overstated, that doesn’t mean they’re never on-target.

Perverse peer pressures can be paralyzing academically and in other ways.

For people with weak skills, increasingly demanding job markets make earning a decent living and supporting a family increasingly difficult.

Many men and women are held back by bad health; sometimes physical illness, sometimes mental illness, sometimes both.

All true and more.  But as we begin America’s birthday weekend, I would argue that more debilitating than constrained opportunities are wasted ones, in what very much remains a land of opportunity.  Or as I like saying, a land of second and sometimes third chances.

One reason many people don’t seize what’s realistically in their reach is that they’ve been taught that the United States is a fundamentally unfair place, so why plough ahead if doing so means sweating futilely?  More recently, legitimate concerns about inequality also have convinced many that the American game is rigged, particularly by dastardly “one-percenters.”

As a counter, I look to a conversation I had with Chester (“Checker”) E. Finn, Jr., one of our country’s most insightful and prolific education scholars, while researching a book of mine, Broken Bonds, a few years ago.  My question was about the power of education.

“It’s incontrovertible that at the high end there’s a greater gap between the ultra-rich and everybody else.  At the same time, there’s still a welcome degree of social mobility for people who get educated and work hard.  It’s possible to get ahead.  It’s possible to get your kids ahead.  I keep seeing this especially in immigrant families, as they arrive with what might be called immigrant values of working hard, keeping the grocery store open eighteen hours a day, and saving enough money to send the kids to college.”

All true again, despite the fact that some consider it unfair and wrong to cite the industriousness of many new Americans when talking about troubles undermining many older ones.  I understand the critique, not that I agree with it, as there is much to learn on the Fourth every July from all who go forth, not in preordained defeat, but with driving appreciation.




Upcoming Events

  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Candace Owens

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    From Brexit to Blexit… Britain’s exit from the European Union has not been smooth sailing. Since the leave date has been pushed back to October, Nigel Farage is now running for a seat in the European Parliament. That election date is May 23 which has forced him to cancel all American speaking engagements, including our Annual Dinner. Center of the American Experiment is pleased to announce that Candace Owens, the founder of the Blexit movement and host of The Candace Owens Show, will now be presenting the keynote address at our 2019 Annual Dinner on May 18. We are excited…

    Register Now
  • The Diversity Delusion

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, April 24th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Heather Mac Donald as she discusses her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.  Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race…

    Register Now