Mind at Work

 

“Mind at Work” is the official website of Vincent Ryan Ruggiero—Social Worker, Industrial Engineer, Professor of Humanities, and Author. Here you will find descriptions of a number of his 22 books, as well as links to many of his over 300 essays on a wide array of topics. The most recent essays are shown below. For others, click on “Featured Essays” or “Archives,” above.

 
 
  • Remembering that Words Matter

    July 19, 2017

    In times past, there was universal agreement among thinking people that words matter and therefore should be used honestly and with precision. However, from time to time many people have forgotten or ignored this precept, so reminders have been needed. G. K. Chesterton provided one in Orthodoxy (1908) when he wrote, “Most of the machinery … Read More

  • On Listening and Learning

    July 13, 2017

    The occasion was a recent picnic and my discussion with a pharmacist began well. I mentioned that I have often consulted pharmacists about prescription medicines’ side effects and interactions and that experience had led me to study such matters myself. Along the way, I said, I’ve learned that some doctors pay little attention to patients’ … Read More

  • Restoring Restraint & Civility in America

    June 29, 2017

    Recently, in an essay titled The Root of Violence, I proposed that the solution to the problem of violence is not to deny anyone’s freedom of speech, but to restore the moral context of that freedom—respecting others and exercising restraint and civility regardless of our feelings toward them. Such behavior is not inborn but must … Read More

 

 

Latest Book

corruptedcultureCorrupted Culture:

Rediscovering America’s Enduring Principles, Values, and Common Sense 

(Prometheus, 2013).
“Ruggiero knows that we are imperfect beings, but we all have the potential for goodness and wisdom. This book will help us get there.”
Anne Hendershott
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy, The King’s College (New York)

“In our era of academic ignorance and arrogance, [Ruggiero] stands as a rare beacon of light. How we need historical analysts, logical thinkers, and moral teachers such as Ruggiero! I highly recommend his latest analysis.”
Judith A. Reisman
Author of Stolen Honor, Stolen Innocence


Poor education, bad parenting, a sense of entitlement, the “wasteland” of television, and more. These are the symptoms of a culture in decline. While it’s easy to recite a litany of our problems, identifying their root causes requires more than the facile commentary offered by media pundits.

This in-depth historical analysis of cultural trends in America traces the problems of our current malaise back to two profoundly misguided views of human nature that were pervasive in this country in the twentieth century. The first is Hereditarianism, which was highly influential until the end of World War II; the second is Humanistic Psychology, which emerged after the war as a reaction against negativism. Ruggiero shows that while the Hereditarians advanced the absurdly pessimistic view that biology is destiny, Humanistic Psychology countered with an absurdly optimistic view of human nature. He also demonstrates that the flaws of both are observable in today’s resurgent Progressivism.

Beyond critique, Ruggiero presents a compelling case for restoring the traditional principles and values associated with the Western view of human nature. In this view, human nature is inherently imperfect but has the potential for goodness and wisdom; intelligence is the sum of inherited capacity and performance attained through mental training and acquired knowledge; reason is more reliable than feelings; and self-esteem is the result, rather than the cause, of achievement.

With incisive analysis, Ruggiero shows the relevance of recent intellectual history to today’s social problems and charts a course for a better future.