Mind at Work

This is the official website of Vincent Ryan Ruggiero – Social Worker, Industrial Engineer, Professor, and Author. Here you will find descriptions of a number of his 22 books, as well as links to his many essays, the most timely of which are featured on this page.


Current Essays

Vincent Ryan Ruggiero has also published over 200 essays. Current ones are shown below. For others, click on “Featured Essays” or “Archives” at the top of the page.

  • Theology Confounded

    October 19, 2016

    17398115 - abstract word cloud for christian theology with related tags and termsA friend recently recommended a slender spiritual book, Poverty of Spirit. Written by Johannes Baptist Metz, a German Catholic theologian, it was first published in 1968 and republished thirty years later. What I found most interesting in reading it is that, though it contains genuine insights, it is also self-contradictory and misleading. The reason, I believe, is a cultural movement that began in the 1960s.…

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  • My Political Disgust

    October 12, 2016

    24055032 - washington dc skyline in watercolor backgroundCall me a malcontent, if you wish, but I am disgusted with most politicians, their paid spokespeople, and the media that both cover them, in the journalistic sense, and provide cover for many of them, in the lickspittle sense.

    I am disgusted with the Obama administration for misleading the country about, among other things, the Affordable Care Act, which is neither affordable nor caring; for disrespecting the police and the military; and for handling domestic and foreign affairs with gross incompetency.…

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  • Thinking Catholic with Mike Pence

    October 5, 2016

    mike-penceThe Vice-Presidential debate provided a perfectly articulated argument for the traditional Catholic view of a politician’s obligation regarding abortion. Ironically, if unsurprisingly, it was not expressed by Catholic Tim Kaine, but instead by Evangelical Mike Pence. Here is what Pence said:

    What I can’t understand is [how you can] support a practice like partial-birth abortion. I mean, to hold to the view . . . that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me .…

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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.