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.

  • Egotism and the Abuse of Discourse

    February 21, 2018

    NBA stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant did an ESPN podcast. James opined that Trump “doesn’t understand the people and really don’t [sic] give a #X%@# about the people.” Durant wrestled with a hardwood metaphor: “our country is not ran [sic] by a great coach.” Laura Ingraham responded that a lot of young people look … Read More

  • Nancy Reagan, Nike, and American Culture

    February 14, 2018

    What could these three possibly have in common? In 1986 Reagan offered a message of restraint—“Just say no”—recalling a moral perspective that had been central to American culture for most of the country’s history. In 1988 Nike coined a new slogan—Just do it”—that (intentionally or unintentionally) summed up the contrasting perspective of indulgence that was … Read More

  • A Different View of Catholic Renewal

    February 7, 2018

    My recent essay on the Dynamic Catholic movement ended by suggesting that, though its contribution to Catholic renewal is worthwhile, it will very likely be insufficient to overcome the decline in the number of practicing Catholics. This essay explains that idea further. A month or so ago I encountered a reference to David Carlin’s 2003 book, … 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.