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.

  • The Marriage of Denial and Groupthink

    September 22, 2016

    28919296 - concept of fear with businessman like an ostrichWhen psychologists begin to ponder liberals’ refusal to acknowledge Islamic terrorism, they will likely stumble over one another in their rush for research grants to probe the phenomenon. Some brave doctoral student might also wonder what cognitive defect caused the psychologists to avoid the issue for so long. (Chances are she won’t get that dissertation topic approved.)

    At this time, however, relatively few psychologists are showing much interest in the matter.…

    Read more →

  • Isn’t Self-Esteem a Good Thing?

    September 22, 2016

    A perceptive friend told me that, though she agrees with my often-expressed criticism of the self-esteem movement (see, for example, ), she believes I should acknowledge that all people need at least a measure of self-esteem and that some lack it.

    36809016 - cartoon of son telling parents he solved his low self esteem problem by becoming arrogant.

    I responded by quoting G. K. Chesterton’s observation, “A thinking man should always attack the strongest thing in his own time. For the strongest thing of the time is always too strong.” I added that I believe the need for self-esteem movement is both dominant in our time and seriously mistaken.…

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  • Foolishly Forsaking Humility

    September 16, 2016

    pharisee-publicanIn 1980 Mac Davis wrote “Oh, Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble (if you’re perfect in every way)”  He was not disparaging humility, of course, but having fun with the human tendency to overweening pride and self-importance. Yet ironically, at that very time, the self-esteem movement was championing what he was mocking.

    The self-esteem movement proclaimed that humility is an obstacle to mental health. It urged people to love themselves, accept themselves unconditionally, esteem themselves, and banish all feelings of shame and guilt.…

    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.