Monday, July 3, 2023
#184 / Built On Community
That's Amitai Etzioni, above, pictured in 1989.
If you would like to read an obituary of Amitai Etzioni, published in The New York Times on June 2, 2023, you can just click this link. Of course, after clicking the link, you may run into some kind of "paywall" problem; let me assure you, however, that there is a rather extensive obituary of Dr. Etzioni in that edition of the paper. It takes up more than half a page.
Etzioni died on May 31, 2023, at age 94. The headline on The Times' obituary identifies Etzioni as a person who envisioned a society "built on community."
In fact, Etzioni, who was a sociologist, is credited in The Times' obituary with "fathering the Communitarian movement." According to Wikipedia, which is where that last link will take you, there were actually others involved before Etzioni. For instance, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement get some well-deserved credit, the way Wikipedia tells the tale. I have recently commented on the Catholic Worker Movement, and I certainly suggest you find out about it, if you are not already familiar with it. Still, Etzioni is quite properly identified as "one of the leaders of the American communitarian movement," which is how Wikipedia describes him, in its article on "Communitarianism." "Fathering" is not the only important role in life.
I have never been much of an "-ism" guy, myself (not really identifying with "communitarianism," or "socialism," or "Americanism," or any of those other "-isms"), and I have never been much of an adherent to "movements" of any kind. Nonetheless, I do remember very well being inspired by Etzioni. You might want to check him out, yourself. Clicking right here will take you to a list of his books.
In my view, it is completely correct to claim that our society - our social, political, and economic relationships - is and are "built on community." While the value and importance of individual persons is undeniable, we prosper and survive not through "individualism," not because of the individual "players," but because of "the team."
I want to salute Amitai Etzioni for having reminded us of this fact through his long and productive life.