Modern Sex

Modern Sex

Liberation and its Discontents

The sexual revolution of the 1960s made a large promise: if we just let go of our inhibitions, we’ll be happy and fulfilled. Yet sexual liberation has made us no happier and, if anything, less fulfilled. Why?

These remarkable essays, drawn from the pages of the celebrated quarterly City Journal by its editor Myron Magnet, tackle the question head-on. As Modern Sex‘s authors show in moving and often eloquent detail, sex today is increasingly mechanical and without commitment — a department of plumbing, hygiene, or athletics rather than a private sphere for the creation of human meaning. The result: legions of unhappy adults and confused teenagers deprived of their innocence, on their way not to maturity but to disillusionment. Continue reading


What Makes Charity Work?

A Century of Public and Private Philanthropy

A real-world investigation of one of our most urgent public issues.

A compassionate America has spent more than $5 trillion on welfare programs over three decades, but the poor haven’t vanished, and the self-destructive behavior that imprisons many in poverty has become an intergenerational inheritance.

Drawing on City Journal’s superlative reporting, What Makes Charity Work? shows in concrete and compelling detail how government assistance to the poor is doomed to failure because it treats them as victims of forces beyond their control, robs them of a sense of personal responsibility, and neglects the virtues they need to escape poverty. Continue reading

The Millennial City

The Millennial City

A New Urban Paradigm for 21st-Century America

Throughout America, cities are on the rebound, thriving as they have not in generations. While successful cities have had their own special formulas for revival, they appear to have in common a clear set of principles that lead to urban health. This blueprint forms the foundation for Myron Magnet’s penetrating collection of articles drawn from the pages of City Journal, the quarterly magazine that has established a reputation for pathbreaking analytical reports on the urban scene.

The Millennial City‘s premise is a rejection of the municipal welfare ideology that led to decades of failed social and economic policies. Instead it explores new approaches to crime and its prevention; the reform of welfare to end the notion of “entitlement”; the reinvention of government to make it smaller and more effective; and new school initiatives that emphasize performance. Within these broad categories the book also takes on issues of the economy, housing, homelessness, immigrants, quality of life, and the physical environment. As Mr. Magnet points out in his introduction, more and more Americans are coming to understand that cities are not ungovernable. The Millennial City offers a good many reasons why. Continue reading


The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties’ Legacy to the Underclass

The Dream and the Nightmare by Myron Magnet
Myron Magnet’s The Dream and the Nightmare argues that the radical transformation of American culture that took place in the 1960s brought today’s underclass — overwhelmingly urban, dismayingly minority — into existence. Lifestyle experimentation among the white middle class produced often catastrophic changes in attitudes toward marriage and parenting, the work ethic and dependency in those at the bottom of the social ladder, and closed down their exits to the middle class. Continue reading


Dickens and the Social Order

"One of the most stimulating studies of Dickens to have appeared in recent years." — New York Times

“One of the most stimulating studies of Dickens to have appeared in recent years.” — New York Times

Myron Magnet’s groundbreaking study of Charles Dickens’s early novels shows that the liberal reformism for which Dickens is so well known rested on a surprisingly traditional view of society.

Magnet writes, “The four great but relatively neglected works I discuss in Dickens and the Social Order … add up to what for another writer would constitute a magnificent life’s work in itself, a tour de force that is like a university education in psychology, political theory, comparative political science, cultural anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, and more — all transfigured and illuminated by the genius of the writer rightly said to be Inimitable, so that the reader can hardly believe that anything so full of pleasure can also be so full of wisdom.” Continue reading