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James Q. Wilson

Re-examining James Wilson’s “The Moral Sense”

In this week’s The American, Sally Satel revisits James Q. Wilson’s The Moral Sense, arguing that scientific research supports Wilson’s argument that the core pillars of morality are innate. While modern biological explanations of human behavior lead some to question the utility of punishment, Satel argues that our natural affinity for virtues means criminal punishment is both essential and appropriate.


A Gentleman and a Scholar

Earlier this month, the great American political scientist James Q. Wilson passed away. Much has been written about Wilson’s legacy–see remembrances by the New York Times, Ross Douthat, David Brooks, the Economist, Steven Teles for Washington Monthly–and justly so. As AEI’s Arthur Brooks wrote, “[Wilson’s] influence on policy and politics was so vast that it inspired columnist George Will to quip, ‘To be a political commentator in James Q. Wilson’s era is to know how Mel Tormé must have felt being a singer in Frank Sinatra’s era.”