The thesis looks into the sacrifices of first responders and veterans and how the differences between these people of service are transcended by said sacrifices, allowing them to better empathize and understand what one another had gone through. The thesis also looks at this understanding of sacrifices among people of service, and how such an understanding can be used by the public to better understand issues that affect veterans and first responders after and during their service.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are diseases that still pose a threat to all parts of the world, particularly in less economically developed regions. However, it continues to be a problem in many high-income countries. The epidemiological picture in Spain offers an interesting case study for analysis to answer whether local interventions to confront HIV transmission, morbidity, and mortality are more effective than solely national or international efforts to reduce the effects of the disease. In this thesis, I rely on qualitative data in the form of key informant interviews and field notes collected in Barcelona, Spain, to demonstrate the significant role that grassroots organizations play in combating HIV in the Spanish context. CheckPoint Barcelona and ACATHI are two organizations in Barcelona, Spain that seek to improve such outcomes by directly providing support for communities at risk of poor outcomes after a late diagnosis of HIV and of contracting HIV in general. I find that local, non-governmental organizations are the driving force in combating HIV in Spain through three approaches: biomedical interventions, education and prevention initiatives, and social support for affected communities. Collectively, these findings suggest that non-governmental organizations, like ACATHI and CheckPoint should be supported to continue achieving desired HIV objectives.
When former President Donald Trump declared that the “American Dream is dead” during his campaign launch in June 2015, for many Americans, that was simply the case. Somehow, a multi-billionaire intuited a truth that the American elite had ignored for decades: certain places had flourished, giving their next generation ample opportunity to succeed and community life to flourish, while certain places had collapsed, leaving their next generation hollowed out neighborhoods, broken families, and despair. As civil society and community declined in the United States after a high in the mid-20th century, a new lower class began to form. This new lower class is deprived of the institutions of civil society which form people as self-governing creatures, leaving fewer and fewer mediating layers between man and state. This stratification of social capital along class lines and the social isolation it has wrought are among the chief threats to human flourishing in the United States in the twenty-first century, depriving people of authentic freedom and supplanting it with a base understanding of liberty-as-license. The alienation facing tens of millions of Americans, and impacting our entire society, was not caused by a singular economic, social, political, or technological innovation (though plenty of these changes have accelerated and accentuated this phenomena). At the base of community’s decline is a mismanaged individualism -- a term first coined by Alexis de Tocqueville -- which has warped our politics, and simultaneously empowered radical self-centeredness and government centralization. This thesis builds on a large body of work surrounding Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the role of civil society in America, and the stratification of community over the last half-century, drawing on the thought of Robert Putnam, Tim Carney, Yuval Levin, Patrick Deneen, Charles Murray, and Robert Nisbet -- among others -- to build an outline of the state of civil society and meaningful community in America today. It also charts a path forward for conceptualizing the American Dream in such a way that empowers rather than demotes the role of community in human life, arguing for a conscientious communitarianism. This revised definition of the American Dream relies upon a new concept -- authentic freedom -- that contradicts freedom-as-license. Analyzing diagnoses of our current situation and proposed solutions from the aforementioned thinkers, this thesis posits that Americans must organize and reinvigorate community on a local scale in order to confront these challenges. Ultimately, while community can only be formed productively at the local, human-scale, the long-term restoration of community and civil society in the United States will rely on political reform, framed after Yuval Levin’s modernized ethic of subsidiarity and Robert Nisbet’s conception of a new kind of state. The framework for renewal presented is not simply advocacy for a greater number of voluntary associations, but the formation and maintenance of particular sorts of associations: those which are purposeful about moral formation, the inculcation of the habits and mores necessary for a free people to flourish, and ultimately the proliferation of authentic freedom. While the conscientious communitarian advocates for a politics that prizes civil society broadly, they advocate for, create, and join institutions of this particular character. This is both an argument for a more robust and diverse civil society, and an affirmative case for particular institutions of civil society which form people towards authentic freedom.
This thesis explores the role of religion in politics, specifically focusing on the Christian Right movement in the United States. Through an analysis of the Christian Coalition, Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Alliance Defending Freedom, this research examines how these organizations use religion to influence political policy and mobilize voters. The findings suggest that the Christian Right is not using religion in the way the Founding Fathers intended, which raises concerns about the erosion of democratic values and the loss of trust in government. Ultimately, this study highlights the need to reexamine the relationship between religion and politics in the United States.
How can citizens of a political society be united? What makes them willing to sacrifice for the good of the community? How are they made to obey the laws? The ancient world approached these questions through concepts such as virtue and honor. Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America also attempted to answer these questions in relation to newly emergent democratic societies. However, he developed new concepts to formulate his answers, including enlightened self-interest, individualism, and free associations. Essential to his argument is the role of changing social conditions. For Tocqueville, the forces which have shaped the modern world, such as democracy, have made the ancient concepts irrelevant. Indeed, the changes which he had witnessed were so revolutionary that he was compelled to say, “I am tempted to burn my books so as to apply only new ideas to a social state so new” (I.2.9, 289). It thus becomes necessary to conceive of new ways of organizing cohesive political societies. This thesis builds on Tocqueville’s theories and observations to explain how changing social conditions can shape the citizen’s ability to cooperate as part of a cohesive polity and how modern societies can promote harmony among its citizens. I first explore briefly how the ancient world inspired citizens to work cohesively and how modern changes in ideas, sentiments, and mores have challenged the efficacy of premodern traditions. I then analyze how modern conditions can limit attempts at political cohesion and the challenges of promoting acts of solidarity among modern citizens. I also consider how democratic despotism offers a vague form of political cohesion that conforms to modern conditions, but in ways that undermine good governance. Finally, I argue that Tocqueville’s theory of enlightened self-interest, bolstered by a religious spirit that combats materialism, offers the most coherent account of how modern political societies can be united justly and how citizens can act harmoniously toward a common good. While enlightened self-interest and religion may be goods within themselves, this thesis suggests that these principles are also necessary for creating cohesion in the modern age.
While children and adolescents are the most vulnerable members of society, juvenile offenders face interventions that mirror the punitive and retributive nature of the criminal justice system. These interventions contribute to high recidivism rates, disproportionately impact low-income and minority youth, and result in negative collateral consequences, preventing effective reintegration into their communities. In this thesis, I devise a system based on decriminalization and sociologically-focused rehabilitation that should be applied to the Arizona juvenile justice system and beyond.
Based on existing research, state wildlife agencies should be diversifying their management activities to reflect both utilitarian and biocentric values. Yet agencies are still focused primarily on managing land and wildlife resources for hunting and fishing, partly because of revenues associated with permits and licenses (Jacobson et al., 2022; Manfredo, 2008). My research examines the values which state agencies emphasize in managing wildlife and engaging the public. Public-facing agency webpages are one way to investigate the values that drive agencies’ management priorities and activities. By looking at how information is represented on their main webpages, one can infer who the intended audience is, and which values guide their actions. Thus, my research aims to analyze how state management activities and associated information—as featured on their websites—represent public wildlife values and the trend away from utilitarianism (especially hunting and fishing) toward protectionism through wildlife conservation. Specifically, I ask: How do state-level wildlife agencies present and communicate wildlife management issues and reflect their different wildlife values—ranging from utilitarianism with emphasis on recreational use and enjoyment by people toward mutualist benefits that also protect wildlife—through their websites?
There is a serious lack of local news in Arizona, the American Southwest, and the United States at-large. Arizonans are craving quality, factual, no-holds-barred journalism that is easy-to-read, and upfront. Quality, local news that covers the ins and outs of politics, culture, and community has an opportunity to not only enhance civic life, promote community healing, and expand knowledge made available to the general public (thus serving the communities it calls home), but to also generate revenue. Further, independent and center-right leaning voters in the state of Arizona — be reminded that independents make up the second largest voting bloc among Arizonans — are often crowded out in a media environment that consists of far-left nonprofit-funded news sites like the Arizona Mirror, formerly reputable papers that have bled readership as they veer further left like the Arizona Republic, and far-right online blogs that reach a very limited audience. The Western Tribune is an Arizona-based journalistic publication. This institution is dedicated to providing high-quality, well-sourced news and commentary on statewide, regional, national, and international current affairs through the lens of good government and free enterprise — as well as Southwestern values. We are a free institution that believes in free institutions. We cover stories that go uncovered because of the corporate media’s blind spots (and they’ve got many — they’re a result of news deserts and out-of-touch coastal attitudes) with the stable support of a robust institution dedicated to Truth-seeking behind them. Our storytellers are not just good writers. We seek to recruit and form critical thinkers with skills that span trades, disciplines, and educational backgrounds. We are building an institution committed to excellence.