The Center for American Common Culture provides analysis and policy advice on issues of citizenship, patriotism, civic education, the assimilation of immigrants, and American common culture.
Accomplishments include following:
In 2001 Center Director John Fonte’s chapter “Antonio Gramsci and the Transformation of Institutions” was published in the book Building A Healthy Culture: Strategies for an American Renaissance edited by Don Eberly (Eerdmann’s).
He also published a major essay on broad intellectual trends, “Why There Is a Culture War: Gramsci and Tocqueville in America,” in Policy Review (December 2000-January 2001) which received wide-spread recognition. The article was discussed by George Melloan in the Wall Street Journal and Lance Morrow in Time magazine. Scholars including Michael Novak, Alan Kors, Marvin Olasky, Ronald Radosh, and Steve Balach, among others, referred favorably to the essay. It also was discussed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and in several European journals.
Fonte wrote a series of articles arguing that the ideas behind the agenda of the UN Durban conference challenged individual rights, constitutionalism, and American democracy. The articles were published in Philanthropy magazine, National Review On-Line, and FrontPage magazine. He also debated James Zogby of the Arab-American Institute, supporting the U.S. position to withdraw from the conference, on a Voice of America radio-tv simulcast.
Fonte also presented a paper to the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s globalization seminar on “America and the West.” The essay, entitled “Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War within the West,” will be published by Orbis in the summer of 2002. A shorter version of the essay also will be published as an FPRI Bulletin and disseminated to 14,000 practitioners, journalists, and scholars.
Fonte wrote a report that resulted in Virginia officials changing the state’s history curriculum. After he pointed out that the Virginia History Standards (described by Lynne Cheney and the late Albert Shanker as the best in the nation) were in danger of being “dumbed down” and stripped of their emphasis on citizenship and patriotism, the emphasis on citizenship, patriotism, and academic content was restored.
Fonte has worked with the American Legion to strengthen the civic assimilation of immigrants. He helped draft the resolution adapted by the American Legion convention in the summer of 2001 reaffirming the significance of the Oath of Citizenship. He also advised the staff of the House immigration subcommittee on citizenship issues in the restructuring of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Fonte made many radio and TV appearances in 2001 and also appeared on a Historical Society panel speaking on the influence of Antonio Gramsci’s Marxism in American public life. Fonte’s published work in 2001 included:
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