This website is the creation of Andrew Bard Schmookler, a prize-winning author, speaker, radio talk-show host, and former Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia.
Since the late 1960s, Andy Schmookler has investigated the ways that forces – constructive and, especially, destructive – operate in civilized societies.
- Among his books are several bearing on the problem of war and peace, including the prize-winning book The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution (hardback from the University of California Press, 1984; paperback from Houghton Mifflin, 1986; second edition from SUNY Press, 1995, still in print), Out of Weakness: Healing the Wounds that Drive Us to War (Bantam Books, 1988), and Sowings and Reapings: The Cycling of Good and Evil in the Human System (Knowledge Systems, 1989).
- He has written two books on the problematic relationship between economic forces and human needs, The Illusion of Choice: How the Market Economy Shapes Our Destiny (SUNY Press, 1993, with translations published subsequently in Japan and Korea), and Fool’s Gold: The Fate of Values in a World of Goods (Harper Collins, 1993). ).
- And Debating the Good Society: A Quest to Bridge America’s Moral Divide (M.I.T. Press, 1999), which explores some of the basic issues that underlie this country’s political and cultural polarization.
Since 2004, Dr. Schmookler has focused his attention on the current crisis in America, which he sees as perhaps the most profound to face this nation in its history.
Though it manifests itself in the political sphere, he sees it as going much deeper than politics—involving a deterioration of the moral and spiritual dimensions in which the balance of power between constructive and destructive forces is determined.
Beginning in 2005, Schmookler was the host and main author of the website www.NoneSoBlind.org, where he interpreted the deeper realities about this crisis that can be seen beneath the myriad specific events of our times.
In 2011-12, Andy Schmookler was the Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia’s very conservative 6th District. His campaign motto was “Truth. For a change.”
The essence of his campaign’s message can be gleaned from this video of a six-minute campaign speech that went viral nation-wide when Lowell Feld, the editor of the website Blue Virginia, posted the video, with his commentary, on Daily Kos as ”A Real Democrat Gives One of the Best, Most Kick-A** Political Speeches I’ve Ever Seen!”
In the years since the election of 2012, Dr. Schmookler has continued to present ideas, interpretations, and strategies intended to change America’s present dangerous political dynamic—presenting a series of articles titled “Press the Battle” in 2014, followed by the publication of a book just before the rise of Trump, titled WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST: The Destructive Force at Work in Our World—and How We Can Defeat It. [at https://www.amazon.com/What-Were-Against-Destructive-World/dp/0996301305 ] (A pdf of the entire book is available on this site at https://abetterhumanstory.org/what-we-are-up-against/
Dr. Schmookler’s continually developing “integrative vision” of the dynamics at work in the story of humankind was articulated further in 2017 in the series “A Better Human Story” which appears on the main page of this website.
That integrated understanding of the problematic forces that have shaped human civilization is being developed yet further in the series appearing in a new portal on this site –“The Fateful Step” — now, in 2022.
As a radio talk show host in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in the 1990s, Schmookler had many hundreds of hours of mutually respectful radio conversations with conservative callers, creating a community of constructive discourse and genuine inquiry. Subsequently, Andy had a ring-side seat from which to witness the disturbing transformation of the political consciousness of Conservative America.
Every week, for the past decade, Andy’s op/ed pieces appear in several newspapers in his very red congressional district (VA-06). A number of these are gathered on this site under the heading of “Messages to the Conservatives.”
Schmookler studied as an undergraduate at Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laude in Social Relations in 1967. Schmookler went on to earn his doctorate in 1977 at the University of California at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union in a program specially created to accommodate his comprehensive theory of human history. His 1600-page doctoral thesis was re-written as the prize-winning book The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution.
In 1984, Dr. Schmookler was awarded the Erik H. Erikson Prize by the International Society for Political Psychology. And in 1985, he was selected by Esquire Magazine as “one of the men and women under forty who are changing the nation.”
Dr. Schmookler served during the 1990s as a member of the “Global Problems and Opportunities Group” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., where he had worked during the 1980s to synthesize the insights of experts into a picture of the “contingencies” the United States might face in the then-foreseeable future. As a member of that group in the 1990s, Schmookler helped to prepare for the Congress and the President an assessment of international issues and contingencies for which American policy-makers should prepare.
Schmookler’s political and social commentaries have appeared in newspapers around the nation, and on various national radio shows. As a speaker he has appeared at universities and other institutional forums around America.
He is married, and the father of three grown children (and grandfather of three). He lives with his wife in the mountains on the western flank of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.
People have said this about Andy:
“One of the great intellectual integrators of the 20th century.”
– Joseph Montville, director, Program on Healing Historical Memory, George Mason University
“A brilliant moral philosopher with his ear to the ground is just the debate coach the country needs.”
– Jack Miles, author, Pulitzer Prize-winning God: A Biography
“One of the foremost interpreters of our time, taking into account both older and newer sensibilities.”
– John Dillenberger, professor of Historical Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
“Hundreds of books discuss the market, but . . . no one else has written with this deep an insight.”
– Lester W. Milbrath, professor of political science and environmental policy at Duke, Northwestern and SUNY Buffalo
“Dr. Schmookler has demonstrated time and again his ability to bridge the gaps between specialists in international affairs, to integrate the contributions of economists, political scientists, anthropologists, physical scientists, and to draw persuasive conclusions with eloquence.”
– Penelope Hartland-Thunberg, senior economist, Center for Strategic and International Studies
“His intelligence is both subtle and wide-ranging . . . a man of enormous talents and resources.”
– Robert Bellah, Elliott Professor of Sociology, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley
“Arguably the greatest nonfiction book ever written . . . The Parable of the Tribes is an awesome achievement that will completely restore your faith in human nature.”
– Philip Callas, customer review on amazon.com
“[Andy] has the personal integrity, the egoless devotion to our country . . . to speak the truth, not only to power, but to us all.”
– Olivia Mellan, psychotherapist and author
“[Andy gave] one of the most impressive public presentations I have ever seen.”
– Jeffrey Smith, professor of Humanities, Stanford University
“[Out of Weakness is] a wide-ranging and deeply thoughtful meditation on the psychological sources of the danger to humanity created by the advent of weapons of mass destruction.”
– Dr.Jerome D. Frank, author, Sanity and Survival in the Nuclear Age
“Changing the nation.”
– Esquire magazine