The King's College

The Center For the Study of Human Flourishing

The mission of the Center for the Study of Human Flourishing is to examine critically and promote the moral, social, political, economic, and aesthetic practices that lead to human flourishing and advance the common good. Center activities draw upon cross-disciplinary resources that explore the intersections of moral virtue and public life.

Programs

The Criminal Justice Reform program seeks to bring together leading research, public education, and civic discourse into a multi-year campaign to raise awareness, education, and promote criminal justice reform by producing articles and monographs, holding conferences, and creating networks of those who champion criminal justice reform among current and future leaders.

Overincarceration of adults and juveniles in America undermines the well-being and flourishing families, communities, civic life, and the economy, rendering many incapable of contributing to common good. With 2.3 million Americans behind bars, the criminal justice system is the largest it has been in American history.

For juveniles, America now criminalizes adolescent misbehavior in schools and public spaces. Public schools are increasingly criminalizing behavioral problems with misdemeanors that eventually lead to arrests. One in ten high school drop-outs is incarcerated or in juvenile detention; for African-Americans, that number is one in four. Children who do not finish high school are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested as adults.

Overcriminalization leads to mass incarceration. The scandal of today’s mass incarceration associated with the War on Drugs is the failed attempt to use the police, lawyers, judges, corrections officers, and social workers to address issues that are profoundly moral in nature. People should be sent to prison because they are dangerous to society, not because we are mad at them and want to reform them. Prisons are not churches. Without this preventative moral formation, we set the lower classes up for a lifetime–sometimes, generations–of government control.

This program seeks to develop and promote civil-society solutions that provide more effective long-term strategies that advance human flourishing without the expansion of government power.

Marketplace Leadership

Developing leaders in the marketplace is essential to human flourishing. Therefore, we seek to recognize, connect, and partner with marketplace leaders across various spheres of society as they work for the common good.

The program seeks to facilitate like minded leaders from various spheres of society, united around a shared vision of the common good, who see with an appreciation for the good that free markets can accomplish for flourishing communities. The program also seeks to connect entrepreneurs with excelling students at The King’s college who are interested in serving in the marketplace in the future.

International Justice

The rule of law and property rights are among the leading indicators of the proliferation of injustice are the world. Where the rule of law is absent we find injustices ranging from human trafficking, sex slavery, and bonded labor slavery. This program seeks to connect current and future international justice advocate with the resources needed to create the conditions for human flourishing around the world.

The government’s role is not to undermine human freedom, but to minimize those conflicts that may arise when the activities of persons and social institutions result in competing interests. In countries where justice does not work those who are vulnerable find themselves under the rule and whims of men.

Dr. Peter Boettke of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy summarizes the social and economic role to property rights for human flourishing:

  1. Recognized private property rights provide the legal certainty necessary for individuals to commit resources to ventures. The threat of confiscation, by either private individuals or public officials, undermines confidence in market activity and limits investment possibilities.
  2. Clear property rights tend to make decision makers pay close attention to resource use and the discounted value of the future employment of scarce resources. Absent private property rights, economic actors will tend to be short-sighted in their decision making and not conserve resources over time.
  3. Property rights are the basis of exchange and the extension of ownership to capital goods provides the basis for the development of financial markets that are essential for economic growth and development.
  4. Secure private property rights are the basis for limited and civilized government. The elimination of arbitrary confiscation and the establishment of regular taxation at announced rates enables merchants to calculate the present value of investment decisions and pass judgment on alternative allocations of capital.

Source: “The Role of Private Property in a Free Society” by Dr. Peter Boettke, Virginia Institute for Public Policy

Israeli-Palestinian Pathways To Peace Program

The objective of Israeli-Palestinian Pathways to Peace Program focuses on the historical, political, cultural, and religious relationships between Israelis and Palestinians in light of the preferential option for peace in the region.

Student participants study ancient and modern Hebrew thought and culture, including the history and politics of Israel and Palestine. For students who qualify, the program includes a study opportunity in Israel to hear from Jews and Palestinians about the ancient and modern roots of the current political, intellectual, and economic status of the region. The program also includes annual colloquia designed to engage in listening and learning about the contours of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the peace process. Multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural learning opportunities will be enhanced through off-campus excursions, such as a trip to Israel for students who qualify, a tour of Jewish migration to the New York City, a tour of the United Nations Headquarters, visiting Jewish museums, including a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and so on.

CENTER DIRECTOR

Dr. Anthony Bradley

The Center for the Study of Human Flourishing is directed by Anthony Bradley, Ph.D., Director & Associate Professor of Theology at The King’s College. See his full faculty bio here.