Garry Wills

Garry Wills is the author of A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government and Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit.

Recent Articles

Putnam's America

In 1995 Hal Salwen released a movie, Denise Calls Up , about people who conduct their lives on the telephone, living so entirely on that instrument that the characters who share their most intimate thoughts on the phone pass each other by, unrecognized, on the street. The fear that technology will somehow disconnect us from reality has haunted the modern world ever since Emerson claimed that the telegraph would have us nattering into space without real human contact, or since Ruskin said that railroads would rush us past nature and each other, unable to see them. Robert Putnam picked up that lament and decked it out with statistics in his famous 1995 article "Bowling Alone," which appeared in the Journal of Democracy . According to Putnam, TV, the Internet, and other technologies have speeded up our lives to the point where we no longer invest "social capital" in each other by means of overlapping memberships in clubs and other organizations, which are essential to human trust and...