"In the long run, the public interest depends on private virtue." -- James Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson (born May 27, 1931, in Denver, Colorado) is an American academic political scientist and an authority on public administration. He is a professor and senior fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College.
"A government without the power of defense! It is a solecism.""But no one has yet succeeded in reducing the size or scope of the federal government.""Community-based policing has now come to mean everything. It's a slogan. It has come to mean so many different things that people who endorse it, such as the Congress of the United States, do not know what they are talking about.""Crime is the price society pays for abandoning character.""I believe that the high rates of property crime (and some of the increase in violent crime) are part of the price you pay for freedom.""I believe we ought to subsidize some health care for the poor, but Medicare subsidizes everyone's health care.""I mean that the function of the police is to solve problems that have law-enforcement consequences in a way that is based on a genuine partnership with the neighborhood in both the venting of the problem and the discussion of the solution.""I will have an administrative system where there is no way to extricate red tape.""If a radical devolution of powers was possible, it would have been done before. The assumption of states' rights is gone. There's no support for it in the Supreme Court and there's no support for it in public opinion.""In terms of other functions, we are making a mistake about insisting on a public school monopoly.""Some people suggest that the problem is the separation of powers. If you had a parliamentary system, the struggle for power would not result in such complex peace treaties that empower so many different people to pursue so many contradictory aims.""There are no more liberals They've all been mugged.""There aren't any liberals left in New York. They've all been mugged by now.""There is no way the American public will sit still for the banning of or putting any significant restrictions on the kinds of guns they want.""Without Liberty, Law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without Law, Liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness."
Wilson completed his B.A. at the University of Redlands in 1952, where he was the national collegiate debate champion in 1951 and 1952. He completed an M.A. (1957) and a Ph.D. (1959) in political science at the University of Chicago. From 1961 to 1987, he was the Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University. From 1987 until 1997, he was the James Collins Professor of Management and Public Policy at the UCLA Anderson School of Management at UCLA. From 1998 to 2009, he was the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy. He is currently the Clough Senior Fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College and a professor in BC’s department of political science.
Wilson's university text American Government (now coauthored with John J. DiIulio, Jr.) is the best selling text of its kind today.
Wilson is a former chairman of the White House Task Force on Crime (1966), of the National Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse Prevention (1972—73) and a member of the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crime (1981), the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1985—90), and the President's Council on Bioethics. He is a former president of the American Political Science Association. He has served on the board of directors for the New England Electric System (now National Grid USA), Protection One, RAND, and State Farm Mutual Insurance.
He is the chairman of the Council of Academic Advisors of the American Enterprise Institute. Wilson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the International Council of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation.
Although, as a young professor, he "voted for John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey and worked in the latter's presidential campaign",
Wilson is now recognized as a leading conservative scholar, as indicated by his advisory position to the American Enterprise Institute.