Andrew Bard Schmookler (born 1946) is an award-winning American author, public speaker, social commentator, and radio talk show host. He was the nominee of the Democratic Party for U.S. Representative for Virginia's 6th congressional district during the 2012 general election.
Early life and education
Schmookler graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College. He did graduate study at the University of Chicago and Yale University. He completed his doctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union in a program created specially to accommodate his comprehensive theory of human history. In 1984, the International Society of Political Psychology awarded Schmookler the Erik H. Erickson prize for excellence and creativity in the field of political psychology for writing The Parable of the Tribes. In 1985, Schmookler was selected by Esquire magazine as “one of the men and women under forty who are changing the nation.”
At the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Schmookler helped with the analysis of possible future challenges for American policy-makers. In a project with the Public Agenda Foundation, he interviewed the best minds in the country, in various related fields, on how the United States might best achieve security in an age of nuclear weapons. In the 1990s, the United States Army hired Andy to assist on the formulation of a project on the prevention of biological terrorism.
Schmookler’s commentaries on social and political issues have appeared in local and national publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Albuquerque Tribune. He has been a radio commentator for National Public Radio in Washington and in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
From 2005-2011, Schmookler was the author and host of the website NoneSoBlind.org.
Schmookler has presented his ideas before audiences at Harvard University, St. John’s College in Annapolis, the University of Wisconsin, as Presidential Lecturer at the University of Montana and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has appeared as invited speaker at Findhorn in Scotland, the Isthmus Institute in Dallas, the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Washington and New York, and the Harmonia Mundi Conference in California.
2012 U.S. Representative campaign
Democratic nominee Schmookler challenged incumbent Republican nominee Bob Goodlatte.
Schmookler describes “a moral crisis in America” that has manifested principally in the arena of political power. He argues that a force has emerged on the political right that represents the convergence of three currents running through American history: an imperialistic impulse, unbridled greed, and a form of religiosity that emphasizes division and conflict. As a writer and public speaker, he has detailed the destructive impact of this political force on the right and the failure of other parts of the American body politic to cope effectively with this force. The need to address this crisis in America was the principal theme of Schmookler’s campaign for the congressional seat in Virginia’s 6th district.
- Andrew Bard Schmookler, The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution, University of California Press 1984, ISBN 978-0520048744
- Andrew Bard Schmookler, Out of Weakness: Healing the Wounds That Drive Us to War, Bantam Books 1988, ISBN 978-0553053296
- Andrew Bard Schmookler, Sowings and Reapings: The Cycling of Good and Evil in the Human System, Knowledge Systems 1989, ISBN 978-0941705103
- Andrew Bard Schmookler, The Illusion of Choice: How the Market Economy Shapes Our Destiny, State University of New York Press 1993, ISBN 978-0791412657
- Andrew Bard Schmookler, Fool's Gold: The Fate of Values in a World of Goods, HarperCollins 1993, ISBN 978-0062508287
- Andrew Bard Schmookler, Debating the Good Society: A Quest to Bridge America's Moral Divide, MIT Press 1999, ISBN 978-0262194143
The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution (1984): Based on Schmookler’s doctoral work, this prize-winning book offers a parable of how civilizations developed. The parable is that once some human tribe becomes habitually aggressive toward other tribes, all are eventually forced to adopt the ways of power. The resulting destruction is not a reflection of human nature, but selection for the ways of power that has driven societies in ways people did not choose, but could not avoid. Schmookler views the problem of power as a fundamental challenge for governance that must be dealt with in order to create humane and sustainable cultures.
Out of Weakness: Healing the Wounds that Drive Us to War (1988) is a study of ways that the above process has injured people and exacerbated problems of war and power. It is a search for how people may become more whole and thus more capable of building peace.
The Illusion of Choice: How the Market Shapes Our Destiny (1993) is a study of what the market system can and cannot do to shape optimal outcomes for societies. It argues for a combination of free market forces, along with collective decision-making, to correct for market blind spots.
Debating the Good Society: A Quest for Bridging America’s Moral Divide (1999): A fictional simulation of the kind of discussion that could heal rifts in a polarized society. Various participants with a wide range of points of view—both liberal and conservative—enter into conversation so that the partial truths of each might be integrated.
Schmookler lives in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia with his wife, April Moore. They have three children.
- "Men and Women Under Forty Who are Changing the Nation". Esquire (November 1985).
- "Andrew Bard Schmookler". The Wisdom Page. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
- Schmookler, A. (2007). America’s Moral Crisis Atlantic Free Press
- Radmacher, D. (2011). Taking on Goodlatte
- Andy Schmookler for U.S. Congress official campaign website
- Andy Schmookler on Facebook
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Profile at The Political Guide
- Campaign contributions at OpenSecrets.org
- Point/Counterpoint: Meet your congressional candidates: 6th district, The Roanoke Times, September 23, 2012