Press Release

Common Sense Society Announces Expanding Council of Trustees, New Chairman

January 31, 2024

Joshua Mitchell and Douglas Murray join international education network’s council of trustees

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Common Sense Society (CSS), a leading international nonprofit educational network, is intensifying efforts to cultivate citizen competency across the United States and Europe. CSS is introducing new educational and civic engagement initiatives in 2024 to inspire, equip, and connect parents, educators, civic leaders, and elected officials.

Leading in this effort, CSS announced the following new members to the council of trustees:

Dr. Joshua Mitchell has accepted the council of trustees’ invitation to become Common Sense Society’s new chairman, having served as a CSS senior fellow and faculty member for three years. A professor of political theory at Georgetown University, he was also chair of Georgetown’s government department from 2002 to 2005. He was the associate dean of faculty affairs at the School of Foreign Service in Qatar from 2005 to 2006. Dr. Mitchell served as the acting chancellor of The American University of Iraq—Sulaimani (2008-2010). His areas of expertise range from the ancient world to contemporary America and Europe. His thinking has been deeply informed by the nineteenth-century writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, who anticipated the problem of loneliness and isolation in the modern world, and who thought that to combat it, families, churches, and other mediating institutions would be needed, along with a commercial spirit aimed at producing well-being. Dr. Mitchell received a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in sociology from the University of Washington, and a B.G.S. from the University of Michigan. His scholarly work has been published in a wide range of published articles in The Review of Politics, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Religion, APSR, and Political Theory. He is the author of several best-selling books including American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time (2020) and the forthcoming The Gentle Seduction of Tyranny.

Douglas Murray joins the council of trustees in addition to serving as a Common Sense Society fellow. He is also an associate editor of The Spectator, author of The War on the West, and host of a new podcast series “Uncanceled History.” His previous book The Madness of Crowds was an international bestseller and a book of the year for The Times and The Sunday Times, while his book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam spent almost twenty weeks on The Sunday Times bestseller list and was a number one bestseller in nonfiction.

“It is often said that America was founded on an idea, rather than born of a specific tribe of people, yet now, more than ever, public discussion from all corners leads with claims of guilt and innocence, blame and unforgivable wrongs, one group in a power contest with the other,” said CSS chairman Joshua Mitchell. “Two hundred years ago, a visitor to our young country—Alexis de Tocqueville—recognized what many today have forgotten: A free society exists as it does only because we recognize the dignity and value of each individual, no matter their background or incidental origin. In doing so, American ideals call on those citizens to be competent, sustaining their freedoms by honoring their civic responsibilities. Common Sense Society is an organization of empowered citizens who recognize that we are in a great battle for human liberty. I am honored to serve as chairman.”

“We are faced with a great challenge—fostering gratitude, personal responsibility, and civic duty in a generation that has been taught to complain and capitulate,” said CSS trustee Douglas Murrray. “Common Sense Society is determined to meet this challenge through the dual approach of education and citizen engagement, and I am evermore energized to see us succeed.”

Thomas Peterffy, chair emeritus, aptly wrote that “the ability to speak one’s conscience and to debate ideas openly is the cornerstone of all freedom.” Under his guidance, Common Sense Society has become a champion of free speech, debate, and academic inquiry in high school classrooms and on college campuses. We are grateful for his leadership.

“Over the past three years in the United States, CSS has launched several projects to build an engaged citizenry—beginning with honest education—that refuses to rely on the federal government or even promising politicians to bring about necessary reforms,” said CSS president and C.E.O. Marion Smith. “Our new trustees have a proven commitment to this mission. Our incoming chairman, Josh Mitchell, is uniquely equipped to lead us in rebuilding the foundations of our free institutions, contributing a wealth of knowledge in political theory and practical experience in institutional administration. For his part, Douglas Murray had become one of the most persuasive voices observing the crises of geopolitics, the assaults on Western culture, and the demise—but opportunities—of higher education in America. We enter this next phase with great confidence and momentum to renew and bolster the sources of our freedom.”

You can learn more about Common Sense Society’s mission and programs by visiting

Common Sense Society (CSS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational network with the mission to cultivate citizen competency across the United States and Europe through education and civic engagement. CSS does not accept funding from governments or political parties.

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