Celebrating The Birthday We, The People, All Share

Celebrating The Birthday We, The People, All Share

A special message from Grassroot Institute Founder Richard Rowland. Every dedicated, self-governing American has two birthdays. The first is the day we left our mother’s womb. The second is the day the United States of America was born — July 4, 1776. A precious few celebrate both on the same day. If that describes you, let us know. We might make a big deal of it! The nation’s birthday is the most important of the two for every one of us. It gives us The American Dream as a legacy and does so, so well, that we too often forget. Indeed, for 239 years the Declaration of Independence — signed by 56 patriot heroes who were also traitors to the British Crown and subject to loss of life, limb and property if apprehended — has inspired countless millions all around the world. Furthermore, it is the moral foundation for our nation. It is the permanent, unchangeable base for the US Constitution, the body of law that is our “owner’s manual”, telling us who, what, where, when, how etc. based on the why embedded in it. The Declaration is aspirational as well as inspirational. The principal author, Thomas Jefferson, owned slaves. Many other signers did too. Yet they announced to the world with total sincerity, “that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed”. They thus humbled themselves, owning up...
Low Information and High Expectations: Can they fit together in government?

Low Information and High Expectations: Can they fit together in government?

By Richard Rowland The Declaration of Independence makes crystal clear that We the People form government to serve our needs. We the People also elect representatives to serve the republic. Then they supervise those same elected people. That is to say, they can fire them if they don’t serve We the People properly. Accordingly, We the People can be likened to a Great big Board of Directors, overlooking those who were elected to get the job of government done. A Board of Directors should not ever be immersed in details. It distracts them from their work which is to focus on desired results. The CEO and staff are hired to handle details and overcome the bad ones to get results. Rush Limbaugh talks a lot on his radio show about the “low information voter”. That self-same voter is, like Limbaugh, you and me, a member of the Board of Directors of our nation. Therefore, it seems quite rational for him or her to have low information of details while he or she pays careful attention to high expectations in results. As a matter of fact, with time and energy always limited, our rational BOD member might even be intolerant of being distracted by details. Why? To do his job well, he must evaluate results guided by high expectations. That is where he exercises his power. Here are some examples of high expectations, which, looking at them, you might call common sense: A) Values: Be honest Be forthright Be dependable Practice deep integrity Be approachable and thoughtful Accept responsibility for your mistakes; be accountable B) End Results Expected: Smaller government—80%...

A New Year for All: Special Thoughts on Liberty and Happiness

On January first and for a few days thereafter every year the conventional greeting will be “Happy New Year”. It seems to me that such a greeting is a bit vacant of meaning. To many it is simply a way to fill uncomfortable silence. Like the check-out person at the grocery store who always says to you, “Have a Good Day” after she finishes the transaction and you are leaving. Strange as it may seem to some of you, such a greeting was rare, if used at all, 50-60 years ago. I sometimes wonder if the phrase is part of a plot to induce helplessness in the public at large. I do not think Ben Franklin would like it at all. What if it was changed to something that was both true and thought provoking? Like this: ” I hope you make this New Year the best one you ever had”. I already know the answer (at least 90% of the time). There will be a surprised look that will quickly change to a thoughtful processing one followed right away by a smile and “I will try!” To which I always reply; “I wish you great success” Let’s now have a more detailed look at this from the standpoint of public policy/practice and your and my impact on it. First, “You have a good day or a Happy New Year” implies that the day or year is somehow in charge of you. Yet, unless you are brain impaired, every event of the day causes a thoughtful or thoughtless reaction by you. If it is negative like “it is raining...

Constitution 201: The Transformation of America’s Political Institutions

This lesson is taught by Dr. Kevin Portteus, Associate Professor of Politics at Hillsdale College, and faculty advisor for Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program.  Dr. Portteus teaches courses in American political thought, and American political institutions.  He is also a visiting graduate faculty member at Ashland University.  Dr. Portteus’ book, Executive Details:  Public Administration and American Constitutionalism, is under review for publication.  He received his BA from Ashland University, his MA and PhD in Politics from the University of Dallas.  Those interested in seeing and hearing this lecture, or any of the others in the series, may register at constitution.hillsdale.edu.  There is no fee. Progressives divide government into two essential parts:  Politics, which is representation of the will of the people; and Administration, which is the development and implementation of civic policies and programs.  When we are taught about the Progressive Era of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in our high school history classes, there is focus on Progressive reforms that made government more directly representative:  direct election of senators; initiatives and referendums; and party primaries.  This brought politics closer to the people and improved their ability to express their will for change—especially progressive changes beyond Constitutional limitations.  Yet, Progressives’ more important contribution to American government was the concept of the administrative state, where bureaucrats, relatively free from political control, would ply their specialized expertise in the implementation of that popular will.  The Progressive vision was a politics of broad social policy (“We want clean water and air!”), resulting in declarations of objectives from representative government (a Clean Air and Clean Water Act specifying the broad objectives and not much...

Video: Up & Down (The Basics)

You’ve doubtless noticed that we’ve spoken a lot lately about measuring things via an UP & DOWN analysis–in other words, does a particular action move us UP toward individual liberty or DOWN toward big government tyranny?  The basis of the idea comes from the American Founding and the principles expressed in the Declaration and Constitution.  But the philosophy is even simpler than that.  In this new video, we look at the basics of GRIH’s UP versus DOWN metric and why it is important....