To Renew America
a book by Newt Gingrich
(our site's book review)
On the plus side, Newt, when in politics, did the important work of beginning to draw Congress, kicking and screaming, into the 90s and especially into the Third Wave (as defined by the Tofflers). He rightly was trying to limit the size of government, give welfare recipients opportunities rather than money, dump the philosophy of victimization, help us learn to take personal responsibility for our actions, acknowledge the obsolescence of bureaucracies by decentralizing them, support Habitat for Humanity, balance the federal budget, keep down inflation, save Social Security, devolve power from Washington to states and localities, turn welfare functions back to the states, change the unemployment system so it funds adult learning, let people be in charge of their health by the use of expert systems and telemedicine and let us emphasize prevention and not cure, assess huge fines for drug users and pushers.
College Degrees cost too much these days
Also, have people apply the knowledge from science to their lives to make them work better—right now there’s too much of a disconnect and we know but do not do, lower the cost of education, throw the “political correctness” disease off campus, get rid of unionized exploitation in school administration and the abuses in the tenure system, and let private companies run school systems efficiently rather than put up with any more high-priced failures to educate. Even his concept of letting public shame once again be a community pressure against immoral behavior could be viable in some contexts.
Letting public shame be a community pressure against bad behavior
On the minus side, Newt appeared to be a little too eager to please some of his fundamentalist and radical right supporters—he seemed willing to forgo the separation of church and state and allow the extremists to put their religious values not just in our schools but in our faces. He twisted the facts about the views held by our country’s Founders, making it seem as though they wanted religion in government, when, in truth, most seemed to want it out of government but in their private lives instead.
Logic dictates that if people fled Europe to escape religious oppression and to gain more freedom, then the idea of modern day schools and government suddenly having God popping up all over—which would mercilessly oppress many—reflects no Founder desires but instead is another ploy from the authoritarians to push their morals down our throats whether we like it or not.
Newt was right that the Left need to be kept in line or at least balanced by talk shows from the Right but forgot to mention the Right need to be kept in line or at least balanced by talk shows from the Left
It was depressing that Newt couldn’t see through this one. And it certainly had all the earmarks of assuring votes from special interests by selling out to them. Newt was right that the “liberal elite” need to be kept in line or at least balanced by talk shows from the Right, but he didn’t admit that the reverse applies equally as strongly: The liberal elites must keep the distortions and divisive rhetoric from the Right balanced as well. For someone as knowledgeable about the Founders of our country as Newt to neglect to cite the balance that the Constitution and its creators had in mind, but instead to make it look like all the problems are coming from the liberals, is to dabble in hypocrisy.
All in all, Newt’s work to try to get America to shift to the Third Wave paradigm was so important and wise that his foibles, faux pas and biases must be excused.