"Restore(s) a little sanity into current political debate" - Kenneth Minogue, TLS "Projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than (the analysis of) Huntington" - James R. Kurth, National Interest "One of (the) most important books I have read in recent years" - Lexington Green
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The core of his thesis is this: It is the English-speaking world, the “Anglosphere” (UK, Ireland, India, USA, Canada, Australia, … ) that somehow came to view the law as an ally of freedom rather than an instrument of state control. It is that very elevation of the individual over the state, in the law, that has brought us freedom and prosperity. In America and Britain, says Hannan, that principle has been taken for granted so long that now we risk losing it.
Starting around 49:00 Mr. Hannan describes a technologically advanced future which is clearly based on America 3.0, though he does not mention the book by name. Mr. Hannan gave America 3.0 a rave review, so we know he liked it!
Thanks to CommPRO.biz for publishing my recent piece on optimism.
The subtitle of America 3.0 which has provoked the strongest response is this:
America’s Greatest Days Are Yet To Come.
In the article I ask:
Do you agree? Or do you think America’s greatest days are long gone? But if America’s greatest days are yet to come, then our personal lives and our business careers take on a more hopeful cast.
In the USA today we have a shortage of optimism. For the first time, Americans say their children and grandchildren will have a worse life than they did. But despair about America’s future is a factual, historical and analytic error. We are not on an inevitable road to tyranny and poverty. Predictions of the end of American freedom and prosperity are deeply mistaken.
Optimism must be based on facts, or it is just wishful thinking. So, what is the foundation for optimism about our future?
You can get the short answer in the CommPRO.biz article, or get the full and complete answer by reading America 3.0!
Thank you to the Washington Journal show on C-Span and its gracious host Peter Slen. Thank you also to callers, whose questions and comments I tried to respect and respond to.
Mr. Slen asked open-ended questions and gave the me the chance to speak at length about America 3.0 and what we are trying to get across. The entire show was about 45 minutes, which is a substantial amount of time, and a great opportunity.
First of all I want to thank Michael Lotus and James Bennett for taking the time and energy to write and promote America 3.0. It cannot be underestimated how much work this book took to research, write and publish and these 2 gentlemen (I really only know Mr. Lotus, but I am making assumptions on Mr. Bennett) are very busy individuals who have to earn a living for themselves and their families.
Throughout, they made a giant effort to make the book positive, upbeat and solutions-focused. This approach is radically different than the “conspiracy theory” or “single issue” approach that mars most books of this genre (although there really aren’t a lot of books that spring to mind when I think of likely comparisons). Even though the book would generally be classified as politically on the “right” by the general public, the authors go out of their way to not characterize their opponents as “bad people” and show the fundamental (positive) motivations that drive some of their actions, even if the results ended up being disastrous or misguided.
As a well-informed reader (by the standards of the world at large, if not always by the extremely high standards of Chicago Boyz, and often when I read Trent Telenko’s articles on military history I feel rather ignorant indeed) there were many areas of the book that were very new to me, increasing my interest in the topics that they raised. Given my focus on business, economics, energy, taxation, and military history, I really haven’t thought much at all about the role of the family and how it shaped America’s growth, but that topic was the seminal driver for the book. It felt very true and aligned with my experience, that the nuclear family and the ability of sons and daughters to marry off and “find their own way” contributed greatly to our successful outcomes. In the course of my business and travels I see the facts arrayed differently, and I can also see how individuals that I know from these countries have adjusted (and often embraced) this new, freedom-seeking and independent course of living.
The idea that we can reform our institutions and have the Federal government take over tasks that it logically should hold while devolving other roles to state and local government makes a lot of sense. They also discuss the “great haircut”, a single event to reform our finances across all the institutions simultaneously, as a logical approach, along with new barriers to ensure that it doesn’t re-occur.
I will think about the areas of my expertise and how they can be applied to concepts similar to America 3.0 in the future. There is a lot of de-centralization coming with energy and services and these can be aligned to the capabilities and responsibilities of our citizens, rather than being a top-down phenomenon in the process of disintegrating, which is the current trajectory.
Thanks again to the authors for an excellent book, and they are a credit to this site and what the founders have attempted to portray, which is a positive, forward look at the issues that we face and how we can solve them with political, economic and personal freedoms.
Our government is crushingly expensive, failing at its basic functions, and unable to keep its promises. It does not work and it cannot continue as it is. But the inevitable end of big government does not mean the end of America. It only means the end of one phase of American life.
America is poised to enter a new era of freedom and prosperity. The cultural roots of the American people go back at least 15 centuries, and make us individualistic, enterprising, and liberty-loving. The Founding generation of the United States lived in a world of family farms and small businesses, America 1.0.
This world faded away and was replaced by an industrialized world of big cities, big business, big labor unions and big government, America 2.0. Now America 2.0 is outdated and crumbling, while America 3.0 is struggling to be born. This new world will bring immense productivity, rapid technological progress, greater scope for individual and family-scale autonomy, and a leaner and strictly limited government.
This transition to America 3.0 will surprise many Americans, and astonish the world!
Don’t miss this discussion of a bright view of America’s future with a dynamic and intellectually stimulating speaker. For a preview of what you’ll hear, listen to Mike’s recent discussion about his book on the Heartland Daily Podcast: Part 1, and Part 2.
I am immensely pleased to announce this upcoming event. It is a real privilege to speak at the Heartland Institute.
Many people on the right believe America is on a downward slope into who-knows-where. They see no signs of improvement and think the future is dire. But not Michael Lotus!
He and co-author James C. Bennett wrote a book titled, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century. The book explores the possibility of a new era in America. The new era — they call it America 3.0 — is one that is less centralized ( less “top down”), and where we operate on more of an individual scale and become ever more productive.
In this podcast, Lotus discusses the previous two American eras — 1.0 and 2.0. America 1.0 is the time from the founding of the nation until just before the Industrial Revolution, which then takes us into America 2.0. Lotus says we are now at the tail-end of 2.0, in a kind of stagnant “transitional period.”
Why are Lotus and Bennett so hopeful? Well, they think that technology develops autonomously, regardless of the government obstacles in place (which cause it to slow down, but never cease improving). Furthermore, Lotus says that we have underlying cultural foundations that are unique — such as the nuclear family — that make us more resistant to the institution of socialism.
Even the host, Jim Lakely — Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute — began to transform his pessimistic attitude by the end of his conversation with Lotus!
Heartland’s summary of part II:
With all of the government debt, and the looming liabilities like Social Security, how is it possible that in thirty-some years America will be getting better?
Michael Lotus offers up his answer in Part II of the Heartland Daily Podcast about his new book titled, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century.
Lotus is confident that as technology develops, it will provide ways for us to lower the cost of living and liberate the economy. What if we could use a 3D printer to print and assemble a house in four days?
Everything is transforming right before our eyes; the geopolitical landscape, education, and societal values, among others.
Jim Lakely, Director of Communication at The Heartland Institute, asks Lotus about the geopolitical future of the United States. They discuss the fact that our founders meant for the U.S. to be much less centralized than it is, and how — in such a large country — it’s important for different parts of the country to live as they please, with smaller units of government.
Lakely and Lotus also discuss education. Lotus believes that government is the “boulder” holding us back and he says if we move that boulder, the world would “drop its jaw” at what we could accomplish. It seems that in this part, Lotus has lifted Lakely’s pessimism … at least for now.
British politician Daniel Hannan’s Inventing Freedom is an ambitious account of the historical origin and spread of the principles that have made America great, and their role in creating a sphere of economic and political liberty that is as crucial as it is imperiled.
According to Hannan, the ideas and institutions we consider essential to maintaining and preserving our freedoms—individual rights, private property, the rule of law, and the institutions of representative government—are the legacy of a very specific tradition that was born in England and that we Americans, along with other former British colonies, inherited.
By the tenth century, England was a nation-state whose people were already starting to define themselves with reference to inherited common-law rights. The story of liberty is the story of how that model triumphed. How it was enshrined in a series of landmark victories—the Magna Carta, the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, the U.S. Constitution—and how it came to defeat every international rival.
Today we see those ideas abandoned and scorned in the places where they once went unchallenged. Inventing Freedom is a chronicle of the success of Anglosphere exceptionalism. And it is offered at a time that may turn out to be the end of the age of political freedom.
Mr. Hannan’s argument sounds terribly convincing! In fact, it is much the same argument that we make in America 3.0.
Here is a powerful and persuasive book. I confess to using the phrase “powerful and persuasive” in the sense that most bloggers do, to mean “agrees with me”. The authors have drawn on the same sources that I most frequently turn to: the brilliant Cambridge historian and anthropologist Alan Macfarlane; Oxford’s James Campbell, the supreme authority on late Anglo-Saxon England; David Hackett Fischer and Kevin Phillips, whose histories of the United States contextualise the great republic within the Anglosphere continuum. They have returned, too, to the foremost Victorians, notably Stubbs, Freeman and Maitland, who fell out of fashion during the twentieth century, but whose truths will endure when more recent interpretations have been found wanting. I think I also detect Macaulay’s elegant spoor, though he isn’t cited directly. And, of course, they pay due reverence to America’s founders, above all Jefferson – whose words were unfailingly wise, even if his deeds didn’t always match them.
One further influence on Mr. Hannan, cited in his book, is my coauthor James C. Bennett. Jim popularized the term “Anglosphere,” which first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel The Diamond Age.
For as long as I can remember this little book has been moving with me from home to home. I have had it for a long time.
“History of the United States Illustrated, Volume IV, 1861-1888″ by E. Benjamin Andrews. Printed in 1903.
Having put a stop to most of my book buying until I read my current stack, this one was next. I am glad I hung on to it. Knowing the way I operate I am sure that I got it from a garage sale or something.
Mr. Andrews, and I would suppose that most people around the turn of the century, were intensely proud of what America had accomplished up to this point. This was made pretty clear after the Civil War and Reconstruction portions of the book. The public works and transportation projects that were completed were astounding given the technology of the time.
One portion of the book in particular caught my interest over all the rest, and that was the section on the Fisheries Disputes. Oddly, there isn’t even a wiki entry on this, as a whole subject.
Basically, these disputes were between the US, Great Britain and Canada over fishing rights. Many treaties had been drawn up over the years, but due to wars, some treaties were considered null and void, and typically one side would have one strong position with their legal points, and the other side would do the same. I don’t want to bore you with too many details in this footnote of history, but I found it fascinating how the author of a general history of the United States during this time found the Disputes so important to include them in the volume.
I had never even heard of the Fisheries Disputes before, and I have been reading history books all of my life.
Which brings me back to the main point of this rambling post. I remembered part of America 3.0 while reading the part about the Fisheries Disputes. This from page XXV of the Introduction:
However, the focus of this book is on the longer term, centuries into the past and decades into the future. Over such a large span of time our current political struggles, as engrossing as they are now, will mostly sink into history as mere noise around a discernible signal. Only the passage of time will confirm what that signal is, and whether our hopeful predictions were well grounded.
Does anyone remember the Dubai Ports Scandal? I am sure some of you do, but in a few years there won’t be too many left that do. Interesting how history keeps teaching me.
I will be my great privilege to speak about America 3.0, as part of the Heartland Institute Author Series Thursday, December 12, 2013, at The Heartland Institute library, One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2740, Chicago. Lunch will be served. $10.00 for the event, or $30 for the event and a copy of the book. Additonal books can be purchased onsite for $20.00 each.
Our second speaker will be long-time Chicago Tea Party member Mike Lotus. Mike will speak about his new book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come. America 3.0 explains why the post-industrial, networked, decentralized society we are going to build does not need Big Government anymore. America 3.0 explains that the current crisis we are going through is not the end of America, but a transition period. What is ending is the 20th Century welfare state. America 3.0 explains why technology and our underlying culture are going to help us make a successful transition to a free and prosperous future. Mike will speak about the critical importance of the Tea Party in the fundamental political changes that we are going to have to make. These are indeed revolutionary times. Whether we like it or not, we are part of a new founding generation. Be strong, it’s going to be hard. Be happy, it’s going to be great.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to my friends in the Chicago Tea Party.
Remember the three Tea Party principles: Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, Free Markets.
That’s what it’s all about.
Our distinguished FIRST speaker will be Doug Truax:
Doug Truax is a candidate for United States Senate, running in the Republican Primary in March 2014 and then taking on Dick Durbin in November 2014. He’s 43, he’s been married to Nicole for 21 years, they have three teen-agers, and live in Downers Grove in Dupage County.
Doug went to West Point, was active duty Army for six years, he attended Ranger and Airborne school, was a platoon leader and aide to a general, and then left the Army as a Captain.
He then went on to executive management at one of the country’s largest commercial insurance brokerage and consulting firms. After over 10 years in Corporate America, Doug went out on his own. He co-founded and is Managing Partner of a very successful employee benefit brokerage and consulting firm that helps companies control their medical insurance costs.
He knows and understands Obamacare and knows what we need to do to fix the Healthcare System in this country.
He’s been Chairman of the Board of Almost Home Kids in Naperville and Chicago and is Vice Chairman of the Board at CareNet of Dupage, a crisis pregnancy center.
I look forward to hearing Doug speak about his plans to capture the nomination, defeat Dick Durbin then take on the monster on the Potomac!
Dr. Rebane’s post has several good links. The focus of his discussion is the prospect for job creation in the future, and the concern about what the America workforce will do when the economy we currently know is gone — and it is going away fast.
This is a topic that has repeatedly surfaced in discussions about the book. The question of what the future economy will look like, and what people will do once the existing world of “jobs” has gone away, is frightening. We predict that the productive power that is becoming available will collapse the cost of living and liberate people to work on projects and tasks of their own choice rather than driven by necessity to a degree that only known by the very wealthy today. So far, the elimination of older and less productive technology has had the effect of generally increasing wealth throughout society, though there are losers and winners in the transaction, and some people do better than others. Part of the problem is we are familiar with the world that is fading away and we find it hard to imagine something radically different. Think for a moment about what the American Founders would have thought if you told them that in two centuries less than five percent of the people would be engaged in growing food. They would have been astonished, and wondered what on earth everybody could be working on. Human beings are assets. They are creative. Adam Smith famously wrote: “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” We cannot imagine what the ingenuity of the American people will produce in the decades ahead, with the astonishing tools that will be available to them. Mostly, we need to get out of their way and let them start building the America 3.0 that is already starting.
Our friends Ed and Sushma were spotted recently in India, on elephant-back, reading a copy of America 3.0!
A close up will confirm the sighting:
We have not confirmed a rumor that America 3.0 is available at most of the top-quality elephant kiosks in India. We can only hope that the tentacles of Encounter Books‘ marketing operation reach so far.
BENNETT & LOTUS – We inherited language and law and political and economic ideas from England, as well as a culture that is capitalistic and individualistic. The foundation for that culture is a type of nuclear family structure which is almost unique in the world, and we still have it, and most people who have settled here have eventually adopted it.
SCHWAB – What is this unique family structure you are talking about?
BENNETT & LOTUS – A lot of things about American families sound normal to Americans, but they are actually very unusual in the world. American parents cannot pick their childrens’ spouses; they don’t have to give them equal inheritances; adult children are expected to marry and form their own homes away from their parents; and we have no extended families in the way they do in many foreign countries.
SCHWAB – Why does it matter that Americans have had this type of family?
BENNETT & LOTUS – It has shaped everything about us, especially by making us independent and enterprising. We are more alone in the world than other people, our parents don’t have to help us, we have no extended families to save us, we make our own marriage choices, our own career choices, we pick our own friends and colleagues, and we have to hustle to succeed.
SCHWAB – Does being individualistic mean that we have to live by the law of the jungle?
BENNETT & LOTUS – No. Part of the genius of America has been being individualistic but also willing and able to cooperate freely and a high degree of trust with others, to create businesses and other types of voluntary organizations. And there is a role for government, but it will have to be smaller, less intrusive, more efficient, and less centralized in the future. Government will adapt to America 3.0, just as we and our children will.
Thanks to the Examiner and to Dwight Schwab for the review and interview.
Today’s political regime is like legacy software, built for an earlier world.
Institutions of the 20th Century welfare state that once looked permanent are crumbling. The old operating system has been kludged so many times it won’t work much longer. It has to be replaced.
The time-worn liberal-progressive wisdom is simple: See a problem, create a government program to fix it.
ObamaCare proves this approach no longer works. . . . The government shutdown, and the failures of ObamaCare, are dramatic symptoms of an old systems reaching its end.
But this is a time of transition, not decline.
In the Fox piece I offer some policy proposals for healthcare reform, which are consistent with our vision of where America should be heading.
I get most of the good ideas I may have about reforming healthcare, once Obamacare has been repealed and consigned to the trash heap of history, from my friend C. Steven Tucker. His blog is here, and you should make it a regular stop. Steve was predicting the catastrophic consequences of Obamacare YEARS ago. How could he do this? He is an insurance professional, understanding the law is his full time job. Steve read all 2,000+ pages of the law immediately after it was passed, and more than that, he understood it! He can truthfully say “I told you so!” But like everyone who is not blinded by partisanship, he would much rather that this ruinous law had never been passed in the first place.
President Obama and his Democrat allies have created a huge mess that is just going to get worse, and a lot of people are going to be hurt in the process. It is all tragic and unnecessary. Obamacare is, I hope, the final, massive failure of the 20th Century welfare state model, and that we will survive it, repeal it, transcend it, and replace it with something much better.
(Alan’s review appeared in several locations, including the website of the Heartland Institute. Thereby hangs a fortunate tale. Instapundit linked to the review. But the Heartland link was not working! An Instalanche squandered? Fate forfend! I called Jim Lakely at Heartland, and he fixed the link. While I was at it, I said, “hey, can I do a podcast with you guys?” And he agreed! I will link to the podcast in a later post.)
At best, future-studies titles are built on a solid understanding of powerful political, economic, technological and cultural phenomena. The most effective works are not abstract, literary political musings, but practical expressions of political science rooted in the possible. The best examples are the Federalist Papers and Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.”
“America 3.0” does not belong in this pantheon, but it is an intellectually ambitious and accessible work of political science that posits a year 2040 in which the United States has 21 more stars on the flag and has put our challenges behind us. Mr. Bennett and Mr. Lotus are not “pie in the sky” physiocrats, but serious probabilistic pragmatists. They write, “America in 2040 is not perfect, but nothing human ever is. Nonetheless, overall, this is an era of freedom and excitement, and American well-being with reasonable security for American citizens.”
Mr. DesRosier suggests America 3.0 should be adopted as a guide to policy:
While “America 3.0” should be eagerly consumed by the political class and concerned citizens alike, it needs a champion. Twenty years ago, Newt Gingrich saw the future in Alvin Toffler’s “The Third Wave” and brought it to the political mainstream. It was a book tailored to fit its bullish, technocratic times. “America 3.0” is a more serious book written for more serious times, and it deserves a serious booster. Sen. Rand Paul — and his supporters — should make “America 3.0” their book of ideas.
Mr. DesRosiers may be unique among our reviewers in focusing on Chapter 9, which regards foreign policy and defense:
Back to Mr. Paul and his merry band of Paulites. The greatest gift of “America 3.0” is a deep foreign policy suited for our age of sequestration, neither expeditionary, nor isolationist. The greatest obstacle to Mr. Paul being taken seriously as a presidential candidate is that he doesn’t seem to like the commander in chief part of the presidential job description.
It would have been strikingly presidential if Mr. Paul delivered a message to Secretary of State John F. Kerry, President Obama and the American people based on a “America 3.0” notion of “Keeper of the Global Commons”: “The United States must now reorient its national strategy to primary emphasis on maintaining the freedom of the global commons of air, sea and space. Secondarily, we must defend the nation and our close allies. Third, we must be capable of intervening when needed, primarily to inhibit the formation of dangerous and aggressive totalitarian powers globally.”
This is a winning plan that ought to be the cornerstone of a libertarian movement ready to evolve from back-bencher to prime-time player. We could all benefit from reading “America 3.0” — but some more than others.
Bennett and Lotus are available to fly out to D.C. to brief Sen. Paul whenever he cares to call!
Thanks to Milt Rosenberg for having me on his show to talk about America 3.0.
It was a lot of fun to be on Milt’s show, and as a long-time fan, it was a privilege as well. His kind words about the book, and his obvious careful reading of it before the interview were very greatly appreciated.
(BTW, Milt mentioned a book called The Breakdown of Nations by Leopold Kohr, which I had never heard of. I got a copy. Now I need an alternative universe where I can go for a century and read all the great stuff I don’t have time for.)
Many fear that America is on a downward slope and that America 3.0, as you put it, is not an optimistic vision. How can we change that vision? What makes America 3.0 better than its predecessors?
The America 3.0 we predict is optimistic, but it is not unrealistic. To the contrary, we depict America in 2040 in chapter one of our book, and it is all based on existing trends. We really think most of those positive changes will come much sooner.
It is true that too many conservatives have a bleak and hopeless vision of the future. They shouldn’t. We need to ask them what type of America they want their children and grandchildren to live in, ask them to imagine it, and then figure out what concrete steps need to be taken to get there. Mere opposition to President Obama is not remotely sufficient. People need an alternative explanation of the current crisis in America, a vision of where we should be going, and policy proposals that move us in a positive direction.
Notably, libertarians tend to be more optimistic. They are often younger, often from the tech world, and often readers of science fiction! Thinking about the future and what it will be like come more easily to them. Perhaps our libertarian friends can perform an intervention with our gloomy conservative friends so they won’t give up hope!
As we say in the book, America’s greatest days are yet to come. We are a liberty-loving and enterprising people and the roots of our culture go back many centuries. Our Constitution is not outdated, it is futuristic, and with a few amendments, it is well suited to the future we foresee. America 3.0 will be better than its predecessors because it will be an era of freedom and prosperity, with the cost of living sharply falling, and new opportunities for many people to live productive and creative lives.
The Daily Caller is also having a contest on Facebook. If you share this post you could win a copy of America 3.0 autographed and inscribed by both authors. This is a genuine rarity, since both authors are rarely in the same place at the same time.
…and the Obama Administration is having a worse than “Hurricane Katrina” class credibility meltdown unseen in the West since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s political collapse in July 2008.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the outrageously untrue statement in Congressional hearings today about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that: ‘The website has never crashed.’
As this Instapundit link makes clear that the split screen between her testimony and objective reality is well into the Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf AKA “Baghdad Bob” territory in terms of “Who are you going to believe, me? Or your lying eyes?”