“The Courage of a Reformer”

I recently had a guest post entitled The Courage of a Reformer at the blog of the Illinois Opportunity Project. My post was in responses to an earlier post by Matt Besler of IOP about Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives.

My post included this passage:

the Goal

This highlights an under-appreciated reality. You do not just need candidates with good values and good ideas. You do not just need candidates who can also win elections. You need these candidates to stay true to their commitments, which will impose a personal cost, once they are in office.

In our book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century–—Why America’’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, we discuss the decline and dissolution of the economic and political institutions of industrial-era America, which we call America 2.0. We describe a different and better America 3.0 which we expect and hope will replace it. But as we make clear, this process will not be pleasant. The transition from agricultural to industrial America was hard. The change to a world dominated by emerging technology, post-industrial, networked America 3.0, will be every bit as hard, and will happen much faster.

Illinois is a specific case, and an especially difficult one, of the transition from America 2.0 to America 3.0. The Establishment here, consisting of politicians from both parties, is referred to without affection as The Combine. Despite the state’s many inherent strengths, The Combine has “governed” Illinois the verge of ruin. Illinois is the worst-run state in the nation.

America 3.0 is a long book, and we could not put everything into it.

One topic which we hope to write about more in the future is the steps that will have to be taken to make the transition. We got into some of this in the later chapters of the book, but there is a lot more that needs to researched and developed.

One area which we barely touched on, but which is critically finasteridehair important, is the personal character which will be called for from a generation which will in effect be a new “founding generation.” The old order will have many defenders, many of them with good motivations, many with not-so-good motives. There will be unrelenting efforts to prop up the world everyone is used to, and to crush any person, group or business trying to make serious innovations and necessary reforms.

As I said in my IOP post:

To really matter, to really do something, to really change the direction of our state, means that there will be hardship, rejection, unpopularity, vilification, rejection of material benefits, making people mad by refusing to do what “everybody does,” attacks by the people who benefit from the status quo, not many pats on the back, and incomprehension even from good people.
The committed reformer has to be willing to go up against all that.
What is the reformer’s motivation, then?
If it is not money, prestige, popularity, an easy life, what is it?
Faith is part of it. Patriotism is part of it. Moral principles are part of it. A sense of duty is part of it. Gratitude for what we have been given is part of it. A commitment to a better future for ourselves, our families, and our children is part of it.
A hopeful vision of how things could be, should be, must be, will be better if we change course in Illinois, that is also part of it.

Substitute “America” for “Illinois” and it still works.

This challenge is going to require a lot of effort, from a lot of people. We need to be realists about that. But we must not be cynical. With a hopeful and realistic picture of the future to inspire us, there will be enough people, enough talent, enough drive, enough fortitude, to build America 3.0.

We plan to say much more about this.

Stand by … .

3 thoughts on ““The Courage of a Reformer””

  1. America can print its own money. Illinois will soon face the choice of paying promised government pensions or essential services. Good luck. Maybe people will get together, but most will flee the State.

  2. We’re now talking about “winter of our discontent” level courage.

    Here’s the biggest immediate problem: Pension and Retirement Rights Article XIII, Section 5 of the state constitution

    Membership in any pension or retirement system of the
    State, any unit of local government or school district, or
    any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an
    enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which
    shall not be diminished or impaired.

    (no matter how many times I read that last line I still gag at the incredible idiocy of including it in the constitution – thanks a lot 1970 politicians, may you all see answer to your Maker if not taxpayers)

    The state supreme court ruled earlier in the year that it’s unconstitutional for the state to cut pensions, and they just ruled last week that it’s unconstitutional for the city to cut them also. With the state budget impasse, there’s no way out now. Starting in September when the city budget is due, we’ll see massive tax hikes and suspension of services, and, therefore, more debt downgrades because taxes alone will never fill the gap. It’s going to get ugly.

  3. The good news is despite the crash in oil prices and current litigation seeking to block fracking, oil drilling output seems to be recovering. It fell off the cliff early in the year. There are some reports trickling in more wells opening up again.

    And while Southern Illinois oil is still bobbing around looking for a bid, natural gas production has actually dramatically increased. Gas prices have seemed to have found a floor, however tenuous, for most of the year, which appears to be giving some support to drilling.

    With manufacturers fleeing the impending fiscal catastrophe and higher taxes en masse, fracking is our brightest hope for some kind of growth.

    The bad news is the Illinois shale basin also extends into Indiana and Kentucky, and those states are siphoning off drillers hesitant to fully commit until the legal challenges have passed, which may take years at this rate.

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