Monday, September 23, 2013

This Is Why America's Future Will Be Awesome

In his epic volume, Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville described the American character as one of creating a civil society via individual intuitive as opposed to awaiting the blessing of a church, a monarch or any other 'authority'.   The primacy of the individual remains the cornerstone of American identity.  Most dynamic nonprofits were born by the idea and sweat of an individual (who eventually drew others into their orbit).

So as we contemplate the future and the likelihood of decaying government finances, let us remember we still have an abundance of resources to maintain a civil society....and the chief resource is the brainpower and sweat of individuals.  It is they who will be creating the future.

Detroit, as is well documented, has transformed into an urban desert with enough abandoned homes to house all the homeless in Michigan...with enough left over for Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.   Street lights are out, firehouses abandoned, parks left to go to seed.  Into the void has stepped The Mower Gang, best described as just a group of ordinary people who decided to take it upon themselves to maintain 10 abandoned city parks (Detroit has over 340, most abandoned).  They didn't ask permission, they didn't petition the government, they didn't call the media....they just went ahead and did it.  This is Reason TV's coverage of what happens when people are left to their own devices and forced to come up with creative ways to pick up the pieces and find solutions in a city they once loved.


Karen Yowell said...

Thanks for the article. I believe part of the problem with our country is we have stopped looking to each other for solutions and look to the government. In the video, government should take care of parks but if they can't individuals need to band together to get it done.

Michael Brand said...

I agree to some extent Karen. No doubt over the past 40-50 years we've lost that sense of community initiative and instead have raised our voices that government 'do something'. The good news is that the coming austerity will force us to get back to basic values.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sending this link. You were right yesterday by saying we have this abundance of people and time and experience. We could take care of much of the problems in schools, streets and elsewhere if we just went ahead and did it without permission.

Anonymous said...

Yea deTocqueville! Sadly, most americans know not of this man and what he had to say.