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Reclaiming the American Dream: The Role of Private Individuals and Voluntary Associations (Philanthropy and Society)

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1560006558
ISBN-10: 1560006552
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Product Details

  • Series: Philanthropy and Society
  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560006552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560006558
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I first met Dick Cornuelle in 1965 at a Young Republican conference. I was impressed and later he visited me and was keynoter at a Housing Conference of which I was co-ordinator.
The book literally changed my life and my approach to public policy. The Independent Sector as described by Cornuelle is the most powerful, largest, most nearly solvent and includes more American citizens than either of the other two sectors-Public and Private.
He made the case that the sector had become lazy and somewhat indolent during the Roosevelt years after He had discovered the secret of obtaining their support for his programs by delving into the public purse and giving them public support.
Cornuelle argues that they should reclaim their independent status and get about the business of pursuing solutions to Americas educational, health, social and employment problems among others.
The Independent Sector as described by Cornuelle includes By and Girl Scouts, Labor Unions, Churches,Independent Schools, Coon Hunter Clubs, The Elks, The Masons, The Shriners, the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Mental Health Associations and hundreds
more.
De Toqueville referred to the Independent Sector in his writing to the King of France and noted that they are the "Genius of the American System"
His ideas were and are sound and America needs to pay attention to them!
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I read (and still have) the 1965 edition. It was given to me by a mentor who said it had my name on it when he was in a second hand bookstore. This was in the early eighties when I was immersing myself in the Literature of Freedom from Hillsdale College and the Foundation for Economic Education.
Its premise is familiar: Unlimited government needlessly compromises the American Dream. But what can be done about it? The only and most obvious alternative most people see is the private, or profit, sector. Many other people, especially those of the modern liberal political persuasion, see problems with a private sector solution for many of societies pressing needs. So it becomes a polarizing situation.
Richard C. Cornuelle, however, reminds us of what Alexis de Tocqueville discovered in his sociological work on America of 1831. Tocqueville wrote that what made America really great was a phenomenon in America brought about by freedom of association. He wrote that everywhere, individuals banded together in groups voluntarily outside the profit and legislative arenas to facilitate equitable solutions to difficult problems.
Cornuelle points out that there is a third area of society besides the legislative arena and the profit arena. It is the voluntary, or independent, sector of society. Society thus becomes a three-legged stool. What is encouraging is his description of how this independent sector can enter into direct competition with the government and do a better, more effective job.
I was highly encouraged by his observations and ideas. He said that unlike a government program, an independent program can spring to life, grow and disband naturally as needs naturally emerge and resolve. This is a seminal work.
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