It’s not hard to make most things work. A little common sense goes a long way. Humans take responsibility. They succeed, or not. Other people judge how they do. Humans taking charge is the secret sauce of America’s culture.
Americans today are frustrated. They can’t take responsibility. Bureaucracy is everywhere. The president can’t fix decrepit roads and bridges. A teacher can’t deal with a student disrupting everyone else’s learning. Doctors and nurses take care of paperwork instead of patients. A manager can’t give an honest job reference. Parents get in trouble for letting their children explore the neighborhood. Washington does almost everything badly.
Why must it all be so complicated? Modern government is a giant hairball of regulations, forms, and procedures that prevent anyone from taking charge and acting sensibly. No one designed this legal tangle. It just grew, and grew, and grew, until common sense became illegal. That’s the main reason government is paralyzed. That’s why it takes a team of lawyers to get a simple permit. Every year, the red tape gets denser.
It’s time to clean house. Simple government will work far better than hairball government. Rules should lay out goals and general principles—like the 15-page Constitution—and not suffocate responsibility with thousand-page instruction manuals. People must be free to ask in each situation: What’s the right thing to do here?
Nothing works sensibly unless real people make it work. That includes fixing broken government. Let’s get together and demand a radical overhaul—remaking government into simple frameworks that allow people to take charge again. We need to face the future with courage and ingenuity, not mindless bureaucracy.
Why We Need a Movement
Washington will never change voluntarily. Without a mandate to clean house, the new president will get mired in the bureaucracy. Big change happens only with outside pressure.
America needs a movement. Our vision for fixing broken government is simple: Put humans back in charge. From the schoolhouse to the White House, replace mindless bureaucracy with human responsibility and accountability.
Join us, and get your friends and colleagues to join us. Taking charge ourselves is the only way to fix this mess in Washington.
A Common Good Campaign
Common Good is a nonpartisan reform coalition that believes individual responsibility, not rote bureaucracy, must be the organizing principle of government. It presents proposals to radically simplify government and restore the ability of officials and citizens alike to use common sense in daily decisions. The Founder and Chair of Common Good is Philip K. Howard, a lawyer and author of The Rule of Nobody and The Death of Common Sense.