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By Shanon Brooks

Recently, someone ask me if I was happy with the changes in Utah State government (6 more Republicans in the House and 1 more in the Senate).

“What changes?” I said.

“You know, the legislature is more conservative now.”

“Really? When did that happen?” I inquired.

“I only see a changing of the guard, new representatives making many of the same old promises that nearly always get forgotten or reneged on. We don’t know if these new officials are going to make any positive changes or not until they have been in office long enough to prove themselves.

“Until then, (and maybe never), we will have no change.”

He squinted his eyes and stared at me as if I was speaking in code.

I continued, “Who is going to make sure they follow through on their promises? Who is going to call-them-out on bad decisions as they enact them, instead of waiting as usual for the damage to be noticeable to even non-observers after a three-term run of damaging behavior and failed campaign pledges?”

“Until and unless we change our behavior as citizens, no changes will likely occur except the changing of the names of the people holding office.”

My friend just looked away, oblivious to any meaning I was trying to convey.

This is more and more evident every time I reread The 5,000 Year Leap (affiliate link), or the writings of Jefferson, Adams, Tocqueville or review our founding documents—until We the People seriously and permanently assume our role as jealous protectors of our unalienable rights and actively engage in fulfilling our unalienable duties, we have no reason to expect positive pro-liberty change.

This of course would require American citizens to make some lifestyle changes of their own . . . don’t hold your breath.

But then there are my students and many others. Citizens who do care enough to learn what our unalienable rights and duties are and how to exercise them.

Thank you for doing your duty. Thank you for caring enough for future generations to take responsibility for your liberty and vouchsafe theirs.

The Bible says that you can’t pour new wine into old bottles. Neither can we expect old methods to produce different results.

We must learn how the founders established sound government founded in natural law and then reapply the original principles in new ways to refresh liberty.

If you care about liberty and if you are looking for ways to be a better citizen and even make a difference and a real change, here are a few recommendations:

Spend just one hour a day reading what I call New American Founder™ type material. A few examples are:

(affiliate links)

Invite one or two couples over for a meal and assign a small reading (no more than 5 or 6 pages) for dinner discussion.

Consider attending your local city council meetings for a few months consecutively (it will only have the desired effect if you are consistent).

Develop a family study program around local, state and national government. Teach your children the principles of government as it is happening on a daily basis—not in a static, disconnected manner.

Consider running for a local office and plan to only serve one term.

Find new ways to volunteer in your community, preferable outside of your own religion.

Learn a new language.

Watch less TV and play more with your kids.

Court your spouse.

Yes, we need change. Only God knows how much change we need if we are to live in the Republic the founders designed for us.

But the kind of change we have been hearing about for some time now (Obama change and conservative change) is nothing more than the same old thing—more and more government and less and less liberty.

I am in agreement with many of the Founders; regardless where we are, things can always be improved with the application of sound governmental principles.

But before we can apply them we must take the time and exert the effort to learn them.


Shanon Brooks is the President of Monticello College, the Director of Education and Training for Humanitarian Visions International, S.A., and a founding partner of the Center for Social Leadership. He co-authored Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens.

Shanon and his wife Julia are raising their six children in Monticello, Utah.

Connect With Shanon:

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  1. Just last night, Dr. Brooks, I was on the phone with about 15 people from across the state of Utah, some of whom are current or “new” leadership in our legislature. We are watching. We are discussing things. There is a session on Wednesday to discuss the Federal money being “given” to our schools.

    Many of us feel we need to say no to this money, because it isn’t really money anyway, but more debt. We are paying for children’s education now, and bankrupting their future for generations.

    In order to become a strong state again, we must set the standard of not allowing the all powerful Federal government to come in and throw money at our schools and bypass the legislative process.

    Some of us, are doing our best, even though we are lacking in our education. We do what we can. If we are wrong, then people like you need to step forward and help us guide our legislators.

  2. Thanks for the list of books. That is always helpful to me so I can get a better education. I had heard of most of these but some were new ones. I always love to get a good book recommendation!

    I agree completely with your post. Although I find it hard to actually find ways to get involved in making changes that really matter.

  3. Tanya,

    We are currently creating new material to help with that and gathering experiences of others to give examples. Keep reading!


  1. […] I am not suggesting that you have a mistress or the equivalent (although if you have one, we probably need to talk). I am suggesting that if we are not happy with the state of the nation or the condition of our city or state, it is likely things are happening that are contrary to principles of liberty and prosperity and that we are out of sync with natural law. […]

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