For years, in my books and on my radio show I've promoted the concept of "do-it-yourself conservatism" -- making the case that the best way to prevent the inexorable growth of government at every level is to take more individual initiative in solving pressing problems.
For example, instead of waiting for the president to succeed in reforming public schools, take control of your own children's education -- through home schooling or direct, forceful local involvement.
Instead of complaining about the miserable values promoted by mass media, place yourself and the rest of your family on a TV/movie diet, selecting and scheduling the material you consume with much greater consciousness of the messages it sends.
And most significant, rather than expecting Al Gore, the U.N. and the environmental regulators to deliver us from ecological threats, take the lead in greening your own neighborhood. Plant trees, clean up local parks and beautify your environment near at hand before you worry about the caribou at the Arctic National Wild Life Reserve.
One demonstration of a controversial but attention-getting approach on do-it-yourself conservatism involved the public letter I recently sent to the weekly newspaper in our suburban Seattle community.
With a nasty little problem in my immediate vicinity, I'm hoping to use the power of public shaming -- rather than law enforcement -- to address the situation. In a sense, this approach is an experiment -- and I expect to share the results. Here's an excerpted version of the letter:
TO THE EDITOR:
It's not my concern if one of our neighbors indulges the daily habit of chewing tobacco. But it becomes my concern -- in fact, the concern of everyone in town -- when that neighbor thoughtlessly tosses the results of his habit along the main thoroughfare, polluting our parks and streets in a particularly disgusting manner.
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