“America needs a breakout movement, a new politics that is less about the Right versus the Left than about the future versus the past. It will require a new political language, new coalitions of pioneers and champions who understand the importance of breaking out, and new assertiveness in exposing the prison guards of the past.”
Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate
by Newt Gingrich
Former Speaker of the House and perennial strategist Newt Gingrich is back with his latest book, Breakout. His latest literary effort was inspired in part by “the disconnect between the amazing innovations occurring outside of Washington… and the city’s preoccupation with the day-to-day trivia of politics” and delivers a fresh perspective that few others could muster. Focused on results instead of partisanship, Newt disects many of our most pressing issues, analyzes their root causes and suggests alternative solutions made possible by taking advantage of the most current advances in knowledge and technology.
I personally believe this to be one of the Speaker’s best works to date. While I could ramble on explaining why, I’m going to depart from my usual long-windedness and just give you a few small snippets from each chapter so you can decide for yourself.
Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate
by Newt Gingrich
Published November 4, 2013, ISBN: 1621570215
Chapter One – Breakout, The Great Opportunity
“It is up to the champions – to the American people, to us – to be not lukewarm defenders but real advocates. It is up to us to assert that this is not the best we can do, that there is a dramatically better future just ahead, and that we can overcome the prison guards of the past and break out.”
“The fight will be to modernize our institutions, our laws, and our regulations so we can see a genuine breakout in our lifetime.”
Chapter Two – Breakout in Learning
“Today, little classroom teaching is based on solid evidence of how the students learn most effectively. Computerized learning environments tied in with teaching will finally let educators systematically apply the insights of science to the classroom.”
“In an online learning environment, you could apply new insights to the entire system, hundreds of thousands of students, just as fast as you discovered what works for various types of learners. If one teacher had an idea for teaching fractions that improves practice results by 5 percent in certain kinds of students, all of them could benefit from it the next week.”
Chapter Three – Breakout in Health
“While you have heard plenty about Obamacare, you might not have heard as much about a second approach to reforming our dysfunctional healthcare system. That’s because it sneaked up on us. While we were debating about insurance coverage and Medicare bills, many of the transformational breakthroughs in medical science that we had long been promised – personalized medicine, treatments based on genomics, and regenerative therapies – approached the stage of development at which they could be offered to average people.”
Chapter Four – Breakout in American Energy
“It’s clear that the effect of U.S. Energy policy in the past three decades has been to restrict and destroy energy development rather than enable it to be done safely. The fracking revolution occurred on private lands, avoiding some federal restrictions, but even private development is coming under assault.”
“Today, that mindset and the policies it justified are obsolete. The world has changed, and we must break out of the prison of that costly, false idea.”
Chapter Five – The Green Prison Guards
“Americans care about the environment. We want clean air and clean water. We want to protect biological diversity and to conserve our country’s natural beauty for future generations. If fracking really is risky, we want to know. But the debate must be based on facts, and the green prison guards have no interest in a debate like that.”
“It is little wonder that an industry in which the government arbitrarily determines which companies have a chance and which ones don’t has seen so little of the progress President Obama promised.”
Chapter Six – Breakout in Transportation
“Imaging that you could roll out of bed at 5:30 in the morning and climb into the self-driving car that had just pulled up to your home. You could drift back to sleep as the car whisked you to work in the city a hundred and fifty miles away… waking you just as you arrived around 7:00. Imagine that you could work through your evening commute, opening up time at home to spend with your family.
All of this could happen.”
“If the challenge were simply the bureaucratic headache of sifting through outdated laws and rewriting them, at least we’d know what we had to do. But the legacy automakers and dealers, the Teamsters, the transit unions, the taxi drivers, the rental car companies, local law enforcement (which profits from traffic tickets), and others will not give up without a fight. Many of these prison guards, powerful interests whom self-driving technology threatens, will undoubtedly try to use the thicket of existing laws and regulation – and to erect new ones – to keep us trapped in the past.”
Chapter Seven – Breakout in Space
“In the past eleven years… we have spent roughly $150 billion on NASA and the civilian space program. We have spent additional money on defense aspects of a space program. Yet today the United States, on its own, cannot launch a single human being into space. NASA has accomplished some difficult feats in its history, but spending $150 billion on the space program without developing a rocket and spacecraft to launch astronauts into orbit is near the top of the list.”
“The success of competitive prizes like the Ansari X Prize points us toward the best way for government to support big breakthroughs in a whole range of areas, at a far lower cost than our current program.”
“What kind of world might we already be enjoying if we had set aside even a fifth of the $831 billion stimulus for breakthrough prizes? At worst, we would be $166 billion richer right now. At best, we would be talking about the new American breakout rather than the new normal.”
Chapter Eight – Breakdown in Government
“The most frightening breakdown in government in our generation is the breakdown of the rule of law.
America was founded on the rule of law. The Founding Fathers understood that only the rule of law guarantees justice and opportunity for every citizen. They regarded the King’s violation of the rule of law as the chief justification for the American Revolution.”
“The widespread breakdown in government is now obvious to Americans of both parties. The failures are becoming a problem of daily life. Citizens across the country are looking for some way to break out of this obsolete mess that is serving the people so poorly.
It is clear that minor tinkering will fail. We need extensive and extraordinary change to replace, not to reform, the broken-down parts of government. We need breakthroughs so large they can bring down the bureaucratic state, as light bulbs made candles obsolete.”
Chapter Nine – Breakout in Government
“Much of Washington has forgotten that government is not the whole society. It is just a small piece of it – or at least it should be. What communities and citizen volunteers can do, government should leave to them to do. What state and local governments can do, the federal government should let them do.”
“A meaningful program of civil service reform would impose modern technology and management practices on the federal bureaucracy.”
“Cutting out the waste, however, will not get rid of the federal morass. Americans must also demand a complete rethinking of the regulatory state, which is killing innovation and strangling our economy. Every major regulatory agency should be reorganized, and evey major regulation reassessed with the goal of removing the barriers to innovation.”
Chapter Ten – Breakout from Poverty
“In the mid-twentieth century, the United States entered into a destructive social contract with the poor. If you are a mother and you kick the male out of the house, we will give you money. If you have more children outside of marriage, we will give you more money. If you are a student and you do badly in school, we will subsidize you. If your body is imperfect, we will send you a disability check for the rest of your life, provided you don’t work full time. It is a soul-crushing deal. Practically everything we have done has made it harder to break out of poverty in America.”
“A new American breakout would help the poor more than any other group. And it can happen. It will require conservatives to care enough about their fellow citizens to engage in conversations that will often make both sides uncomfortable. It will require liberals to care enough about their fellow citizens to challenge some of their own most deeply held beliefs and some of their strongest allies.”
Chapter Eleven – Breakout in Achieving Cures
“If we can reduce to trivialities the real human problems for which many of our largest programs were established, we will find ourselves in a very different world. The problems of Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance coverage, and even Social Security… will assume an entirely different appearance, if they don’t disappear entirely.”
“The opportunity to cure so many diseases arises from the interaction of four separate but parallel revolutions that could reinforce and magnify each other in ways few of our political leaders seem to understand. The four revolutions are in genetics, regenerative medicine, advanced brain diagnostics, and big data for health analysis.”
Chapter Twelve – Breakout from Disabilities to Capabilities
“Tighter regulation, more aggressive reviews, and longer waiting periods will not solve the problems that are baked into the system. We must change our focus from what limits people to what empowers them.
With the amazing breakthroughs in health and in lifelong learning, we have the opportunity to change the obsolete concept of disability into the new concept of capability. We have to rethink the system.”
Chapter Thirteen – Breakout Champions
“Our society, in this era of big government, is centered on bureaucracy, regulation and law. This mindset makes breakthroughs difficult and a general breakout almost impossible.
To become breakout champions, citizens and elected officials need to think about society and government in a completely new way.”
“The future could be amazing. The innovations we are seeing in learning, health, energy, transportation, and even government have the potential to transform our lives. They promise to make America freer and more prosperous, with real opportunity for all. They promise to make life better and richer. They promise, in short, to achieve the American dream.”
— Kevin A. Nye (@kevinanye) November 7, 2013