|Winning The Future
A 21st Century Contract with America
By Newt Gingrich
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
HC, 272 pgs. US$27.95
Newt: The futurist
By Carol Devine-Molin
In his latest book, Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America, Newt Gingrich - former Speaker of the House of Representatives - again demonstrates that he's more than a brilliant conservative thinker. He's a national treasure. Gingrich grasps that America is on the cusp of another "make or break" era, when it will be required to undergo unprecedented transformation. Gingrich has: a) properly assessed the developing threats facing America, and, b) proffers the required solutions that will guide this great nation onward and upward. This is an insightful and timely book that's not only a "must read" for all college students, but for anyone interested in the survival and flourishing of our nation. And, certainly, I would hope that the latter constitutes the vast majority of Americans.
From the perspective of conservatives, nobody can better tackle these salient issues than "our man Gingrich" who engineered the incredibly successful "Contract with America" that paved the way for Republicans to recapture both houses of Congress in 1994. Thanks to the groundwork established by Newt as House Speaker in the 1990s, the GOP is America's majority party that continues in its ascendancy. Sure, Newt possesses tremendous political expertise, but there's so much more to be said about this highly accomplished and erudite individual. Besides having been a professor of History (with a doctorate in Modern European History), Gingrich is an expert in the realms of Social Security, healthcare, international relations and national security. Why is Gingrich's expansive background pertinent to this discussion? Well, he's clearly a futurist, exploring future trends. And, of course, we -- the readers -- must feel confident that he possesses the wherewithal to evaluate complex, developing circumstances.
According to Newt's biography, he's involved in numerous endeavors including teaching at the National Defense University and serving on the Terrorism Task Force for the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1999, Gingrich was appointed to the United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, which produced a report concluding that the number one threat to America over the next 25 years is a WMDs attack on a major city. Moreover, he's a member of the Defense Policy Board, an Editorial Board Member of the Johns Hopkins University journal, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, an Advisory Board Member of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and Co-chairman of the National Commission for Quality Long-term Care. And this is just a sampling of Newt's extensive and somewhat eclectic résumé, which also notes that he taught Environmental Studies at West Georgia College. There's no doubt that Gingrich is drawing on an incredible wealth of information in crafting this latest book.
In Winning the Future, Gingrich discusses "politics as history", with the understanding that "who we are" as a nation, where we have been, where we are headed, what has worked in the past, and what has failed, are all crucial to anticipating and adroitly strategizing for the emerging problems on the horizon. Clearly, Newt's "Big Picture" view of history and comprehensive reservoir of knowledge are key to his role as futurist.
According to Gingrich's treatise, there are five daunting threats that are likely poised to play havoc with America's future:
1) "That Islamic terrorists and rogue dictatorships will acquire and launch nuclear or biological weapons";
2) "That God will be driven from America's public life and reduce us to the civilizational ennui that now characterizes a declining Europe";
3) "That America will lose the patriotic sense of itself as a unique civilization";
4) "That America's economic supremacy will yield to China and India because of failing schools and weakening scientific and technological leadership";
5) "That an aging America's demands on Social Security, Medicare, and related government programs will collapse the system."
Gingrich masterfully moves through myriad issues that impact the "five threats", and which need to be properly addressed, including: Social Security reform underscoring modernization and personal accounts, simplifying the tax code, improving our intelligence services in this War on Terror, promoting democratization throughout the globe, returning to the centrality of God and the Judeo-Christian ethic in America, "bringing the courts back under the Constitution", focusing upon "patriotic immigration, patriotic education and patriotic stewardship", creating an intelligent healthcare system with individual accountability and incentives, learning to fight for America's interests, balancing the federal budget, promoting education in science and technology, "investing in the science revolutions that are going to transform our world" and getting government to move with speed and effectiveness in this Information Age. Gingrich also explains how every individual can become proactive and involved with this new 21st Century Contract with America.
This book is anything but boring. Winning the Future is chock-full of information and ideas that delineate the difficulties at hand, how and why they came about, what the future is likely to hold, and how America should now intervene in a problem-solving mode. For me, this book only further substantiates that conservatives such as Newt Gingrich - and others in conservative think tanks and at the grassroots level - are the innovative and optimistic thinkers that are keen on solving America's problems. Conservatives are only eager to galvanize and grapple with the issues. In contrast, as noted by Gingrich, "the entrenched lobbyists and entrenched bureaucracies will do all they can to minimize the changes no matter how vital those changes are to America's future." And of course, we can expect the liberals to attempt to undermine anything that stems from the political Right. However, conservatives believe in the indefatigable can-do spirit of the American people, and reject the cynicism of the political Left. As Gingrich notes, "we have risen to the challenge before, and we can do so again."
Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.
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