“I would invite the reader’s attention to the kind of lives our ancestors lived and the means by which [America’s] power was first acquired and expanded; I would then have him trace the process of our moral decline, to watch, first, the sinking of the foundations of morality as the old teaching was allowed to lapse, then the rapidly increasing disintegration, then the final collapse of the whole edifice, and the dark dawning of our modern day when we can neither endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them.”
This quote is exactly true of our day.
It was written by the great historian Livy at the very end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire. I only changed the word “Rome” to “America.” Otherwise, his words are right on for our nation today.
Livy lived during the great shift from a free Rome to one that became a great evil. In his day it was unclear what direction Rome would take — back to freedom, or toward authoritarian rule by a dominant elite class.
Livy was a patriot who loved his country and wanted it to choose the path of freedom. He considered the Roman Republic the “mightiest empire the world has known — next to God’s.”
He knew Rome had lost its founding morals, that it was losing its freedoms, that things were getting worse, and that his nation’s leaders were consistently unable to fix the nation’s problems.
Ditto to modern America.
A lot of people feel and understand this, but they honestly just don’t know what to do about it. They feel powerless to change Washington D.C. or fix American’s decline. They truly care, but they don’t know how to take action — or what action to take.
Stage 1 Influence: Study
Welcome to the first stage of making a difference. Each stage includes a Cause and an Action.
The Cause of stage one is to realize that our freedoms are being lost and that our nation is headed in the wrong direction. The Action is to study.
Yes, study. The American founders were able to gain their freedom because they knew exactly what freedom meant. They understood what to do. They knew what action was needed, because they were prepared mentally — they had studied and knew what to do.
This is the first step: Study. Read. Learn. Start getting a founding-fathers-style education. If this sounds daunting, relax.
Start by reading these five books:
- The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen
- 1913 by Oliver DeMille
- The Law by Frederic Bastiat
- The Coming Aristocracy by Oliver DeMille
- Uncommon Sense: A Common Citizen’s Guide to Rebuilding America by Stephen Palmer
These five books will give you an excellent foundation for stage one.
Once you have read all five of these books, you will be on the path of really doing something. At this point, you’ll be ready for stage two.
Stage 2 Influence: Deeper Study
The Cause of stage two is understanding just how far off track our current nation is, and the Action is taking your studies to a deeper level.
To do this, read our white paper, “Reweaving the Fabric of Freedom.” Decide which of the three tiers you are on, and get to work on the recommendations for that tier.
Stage 3 Influence: Action
Finally, when you finish the recommendations, you’ll be ready for stage three. The Cause of this phase occurs when you realize that you have the power and ability to really make a huge difference.
Once you’re at this point, you’ll know what you need to do. Take action! You have the power to drastically influence the world for good.
For now, get to work on stage one, or if you have already read these books go straight to stage two.
Livy was right. We have lost our roots and are headed in the wrong direction. Our leaders seem unable to fix things. America will only be fixed by the regular people, but to make a real difference we need to do the three stages of influencing society.
Now is the time.
Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.
Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.