Adam Seagrave at NR:

{The] he most basic and decisive reason we can’t look to the national and state governments for American civic renewal is that the American experiment was always, from the beginning, an experiment in self-government. The “self” in self-government means, first and foremost, an individual human person. Because of this, American civic renewal is not only “more likely” to start at the bottom — it must. As Thomas Paine put it in Common Sense, the Revolutionary Americans sought to “begin government at the right end”; i.e., from the individual human being outward rather than from a king, queen, president, or member of Congress down a chain of command. If we wanted Chinese civic renewal or Russian civic renewal, we could start at the national level; but if we want American civic renewal, we simply have to start locally.


To solve this problem requires identifying a political unit that is tied to small areas and populations and that covers the entire territory and population of the United States. Neighborhoods are too small to count as properly “political.” Cities and towns are generally of the right size, but they miss large parts of the territory (and smaller parts of the population) of the U.S. The political unit that best fits the bill is the county or county-equivalent. Counties, then, are the site where American civic renewal will be decided.

From Counties for American Civic Renewal:

Local self-government is the foundation of American Constitutional democracy, and local self-government depends on a rigorous civic education. However, civic education has become increasingly deficient, leading to historically low levels of civic engagement in local affairs. Few citizens today understand the role and importance of county governments, which leads them to turn to the state and federal levels to address problems better solved by those close to home.  Counties for American Civic Renewal (CACR) is a new association created to facilitate and coordinate the local self-government that has served as the foundation of the American experiment since the time of the American Revolution. To accomplish this purpose, the CACR provides forums, tools, and information that allow for increased cooperation and communication between American counties.