INSIDE THE BOOK
The following is an excerpt
chapter from Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's
Epidemic Social Problems. Feel free to copy and print it or
to send it to anyone you feel could benefit from reading it. It is
copyright by the author, so please keep the author's name and book
information with it if you print it or send it to others.
Social Problems in Your Life
Violence. Drugs. Suicide. Gangs. Teen subcultures.
Home invasions. Dishonesty. Lawlessness. Fear. Those and other
characteristics of your community that make you uncomfortable can be
Do you lock your door at night? Never walk alone and avoid some parts
of town? Turn off the television news because it reports too much
tragedy? Worry that your kids or grandchildren may get into trouble?
Such problems worry almost every one of us, but until now, no one knew
what to do about them.
Social problems affect each of us, even if they don't take control of
our whole lives or our community. Only a minority of the population
participates in such things. Yet that small minority upsets almost
everyone to some degree.
Social problems can only change depending on factors that influence
them. They will not decrease on their own. Witness how they have
increased over the past few decades. Think about how much simpler and
safer your life seemed to be 20 years ago.
If no one does anything about what causes them, nothing will improve.
It will only get worse. This book will turn around the belief that the
situation is hopeless and provide a process to improve the quality of
life of everyone.
Until now we have depended on the police, courts, politicians and
disciplinarians in the education system to act against anti-social
behaviour. The problems got worse. In some parts of some cities in
North America, the police are like night watchmen, observers in a
territory governed by anarchy. Armed security people patrol the halls
of some schools like prison guards.
We used to trust people in our communities. Now we don't know if we can
trust our neighbours.
If you agree that something has to change or life in our cities will
get worse, then read on. People's ways of thinking, their habits and
attitudes can be changed. That means that you and I will have to make
some changes too.
Two generations ago, television commercials advertised that cigarette
smoking was good for you, that it made you sophisticated, successful,
popular. The belief was widely held. No one in North America believes
it any more. Our society changed its attitude toward a once popular and
At that same time, consuming alcohol in large quantities was considered
a challenge of the brave, a way of life for the winners, the upwardly
mobile, the successful. Of course they drove home when the bottles were
empty. It was what people did. Not any more. At least not with the
blessing of anyone else.
Drinking and driving and smoking are anti-social behaviors now. What a
large majority of our society believed was good two generations ago is
now believed to be wrong, bad, destructive.
If personal habits as dear to us as smoking and drinking can be curbed
significantly, those other things that disturb us so much can be
changed too. This book will propose a process for taking these huge
burdens off each of us by making our communities safer and better
places. In the process it will relieve us of great costs and make a
better society for our children.
In a sense, this book is about ages: young, middle and wised-up by
experience. For older people, it is about a civilization, a way of
life, that we will pass on to younger generations. For children, it is
about what they will learn about their world and how they can be taught
to cope with its ups and downs. For parents, it is about how to guide
their children through those wonderful and terrifying periods of
childhood and adolescence.
To some extent, the book follows the political thinking of Canada's
first female Prime Minister, and one of that position's shortest
titleholders, the Right Honorable Kim Campbell. Her campaign referred
to the 'politics of inclusion'. Ms. Campbell had the then-heretical
plan of encouraging all citizens of Canada to participate in their own
government. Her ideas were ahead of her time.
It also borrows from the thinking of another Canadian Prime Minister,
the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau believed, at least in the
early years of his 16-year period as his country's government leader,
that Canadians deserved to know what their government was doing. This
was a radical idea in the late 1960s, one that had not been tried
before. Nor has it been attempted since in a meaningful way, as the
media consider it their exclusive function to dole out the news in the
form they want their readers and listeners to understand it. Because of
the constant scrutiny of the media, politicians feel they have all they
can manage without having to pay attention to the people that elect
The proposals in this book do not have a political or religious agenda.
One reason is that the people who will support it will not be the major
beneficiaries of it. The people who will benefit most from this plan
are not even born yet or at best are still of school age. Another is
that the plan is based on common beliefs and values of most of the
citizens of the country, not on the biased beliefs of any political
party. The fortunes of a political party will wax and wane, but common
beliefs and values remain in place among a majority of citizens over
We want to have a thriving civilization to pass along to future
generations. We all want it to be a healthy one. This can happen, no
matter what your country.
Meanwhile, we also want to make improvements that will begin to take
effect within our lifetimes. Previous generations brought our country
to where it is now. It's up to us to start to improve it.
You have a role to play in the evolution of government of your country
and the education of your fellow citizens. Except in time of civil war
or insurrection, conditions we hope are long past, your participation
and support was never more needed by your country. The technology of
the 21st Century will make this possible. Never before in history has
it been as easy for citizens to voice their opinions to their elected
You have good reason to stand up and say to your government:
am a good person. This is what I believe. This is who I am. I stand now
with my fellow citizens to ask my government to listen and to act.'
'We ask you to do what is right. Make your decisions as legislators
based on the beliefs and values we hold dear. 'You don't have
to be a politician to tell your government what you want of it. You
don't have to be a university scholar or a lawyer to say what you mean,
what you stand for, what you believe is good and right.
You just have to be a citizen. A responsible human being. Those are
your only qualifications.
Citizens of thriving countries of the 21st Century will have a
different role to play than ever before in history. We have left the
running of governments solely to egocentric, self-interested
politicians long enough. If we want things to change, then we must do
something about it.
If you believe that the condition of your country is not what it should
be, then you should say so. You should say what you believe and believe
that what you say is right. You have the right to complain if you don't
like something, but you can't expect change if you refuse to speak up
at the right time and place.
Politicians need to hear what you want, what you believe is good and
right. They won't listen to complaints. They are unimpressed by shows
of violence and confrontation. The approaches must be positive and
They also need a plan of action, which is what this book is about.
Bringing together good people with good intentions and values they hold
in common is the primary objective of this book.
Read on. You will likely find yourself in here. You may also find a lot
of new friends. And a lot of thoughts that will be new to you.
Let's see how much we all have in common.
Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,
by Bill Allin (The Writers' Collective, 2005)
Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems