We come together in this effort because the consolidated power of the special interests in Washington, D.C., represents a mounting threat to our nation—economically, politically and socially.
The Alliance for Self-Governance exists to challenge the increasing domination of decision-making in Washington that disenfranchises ordinary citizens, protects incumbents from challenges to their power and position, and allows career politicians to avoid accountability for their actions.
By avoiding accountability for their actions, professional politicians have allowed the quality of life for all Americans to decline. The institutions of our common life—families, communities, voluntary associations, local governments, and the like—have suffered. Public policy is made by increasingly out-of-touch politicians and bureaucrats at the highest levels of government, and the result is inefficient, costly and irresponsible government.
The Alliance for Self Governance is dedicated to enabling citizens to participate, once again, in their governance. Not only will our efforts mean sounder policies; they will also make it possible for those forms of community that still exist to endure, and for new forms of voluntary associations to flourish.
Our goal is not to destroy citizens’ confidence in their government, but to restore that confidence by restoring government’s legitimacy. In that way, and that way only, can our nation function more effectively and more sustainably. By returning accountability to government—which includes revitalizing local and state governments—we will draw on untapped reservoirs of creativity in the American people as we again govern ourselves.
We place our confidence not in career politicians and unaccountable bureaucrats, but in the people in whose name they act. The Alliance has every confidence that the people, working closely with their elected representatives and with one another, will demonstrate, in the words of John Adams, “wisdom, integrity, and humanity.”
Meet our Founders
Eric O’Keefe Co-Chairman
Eric is a private investor who lives with his wife, Leslie Graves, and two daughters and a son on a farm in Spring Green, Wisconsin. He serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Center for Competitive Politics. He is the author of Who Rules America? The People Versus the Political Class and hosts the podcast series, “Engaging Democracy.”
Besides chairing the Alliance for Self-Governance, Eric is also the chairman and chief executive officer of the Sam Adams Alliance, which promotes citizen engagement, grassroots activism and government accountability. Eric O’Keefe has been influenced by the historian Pauline Maier, author of The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams.
In addition to Maier, who also wrote American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, Eric counts among his influences Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, and Michael J. Sandel, author of Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy.
No political novice, Eric in the early 1990s started U.S. Term Limits, which helped usher 23 states through the initiative process to restrict the terms of their congressional delegations.
Leo Linbeck III Co-Chairman
The president and CEO of Houston-based Aquinas Companies LLC, Leo is an adjunct professor and lecturer at both Rice University and Stanford University’s graduate schools of business.
A newcomer to national politics, the self-described “conservative communitarian” until recent years confined his activism largely to the charter school movement in his Houston hometown, “figuring out ways to make it possible for low-income kids to get first-class educations.”
A husband and father of five children, including one from Guatemala, one from Colombia and one from Ethiopia, his concern for the condition of American democracy and governance has been informed by his reading of Michael J. Sandel, E.E. Schattschneider and Friedrich Hayek—and by his recognition that the federal deficit endangers the future his children will face.