The day Dick Rowland turned 85

This interview from March 16, 2015, gives a good overview of why so many people thought so highly of Richard “Dick” Rowland, founder and chairman emeritus of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

He was interviewed by Keli’i Akina on the ThinkTech Hawaii network, on the day he turned 85!

Rowland died on Nov. 28, 2020.

A full transcript is below.


Dick Rowland with Keli’i Akina on “E Hana Kakou” (predecessor to “Hawaii Together”), on ThinkTech Hawaii

Keli’i Akina: Aloha, and welcome to “E Hana Kakou.” We’re a weekly program on the ThinkTech Hawaii broadcast network. I’m Keli’i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute. In fact, I wouldn’t be here if there weren’t a Grassroot Institute, because that’s where I have the privilege of working. 

A few years ago, I met a remarkable individual, someone who stood for the values of individual liberty, the promotion of the free markets, limited and accountable government. Not only does he educate people in these areas, he stands for preserving these important values. What we care about greatly here in the United States of America would be lost if it were not for education in these values and the promotion and protection of them.

I’m talking about a gentleman whom I’ve come to respect deeply, and I’m grateful that I can consider him a mentor and a friend. He’s the founder and chairman of the board of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, which many of you know is a public-policy think tank where we do research, and we also educate and try to influence policymakers for the good of society. 

It’s also today, March 16, 2015, so I thought we’d do something. We’d meet this gentleman and wish him a happy 85th birthday. Please welcome to the program today, Richard O. Rowland. Dick, aloha to you. Happy birthday.

Richard Rowland: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Akina: Eighty-five and going strong.

Rowland: Yes. Every day, I’m glad to be here.

Akina: I want to greet you with your traditional greeting to people: upward!

Richard: Upward!

Akina: You’re still traveling upward and will keep going. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for Hawaii, and for our nation, and for people across the world, and articulating what it is to have individual liberty, and promoting it, and establishing the Grassroot Institute. Let me ask you what your source of inspiration is. You often refer to the Declaration of Independence. Is that your source of inspiration?

Rowland: Yes, that’s the source, and the reason for that is that the Declaration of Independence is not amendable. You can’t change it. It gives us some immutable values that never change.

Akina: That’s interesting, to say that it’s not amendable, because we often think of the Constitution as constantly amendable. That’s why we have the amendments to the Constitution, which sets up the laws we live by. But you treat the Declaration of Independence a little bit differently. How so?

Rowland: The declaration gives the purpose, it gives the vision for the United States of America. But also, it was overpoweringly important in the entire world because it expressed these values for the first time in an official document.

Akina: What are some of those values in the Declaration of Independence that mean so much?

Rowland: The first value is that the individual is supreme, that the individual is important; the government’s not important, the individual is important, and the individual forms government. Government does not form the individual.

Akina: In other words, it’s not about a king. It’s not about a state. What we really need to do is preserve the freedoms of the individual.

Rowland: I guess, yes, and while quickly, when we say that, we don’t want — the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that there’s a superior power, and they’re very careful not to phrase that in any sense sounding like a religion, but they make sure that they’re talking about God. They have several other terms, “higher power” and this kind of thing, but the whole idea is that no human being, fallible as we are, should ever be in absolute power. 

Lord Acton later said after the declaration, power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely. He was talking about human frailties.

Akina: That’s why you’ve just pointed out that government isn’t an end in itself, that there’s a higher power to which government is accountable. Why was it so important for the framers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to talk about?

Rowland: To talk about a higher power.

Akina: Yes, that there’s a power above government.

Rowland: So that we never got into a position so that we had a king saying, “I’ve got absolute power. I can do anything I want because I’m divine.” They took the position [that] there’s the divine, some sort of divine power, but it’s not human, it’s spiritual. There’s a spiritual power that controls the universe.

Akina: Well, that’s a very interesting point of view because, in your career, you’ve not necessarily always been a religious man, in terms of where you come from. You’ve been actively involved in the civic sector, the public sector. How can people who don’t necessarily embrace religion benefit from this concept of the Founding Fathers, that there’s a higher power to which government must be accountable? Is that something that’s just religious, or is that something that benefits everybody?

Rowland: Well, it benefits everybody, but in my own personal opinion, I think religion plays a very critical issue in society. One of the points in the Declaration of Independence is, if you read between the lines, they’re essentially saying that society trumps government. In other words, if you took a pecking order and you said, “The individual is supreme. The individual lives in families, communities, societies,” and then a government is formed, or a government is formed somewhere along these lines. But the sequence of power: individual, family, community, government.

Akina: Well, that’s very interesting because it puts government at the very bottom, when a lot of times we tend to think of government as the highest authority on the top of everything, above society, above, ultimately, the individual.

Rowland: The declaration makes it clear that if a government does not serve the individual, the community, etc., then it is — the people are empowered to change the government.

Akina: Now, you’ve often been critical of government growing larger and more powerful at the expense of the individual.

Rowland: That’s right. For the last 100 years, we’ve had a growing government. It’s gotten bigger. It doesn’t matter what administration. For over 100 years, we’ve had an increasing slice of productivity of people taken away, and in the process, every individual in the United States, except for those that are on the government, have some kind of government advantage given by the government, have suffered and gotten smaller.

The average citizen has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller. So I say, “The bigger the government gets, the smaller you get.” But that’s a negative. Maybe it’s better to turn that positive and say, “The bigger you get, the smaller the government can be.” The smaller the government will get, if many, many of us get more and more powerful, the government will shrink.

Akina: Well, I like that because that talks about empowering the individual.

Rowland: That’s right.

Akina: The individual taking responsibility for himself or herself to be empowered. Do you think a lot of times we neglect that? In neglecting our own empowerment, we just let the government grow and grow and grow.

Rowland: I go to church and I listen, and I think that’s the whole Judeo-Christian base, that individuals are supposed to be individuals, making individual choices, free to make mistakes and correct them, but free to become better people, better — and so forth. I go to church, and I don’t hear enough of that. They aren’t talking about that importance of the individual being. They instead say things like, “We honor our elected officials.” The reverse should be true. The elected officials should be honoring us, sincerely instead of insincerely.

Akina: That’s something. You speak quite a bit about individual liberty, and yet there are people today who take liberty and freedom and say, “It means being able to do anything I want to do, anywhere regardless of the consequences, and so forth.” Is that what you are talking about, that kind of freedom, or is your idea of individual liberty different?

Rowland: You’re talking about rules. You’re talking about structure, and I’m in favor of rules, but I’m in favor of rules that people make in society, that the society develops rules. Red lights and green lights in traffic are something that maybe the government came up with to start with, but the point is it’s been embedded in society. Try to drive to town in a metropolitan area without those signals, and you’ll find that a 20-minute trip takes you an hour and 20 minutes or something.

So rules are terribly important, but they shouldn’t be rules that are what the government wants, but what is convenient to the people. It’s like a business. Can’t run a business, and they say, “We sell widgets and we don’t give a damn if the widgets are helpful to people or not, we just want them to buy them.” Well no, that doesn’t work. Being in business is a win-win combination. You want to sell something or a service, and somebody else comes along wants to buy it, so you both won. 

It’s much different than the government saying, “Well, we need more money to run the government, so we are going to impose a tax on you.” That’s not win-win, that’s win-lose.

Akina: Individual liberty doesn’t mean not having rules and not being responsible.

Rowland: Lots of rules.

Akina: Quite the opposite. But when it comes to the rules and regulations we have in society, they need to make sense. They can’t just be imposed because the government wants to make money or because the government wants to control a certain industry and so forth.

Rowland: Or give favors to some people and hurt other people in the process of giving favors to others.

Akina: You often applied this idea of individual liberty to the way commerce is done, to the idea of a freer market rather than one controlled so much by government. What are your thoughts about the free market?

Rowland: In the free market, the customer is king, and the customer ought to be king, the customer has to be king. In a system that the individual is supreme, you can’t have any other system. That’s very frustrating for a lot of small businesses that [say], “Oh my goodness, we’ve got customers that are recalcitrant and ornery,” and so forth. But that’s it, that’s the only way that it can work, because whatever you’re doing, it has to be of service to people in one way or another, a positive service, or you ought to go out of business. There should be no other reason for you to staying in business.

Akina: People really voted with their dollars when they stand.

Rowland: Yes. That’s exactly right.

Akina: Businesses that work well and serve the public good will succeed because people will buy their product, and businesses that don’t serve the public will ultimately fail. It seems we’d gone quite a distance from that in terms of the factors that determine which businesses succeed and which fail today. Do you think that the government has been involved a little too much in that mix?

Rowland: Way too much. There is a disconnect between ideology and actuality in the political system. Several years ago, I ran a little campaign and I talked to 15 elected officials, and I said to those elected officials, each one of them, “Do you think is proper that government should hurt one group of people in order to benefit another group of people?” 

That’s theory, and in theory, the answer was always a very sincere, “No, no, no.” Then when I would point out, that’s what you’re doing, they would say no, and they try to justify it. The point is, that there’s some kind of a real chasm between activity and theory. 

Akina: In other words, theory and reality as to how we really operate.

Rowland: The theory comes from the Declaration of Independence, and it’s embedded in society. If you go to the average citizen, you ask him that same question, he’d say, “That’s absolutely wrong to use the government to help some people and hurt other people.”

Akina: When we come back from a break, Dick, we’ll talk about how to bridge that gap between theory and real society. It’s my privilege today to host Dick Rowland, founder and chairman of the board of the Grassroot Institute. We’ll be right back to pick his brain a little bit more after this short message, so don’t go away.

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Hunter Heaivilin: Aloha, I’m Hunter Heaivilin, host ofSustainable Hawaii,” here at ThinkTech Hawaii. You can tune in every week on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to see interviews with sustainability professionals from around the state, and even further abroad, learning about activities with water management, food security, waste management, and a whole host of other fascinating opportunities to get engaged with making a greener island. If you’re interested in making the transition from consuming individuals to communities of producers, check us out every Thursday.

Akina: Aloha, and welcome back “E Hana Kakou.” We’re a weekly program on the ThinkTech Hawaii broadcast network. I want to say thanks to producer Jay Fidell, and to the wonderful team, the staff and volunteers of ThinkTech Hawaii. Together, we’re all producing about 30 to 35 hours of original content from Honolulu that gets broadcast all across the world. So we can talk about issues that are of importance to Hawaii, and important to the world. Our program, by the way, is called “E Hana Kakou,” based upon a venerable Hawaiian saying, “E pule kākou,” which means “let’s pray together.” At the Grassroot Institute, we also like to say, “Let’s work together.” Let’s work together to build a better economy, a better government, a better society.

That’s why it’s so appropriate today to be able to talk with Dick Rowland, the founder and chairman of the board of the Grassroot Institute, because he’s been working at bringing people together to work together for a better economy, government and society. 

Dick, let me ask you this question: What prompted you after an illustrious career in the military, retiring as a full colonel, then a splendid career as a multiple-member — a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table in insurance sales — you decided to launch a third career, and that was to start in Hawaii a branch of a nationally networked think tank program called the Grassroot Institute. What led you to do that?

Rowland: Ignorance.


Rowland: Actually, someone asked me if I knew what a think tank was, and I said, “Yes, I know what a think tank is,” and they said they had been talking to a national columnist, and that he had said, “You guys ought to form a think tank out there.” So I said, “Yes, I’ll take a stab at that.” So it was ignorance. [laughs]

Akina: Before you get into the story, and some of the personal motivation there, let me say something to our audience here, just by way of context. There is a national network of think tanks with a designated think tank in each of the 50 states called the State Policy Network. These are each independent organizations that bring scholars, and activists, and public officials and citizens together, and they’re responsible for doing two things as a think tank: One is research, to take issues that public policy is being made upon, legislators we’re dealing with, and do all the research that is necessary to be done on those issues. Then the other thing they do is educate the public. 

Now, there are the big think tanks and small think tanks. There are the State Policy Network think tanks in each of the 50 states, but there are also national think tanks like the Cato Institute or the Heritage Foundation. They tend to stand for a set of values, to promote individual liberty, the free markets, limited accountable government, and Hawaii didn’t have one such think tank 15 years ago. But Dick Rowland took it upon himself with a group of others to form one. It has been designated the think tank of the State Policy Network. 

Dick, tell us a little bit about that. What prompted the start of the Grassroot Institute as a think tank here in Hawaii?

Rowland: Well, just what I said, the idea of trying to restore those values [unintelligible 00:20:53] where the values continue to exist, to try to polish them and make them more prominent and make them more useful.

Akina: You’re talking about the constitutional values and values of the Declaration of Independence.

Rowland: The Declaration of Independence. Remember, the Constitution is amendable, the Declaration of Independence is not amendable. It gets deep into society, like the example that I gave. You talk to a legislator. In theory, they’re saying this, but in actuality, they’re doing the other thing. All we want to do is bring those closer together.

Akina: All right. How do we take life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness as ideals and realize them in our society today? That became the motivator for starting Grassroot Institute.

Rowland: We’re right back to “We the people.” We’re right back to the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence says first, individuals form the government. The government doesn’t form individuals. That process was taken care of by the declaration itself. They proclaimed the individual supreme. 

The next thing, they said, that We the people had a responsibility, obligation to do was to elect representatives to run the government, to operate the government. The idea there was that the average individual should be extraordinarily busy, with a job, with a family, with a community, with all sorts of things as he pursues happiness. The idea to get somebody to run the government, but then somebody has to watch these people that are running the government, and the declaration said, “Guess who has that obligation, authority, responsibility? We the people.” So we the people haven’t been doing a good job of that.

The idea for the Grassroot Institute is to take that third responsibility and make it easier — not to do the responsibility for We the people, but to make it easier — and get it organized so that We the people are communicating with our elected representatives and saying, “Hey–” Let me give you an example. Right now, a Rasmussen poll says that 80% of the U.S. public says that the U.S. government is too big, but that’s not being communicated to our elected officials in a strong enough manner. We really need a big billy club to go and bang him on the head. Anyway, that’s the reason for a think tank.

Akina: Certainly, and you’ve certainly developed methods with a little more finesse than a billy club. What you’re describing here is the people, the grassroots, really rising up and empowering themselves and educating. But you selected the name “Grassroot,” singular, rather than “Grassroots.” Why is that?

Rowland: Well, because the declaration talks about the individual is supreme. I thought we have to- because our society now is kind of a “groupie” society. We got women that claim women’s rights and children’s rights, and we got black people’s rights and Hawaiian rights and all sorts of things and when we’re —

Akina: You could list every single people group and talk about the rights of each people.

Rowland: You could talk about it, but the fact is the declaration says that all men are created equal.

Akina: By which you mean men and women, of course.

Rowland: Men and women, of course. The whole idea, I thought “Grassroots” sounds like a groupie thing. It’s not what the individuals bring. The individual can get into a group, but these factions shouldn’t have anything to do with it. It ought to be a group of people.

Akina: That’s fascinating. In other words, rather than advocate for any one group — and that doesn’t deny the legitimacy of advocating for one group — you saw the need for all people’s rights to be advocated for, all people created equal. This organization would be “grassroot” rather than made up of many different rights groups and advocacy causes.

Rowland: But remember, because of all this prevailing groupie thinking, I wanted to remind our staff every day, by our name, that we cherish and honor the individual, and the needs and wants of the individual. And also, to help the individual to organize themselves into being We the people, and to giving the proper guidance to our elected official.

Akina: What I like about this is, while we respect the diversity of all people, we also now have a movement that stands for all people together, working together, standing for —

Rowland: [unintelligible 00:26:47] The declaration.

Akina: — our rights together as a people, emphasizing the importance of being Hawaiian in the state of Hawaii, being American in the United States of America.

Rowland: That’s right.

Akina: That’s an important value, “grassroot” singular. There is something we have in common, and we stand for that which is in common to all people. That’s a brilliant idea.

Rowland: One of the interesting things about that is that — and I didn’t anticipate it — I constantly get questions. Well, why is it “Grassroot” instead of “Grassroots”? Once I explain it, they never make the mistake again.

Akina: Well, this is quite fascinating, because I don’t know if you and I had this conversation when you asked me to come on board to the Grassroot Institute, and when the board appointed me the president successor, after you. I had this image of what was so important to the native peoples of Hawaii, and that is that the kalo, the taro, is the root. From that single root, we have diversity, the leaves of the plant, and so forth. What unites us together is at the root. I suggested to you, “Why not use that as a symbol?”

It was a wonderful opportunity to have this conversation. We were thinking along the same lines, that while there is this great diversity, while there are many blades of grass, as you would have it, or perhaps many different leaves that look differently from one another, there’s something at which we must be united at the root. That is really what Grassroot Institute stands for, which is the values of the Declaration of Independence, and that ensures unity in our nation, and it ensures equality to all people in our nation. What a great concept.

Rowland: Just yesterday, I got a questionnaire from a U.S. government agency, and I decided to answer it.

Akina: You did?

Rowland: Yes. There was a point in there where they said, “What is your race?” I wrote in, “I’m a member of the human race.”

Akina: I love it.

Rowland: “And I don’t like this question.” I think that we want to honor each individual. The declaration — sometimes people say to me, “How do you know that they’re honoring the individual?” Well, you can read it and see it, but in the language itself, can anyone, can any entity besides an individual pursue happiness? In other words, can your church pursue happiness?

Akina: Groups don’t pursue happiness.

Rowland: That’s right.

Akina: Organizations don’t pursue happiness.

Rowland: Individual!

Akina: Individuals pursue happiness.

Rowland: We got permanent immutable rights. Life, liberty, and then the pursuit of happiness. They’re individual. Those are individual things. They aren’t given to groups. A group can’t even handle them.

Akina: That’s right.

Rowland: Individual liberty is the absolute bedrock, and it’s the bedrock as I mentioned, for the Judeo-Christian religion. That’s the bedrock. The whole thing stands on that.

Akina: That’s right. Oftentimes, when you talk about liberty, you also talk about responsibility of the individual, because liberty can’t be fulfilled unless we actually carry out our responsibilities. What are some of those responsibilities that we have to each other if we want to preserve our liberties?

Rowland: Let me deviate slightly.

Akina: Yes, please.

Rowland: Let me just say that people are always talking about rights. Right, right, right. But you see, it’s impossible to have a right if you don’t have a viable enforcement mechanism. The first question, when somebody says, “A right to an education.” Well, who in the hell is going to enforce that? I just mentioned, in the declaration it says, “We form the government. We elect the people.” And then who in the hell keeps an eye on these people? Well, the responsibility, the obligation, belongs to We the people. That’s what the Grassroot Institute is trying to help, to facilitate and to organize.

To me, that’s all tied up with rights and the fact that we can’t have a right. It’s almost like, somebody talks about a right, we should talk about the obligation and the responsibility for enforcing the right before we ever talk about the right itself.

Akina: They’re like mirror images of each other. Every right has a responsibility. Every responsibility has a right. 

This is Keli’i Akina talking with Dick Rowland, founder and chairman of the Grassroot Institute. We’re going to take a quick break and come back for a conclusion. I want to talk with Dick about some of his views on education and other areas of society he’s involved in. We’ll be right back after this short break. Don’t go away.


Akina: Welcome back to the final segment of today’s “E Hana Kakou.” Let’s work together on the Think Tech Hawaii broadcast network. My guest is founder and chairman of the board of the Grassroot Institute, Dick Rowland. We’re having a fascinating discussion about values that are of ultimate importance to our state, our nation, and the world, and the values for which the Grassroot Institute was founded.

 Dick, you care a great deal about education. In fact, you have a master’s in education from Columbia University. You have been very actively involved in the development of institutions related to education. But you see education as far more than training or more than passing on knowledge. What is your idea of the goal of education? What should that be in our society? What should education be bringing?

Rowland: Well, the ideal education is — well, the whole purpose of education, is to develop our youth into being substantive, responsible, productive members of society. How do we do that best? 

Well, somehow, about the middle of the 19th century, we got mixed up. We started saying, “We’re going to do a favor to families and we’re going to educate their children.” Now, we’ve got education that’s separate from what I just said. In other words, now we’ve got education that slowly but surely has separated itself, and it’s talking about the accumulation of knowledge, which is important and so forth. But we haven’t connected with values. The reason we hadn’t connected with values is that in a government-run school, they’ve got to accommodate all sorts of values, and they finally give up and don’t do that.

Akina: You’re talking about the fact that there was a time in our country, and indeed this was so when our country was founded, that families had the responsibility for providing for the education of their children. Families in which there was a context for character development for personal values. Yet we’ve seen in our country an evolution to the place where that education now is done by the government, apart from the family.

Rowland: That’s correct. In the process, values are being lost because the family isn’t instilling the values, and the family is a few people that are pursuing happiness, and they’re pursuing their activities and they’re different, everyone is different. But the values, the basic values, generally, not always, but generally, are those values that are described in the Declaration of Independence.

What we’ve got is a divide that’s developed, and it’s really getting serious because before the show, we were talking about — I was asked to go to this government agency that was having a big meeting, and they were involved with trying to solve the employment problem, getting the unemployed into jobs. I was there as a small business representative. Eventually, the head of the department said, “Well, we hadn’t heard from Mr. Rowland. He’s here to tell us about small business.”

They had been talking interminably about education. They’re going to educate these people that don’t have a job to do flower arrangement. They’re going to educate them to fix cars, and so forth. It seemed to be immaterial whether we were short on mechanics or whether we were short of flower sorters or arrangers. They said, “What is your opinion?” I said, “I keep hearing about education, but for a typical small business owner, education is not as important as long as you get past reading, writing, and arithmetic, basic reading, writing, arithmetic.” The important thing is character because I, as a small business [person], I care nothing about hiring an educated crook. I’m not interested.

Akina: Here’s someone who could have the skill, the talent, the knowledge, but ultimately, no character.

Rowland: No character.

Akina: Ultimately, that fails for business. It fails society.

Rowland: Yes, but what was really remarkable about this is these are a bunch of dedicated people. Even if they don’t think they’ve got an important job, they’ve convinced themselves that they do. But they looked at me with total — they were just so surprised — and then they asked, “How can you say education’s not important?” I said, “I didn’t say it was not important, I just said that character is more important.”

Because these people can actually do a little educational thing, certainly do training on whatever this person is going to do, and this person that has been trained in flower arrangement, might end up at McDonald’s, and that’s not much help for McDonald’s. 

So the key, I think, for our whole society, we need to get into character building, which comes from the family. And what helps the family in that character-building is church, mostly.

That’s what our society — that was the original development of this society. We’ve got to go back, and we’ve got to energize our churches, and we’ve got to take back from the government the responsibility so that you and I can take our kids, grandkids, whatever, and we’d say, “Hey, they should — they want to study” — or whatever — but the point is that that’s an individual decision and the government has no part in it, should have no part in it.

Akina: You’ve been active in observing and participating in the political realm as well. Frequently, I hear a resistance from you to language like “left” or “right” or “Democrat” versus “Republican,” “partisans” and so forth. What is the difficulty you have with this idea of framing things as being “center left,” “center right,” one party or another?

Rowland: I’m going to quote Ronald Reagan quite by mistake. I didn’t come up with this because of Ronald Reagan, or at least I don’t think I did, maybe I did. But if you read the Declaration of Independence, a great deal of the Declaration of Independence is devoted to rejecting the idea of tyranny. They call it tyranny. They say that the British government had committed tyranny on the colonies. They gave instance after instance after instance. They said, “We don’t like tyranny.” The definition of tyranny is to have a government that gets bigger and more intrusive and starts pushing people down and down and down until they’re just enveloped in a big morass of government.

The alternative is to get government out of the way, do a very few functions very well under the leadership of We the people, and leave We the people, free to reach up and pull themselves up if they want, to make themselves better, more prosperous, more creative, more industrious and without government interference. 

I don’t think and I hear that Ronald Reagan mentioned very often, he doesn’t care about left and right. He cares about “up” and “down.” I care about up. I don’t want any down. We’ve had “down” for 100 years or more in the United States of America. It hasn’t destroyed us yet, but if we keep on doing that, we will. There again, that’s one of the reasons for forming the Grassroot Institute, is to stop that deterioration.

Akina: That’s why you evaluate policies and laws and so forth on the basis of whether they move us upward in terms of freedom, or downward.

Rowland: Leave us free to reach upward. If some individual doesn’t want to reach upward, they don’t reach upward. There’s nobody going to make them — “Hey, you go reach upward.” They’ve got to have to come up with that themselves. If their pursuit of happiness is to be like Thoreau and live out on the lake, well, hey, if they can make it happen and don’t hurt anybody else, that’s an individual choice.

Akina: Dick, we’ve got about a minute and a half left. I’m going to ask you a tough question at the very end. You’ve invested your life in the pursuit of individual liberty and freedom. What would you like to be known for, or what would you like to be the legacy of your life in the years to come as your contribution to society? Tough question.

Rowland: Well, I just like to see — speaking in very basic terms, I’d like to see a restoration of the American dream. The American dream is that I am so happy to see the next generation, richer, smarter, more free, more creative than my generation and than me. I want to see my kids be richer than me and happier than me and more complete than me. If we could get that started in our society and I had something to do with it, I’d be tickled pink.

Akina: Well, you certainly have a great deal to do with it now. I want to thank you — 

Rowland: You bet.

Akina: — for founding the Grassroot Institute. I want to thank you for continuing to be a driving force in the organization and for your contribution that you’re making and continuing in an upward way to — [crosstalk]

Rowland: Upward.

Akina: — in society. Thanks a lot for being in the program today. My guest today has been Dick Rowland. As we shared earlier, he’s the founder and continues now as chairman of the board of Grassroot Institute. 

Dick is also an accomplished writer. You may see his work from time to time in an op-ed or an editorial in the newspaper. If you’d be interested in some of the gems that he’s written, go to the Grassroot Institute website. When you get to the search function, just put in Rowland, R-O-W-L-A-N-D. Our website is grassrootinstitute.org. That’s singular, grassrootinstitute.org. You’ll find many fine resources there for the pursuit of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government. 

I want to say mahalo to the ThinkTech Hawaii broadcast network. I’m Keli’i Akina with the Grassroot Institute. Until next week, E Hana Kakou. Let’s work together. Aloha.



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