Even as the drive toward bigness [and] concentration…has reached heights never before dreamt of in the past, we have come suddenly to realize how heavy a price we have paid; in overcrowding and pollution of the atmosphere, and impersonality; in growth of organizations, particularly government, so large and powerful that individual effort and importance seem lost; and in loss of the values of nature and community and local diversity that found their nurture in the smaller towns and rural areas of America. And we can see…that the price has been too high. Bigness, loss of community, organizations and society grown far past the human scale—these are the besetting sins of the twentieth century, which threaten to paralyze our very capacity to act, or our ability to preserve the traditions and values of our past in a time of swirling constant change…

To these central dangers…we can trace a hundred others [in] the signs around us that all is not well in the republic; spreading violence, unconcern for others, too many seeking escape in noninvolvement or in drugs, debate become acerbic and bad tempered, and overall a sense that no one is listening.

Therefore, the time has come…when we must actively fight bigness and overconcentration, and see instead to bring the engines of government, of technology, of the economy, fully under the control of our citizens, to recapture and reinforce the values of a more human time and place…It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to…the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility…and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future. It is the lesson that government can follow the leadership of private citizens: that men who are citizens in the full sense of the word need not belong to the government in order to benefit their community. And it is the lesson that if this country is to move ahead…it will not be by making everything bigger, not by piling all our people further on top of one another in huge cities, not by reducing the citizen to the role of passive consumer and recipient of the official vision, the official product.