Working with Orrin Woodward and the LIFE business has inspired thousands to pursue a self - directed education. Many people have become hungry to learn about historical leadership and why it is not taught or written about in our country. In my last blog, I reviewed the perspective that when history is taken out of the culture it repeats itself. I also made a case that people’s freedoms and liberty are a result of the cause and effect of principles that are followed or broken. Before we look at specific examples of this in history, let’s read what Roman historian Livy wrote as the Roman Empire fell. “Trace the progress of our moral decline, to watch first the sinking of the foundations of morality as the old ways were allowed to lapse, then the rapidly increasing disintegration, the final collapse of the whole edifice. Then the dark dawning of the modern day when we can neither endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them.” This is powerful!!! The gradual loss of morality led to the whole edifice collapsing? When the people couldn’t endure the effect from the cause they couldn’t stand it any more? They were actually grateful for the Huns and the Vandals invading their country!
The specific comparison of ‘cause and effect’ in today’s article is that of Rouseau’s compared to the effects of the philosophies of Montesquieu. Their philosophical thoughts influenced both the French and American revolutions. Rouseau felt that the individual must surrender some of their freedoms to authority or the state. He thought that the rights of man were not from the creator but the society from which he comes. Montesquieu felt that the state must separate its powers to give more freedoms to the people. His cause was to moderate government. As our founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
The cause and subsequent effects of Rouseau’s philosophy of more state control lliterally led to more state control. Rouseau’s metaphysical theories along with the invention of printed money in 1716 by John Law also had a cause and effect. Financing government policies with devalued money had cause and effect. Where did these cause and effects lead? According to French economist Frederic Bastiat, “Changes in economic effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; the later consequences are disastrous, followed by a great evil to come.” Interesting that in 1793, seventy seven years later, there appears the French Revolution caused from years of financed wars, fixed wages, and bankruptcy. The siege of the Bastille state prison in 1789 lead to the collapse of the royal authority. Violence ramped up which lead to what history calls the ‘Reign of Terror’. More the half a million people were arrested and tens of thousands were executed. Order was restored with the arrival of Dictator Napoleon Bonaparte. Dictators ruled France for the next seventy years. How’s that for cause and effect?
This was the era when economist Frederic Bastiat and his contemporary Alexis de Tocqueville grew up. Bastiat was influenced by Richard Cobden and Edmund Burke from England while de Tocqueville spent some years in America. During that time they learned to develop different perspectives on politics and the economy. Bastiat wote, “The state can give nothing to citizens that it has not first taken.” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “For the Americans the ideas of Christianity and liberty are so completely mingled that it is almost impossible to get them to conceive of one without the other.” “In France I had seen the spirits of religion and of freedom almost always marching in opposite directions.” Incidentally, Karl Marx produced his ‘Communist Manifesto’ in 1848. You will see this has a cause and effect too.
The study of historical leadership and its principles are not an option if we want to preserve our precious freedoms, or is it worth the effort? How precious would it be if it were lost? Stay tuned for part III of my blog on Historical Leadership; Cause and Effect. We will explore more about the effects of Montesquieu’s principle based philosophy on the American Revolution and where the theories of Marx lead. Make sure to keep reading your ‘Leadership and Liberty’ book by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady as well as ‘1913’ by Oliver DeMille. Reading these will provide more information on the principles of cause and effect and what happens when they are kept or broken. God Bless, George Guzzardo