There is a growing anxiety among people today about the state of the country. Everyone knows something is not right. Oliver DeMille describes how central government control has become the trend in his book 1913. Today people have accepted that central government is the solution to our needs. That norm feeds Bastiat’s Law that says, “It’s human nature to satisfy our wants with the least amount of work as possible.” No matter how convenient, there is a price to pay for this trend and that price will need to be paid eventually.
The first price is loss of local freedom. As communities give more of the decision making to the central government, they lose their freedoms to influence decisions on issues like tax, education, and health care. We give up local control to a central authority in favor of the perceived “security” it provides. It sounds good up front until we begin to understand Gresham’s Law and The Law of Diminishing Returns. Perhaps you’ve had some experience with these laws. A friend recently told me of an experience when he had done noticeably more work and was more productive than his other peers. He was surprised when they all received the same bonus at the end of the quarter. Although it was his hard work that led to the productivity of the company everyone got an equal share. He since is considering leaving that company. This is an example of the Gresham’s Law that finds those who hold a higher standard of performance do not want to be part of companies, schools, medical, or government where incompetence or poor productivity is rewarded. This leads to The Law of Diminishing Returns where we watch a company grow faster than is capable of maintaining a high level of quality because it rewards less competent or less productive workers. Many of us have witnessed a company lose a level of competence, productivity or customer service. These are indicators of a growing bureaucracy or central government and a loss of local influence. This can be seen in the area of economics, health care, and education.
President Woodrow Wilson said in his book written in 1913, “Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” In the book Leadershift, best selling authors Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille describe America’s story in which "we see symptoms today that include a country that is bankrupting itself, has spread generational poverty, and a loss of freedom through neglect." I would also add that this does not take place without the influence of our youth and an illiteracy movement. Here are just a few of the studies:
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY: A long-awaited federal study finds that an estimated 32 million adults in the USA — about one in seven — are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children's picture book or to understand a medication's side effects listed on a pill bottle.
“Only 31% of college – educated Americans can fully comprehend a newspaper story, down from 40% a decade ago.” – National Commission on the Future of Higher Education, (August, 2006).
“35% of the young regret their university experience and don’t consider the time and money invested worth it; more than half said they learned nothing of use.” – Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2006
Isn’t it interesting that all this has taken place with $ Billions being thrown into our education and $ Trillions being thrown into new government programs. We are now approaching 50% of the GNP coming from government sector jobs. That means 50% of us have hired the other 50%. Why does it matter? I think all of us know that something is not right, however most of us are content with staying busy and hope something gets done.
Leaders identify problems and implement solutions. Does anyone see or feel the need for leadership in our communities? This is why Peter Senge from MIT wrote, “The only competitive advantage for an organization is the speed in which it learns.” Jacques Ellul may have identified part of the problem in his classic book Propaganda:
- Propaganda is described as manipulating beliefs or ideas.
- It must operate on the individual at the level of the unconscious.
- Of course it does not cancel out personality; it leaves man complete freedom of thought, except in his political or social action.
- Propaganda does not aim to elevate man, but to make him serve.
- Propaganda must utilize all of the technical means at his disposal – the press, radio, T.V., movies, posters, meetings, door to door….
- Education and training are taken over.
- One must utilize the education of the young.
- Finally, propaganda must take over literature.
- Propaganda must be continuous and lasting.
- Successful propaganda will occupy every moment of the individual’s life.
- It is based on slow, constant impregnation.
We need a learning revolution. We need a leadership revolution. We need an entrepreneurial revolution. But how? Will we wait until a crisis shocks us out of our complacency? When do we find those with courage who have the willingness to leave their comfort zones? Has anyone realized that busyness is not a sign of intelligence? Many of us are uncomfortable with the fact that leadership comes from taking responsibility for the problem at hand. Those of us who take responsibility must learn the principles of freedom like the leaders of the past, people who wanted to make things right. LIFE Leadership provides a full spectrum of learning materials that includes reading, audio’s, and associating with others who are committed to solutions. Leaders teach their companies to win. They create a learning culture. That culture grows from the new thinking and insights that was not previously there. Einstein said, “You can’t solve the current problems in your life with the present level of thinking that got you into those problems.” Is it still just “their problem” or are there some rascals, those leaders who identify the current state as “my problem?” God Bless, George Guzzardo