Entrepreneurial Spirit

Full Transcript:

Ours is an entrepreneurial country. It has attracted a diverse complement of people, from around the world, some of whom possessed little more than a dream and some pocket change. They sought what matters most, that unique form of spiritual idealism that can move a great humanity from one level of attainment to the next. Once here, they often encountered retardant forces that held them back due to a penny wise, pound foolish, counterfeit conservatism that lacks any serviceable vision for the future.

Democracy by itself is definitely not a panacea, for without the constitutional overlay, an unbridled democracy may be accurately portrayed as three wolves and a sheep deciding on dinner. Even so, democracy done right, dovetailed with a properly crafted constitution, has tremendous implications for the good of humanity. If we believe, as the Declaration of Independence states, that we are each endowed with certain “unalienable rights” and a spiritual status that is truly “equal,” then just how can we go about making it real for everyone?

To create a more equitable community engagement, we must begin with situational awareness, by contrasting and comparing the aspirational statements contained in our country’s founding documents, with our actual conduct as a nation. Accordingly, the first thing we should realize is that we’re currently situated on a rudderless ship of state. We can certainly build a new rudder. But, once we regain control of the ship, just where are we to be headed? Will it be to a fathomless orgy of darkness and death, or ever upward into an era of light and life?

Our ship of state needs what poet laureate John Masefield called “a star to steer her by.” And this is best seen through eyes of sincerity. We each have powers of discernment that could be greatly enhanced through a real appreciation for the enduring value of individual advancement. That rising tide that lifts all boats has the potential to either submerge human-kind or benefit a great humanity. Much of the outcome depends upon how we power the so-called ship of state. Will we continue to row in such an uncoordinated way, to pull in opposite directions? Or, will we finally leverage the volitional horsepower of a unified nation to build a truly authentic culture of benevolence?

Dwight David Eisenhower, during his Farewell Address in January of 1961, gave a prophetic glimpse into our challenges as they will persist well into the future: (INSERT AUDIO) “Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

In the commencement address at American University in June of 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy said: (INSERT AUDIO) “So, let us not be blind to our differences – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

Conservative columnist George Will, in his book Statecraft as Soulcraft examined how the power of the state can create conditions that either foster the growth of blessed souls or the imprisonment of seriously stunted intellects and tortured souls. He admits that his vision may appear to share some traits with totalitarianism. However, like Edmond Burke, Will places great emphasis on the voluntary associations and values that are seen as essential to an informed consent of the governed and a functioning free society.

Burke, in his 1775 speech on Conciliation with the Colonies, described our countrymen as “able to snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.” He said “. . . here they anticipate the evil, and judge the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle.” In his book The Soul of America, biographer John Meacham wrote: “in the battle between the impulses of good and of evil in the American soul, what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” have prevailed just often enough to keep the national enterprise alive.” 

The founders of these United States were, like the rest of us, greatly flawed individuals. Because of this they understood that moral depravity was a factor to be considered while framing our Constitution. Today, we find ourselves immersed in a world of competing ideas and we need to understand it if we are ever to be truly free. Unlike the self-interested politician, a strategist is always focused upon the over-riding principle as derived from the Unique Value Proposition.

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