Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand has sold about 7 million copies to date. Published in 1957, it just recently fell out of the top ten annual best sellers. Rand imagined an America wherein the state is taking control of everything, basically stealing it from the people who were personally responsible for building companies and making things happen, giving it all away to “the people” and doing it in the name of compassion. All while accruing enormous power for itself. As the nation crumbles under the weight of incompetence and mis-placed compassion, a secretive John Galt (Remember the “Who is John Galt? line?) has been assembling all of the world’s leading producers, waiting for the right moment to re-enter society and make things right. Galt represented the Atlas that shrugged.
At Revolution 2.0™, we completely agree about taking personal responsibility. And–and–we recognize that a fundamental part of our personal responsibility is to be our Brother’s Keeper. The core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:
- Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
My answer to the question, “Who is John Galt?” is that we are, you and I are. And we act, make things right, not by going into hiding as Galt did, but by working with others, in the real world and out in the open, to be both personally responsible and to be our Brother’s Keepers. And we do each about 75% of the time. (Remember, life is not a zero sum game.)
That’s the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
One of our responsibilities as Americans, as humans, is being personally responsible for ourselves and those who depend upon us, and to be our Brother’s Keepers.
Importantly, here are two things we are not:
- Personally responsible for just ourselves, building what we build, creating what we create, for our own benefit, in the belief that if everyone else did the same that all would be as it should be. And that others are on their own if they don’t make it. Our Atlas, us, must never shrug off our Brothers and Sisters.
- Looking to the government to be our Brother’s Keepers. Infrastructure and defense are two of the things that government should do. Motivating and encouraging others to learn to be responsible, to want to be personally responsible and then, then to be their Brother’s Keepers, is our job. The key is to leave to government only those things it does uniquely well. The rest should be left to citizens in the form of businesses, non-profits, community organizations, individual initiative and the like. For a more in-depth look at the proper role of government, go to Size of Government (EP. 43).
When it comes to just about anything in life, motivation is key. And government is the last entity on earth that can be at all effective at motivating. Teaching how to do something is necessary, but without motivation, motivation being the why, the knowing how part simply doesn’t matter. In fact, the teaching part is easier than motivating.
Most of us have heard the piece of wisdom pointing out that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach that man to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime. Well, not so fast. In order for someone to want to fish for themselves, buying and maintaining the tackle, sometimes going out in the cold and rain, and occasionally spending most of the day and coming back with nothing, they must be motivated. Without motivation, they will still want the free fish.
Now, let’s add one more level to using fishing as a metaphor for feeding humanity. Teach a man to teach others to fish, and how to motivate them, and you feed a nation.
Knowing how to fish is the how. Motivation is the why. You and I need to help supply the motivation if it is not there. Government cannot do that part. They can be part of the teaching, but not the motivating. That’s a key part of our jobs as our Brothers’ and Sisters’ Keepers.
Okay, Will, what’s this 75%/75% stuff? Are you trying to be cute? Doesn’t everything have to add up to 100%? Answer. No. Sports and poker are an example of where if one team or person wins, the other must lose. If I win a dollar at poker, someone else must lose a dollar. Plus 1, minus 1 = zero. Zero Sum Game. Same with sharing a pizza. You only have 100% of the pizza to share. No one can take 75% of the pizza, and leave the other 75%. But we must not apply that Zero Sum thinking to our lives in general. In life we can, and should, always be increasing the size of the pizza by innovation, cooperation and, well, hard work. And by doing what seems like more than our share. And it is only when people, thinking that they are doing more than their share, that others, also thinking they are doing more than their share, will perceive an equal sharing. And then things get done. It we do 75% of a task, and others also do 75%, it will get done. And likely everyone will think that no one else contributed more than 50%–at that’s at best. For a deeper dive into Zero Sum thinking, please enjoy Life is Not A Zero Sum Game (EP. 138).
If we apply the Revolution 2.0™ two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.
And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.
What are your thoughts? Where do you stand?
Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.
Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.
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As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.
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Remember: Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.
Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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