Principles, Not Agendas (EP.181)



We should be allowing our principles to determine our agendas. All too often, in today’s backward way of thinking, we allow our agendas to determine our principles.

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.


Principles can appropriately be described as core, fundamental beliefs. Google helps us with the following definition of a principle, “A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.” Note the part where principles, “…serve as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour…”. Assuming that we know what our principles are, they should lead to how we conduct our lives, and determine our agendas, political and otherwise. Too often, we grab onto an agenda or a system of belief, and conjure up principles that tie to those agendas.

Our principles are the base for our entire lives. Clearly, they come first. Everything goes upside down and backwards when we agree with certain types of political or financial thinking, align with a political party or simply make it known to family, friends and co-workers where we stand in the world before we wrestle with the fundamentals, before we come to grips with the core thinking we believe represents the truth. The world conspires against us, the world pushes us to shape our positions, our agendas, before it challenges us to anchor our principles. 

Let’s examine why that is the way the world works, at least for now. In school, the conversation from the front of the classroom, in the classroom and in and around the campus, rarely starts with core principles; when non-academic conversations begin, they center on what to believe–not how to find what you really believe. A clear extension of the strategy of teaching students what to think, not how to think. Perhaps a bit less so, the same thing happens at home. And at work. Conversations rarely center around principles, with principles being the overall strategy about how to live life. Conversations, speeches and debates start with tactics, with specifics, like whether Democrats are worse than the Republicans–or the other way around. In the political arena, most voters know where their preferred politicians stand on issues; few voters know what–if any–core principles they hold.

So let’s start with the principles that Revolution 2.0™ holds dear:

Gratitude: Everything good starts with gratitude. Ingratitude makes for a grim and unproductive outlook on life, love and politics.

Moral Compass: The terms Moral compass and True North are interchangeable to me. I like the term moral compass because it means more to me, it anchors me better. A compass works because when used at all correctly, it points to a fixed point outside of both itself and the user, allowing the user to stay on track. And that is exactly how our moral compasses need to work.

Common Goals: Don’t most of us share the same common, bedrock goals? I don’t mean desires that many share like wanting this party or this candidate to win (or the other party or person to lose), I mean the core, meaningful, underlying goals that most of us share. Find the common  ground (yes, it exists), add statistically-significant facts, facts that apply broadly to the issue, then apply non agenda-based reasoning. It works. And if the discussion falls off track, go back to the common goals–the touchstone–to get back on track. Back to bedrock.

Rights and Responsibilities: With every right, comes an equal or greater responsibility. Every right. For example, with the right to bear arms comes the responsibility to make certain that your firearms will never, ever inappropriately harm another.

Can’t v Won’t: “Can’t” and “Won’t” are completely different. Much of how we see and deal with ourselves, family and society, depends upon how we define those two terms, those two states of mind, and how we apply those definitions.

For example, we all want to help people who can’t, and don’t want to help those who won’t. 

No Labels: We need to stop using labels to either define ourselves or to categorize others. Labels like left, right, progressive and conservative are mindless substitutes for actual thought and productive discussion. Cliches like “Lock her up.”, “Trump the dictator.” “Baby killer.” and “You are against women’s rights.” are not arguments as much as empty-headed claims that anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot or worse. Kinda makes me yearn for the return of the 20-second sound bite. By comparison, that was real discourse.

Don’t Vote: …unless you have done your research with multiple sources, and multiple types of sources, and given the candidates and issues thoughtful consideration. 

And this does not mean simply listening to your friends, coworkers, and the sources of information which you know will reinforce what you already believe to be true.

The two main, driving Revolution 2.0™ principles are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. 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.

And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.

What are your principles; what are the beliefs that guide your life?


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, Google, or Stitcher.

If you liked today’s podcast, other podcasts or the site itself, comment, subscribe, and encourage others to subscribe with you. Each One Reach One will help spread the word about Revolution 2.0™.

Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.


Will Luden
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