Thursday, August 18, 2011

Death to the Republic?

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinborough, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the last Presidential election:

Number of States won by: Obama: 19     McCain: 29
Square miles of land won by: Obama: 580,000    McCain: 2,427,000
Population of counties won by: Obama: 127 million     McCain: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Obama: 13.2     McCain: 2.1

Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory McCain won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country. Obama territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in low income tenements and living off various forms of government welfare."

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two Wolves

I have been thinking a lot about business and partnerships, and how sometimes people whom you thought you could trust no longer capable of the trust you bestowed them. So, what do you do? Do you get even, or try to rectify things legally, or just walk away? For each person and situation that is a personal decision, but I have found that a very old story told to me some time ago actually makes a great deal of sense when dealing with issues out of your control. It is a Cherokee tale of Two Wolves.

An old Cherokee Grandfather was counseling his grandson who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice. 

"Let me tell you a story,” he began. “I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times."

He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. It is a terrible fight. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, hate, blame, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, forgiveness, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."

So, in the end...ask yourself. What is the purpose of trying to get even or one up on people, when most of the damage will be done to you. Just thinking...