My philosophy on abundance, individualism, libertarianism, business & leadership.
By Diego Lucero — May 2, 2011
John Locke once postulated that the mind is like a “blank slate” or “tabula rasa”.
If I can just say first, as sort of a preface, I undoubtedly believe that all men are inherently good, even if the rest of the world tries it’s darndest to have us choose evil. The people that I know in my life are all perfect examples of that. Despite differing views, and strong opinions, we can find avenues for common ground, and reasons to agree. The very approach that good people take to finding truth through debate and friendly argument is the very fabric of a civilized, productive and innovative society. We must remember the words of the wise Eleanor Roosevelt: “Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas.”
I am a Friedman/Rand/Hayek libertarian. I have some different views on a variety of topics, and I really felt compelled to share my ideology and philosophy with you all. I understand that these views expressed here are not shared by most people, and I must say that it is not my intention to offend or point fingers. I just wish to share my philosophy for life, business, and my view of a productive government in the hope that with this small blurb, I could be of help to someone somewhere. May we all come together in peace and understanding in discussion.
Here it goes, my personal take on Individualism first:
Abundance is a principle for the ages. It may be the most repeated, recounted and rewritten concept in the history of man. Out of it springs selflessness, love, service and industry. Without it, there is no good that is done; nations fall. With it, there is no end to good; economies thrive. Oh how much the world needs individuals that live abundant lives!!
Definition of ‘individual’, via Wikipedia: “As commonly used, an individual is a person or any specific object in a collection. In the 15th century and earlier, and also today within the fields of statistics and metaphysics, individual means “indivisible”, typically describing any numerically singular thing, but sometimes meaning “a person.” From the seventeenth century on, individual indicates separateness, as in individualism. Individuality is the state or quality of being an individual; a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs, goals, and desires.”Wikipedia
Individualism is the natural extension of the belief in human capacity for selflessness (capacity for abundance). Individualism is a tenet of moral code–respecting other’s beliefs, origins, ideas, no matter how much you may disagree. As a matter of fact, Individualism goes even further than that. It can be said that it is the building up of others around you, the strengthening of all that come into your contact. It’s power is in the strength of individual cause.
Ultimately, selflessness cannot be taught or forced on a population–it must be learned and practiced out of free will. Individualism perpetuates the belief that if you strengthen the individual, you will strengthen the collective (“collective” used loosely.) I believe that the human spirit is naturally strong and idealistic. That being said, I also believe that no manner of laws or enforced opinion could convert a society towards any ideal… And it is my firm belief that laws can change nothing–except for who is in jail, and who is not.
Individualism as a philosophy, empowers the individual, without impairing the empowerment of other individuals. It allows for voluntary choices with all people, in all walks of life and society becomes a social contract between rational individuals. This ideology is inclusive, and it includes union workers, managers, owners, neighbors, etc.
I see Libertarianism as the expression of abundance and individualism in a rational society.
Libertarians are not anarchists. Libertarians (or ‘minarchists’) believe in very limited government–*especially* on the larger scales (ie federal & supranational). The parts of government that most Libertarians see the need for is a local government that upholds the law, and protects it’s constituents from evil (as is seen in a well-managed police force). Libertarians believe strongly in the ideas and notions set forth by our founding documents, especially the constitution as it was ratified in 1790.
Libertarians believe largely in non-interventionism, for both domestic policy and foreign policy. That means no wars to next to no wars, and as few legal constraints as could be allowed in good conscience at the federal and supranational levels. Because libertarians tend to believe that governments are unreliable, and that the best solutions always come organically from the people in their respective realms of comfort, the ideal libertarian society would be one where the community, then the city, then the county and state governments would be the “largest” and most influential of the governments (in that order–from most to least).
De-centralizing government authority does two things: It protects against potential authoritarian power over a given region (Think Hitler, Mussolini, Mao), and it empowers the families and the individuals to direct the economy/society through their neighborhoods and cities according to the ideals of their local “collective of individuals”. (The latter idea is quite regularly attributed to being a classical socialist concept.) This way, the governments that are closest to peoples homes could better support the families in their culturally empowered ideological pursuits towards success, prosperity and happiness.
Libertarians are anti-monopoly for almost all ideas. They believe that an open and wide playing field for all rational businesses, organizations and individuals is key to a strong society. You will usually find Libertarians opposing the creation of, or sustaining of monopolies to encourage fair competition in the marketplace and to defend the right that all individuals are free to choose. This means that they oppose government monopoly (any monopoly that is outside the monopoly of force as is expressed in a well-managed police force), and also oppose all forms of corporate or business subsidy, since subsidy would provide unfair advantage to one company over others in a market.
Are the Concept of Unions — Individualist Rights?
As for my opinion on whether or not Unions can be called an individualist “right”–even though they are freely called a “collective bargaining” tool–is definitely no. But I do believe that Unions CAN support individualist ideals. However, history has shown that many Unions tend to give more and more to the members of the union at the expense of the expense of others involved (non-union members, business owners, and even at the expense of consumers.)
The common view of the need for Unions is that workers need to be “protected” from the greedy owners, managers, and stockholders that only care about profit margins and stock options. The view is that the owners not only do not care about the workers that produce the product that the company sells, but that if they did, it would only be because they had to.
I fundamentally disagree with that view. I am an entrepreneur, and I know that if I were to produce a product or service, that I would need to take care of my employees to ensure that my company provides the highest quality work that we can provide for our loyal customers.
The true power of business and economy is in the individual, not the collective. Let me illustrate a little bit over the next few paragraphs:
Without loyal employees, I would have high turnover, and heightened expenses towards new hire training, lowered quality, which leads to a disloyal customer base (if I have a customer base at all). With disloyal employees, I would have a next to non-existent profit margin (if I am lucky enough to escape bankruptcy, that is), and the stockholders would be very very unhappy with me.
If I were to lead a business without taking as good care of my employees as I can afford, I run the risk of bankruptcy. I must, therefore, take good care of all individuals in my employ.
I know that if I invest resources in my people generously, they may invest in me generously as well. I truly believe that the true power of business and economy is in the collective of individuals, not the “individualist collective” of Unions.
When it comes down to it, goodness always comes from the greater good as it is expressed from the individual, because there is no collective in this world that can create a desire for good within another without first going through the individuals ability to choose for themselves.
As Stephen R. Covey quotes so often:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”(Viktor E. Frankl)
We, as leaders, must (READ: need to) empower individuals to make good choices in their lives–for good choices ripple goodness to the rest of the world. Good choices lead to strong society and people. It is my belief, that with good choice, comes the cornucopia of blessings, many of which we do not yet understand.
And it is for this reason that I believe that the strongest form of government is a government that empowers all individuals to make powerful choices without intervention.
May we all see the value in unlimited potential and worth in others, regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender. May we build upon the principles of morality with each other, giving people the tools they need through our actions and words, while also empowering people with the room to grow and improve in all walks of life.