The culture trend of our day is quickly sweeping us into the age of democracy.
For over two centuries the US culture has been an age of Constitutional Law, but over the last 80 some years we’ve been shifting, changing. The massive and insanely rapid technological advances we’ve been seeing over this period of time have greatly aided this shift towards a far more democratic form of government.
The odd part of this trend, and it seems almost contradictory, is that as governments, businesses, and banks get bigger and bigger, the close relationships built between them and the people at large are getting further and further apart. How many people have, or have had, a close personal connection with someone who has major decision making power in say Amazon, Apple, the Green Bay Packers, Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, The Presidency, Nike, The New York Times, Samsung, Google, etc.? Or are they under such lock and key, special body guards, and highly private and invention only parties and meetings?
The further away these powerful people get, it seems the more involvement customers want in those companies. The bigger the company gets and the richer these men and women become, the more the people despise and seek after their demise. The more polarized politicians and companies get on issues, the more the flood gates open of hateful memes, tweets, and vines.
We want to have our cake, but we demand to be able to eat it too. This is not a good place to be.
The Age of Democracy
The desire to have the cake and to eat it too very nicely sums up the sentiment that Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville and The Federalist by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay wrote about on democratic forms of government. Let me be blatantly clear, this does not mean the democratic party, simply the democratic form of government as opposed to a republican form of government.
A big win for the whims of men, as opposed to the rule of law, came in a time of crisis and several companies were considered too big to fail. Many people were angry and understandably frustrated that they were too small to be cared about; thus being allowed to fail. Many people lost their jobs, their homes, their security, their credit, and their confidence in the law.[i]
When the law is on our side we’re all for it, but as soon as the benefit for another starts hitting our wallet we can’t stand for the treachery. When government and bank representatives came knocking on thousands upon thousands of homes saying you no longer own this property and you have two minutes to be out. Let me back up a step real quick: by law they were required to give eviction notices with ample time to move.
So many people thought they owned their home, it was not just a house, but their home. Their car. Their things.
The hard cold truth of the matter is that if it’s mortgaged, if it’s financed, if it’s collateral it belongs to someone else. Period. There is no security in debt. The piles of paperwork to sign for a home, a credit card, a car payment, same as cash checks, and title loans are so easily signed. The immediate pressure of paying the wolf pack of money collectors to get them off our backs, or to provide for the expectedChristmas joys, or whatever the case may be comes so easily. But we agreed to pay the piper when it is time, and we struggle to understand why my home isn’t actually mine. Why the judge would be so cold, why the Sheriff is so cruel, why the real estate agents would do such a thing, why our very own government is doing these things to us.
We then cry out, demanding to have our cake. We then cry out foul play. We then cry out to be saved. Big business, big banks, and big government have leveraged the law to win big. They’ve turned the law against the people, making so much fine print that the average person making a living, living a good life, won’t be able to understand.
As more and more people come out hurt and wounded, blind-sided by The Three Bigs (big business, big banks, big government), the people are the biggest of them all and they demand that they are too big to fail. If government officials want reelection, if bankers and businesses want customers and not riots, they’ll start giving the benefits demanded. This has led to the modern middle class squeeze. The wealthy know how to get breaks, the poor get the benefit, and the middle class ends up paying.[ii]
Many of the American Founding Fathers wrote—and many political scientists before and afterwards also came to a similar conclusion—that once a people realize they can vote themselves benefits the society is not far from destruction.
By Whims or By Law
The law used to be in favor of the people at large. But somewhere in the last 80 years the people have stopped studying the law, paying attention to what the heads of each sector of society are up to, and holding themselves and others to the bounds of the law.
If we were to divide the United States into two parts, I think a very clean line would be made between those who understand how the law works, and those who don’t. Those who know, often prey on those who don’t.
The law should be the check and balance between the elite and the other classes, but also amongst themselves. Once the law is used as a whimsical tool to aide one business over another, or one group over another, then the firm foundation by which the referee on human nature is founded cracks, slips, and crumbles. Then it becomes every man for himself. It degrades to whose whims can win over the law more than the next man’s. This war of human nature and its whims does not end well.
There must be a better way than for those who can’t cover the bills to become outcasts and/or babysat, for the middle class to be squeezed out of existence and be the main group paying, and for the elite to either sit idly by or to be siphoning off the labor of the middle and lower classes. There must be a better way than the self-destruction of a democratic or whim ruled society.
Simple or Complex?
What I’m about to propose is nothing amazing or outstanding. It’s not revolutionary, neither is it necessarily exciting and cool.
I’ve mentioned these things before in previous blogs and speeches. I’ve heard them mentioned dozens of times in various places by my mentor. I’ve seen these answers pop up in ancient times as well as modern, from the blue side as well as the red side, the poor side as well as the rich. They have been a common universal answer to practically every problem faced in the course of human nature.
The formula for greatness, for success, for freedom has always been simple. Rarely easy, but very simple. There is a lot of stress, fear, and doubt in our society today, many run from one place to another looking for the fix, the solution, the hero to save the day. We go from making one political party dominant to then making the other party dominant, and then back again. This mad scurry and swinging pendulum won’t stop until we take a deep breath and decide to hunker down and do the hard work necessary to enact the simple solutions needed.
Looking to the Future
We must develop in ourselves and spread the skills and principles of entrepreneurship.
We must become voracious readers and deep thinkers in all things great. This is definitely including the fine print of businesses, governments, and banks.
We must build communities. Building support groups, friend groups, trusting groups. There is strength and power in numbers. There is security, aide, and encouragement in great communities. Communities enable, fill gaps, connect, lead, develop, and strengthen empathy; communitieshumanize and aggrandize the whole.
Become a student of success, find the simple solutions for yourself. I’ve found them to be as simple as entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship, being a voracious reader and thinker, and building communities.[iii]
The people have been breaking themselves against the law and not understanding what is going on. One or the other will give. What if both give? What if we lead out by using the three vital principles from above and we all come out of this struggle victors, a free society, a nation of opportunity and prosperity?
Maybe we’re the next founders of the new golden age of America.