A response to the "Occupy Movement"

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Precepts of Entrepreneurial Humanism

I am presenting these ideas in a form similar to the Declaration of Independence, because I believe that the challenges that we face now call for as sweeping and passionate a statement of principles as that one.

I present it here not as a completed work but a starting place for dialog, in the trust that we will somehow find the language to inspire the re-birth of a nation, and the commitment to make it so.

Declaration of Commonality

We who desire peace and prosperity for ourselves and for all people hereby declare our belief in the following principals, our commitment to living these principals in our daily lives, and to creating a nation and a world in which cooperation and goodwill are the norm.

1. As human beings, we are more alike than different.
2. The basic needs common to all humans include the physical (e.g., food, shelter,) and the emotional and metaphysical (e.g., companionship, a sense of belonging and success in the world.)
3. There is an inherent human dichotomy between the need to stand out and the need to blend in, to cooperate and to compete, to contribute to the collective good, and to create and acquire for one's self.
4. Given this inherent dichotomy, and the subjective nature of our emotional and metaphysical needs, no socio-economic system will ever function equally well for meeting the needs of all the people all the time.
5. What is achievable, given strong enough consensus and self-discipline, is a socio-economic system that works well for most people most of the time, and in which there is mutual respect between the least and most prosperous.
6. A socio-economic system that truly does work well for most people most of the time cannot be coerced or legislated into existence. It can only come about through the cooperation of a clear majority of citizens who honor both the common and individual good, and who take personal responsibility for creating and upholding both.
7. The dichotomy of individual vs. common good applies to government in all forms, including taxation, and all law embodies some degree of coercion. ("If you don't do this, I will hurt you.")
8. In a system that depends on the ongoing cooperation of a clear majority of citizens to function, all law (and all of the 'machinery' that goes with it , including taxation,) must always be kept to an irreducible minimum.
9. In reducing our body of law and its machinery to the minimum, we must take personal responsibility for creating institutions of cooperation to replace the institutions of coercion.
10. This means that a clear majority of citizens must look closely at our own beliefs and behaviors, evaluate these in terms of the balance of individual and common good, and do this in community with other citizens. In this way we can all see what we're doing, why and how we're doing it, and how what we do as individuals will impact the larger whole.
11. Democracy, as it is currently defined, is about trying to put the creation of law into the hands of the people who will be governed by it. But the ways in which we've practiced it have created a juggernaut of laws that only lawyers can even pretend to understand, bureaucracies that can create as many problems as they solve, and a burden of taxation and national debt that threatens to crush our entire nation under their weight.
12. The way forward is a new democracy of personal responsibility, in which a clear and conscious majority of citizens cooperate to fulfill their desires for peace and prosperity - not to the exclusion of voting for representatives or legislation, but primarily by consciously shaping our own behaviors to create it.
13. The cornerstone of a democracy of personal responsibility is the power of the marketplace, because the personal behaviors that have by far the greatest impact on the common good are the ways in which we spend and earn money.
14. By earning and spending money in awareness of how we impact the common good, and doing this in conscious cooperation with like-minded citizens, we create a new marketplace, a new economy, a new nation, a new world.

Bob Olofson

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