Friday, June 1, 2007

There isn't anything you can't Do...if you put your mind to it.

I came across this YOUTUBE video and I was inspired in ways I haven't been in a long time. I have been dabbling with guitar for years. This has inspired me to take it more seriously. Enjoy:

This guy's name is Mark Goffeney and he was born without arms...he didn't play the victim. He has his own band!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Role of Private Property

"Whenever there is in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785. ME 19:18, Papers 8:682

"To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association--'the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'" --Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy's "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:466

Right to private property is considered a "natural" right because with out it, man is fully a slave to those that own the property. To find more thoughts on private property rights, click here. If you ponder logically on the question of the natural right to private property, you can quickly come to the conclusion that without it, there are no rights, and no freedom. How can a man act on his own industry to improve his condition or the condition of those around him, without property? Further, how can a man be motivated to act on his industry without property? It's impossible! If you were given any type of physical property, say lumber, toward the end of building or improving your condition, or the condition of your community, and knowing that upon completion of the improvement that the product will be taken from you, without your volition or choice. What motivation would you have to produce? What capacity would you have to produce? I assert that ownership of private property is a stewardship, without which, one is left without a sense of accountability or ownership for his world, resulting in the condition that man feels entitled rather than responsible.

This is perhaps the KEY to the right of private property. It is a stewardship, and hence a responsibility. How differently we act upon our surroundings when we feel responsible. Why would our creator have interest in endowing humanity with certain inalienable rights? The only condition within which mankind could exhibit faith, choice and accountability would be within the parameters that allow for such: the inalienable rights of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and private property.

So what is private property? There are five pillars:

1. Land
2. Precious derivatives of the land: gold, silver, oil, etc.
3. Commodities of the land: lumber, fruit, vegetables, etc
4. Businesses
5. Intellectual property

It is interesting to note that each of these provide the foundational building blocks necessary to build assets. Assets being defined as those items that can provide income. Not to confuse assets with "liabilities" or those items that generate expense. Think of liabilities as cars, stereos, camp trailers, and any endless number of doo-dads that effectively consume value rather than produce it. Don't get me wrong, I think doo-dads have there role, and do provide value, but most generally these do not provide income. I would suggest that if all of us focused on asset production rather than liability consumption there would be little in the way of economic concerns in our day. I further assert that it is our stewardship to use the property of the earth to produce value rather than consume it. What is this "value" that we should be producing? In general I would say to serve. Serve how? Read my prior post entitled: "What is your mission" to get my take on that.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What is your "Mission"?

Why do you do what you do? We spend the best of who we are and what we are, fulfilling the work we do daily. As time is our greatest commodity, are we spending that time wisely? I recently completed a book entitled "Before you quit your Job" by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. There is some excellent material in this book about the basics of building a business and becoming an "entrepreneur". I read 1 or 2 books a week and I find that each has nuggets of information that are particularly meaningful for me. I use this blog to capture these nuggets and in the process I share these with others in the event that they provide some value to others as well as for me.

In the book “Before you quit you Job”, there is a chapter entitled: “The best answers are found in your heart, not your head”. For some time now I have felt compelled to devote my time, and my efforts toward a cause that will better serve my family and humanity. This compulsion has driven me to read, study, ponder and pray in ways I have not done previously in my life. The process is proving to be very rewarding, and at times difficult as I am more strongly convinced everyday that my stewardship upon this earth includes identifying and pursuing with great earnest my personal “mission” or cause. I encountered in this book a quote that really articulated a thought that has been formulating on the periphery of my mind. It is the following: “One's true mission is about who you love. It is not about YOU. A mission is about who you do your work for. It's not about working for yourself.” “...Because building a business is not about you. It's about other people. It's about your team, your customers, your teachers and how well you can serve them.” Now I don't mean to confuse this with the socialist philosophy of “altruism”. I do believe that we do what we do because it is in our own self interest. It is in my own self interest to serve better. Socialists would have you loath yourself and subjugate your interests to the “security” of the collective. It is a subtle but dangerous philosophy. It was the Master that said, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. You must first have love for yourself, or there would remain no love or basis for concern for our neighbors.

I would add that what we do and how we spend our time, is our CHOICE. If it is our choice, then it our responsibility to ensure that we are engaged in a work, and a cause that best utilize the unique talents and abilities the good Lord has given to each of us. It is a natural law that we will “reap what we sow” such that we will most likely sow with the greatest passion those deeds that are aligned with our individual interests, abilities, and love.

What do you love? How would you spend your time if money was not an option? What cause would be important and meaningful enough to drive you to devote the best of who you are, day in and day out? Would a higher power come to your aid? Perhaps the greatest freedom of all is pursuing that cause for which you were intended...that you might wear out your life in that cause and look back with great satisfaction at how you served.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

People are assets

I have made reference to the 13 principles of prosperity before and I am providing a link here to the entire list: The 13 principles of prosperity.

One of the key principles of prosperity is that people are assets. Nothing has true value except people. Nothing you buy, sell, trade or exchange can be done without the involvement of other people and this blend of individual talents, interests, and knowledge is what creates any true wealth in homes, families and society.To the extent that we strive to provide value for others, we will receive that value back, and usually with interest ;-) It is the "Law of the Harvest". We "reap what we sow".

I have an excellent example of this principle. Last Friday my wife and I went to a church social and had the opportunity to listen to a local musician. Her name is Nancy Hanson and she is a wife and mother of 3 that loves to play the guitar and sing. She volunteered to play and sing for us. We gathered in the church gym in a semi-circle around her and she began. One of the first songs she sang was a tune she wrote herself entitled "The Father in Me". Tracy and I were very touched by the lyrics, melody and meaning of the song. It was particularly meaningful as Tracy most recently lost her father, and the memories and thoughts of his great life and the legacy he left was well articulated in this song. Nancy didn't mention that she recorded albums or sold CDs or any such thing. She merely loves to sing and was kind enough to take of her time and share her talent with us. It was very valuable to me and I took an opportunity to approach her after the event and thank her, and then I asked if she had recorded any of the songs she shared. She directed me to her web you think I am willing to purchase a CD?? Most definitely. She created value and now I am rewarding her for the value she created by purchasing her CD. Additionally I am wanting to create value for others by sharing what I learned and experienced. If you would like to hear samples of her music click on the following links:

Drops in a Bucket
Reel You in
Father in Me

If you care to purchase you can do so here

She also inspired me to pick up the guitar more and make music a more regular part of my life. One 45 minute event made a lasting impression on me...People are assets!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Man's Greatest Enemy

I recently completed reading a book entitled "The Naked Communist" by W. Cleon Skousen. Yeah, kind of a funny name, but the book is excellent. The book was first published in 1958 and at first glance at the title one might think, "Hey, isn't communism dead? Cold war is over right?" er, well, not exactly. Communism is a philosophy, and it is exactly counter to our creator's endowment of inalienable rights. On the flip side of the same coin as communism, is "Socialism", which takes the stance that the Government or the "State" should control the means of production and distribution of all goods and that this is to be accomplished by force. Force or deception...deception is the worst type of force as the deceived are robbed without knowing it and as such puts up no fight. The founders of communism were Karl Marks and Friedrich Engels. They laid down an elaborate doctrine for the origin and motivation of the species. This doctrine was termed "dialectical materialism". Which in a nut shell meant that man advances through "conflict", specifically the conflict between classes. "Classes" meaning the "labor or working class" and the "bourgeois" or affluent class. Marx and Engels believed that a violent revolution of the working class over the affluent class would allow certain enlightened men (dictators) such as themselves to "plan" society and dictate by force once the conflict degenerated into full anarchy. Their mantra was "Each will produce according to his ability, each will receive according to his need". On the surface it sounds right eh? Cleon Skousen used the following example to put this mantra in the proper context. He proposed the following to one of his university classes: "To get a passing grade in this class you must receive 75 points. Therefore, if any of you get 95, I will take off 20 points and give it to a student who only gets 55 points. If a student gets 90 points I will take off 15 points and give it to a student who only makes 60. In this way every one will get by" Well as you can imagine his class revolted particularly the hard working students...curiously the slackers in the class rather liked the idea...humm, I wonder why? Perhaps that is why Communism and Socialism are so appealing to some...hey, I can slack off and still get grub. What a gig! In the end socialism fails completely as it fails to consider the universal lesson of life that man's greatest enemy is inertia and that the "mainspring" of action to combat inertia is not force but the opportunity for self improvement. Or as Adam Smith put it, "the invisible hand" or "elightened self interest". I will save the topic of the "invisible hand" for another post, but suffice to say that when man is free and he has private property he will work with great enthusiasm to serve his fellow man as he will be compensated in like for his efforts. It is freedom and the "invisible hand" that led the USA to prosper like no other land or people in history (with exception of the City of Enoch...but even they applied these same principles...that is for another post, another day). So it is that man's greatest enemy is inertia compelled by force and deception. Sorry to say, that Marx's philosophy of communism/socialism lives on strong and well. If you care to view the communist manifesto it can be found here. I have posted the summarized points here:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. (er, can you say Property taxes and eminent domain?)

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. (er...can you say Federal and state income tax!?)

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. (take a look at what happens to property today outside of all goes to the state...CHECK!)

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly. (so...what is that "Federal" Reserve bank!?)

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state. (hmmm public highways...what is the name of that governing entity for communication....oh yeah FCC?!)

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. (what is that called, oh yeah Bureau of land management?)

8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. (public education in the US?!)

In summary, Marx advocated taking from the "have's and giving to the have nots"... by force. The inspired plan of government established by the founding fathers of this country is still in tact and in effect...however it is compromised. What can we do? First of all is become informed. Watch this blog as I will point to books, links and other materials that I have encountered. Feel free to forward this blog to anyone you might think would take interest in freedom.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Security VS Freedom

Which do you value more Security or Freedom? I submit that to the degree that you pursue one, you loose the other. To build this thesis more, one need look no farther than compromises made by the American people over time to allow for Social Security, Income Tax, Medicare, 401K plans, etc. Scrutiny of these will demonstrate that each provides a sense of "security" while robbing you of freedom. This is a controversial concept and I acknowledge that I have labored under the hope that I could place my trust in these and other programs only to find that my trust was misplaced. I could dissect each of these, but let me take just one. Social Security. Those of us in the "employee" paradigm are taxed at near 8% while our employer is taxed at nearly another 8%, resulting in a net tax of nearly 16%. When social security was first initiated it was a voluntary program, now it is law AND there were approximately 42 individuals paying into the program for every 1 person drawing from the program. By the year 2016 approximately 3 people will be drawing from the program for every person contributing to the program. So we submit ourselves to Social Security law in hopes of security only to find that it is now compulsory, so 16% of your labor is confiscated, freedom is compromised and security is a myth as more is now being extracted from the program than is going in. While sobering to contemplate there is another way...if you value freedom over security. I suggest a book by Robert Kiyosaki entitled: "Prophecy" (I got this book from my local library and it took two evenings to read). The primary premise of this book is that Financial Literacy is critical to individual financial freedom. There are 4 categories of economic consideration: Employees, Self Employed, Business Owners, and Investors. The latter two, Business Owners, and true Investors, are in the best and perhaps ONLY position to obtain financial freedom. This is true due to a number of factors, the primary being the ways tax laws are written to benefit business owners AND cashflow producing benefits of true assets obtained by astute Investors. On a personal note I am in the process of obtaining the financial literacy necessary to pursue the position of business owner / investor. It it simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying to step out of a way of thinking that has predominated my way of life for 42 years. My goal is freedom and the true security that comes from self reliance. The mere act of embarking on this journey has resulted in more mental freedom than I ever anticipated. Come with me:-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Be of Good Cheer

I really like this article by Abel Keoghof the web site: "" There is much in the world to be concerned about to be sure. It is easy to become discouraged, lose faith and turn to fear. I for one believe that fear and discouragement is the greatest "cancer" as it robs us of motivation and faith, and places us in a position where we look to sources our side our selves and our creator to provide us with our means and "security". It makes a people "ripe" for dominion by tyrants. It makes a people complicit and willing to have those in "authority" make the decisions and provide their means. Under the freedoms declared in the US Declaration of Independence we note that rights are given to man by his creator. It is upon us, as stewards of the abundance of the earth to partner with our creator and make a difference. Freedom is a privilege fought hard to obtain, and requires a more difficult fight to preserve. With good cheer let's do it. Those that are with us and the cause of freedom are much greater than those against us.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Book List and Reviews

Continuing education is critical to Freedom. Following are some of the books that I have read the over last 6 months:

The Elders of Israel and The Constitution

I loved this book. Jerome Horowitz describes the premise and principles of the US Constitution in terms that are very easily understood. The link above points to the on-line version of his book (FREE). Chapter three can be read in 5 or 10 minutes and it lays out the basic premise of checks and balances established in the US Constitution. Read it :-) It teaches more in one chapter than most high school and college texts on the subject. Read Chapter 4 to learn what the "indispensable ingredient" is. Share your comments on the "Indispensable Ingredient". Chapter 7 Answers the question: "Did the framers of the Constitution establish a democracy?". The answer is NO. They despised a true "democracy" what did they establish??

The Title of Liberty

This book is a compilation of speeches given by Ezra Taft Benson. He uses moral basis and principles of freedom to elucidate the premise upon which we should base our National and Personal liberty.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Financial Freedom. There are two money and tax systems in this country, one for the educated and another for the uneducated. Robert Kiyosaki presents his story in layman's terms. He is no writer, but he makes some interesting points.

What is the "Invisible Hand"? Learn more from Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations". Adam Smith was a contemporary of the founding fathers of the US and he is credited with laying the premise of liberty upon which the framers established a model to build the most prosperous nation in all of human history. Want to prosper? This book reveals the "ancient principles" upon which true prosperity is based. In fact, these principles are based on LAWs, not unlike the law of gravity, when one adheres to the principles upon which the law is based, he WILL prosper.

Atlas Shrugged
A novel by Ayn Rand. I am only about a 1/4 of the way through this book but I am enjoying it so far. It took Ayn 10 years to write this book. She escaped communist Russia during the Bolshevik revolution and ended up in Hollywood California where she had a chance meeting with Cecil B. DeMille. Cecil offered her a job on the spot as a play right. She went on to write a number of books and plays. Her childhood experience in Russia taught her well the evils of Marxism. Her thoughts on capitalism are interesting and well illustrated in this novel. She takes rational thought too far and later becomes an atheist. She has since passed away and I am sure she has a different opinion now ;-)

Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill spent 20 years interviewing 100s of this nations most prosperous individuals and he spells out their "secrets" for prosperity. Personally I enjoyed the book. He exposes some principles that are really common sense, but profound when applied "on purpose".

Master Key to Riches
Another book by Napoleon Hill. This book is something of a "re-tread" of "Think and Grow Rich", but well worth the read.

Positive Imaging

This is a fantastic book by Norman Vincent Peale. It is a very easy read, but profound even if rather simple and common sense. If applied these concepts are powerful and indisputable. I am getting into the habit of applying what I have learned in this book. I will save my findings on this for another post, another day.

Rights of Man by Thomas Paine. This book was foundational for me. Thomas Paine was another contemporary of the founding fathers, and is considered by many to be a founding father of the US Constitution. In this book Thomas takes on a debate with a Mr Burke that had published a pamphlet with arguments against the French revolution. This book is available on line. Read the first chapter and you will be hooked by his clarity of thought and excellent sense of humor.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The proper role of "Law"

Read an excellent treatment of the proper role of "Law".
Frederic Bastiat was a comtemparary of the founding fathers of the USA. He understood well the tendency of man to distort law for their individual favor, and ultimately to the bondage of the masses. Want to be free? You must know what it means to be free. What is freedom to you? Here is a link to "The Law"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Love Wealth more than Liberty?

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
- Samuel Adams

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Author of your fate?

How unfortunate that so many of us place limits on our own capacity. The pattern of our lives becomes like the line of a stream as it makes it's aimless path through obstacles and substances that act upon it to move it to and fro, such that when we look back we see an incoherent journey to which we felt compelled beyond forces of our own volition. Perhaps to the point where we adopt a sort of helplessness, that at times leads to hopelessness, then idleness, and finally on to a type of “entitlement” mentality that has the individual looking to some external authority or source to provide at first his means...and then his happiness. Each of us have within us the author that writes our own is our thoughts. Or rather our thoughts are the germinating seed that grows into whatever we go on to realize in our physical lives. I commend to you a small book. It is on-line and completely FREE. "As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen.