Must We Be Independents to Have Independence?
One of my favorite speeches to listen to was given by Oliver DeMille, of George Wythe University, titled “The Four Lost American Ideals“. He talks about four ideals (Georgics, Providence, Liber and Public Virtue) that contribute to a person becoming a great leader. These ideals, or ideas of Americanism, are necessary to preserve the Freedom fought for by our Founding Fathers. These ideas are what being an American use to mean.
The focus of this post will be on Georgics. It is not a common word today. Georgic means to be an owner, or ownership.
There was a debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton regarding what type of nation we should be. They agreed we should be a commercial society, but differed in what type of commercial system to establish.
The Founders believed that America should be organized in a way that allows people the freedom to pursue and obtain the basic necessities of life. The idea of the American Dream is that anyone could become a commercial success. The Founders chose this over being a martial or religious society. Essentially this is what we call a free-market or free-enterprise system.
Hamilton wanted to have a society where everyone is working for big entities and organizations, big industry in which a lot of people are working together to create wealth. As you can see today we’re seeing more and more of this, and less and less of what Jefferson promoted.
Jefferson recognized this would limit the people’s freedom. The model Jefferson proposed is having a bunch of people who are farmers, land owners, shop owners and businessmen and entrepreneurs. Independents. People who are independent, not dependent (Owner vs Employee).
A dependent depends on others. An independent is an owner, someone who is Georgic; someone who owns their own business.
DeMille said that by the year 1900 – 90% of America in general were owners. Now, 100 years later, there are less than 10% who are owners… and the impact on freedom has been proportional.
Often the difference between a person that chooses to be independent rather than dependent is the type of education they received. Those who have a received a “Liber” education generally learn how to think for themselves, whereas others are taught what to think.
I wasn’t brought up in a Liber education. During the past 4 years of my life I have drastically changed my paradigm and way of thinking more in line with a Liber education, through my own studies of the Founding Fathers, the proper role of government and the principles of freedom. The studies have also lead me to studying the writings of other great minds. This paradigm shift gave me the desire to pursue my own interests in business as an Entrepreneur rather than working for someone else the rest of my life. I have made the choice to be an independent rather than a dependent.
It’s not necessarily a bad or good thing to be a dependent or an independent, it’s simply a choice. I also recognize that no one is ever going to be completely independent, nor would that be an ideal goal. As a business owner I still depend on other individuals and businesses for many things. As a business owner I enjoy a lot more freedom than I previously did when working for others, though it’s also more challenge and less predictable and stable – but worth it to me. One point I’d like to promote is that whether you choose to be a business owner or an employee, realize that it is a choice; go with what you feel inspired to do.
Jefferson said you can’t have independence unless you are a nation of independents. If you are a nation of dependents you won’t be free.
I’d love to get your thoughts on Georgics and business ownership vs. employment…