Sunday, February 3, 2013

American exceptionalism: Leadership by Example

Liberty Ship manufacturer Henry J. Kaiser famously said "When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt." The sparkle behind America's traditions of exceptionalism in the past was that our people were the best. People sought out American products and people alike because they were solid and their value was overwhelmingly evident. Their value, as Kaiser suggests, spoke for themselves. I call that leadership by example. 

Today exceptionalism has given way to a very pompous, preachy, self-righteous, narcissistic monopolism where rather than being the best we have to impose state action or propaganda marketing (or some combination of both) to compel people to action. Few are leaders, most are "deciders" because there is no true example of excellence to follow.

America needs leadership by example. It's corny, but if you want change, you have to be the change. Whatever you do - if you're truly as good as you think you are or as "worthy" as you perceive yourself to be in instructing others - be the best of best at what you do and you won't need compulsion or deception to change things.

If you're a forum troll and you're the source of all knowledge, then be the teacher whose wisdom revolutionizes your community. What is true works and doesn't need to be hammered into people.

If you're a businessperson and you think your product is so worthy, then make the best product possible and the satisfaction of your customers and the quality of your work will make it profitable rather than using the legislature or the city council to impose subscription upon populations.

If you're a political candidate and you think you're so great, how about filling out all the questions on your own candidate questionnaire before you go accusing other people of being dodgy, shifty or immoral. 

Be the best of the best. No points for second place.
We could go on and on at length but the simple fact of the matter is that exceptional things stand out. No one needs to be reminded that the sun is bright, that water is wet or that fire burns. If you have to be compelled or deceived into doing something, chances are that something (or someone) isn't worth it. I love what Proverbs 22:29 says: "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men."

There is no need to lord over people ... if you're the best.

There is no need to be jealous ... if you're the best.

There is no need to be offended ... if you're the best!

So in closing, do get a grip. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Have a no points for second place attitude. We don't have time for the old order of things. It's time to be the men we were destined to be, not a nation of defeated, whiny, cowardly people.

Real liberty is the freedom to be the best of the best. If America wants to be the best again, she and all her children need to learn to stop whining and start leading by example again.

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