The Value of Values: The Economics of Freedom

January 29, 2018

My mother died last October at 93. She taught English and social studies (history and civics) at E.C. Goodwin Tech in New Britain, retiring in 1989. Recently my sister and I were packing her books for donation. I found a monograph among them. The year was 1978 and this was a mailing sponsored by the Standard Oil Company. It was the start of a propaganda and indoctrination campaign in support of Milton Friedman’s supply-side/trickle-down, neo-liberal economic policies implemented by Reagan and utilized by both parties since. Here is a quote from the monograph that is the philosophical foundation of trickle-down:

… “with ignorance and misunderstanding about the relationship between moral values and economic systems…  moral values are individual; they are not collective. Moral values have to do with what each of us separately believes and holds to be true – what our own individual values are.” ~ Milton Friedman

While he was using the context of socialism (which he wrongly equates with communism) versus capitalism, essentially he said that “moral values” do not apply in business and government; that morals are personal and apply only in our personal lives (with friends and family). This means that there is no need for conscience, responsibility for and accountability to the collective. What’s fascinating about this is that both the right and left try to impose their “morals” on everyone else. Look around. This is why we are where we are.

From this belief, morals don’t apply in business and government, came the idea that the purpose of corporations is to make money without constraints.  From here it was easy to sell the theory of supply-side economics. However, the original, historical purpose of corporations was to provide societal benefits and also to provide revenue to the government; the focus on the profit motive came later. The theory that trickle-down will stimulate the economy has been proven wrong; it simply moves more wealth to those who already are wealthy and generates the gross inequity that we see.

The problem is that political agendas are not morals; they are based in beliefs and opinions not truth. We have replaced human morality and values with economic-political ideologies and agendas and religious rules focused on consumption, profits and power. This neo-liberal ideology, which was nothing more than Friedman’s opinion, has been pushed for 40 years, for nearly two generations by both parties. It gives politicians and corporate executives license to exploit and manipulate people and the system for personal gain. It excuses our politicians and executives from any kind of accountability for their choices and actions, for the implications and consequences to our society and the quality of our lives.

What Friedman neglected is that it is our shared, core (inner) human values are the foundation of relationships for a functional, productive society. This is evident in our political landscape both in Hartford and DC. We ignore as irrelevant economic and political equality and equity, shared power and justice for the dignity and well-being of everyone which human morality would create.

Instead we have a culture that values wealth, status and power with every person for themselves and no one else. While we are each unique and have a unique contribution to make, truth is that we are in this life together. Our external appearances have replaced standing for our inner character as human beings. Morals/values are the deeper and higher intelligence of honesty, ethics, integrity, wisdom, empathy, and compassion, of care, understanding and respect so that all thrive. This is what it means to lead, which is the public face of love. This is our common ground as human beings. Its absence is why our public policy and our social structures are failing and collapsing instead of everyone thriving.

You might say that these (honesty, ethics…) are “virtues.” These are actually hard-wired into our brain physiology once we get above the reptilian brain of fight, flight, freeze, and fawn and they are required for collaboration that enables survival. They are literally what make us human and invite insight, inspiration and innovation in connection with others.  We have been taught not to value them or our own humanity. We have normalized immorality which has corrupted our societal-economic-political system. We’ve made our personal value contingent upon our wealth, status and power, not our humanity. We continue to tie our future to the status quo and amplification of our past. We’ve made capitalism predatory and parasitic, inhuman and inhumane, when it could be used for good. Our neo-liberal economic policies are based in immorality. Both conservative and liberal “values” are nothing more than external rules to maintain the status quo of the wealth and power structure. Republicans and Democrats are more alike than different: Both follow along with Friedman’s neo-liberal “principles” which have put us here.

So what does this mean in practical terms for what is before us?

Connecticut’s economic policy has been bullied on many fronts which our elected officials have fostered and facilitated. Corporations such as GE, Aetna, Dominion, etc., bullied and extorted tax concessions and special considerations to ensure that they maximize their profits at the expense of the public good. This actually limits their viability and growth as corporations confront the reality of decaying infrastructure and substandard education that they have created. State employee unions have bullied the system to maintain their own power. We continue to set the example for our children that bullying, ridicule, and insults are acceptable strategies to get what we want and to keep what we get.

The tax cuts enacted by DC are immoral. They are a direct transfer of wealth and power to corporations and the elite at our personal and nation’s expense. They are increasing the deficit, debt that will hamstring us and our children and is immoral. They are premeditated murder of the poor, elderly and disabled. Ryan and McConnell have already said that they are going to cut/gut Social Security and Medicare to “balance the budget.” Social Security and Medicare are funded with our own money through payroll taxes so this is theft. Corporations such as Walmart and McDonalds utilize public assistance for their employees as part of their business profitability model, doing everything they can to avoid paying taxes while using taxpayer money. Tax avoidance by corporations or individuals is immoral. It says that we don’t value or respect ourselves, one another, our citizenship, or contributing to the common good of dignity and well-being for all.

Deregulation that is destructive of our food, water, environment, etc. and that undermines the safety, security, health, livelihood, etc. and so the well-being and survival of anyone is immoral.

Our school system is about conformity and compliance to maintain the status quo. Real education means we learn how to learn and think, how to challenge our thinking and beliefs and expand our perspectives, how to challenge the status quo and free ourselves from cultural programming, how to integrate new knowledge and apply it in innovative ways, how lead our lives with human morals, ethics and integrity, not what labels, ideologies, agendas, and rules tell us to do. Education is learning who you are as a human being and bringing all of you to life with insight and inspiration. Leaders educate and unite, not indoctrinate and separate.

Immorality in our social structures of business, government and education is the root cause of our epidemic of addictions, overdoses and suicides as many try to cope with and escape the seeming hopelessness of our inhuman experience. Every human being innately needs purpose and meaning, connection and contribution, self-determination and choice, and growth and actualization. Addiction is the result of loss of a sense of connection. We have become disconnected from ourselves as human beings, one another, and our will to live.

The immorality of the system is a result of our refusal to take personal accountability for and have the courage to individually enact our human morality throughout our society.

Yes, there will be many readers who will dismiss me and this as “liberal” with a sarcastic “Good luck.” This is about being liberated, not controlled by our cultural patriarchal power paradigm and partisan programming. Human morality and values are our ultimate freedom both as individuals and as a society.

Beliefs create our reality and experience and our experiences shape our beliefs. Most of us just say, “This is the way things are.” Wrong. WE created this. WE can change it, hopefully before we have a catastrophic failure. This is what personal responsibility and accountability mean. We are watching a crisis of identity, purpose, value and worth. Time is up.

Human morals are universal laws that apply in every situation for every gender, race, religion, and nationality. Morals mean we enact a level playing field for food, shelter, healthcare, and education. As we all live our shared human values which are the foundation of unity, we won’t need regulations or even compromise. There would be agreement on what is best for universal justice, dignity and well-being. Without our collective morality of shared human values, there is no common ground, there is no growth or innovation, there is no human progress. This means social enlightenment AND fiscal restraint. This is the paradigm shift that we must all commit to. Leaders are those who are willing to be catalysts and facilitators of this shift. Morality is leadership; leadership is morality.

Leadership is a choice. It’s all about the unwavering commitment to human morals which are the foundation of human connection and unity that builds trust and generates hope, that actualizes possibility and potential.

Morals are the deepest part and breadth of our humanity. Morals are the Voice and Intelligence of our Heart, our Soul, our Spirit. Morals provide coherence in the societal-economic-political chaos that we see. Morals are the source of insights and wisdom for solutions. Truth is that without human morals, without honesty, ethics, integrity, wisdom, empathy, and compassion, without care, understanding and respect, we don’t know what to do and we will keep repeating the past both in our actions and results. There is nothing “soft” about this. It requires commitment, truthfulness and accountability from everyone.

Bottom-line: Without enacting human morals in all aspects of our lives, we are not “patriots.” We do not support the intent or letter of the Constitution which details what our morality as human beings looks like as a nation. We devastate people’s lives and destroy liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Morals enable freedom, liberty and justice for all. Friedman was wrong. Let’s learn from our past, wise up and send his false theories and notions into the dustbins of history. Morals matter.

Addendum in Tribute to Mom

Mom left this gift of truth for us to find. She always said, “Get your education. It is one thing that no one can take from you.” Thank you, Mom. You taught us well. RIP.

2018: On Being What Matters in Life

January 1, 2018

Watching a light snow fall Saturday afternoon, I reflected on Lessons of 2017.

What Matters most in Life is Truth, our Character of Being: Human honesty, morality, ethics, integrity in support of justice, dignity and well-being for everyone. This is the public face of Love in Action that is the Unity of Sovereignty.

Truth is uncomfortable; it triggers dissonance. Truth is inconvenient; it demands change. We all say we want change yet few of us want to engage with change, to fully engage with Truth. Truth invites the strength and courage of self-respect and self-worth to look in the mirror with fierce honesty and ruthless integrity. Truth exposes our self-deception that we use to deceive others and oppress Life. Truth invites conscious choice and commitment to deep change. “What Matters Most?” is a question of self-respect and self-worth as a human being.

Nothing changes without awareness of our patterns and paradigms, our subconscious, fundamental beliefs about life that drive our actions. Our paradigms structure how we see life and blind us to possibilities. Our current paradigm of patriarchal power of wealth, status and privilege is done; it hinders Life.

Leaders don’t “create” unity in diversity which is something that I’ve had “wrong” for years. What I was missing was that Leaders ENACT the Truth of Unity Consciousness: Unity of Sovereignty that is always present. Unity Consciousness brings forth choices and actions that focus on Equality and Equity, Shared Power and Justice, Dignity and Well-being for everyone. Leading is Connection: Care, understanding, respect, and responsibility for and accountability to one another as human beings and for Life.

Leaders embody Empathy expressed as Compassion. Empathy-Compassion is the Flow of Love. Leaders embody Unity expressed as Sovereignty. Unity-Sovereignty is the Expansion of Life. Unity Consciousness is the paradigm of Being that fosters the emerging, evolving Expansion of Life. Leaders are stewards of this New Paradigm.

For good or for ill, our collective future is created moment-by-moment by our individual choices and actions in the present. When you walk this Path of Unity, it takes Strength, Courage and the Willingness to be out in front alone, at the edge which most of us fear, so we ignore or reject the Path.

As I was engaged in Saturday’s reflections, a dear friend called. Our conversation was a reminder that as we actively cultivate our personal and societal conscience and consciousness, our Awareness of Truth, we continuously move forward and evolve. So 2018 holds great Hope, Possibility, Potential, and Promise for justice, the dignity and well-being of everyone.

We are breaking open to breakdown for breakthrough. There is nothing to fear. Life IS Love bringing us closer to the Truth of Being Human. Love means Liberation from our obsolete, unnatural paradigm. This Freedom enacts Unity Consciousness, the Living Truth of Love. With responsibility and accountability for what we have created, the Power is within us to change what is before us.

Leaders ask a simple question: “How can I make Life better for everyone?” This is the humility of Service to our Unity of Sovereignty. In today’s culture, Leaders as public servants are called to ensure basic necessities of life: food, shelter, healthcare, education, safety that are our common foundation for human justice, dignity and well-being. This enables everyone to focus their energies on reaching and contributing their fullest potential rather than on survival. Leaders consciously generate the potential for ALL to become Leaders.

The paradox of Leadership is that we need to Follow in order to Enact Life as Love: Leading is Love in Service to Life. Love Makes a Leader a Leader.

What Lessons did you Learn that you will bring to Life in 2018?

Many Blessings and Much Love for the New Year.

Some Thoughts on Compassion… and Leadership

Empathy and compassion as a human being comprise the highest form of intelligence: The Wisdom of the Heart as Love and Service as our Integrity with Life.

Empathy is the embodied Truth of Unity Consciousness, our Oneness that is Love: I Am You, You Are Me, we are in Life together. Empathy is the conscious acceptance of our Responsibility as an integral part of the Whole.

Compassion is the outer expression of empathy, it requires action. Compassion is the commitment to and enactment of our Accountability to ourselves, to one another and to Life: Unity in Diversity, Diversity in Unity. Compassion is the ultimate expression of Love, of Service to Life.

Human morality, ethics, integrity, and justice are the public face of Love, of empathy and compassion. Anything not based in Love is failing, epically.

Empathy is inner, personal conscience and consciousness; compassion is external, societal conscience and consciousness. They are Wisdom and Service, Responsibility and Accountability, two sides of the same coin of Higher Consciousness.

We will only create a society where everyone thrives when those in leadership roles embody empathy and so enact compassion as human beings. Without empathy and compassion, Leadership is absent.

When Power Goes to the Head

Unity Consciousness – empathy and compassion which are the essence of Leading as Love – is literally hardwired into our physiology through our brain’s mirror neurons. Unity Consciousness is physically part of being human.

Our hearts have millions of neurons as well. It is the heart that is our “tuner” that sees the Whole of Life that includes aspects that the mind cannot perceive or comprehend. When the heart is closed, it cannot perceive Life OR connect with the mirror neurons in the brain to activate them so we lose empathy and compassion, and intuition, insights and inspiration. The mind is here to Serve the Heart. Power comes from the Truth of the Heart.

The absence of empathy and compassion is the result of neurological damage caused by fear and need for control that closes the heart.

The absence of empathy and compassion is the abuse of power. Our politicians are literally physically and psychologically (mentally and emotionally) incapacitated as human beings and cannot Lead.

We are witnessing the implosion and collapse of the absence of our Truth of Being and its ultimate rebirth as Freedom and our Sovereignty of Soul: Break open, break down to break through.

Leading Is the Sacred Trust of Unity Consciousness

November 14, 2017

We are in this Life together, not for some of us to win, but for all of us to thrive. Leaders embody and enact this Unity Consciousness that is our progress, growth and evolution as human beings.

Not for position or hierarchy.

Not for status, privilege or power.

Not for labels, ideologies or agendas.

The status, profit and wealth accumulation motives that rule our culture and society blind us to other possibilities and our full human potential. We are ALL being tested on our moral and ethical courage, our Integrity as Human Beings. What do you stand for? Who do you stand with?

When we shift how we perceive what Matters in Life, we create new realities. Leaders initiate and guide the paradigm shift from our patriarchal, competitive, power-and-money focused culture and system to an egalitarian, sharing, collaborative system with responsibility and accountability for the whole.

Unity Consciousness is Love in Action that Serves Life: Morality, Ethics, Integrity, Equality, Equity, Shared Power, Shared Resources, and Justice for the Dignity and Well-being of ALL. This is the Truth of Spirit and Sovereignty of Soul. What’s on the inside shows up on the outside.

As we tolerate dishonesty, immorality or corruption, we compromise our own integrity and so contribute to the viral spread of corruption that plagues us. Immorality and corruption have become acceptable as the way things get done and we reward those with status who do this. Eventually, the societal-economic-political system collapses. By our silence and looking the other way, we are participating in our own demise. We have accepted and are being played by the unwritten, invisible rules of power.

In business, politics, education, religion, the media, etc., Leaders have the personal and societal conscience and courage to consciously and actively focus on restoring human morality, ethics, integrity, and justice to our societal-economic-political system and nothing else: No profit motives, no ideological agendas, no power plays, no exploitation. This is the public face of Love, of Unity Consciousness. Love is not silent in the face of immorality or injustice: With silence there is no healing or progress.

The rest of us are called to Lead our Lives in the same way.

Lasting change is possible. We all are called to hold ourselves to this Higher Standard: Leading is Love in Service to Life.

Here is a Vision of the Future of Leadership that I invite you to hold in your Heart and Mind and enact with me.

The Future of Leadership in Politics and Business… and Life

May Blessings Be.

The Field of Creation for Leading as Love

October 5, 2017

I have cultivated my understanding and appreciation of Leadership for the past 40 years; Leading as Love for the past 10. Here is the essence of what I have learned through research, observation and personal experience.

Leaders enact and bring forth the inherent Unity within the Diversity of Life based in our shared humanity; it is our common ground for the greatest good already present in life. The elements of Love that are present and embodied by Leaders empower and facilitate infinite possibilities and potential so that that all Succeed, all Thrive, all evolve as Human Beings.

Stewardship is Leadership in business. Governance is Leadership in politics. Both are required for our short- and long-term sustainability and survival as human beings and for Life.

Here are the elements that make up the Field of Creation for Leading as Love:

Unity + Sovereignty + Freedom ∞ Truth of Being.

Morality + Ethics + Justice ∞ Integrity of Being.

Empathy + Compassion + Commitment ∞ Accountability to Life.

Care + Understanding + Respect ∞ Responsibility for the Whole.

Equality + Equity + Dignity ∞ Well-being of the Whole.

Purpose + Connection + Self-determination ∞ Growth of the Whole.

Meaning + Contribution + Choice ∞ Actualization of the Whole.

Self-Respect + Self-Awareness + Self-Love ∞ Self-Realization as Love.

Taken all together, this is what it means to Be a Leader. It’s impossible to Lead from our labels, ideologies and agendas which can only separate. Leaders Realize Life’s Infinite Possibilities and Potential of Love.

The absence of any element is the absence of Love, the absence of Leadership, and the organization or system fails. The chaos of this wide-spread collapse is what we see today; we are in breakdown to break through.

Anything that denies Spirit or corrupts our Soul’s expression, blocks Leadership which is Love in Action. Leading as Love bridges, unites and merges all polarities, dissolves all inequities.

Leading is Love in Service to Life: Love Makes a Leader a Leader.

What’s on the inside shows up on the outside. Who do you choose to be?