Author

About the Author
Keith is the Author of The Political Optimist and you can follow him at genuineoptimist.com. He is a visionary founder of Local Common Wealth (see localcommonwealth.org) and co-founder of Vision Impact Leadership. He is a licensed general contractor at kelschconstruction.com and part time faculty member at Dixie State University.

The Lost Values of Liberal and Conservative, Episode 2

In the company of liberal democrats, I become a community conservative. In the company of republican conservatives, I become a classical liberal. Both community conservative and classical liberal are birds of a feather. They naturally compliment each other because they naturally support each other. I call myself a genuine optimist because this is what I believe. I believe we are naturally meant to find agreement and consent. It is part of our divinity. Dark forces want just the opposite. They want confusion and not consent, they want division and not dialogue.

Let us first look at liberalism to see how it has been destroyed and replaced with divisive intents.

Liberalism is not what it ideally should be. It has regressed into a kind of political advocacy for the extreme while losing its equal voice for all. We should ask an honest question, is this good?

The least served in any society has changed for the liberal. We once viewed the least served as being the disabled, the ill-literate, the unemployed and the hungry. These were the least served in society, and many associated a genuine concern for serving the least as being liberal. However, today the liberal mind sees the least as being those with different sexual orientations, ideological ethnicity, or just about any identity issue. Here’s just a few:

  • Black people believing that cops specifically target them because of the color of their skin.
  • Feminists believing that men judge and treat them poorly solely based on their gender.
  • Women voting for a women because the US needs its first woman president to empower women.
  • People believing conservatives hate all women, Muslims, and Mexicans because they believe in nationalism.
  • People assuming that if you are a white male, your political ideology is trying to push white supremacy.

These are not issues that serve the least. They create division. This is what liberalism has become, divisive and contentious–a constant splintering of people apart into polarized groups.

If you believe these are universally true and apply to all people mentioned, then there is no way such a belief can come to an agreement with others. Tragically, such a belief can never sponsor a vision for all. That opportunity for building consensus with a unified vision is completely removed from the table of discussion. This is what hatred does. It keeps us from talking and it keeps us from coming together.

I love that word talking. For me, it once stood for the very meaning of liberalism. Take John Stewart Mill’s essay “On Liberty.” Published in the mid 1800’s,  Mill said something remarkable. He said “The silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.” The liberal left today, which is really the far left, does not believe in this principle anymore.

The lost liberal value is freedom, free-agency, the free press, and free expression, plus all the freedom needed to increase more transparency, more openness, and more collaboration. I am not saying the democratic party ever held these truths. What I am saying is that many of us at one time were taught that to be liberal meant to be an evangelist for these truths.

Is there any hope for bringing these truths back? Yes! We first need to start talking about the purity of liberalism against the backdrop of statism, which is not liberalism at all. True liberalism is a decentralized voice for all; statism is the centralized control of voice for a few. These are incompatible with each other, and we need to spread the good news that liberalism is reborn in its purity through new ways of free association. Hold on to that thought. Many episodes to follow will explain. Just keep this one beautiful truth in your mind, liberalism is to be freely expressive and open to channels of discussion with the goal of reaching the truth. Tell that to every social justice warrior and every political democrat you know. Wake them up to their true origins and let the restoration begin. Put aside the political and get back to original principle.

As for the conservative, what do you think it means? I would suggest that you not consult a dictionary right away, first ask a democrat what they think the word conservative means. You will find a lot of derogatory comments like tightwad, close-minded, warmonger, and the word capitalist is often used in the same negative tone.

Conservation or to be conservative means to protect value. It is central to a sustainable culture. Have you ever heard anyone use the following phrases:

  • The conservation of liberty in the hands that add value.
  • The conservation of wealth in the community.
  • The conservation of voice and vote together.
  • The conservation of responsibility locally.

All of these are rarely held in the hands of the people, something you think conservatives would jump on. Instead, the word conservative today is associated with a strong military, secure borders, protecting the second amendment (right to bare arms), free markets and a balanced budget. These are repeat slogans with no real call to action. Meaning, they are not principles; they are platitudes we take with no responsible action. Like the liberal, the conservative has given up the central drive to conserve everything possible that is good and to conserve value as locally as possible. Like the liberal, they have moved to national soundbites and have ignored the local plight of liberty.

For example. Compare the conservation of responsibility locally with the slogan free trade. Which one solves for the other? Does free trade conserve local responsibility? No! But does local responsibility conserve free trade? Yes!

More responsibility locally creates a decentralized market and this is closer to free trade. More responsibility locally is a definitive action. Conservatives too often have a motto or a slogan but no real call to act. If they had a real call to act that would solve for local issues of inequality, then liberals could jump on board. Unfortunately, free trade means nothing unless we can show how it creates more natural equality without the state getting involved. Until conservatives understand this, the liberal will gain power from time to time and push more responsibility toward the state in an effort to solve for inequality. It is the job of the conservative to keep the liberal focused on the community. This way individual liberty is also protected.

I am going to say a lot about conservatism and liberalism over the years and in many podcasts. For now, consider the following highest and best values of both conservative and liberal. It is high time we generate a renaissance with these in order to move the cause of liberty.

What is Conservative?

To conserve is to protect what is good. Conservatism is about about value, the freedom to create value and the liberty to conserve value. The following principles define what we should conserve the most.

  • Wealth conserved in the community is vital to its sustainability. Wealth is value. Adding and conserving value in the community is the purest expression of liberty, and conserving public wealth locally protects the liberty to add more value.
  • Responsibility in the community is vital to its freedom. When liberty to add value is taken away by statists, people become less responsible locally. Apathy grows and we depend on the state treasury for support. Therefore, the conservation of local responsibility empowers more local liberty.
  • Voice and vote together are central to a thriving culture and when kept together they protect the freedom to associate. The “Count My Vote” movement separates vote from voice. This is very dangerous and explains why “Keep My Voice” is so important. Having an equal vote statewide only empowers the wrong people to influence that vote, namely big money, the media, unions and establishment elites. The caucus system preserves both vote and voice within the same local system, which is immune to outside influence. Popular voting on a larger regional or statewide scale is very is destructive to voice. We should be improving the caucus system and not tarring it apart.
  • Religious and cultural fundamentalism can usurp wealth, responsibility and voice. When this happens we give up our liberty to more central control.

What is Liberal?

To be liberal is to be freely expressive and to open channels of discussion. The goal is truth, and free open discussion is the liberal approach to reaching truth.

  • “The silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.” Silencing discussion is not liberal; it’s authoritarian. Mill’s essay “On Liberty” and Locke’s essay on “Toleration” serve as classical foundations of both liberalism and liberty.
  • Common consent is better than central control, and definitely better than popular voting. The modern liberal has lost site of this. In order to increase more discussion, consent must be improved. When broken into modular form, increasing consent through both voice and vote is the best way to preserve liberty. Consent in modular form (a representative republic) eliminates the problem of power struggles and gives greater voice for all.
  • The community is the best level where liberalism can solve for inequality. When liberalism leaves the community to solve for inequality over many communities or over the state or nation, it usurps local liberty and shuts down both consent and discussion.
  • Classically liberalism is not statism, socialism, or communism, however liberalism can degenerate into these when it’s contempt for inequality pushes more central control. The only real solution to inequality is to push for more discussion, more representative consent, and more local liberty. When liberalism leaves its central pillar of discussion and toleration, it becomes authoritarian.

So there you have it. The lost values of liberalism and conservatism are reborn. Let’s give them a new life by giving them a new voice. That voice is Genuine Optimism, the hope that through common consent locally we freely associate as a people to surface better communities. These better communities will be united and not divided. They will lift ideas and not individuals. They will become thriving cultures and not power struggles. A renaissance is coming, can you see the early morning glow rising over the horizon? If you can, you are a genuine optimist. You have a solid foundation for your optimism, because you have the cause of liberty restored in your soul.

 

The Story of The Genuine Optimist, Episode 1

Many people come into our lives with an upbeat attitude. Sometimes we question this attitude. This does not make us negative and it certainly does not make us pessimistic. It just says “we do not believe their attitude is genuine.”

A genuine attitude comes from a source that many of us believe in. This source stems from values like persistence, vision, and community. Other values can include hard work, patience, and conservation. The Genuine Optimist values the conservation of equity, wealth and energy over everything. This is the true source of my optimism.

Anyway, Genuine Optimists, and there are many of us, talk about the real source of optimism. They do not talk about their success. They talk about vision and purpose. They talk about the value that propels them.

Most of us have been taught that optimism is an individual quality. But what if optimism has a lot more to do with people working together than a personal attitude inside? People and culture can tare us down for sure, but they can also lift us up. At the Genuine Optimist, we talk about the thriving cultures that lift and inspire people.

Please consider one thing: optimism is not a mental attitude alone. Wikipedia has it wrong. While some say that optimism is a good feeling inside, which is not well understood and often fake, a few of us argue that optimism is the purpose we find in a vision that unites people.  Such a vision, in order to create a thriving culture, must be accessible and believable to many.

If optimism is an attitude only with no identified value, the optimism is not believable.

Let us look at it this way. Have you ever been able to understand a motivational speaker full of energy and enthusiasm? You may want to feel what they feel, and you may want to have their success, but it’s almost impossible for most of us to fully understand them, especially when we cannot see the value supporting their optimism. Even more, if optimism is the feeling of success individuals achieve, what is it that brings a community together? Is it better to have optimism alone or is it more effective if we have it together?

It is time that optimism be accessible to more people than ever imagined. Rather than a speaker on distant stage, it is time we see optimism as a thriving culture and not just personal success. This is going to call for a serious shift away from the exclusivity of optimism that only a few claim to have, to the open accessibility of optimism for all.

The first place to begin is with the definition of optimism. As a part time college instructor for over twenty years, I always tell my students to “define your terms.” I tell them to look up the word and find its original meaning first. If we find the true meaning of a word, and if that meaning is what we intend, then we should use that word. But never change the meaning of a word to fit your world view. That is very dangerous. This is why I always teach that, “words are up for grabs but not their meanings.”

The word optimism has a meaning. It is the belief that this is “the best of all possible worlds.” Sometimes it is defined as “a better world to come.” Think about that for a moment. What if there is a better world? If you could see this better world and if you were part of bringing this better world to life with others, would this not make you a genuine optimist?

I ask this question because the original meaning of optimism comes from the Latin “optimum” or “best thing.” This is where we get “best of all possible worlds” and a “better world to come.” So here is the question. What gets in our way of achieving our optimum best as a people? Notice the use of “our best” and not “your best.”

Just about every motivational guru or self-help book tends to focus on individual optimism and not the optimism of whole groups or cultures. Some call themselves “an eternal optimist,” but many of us scratch our heads wondering what that means. For example, bad things happy to good people. It’s hard to be an eternal optimist during a personal crisis.

This is why genuine optimism is so much more. It is not tide down to one individual, which is often a power struggle with one’s self and others. It’s much bigger than that. It’s a thriving culture.

The answer to what gets in our way of achieving our optimum best as a people is the political power struggles we create. Most corporate, religious and government organizations tend idolize vertical authority and this means more central control. Good people, or genuine optimists, do not function in political hierarchies.

In fact, here is the greatest revelation. Good people do not organize.

Think about it. Good people do not organize.

They add value, they have vision, and they stand for principle, but they rarely organize. In fact, good people never fake a staged act, and they do not intimidate, and they certainly stand clear of irrational ideas. In other words, they are not political. They are anti-political. The book The Political Optimist: The Restoration of Common Consent talks about these people in detail. If you want to learn how to read political people, then read this book. It’s available on Amazon and on Lulu.

Let me take a moment to explain something about political people. The word political is tide to the struggle we have with those in power at work, in our churches, schools and governments. This is what politics is, a power struggle created by central control and the people that blindly support authority at greater and greater distances. Political people centralize power, genuine optimists see no need for power to be centralized. They choose instead something we call consent.

So there you have it, political people want central control, and genuine people want common consent. That’s the real battle we are facing in the United States and around the world.

Here is a great test. If you want to know how to tell if someone is political, ask them a simple question, “Are we born evil and sinners?” Political people say yes. And because of this they also believe that we need more centralized control to be properly managed. It’s the only way, in their mind, to protect humanity from self-destruction. Too much freedom is then replaced with too much control. This is how political people think.

Genuine Optimists believe something different. They believe that we are born free and good. Corruption happens from how we organize as a culture and not from our birth. Hold on to that thought. I will explain in many podcasts and vlogs to come.

I just want to emphasize that Genuine Optimism is a decentralized and headless way to organize. It is all for one and one for all. Genuine optimists believe in decentralization. They believe in people forming their own culture and in the idea of self-government to advance their optimum best. They believe in the purity of free association without compulsion and are attracted to thriving cultures and not just one person on stage. They are drawn to ideas and not people.

They say a rising tide lifts all ships. Welcome to a place that advances that truth.

If your business, community organization, or church is suffering from political power struggles created by too much central control, the genuine optimist is here to speak up. For the first time, one voice is willing to talk about the elephant in the room.

From the Genuine Optimist you will hear about new visions, about people organizing in headless ways, and new technologies to support natural human cooperation. You will also learn about the greatest principle that supports a thriving culture, the strict conservation of equity within its own community. You will witness for the first time pure sustainability. Also, you will get some history in the past and some vision for the future. In time, the Genuine Optimist will interview unknown visionaries and give them voice.

Hold tight, a renaissance is coming, and it’s only the middle of the night, and one voice has woken up early.