Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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Archive for March, 2012

Dare to Dream

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 31, 2012

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence

All dream; few achieve. Since everyone wants a better life, why do so few accomplish it? The answer: one must solve the problem of pain. It’s painful to dream of a better future and get shot down again and again. Success, although predictable over time, takes a massive amount of persistence to stay the course when results are not forthcoming quickly enough. In fact, I have watched many talented men and women surrender their dreams through the lack of one key attribute – Adversity Quotient (AQ).  These people had all the talent; some even applied themselves for a period of time, but when the chips were down, they quit.

My fourth grade teacher’s favorite maxim, which he repeated daily was: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I am not sure of its effect on the rest of the class, but as for me, it transformed how I responded to challenges. Any time I ran into difficulties, I reflected back on my teacher’s words. I was fortunate to have parents who taught a similar philosophy to that of my teacher. For instance, most people surrender with little or no fight when they run up against a wall, but not my parents. Interestingly, my mom and dad used entirely different, although both highly effective, strategies in overcoming walls in life. Let me explain. If my parents were taken to a twenty-foot-high brick wall and told they had to bust through it, I am convinced they would both accomplish the task. However, the means to the end would be entirely different.

My mom is a worker. No, that doesn’t quite explain it. My mom is a fanatical worker. In truth, to this day, I have never seen anyone work as relentlessly as my mother on any task undertaken. She would announce a project, dole out various assignments to the five children, and off we went. If my mom needed to get over a brick wall, she would metaphorically lower her head and crash into the brick wall until it gave way. I am not exaggerating here; she would literally will herself through that wall. The amount of obstacles that I saw my mother overcome humbles me to this day. My mom, in other words, would do and then think about how she did it.

In contrast, my dad was a thinker. No, it’s probably more accurate to say he was a philosopher of life. In fact, to this day, I cannot recall an evening where he wasn’t discussing some concept or principle he was wrestling with in his head. I had no idea at the time, but my dad used the Socratic method to draw out how we thought on a multitude of subjects, forcing us to reason properly or be shot down around the kitchen table. Indeed, if my dad needed to surmount a proverbial brick wall, he would state the problem, count the bricks, and form a working hypothesis on how to overcome. Counting, analyzing, and theorizing would be logical steps in the achievement of his goal. My dad, in other words, would think and then act upon what he thought.

Somehow, during the fourth grade, I began adopting my mom’s work ethic along with my dad’s philosophical methodology and combined them together with my teacher’s get tough principle. What an empowering gift these mentors bequeathed to me! My dad taught me to begin with the end in mind. My mom taught me that a job well begun is half done, and my teacher taught me the importance of AQ in any worthy endeavor. I had no idea how revolutionary these concepts were to become in my life.

What does all this have to do with dreaming? Nearly everything! Dreaming is beginning with the end in mind, doing is moving towards one’s goals and dreams, and lastly, persistence is staying tough even when everything inside of a person is screaming to surrender. I have lost count of how many times, when I was on the verge of surrendering, that the winner’s voice inside of me said one more time, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Do you have dreams? Of course, you do because everyone does. Are you still pursuing them, or have you surrendered to the pain? I say get back up! If you are willing to run for what you truly want, if you are willing to get up every time you are knocked down, if you are willing to persist through every painful experience, then, and only then, will you win in the game of life.

Everyone is born into the race of life. Unfortunately, most have quit because they cannot handle the pain and choose passivity over activity. I, however, encourage you to reenter the race and press on to the end to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. God gave us the gift of life; do not hand it back to Him unused.


Orrin Woodward

Posted in Family, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | 10 Comments »

LIFE Policies and Procedures

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 30, 2012

I just read and watched the blog post from Troy Dooly, noted MLM specialist, on the LIFE Policies and Procedures. Troy has read hundreds of P&P’s over the years and knows what he is talking about when it comes to proper policies, procedures, and conduct.

I gave simple instructions to Kevin Grimes and his legal team: Make the contract like Covey’s dictum – win-win or no deal. My personal and professional life changed forever when I adopted win-win thinking into all areas of life. In addition, it’s vital to understand another key principle of business: In the end, all business boils down to relationships. I don’t care how good your strategy is or how good the pay is; if relationships are not fostered and strengthened, the business will not last.

Since all business is about relationships the PC wanted to make it easy for someone to stay with or exit from LIFE without the coercive threats of litigation that we experienced first-hand from our former supplier. If anyone is unhappy with the LIFE community, then he is free to leave at any time.  And, if anyone else wants to leave with him, then more power to him. As long as they do so in an honorable fashion, why not let them leave peacefully? After all, who wants people in a community who don’t really want to be there?

On the corporate side, the only time someone will ever be asked to leave LIFE is if he practices unethical behavior without remorse and repentance. Unethical behavior misrepresents what the LIFE community and the 13 Resolutions teachings are all about. Thankfully, in 18 years of business, with Team and now the  LIFE communities, the leadership team has had to discipline fewer members than can be counted on one hand. This is amazing when you consider the tens of thousand of active people over that time period!

The reason discipline is so rare is that most people, when confronted with the truth of egregious behavior, will work to change or at least accept responsibility for their actions. If a person is unwilling to change, then in order to protect the rest of the team, his behavior will be addressed. Leaders are flexible on many things, but not on the non-negotiable items like character, honor, and integrity.

With a business open to anyone, no community can protect 100% against characterless, manipulative, or exploitive people joining LIFE. However, with proper P& P’s designed to protect the good people from the people with habitually  bad behavior. Over time, LIFE sorts out the few weeds gathered during the planting of the beautiful flowers. True freedom allows people the choice to be part of the leadership culture available through LIFE, or if unhappy for any reason, to exit freely and find another community that better suits their needs.

Thank you Grimes & Reese for helping our dream turn into reality. Here is a portion of the review with the video from his site. Enjoy.

Orrin Woodward

I have taken time to read through the complete LIFE Policies & Procedures and have made some comments beside those sections which are unique to LIFE and which truly bring balance and in some cases side with the independent LIFE members.

I should also point out that the law firm of Grimes & Reese helped to draft the final version of the LIFE policies and Procedures.

Grimes & Reese is one of the most respected law firms in the direct selling industry. Partner Kevin Grimes is known for his focus on compliance issues and making sure both companies and independent business owners fully understand what it takes to run a successful network marketing business well inside the current federal and state laws.

Grimes & Reese Law Firm picture

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

American & French Revolutions – A Study in Contrast

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 28, 2012

America’s Revolution, cemented with the 1787 Constitution, differed radically from the 1789 French Revolution in its political philosophies. Two 16th-century political writers stamped their ideas upon the respective revolutions. On one side, Johanne Althusius’s community-centered associations led the intellectual charge in America; while on the other side, Jean Bodin’s absolute sovereignty led the intellectual tumult in France. In fact, I believe, without exaggeration, that Johannes Althusius and Jean Bodin are the intellectual fathers of the American and French Revolutions respectively, even though many of the revolutionary leaders had not studied them. For the American Revolution was founded upon the divided sovereignty federalist principles first articulated by Althusius, while the French Revolution was based upon the absolute sovereignty principles of the Rousseau’s “General Will” that tracks its intellectual lineage back to Jean Bodin. In other words, two revolutions only two years apart are separated by a philosophical chasm that continues to widen to this day. The first, Federalism (divided sovereignty), binds the rulers, ensuring the people’s freedoms; while the second, Statism (undivided sovereignty), frees the rulers, ensuring the people’s bondage. Althusius and Bodin’s contrasting views waged an intellectual war through the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries; however, at the turn of the 20th century, the war became a rout as Bodin’s undivided sovereignty, in either its democratic or dictatorial scheme, reigned supreme.

The twentieth century birthed the absolute rulers of Bodin’s and Rousseau’s dreams, with the will of the sovereign becoming the law of the land. The rule of law was subdued by the will of the dictator or democratic majority. In essence, sovereignty passed from the community to the rulers who placed themselves above the community.  Alain de Benoist, a historical scholar elaborates:

At the same time, the monarch found himself “divorced from the people.” For Bodin, the sovereign is no longer part of the people. He is totally separate and rules society as God rules the cosmos. This division is not an existential condition, required by power, but an essential quality, which is part and parcel of the right to govern: the very essence of power resides in the sovereign’s persona. As Jacques Maritain put it: his independence and his power are not only supreme with respect to any other part of the political, as one among others; they are absolutely supreme, as if above all in question. Whereas, in medieval times, law was thought to stem from the very core of society, expressing the juridical reality of social roots in accord with a historical and ontological plan, for Bodin, law originates exclusively from the state. The latter becomes a monad, which finds within itself the reason for its existence, its liberty, and its ability to organize the social body. The state is a particular reality, which knows only a particular order, valid for all the inhabitants of a particular territory. Instead of issuing from the social order, the state constitutes it. It is an exclusive representation of the totality of the common life of a centralized and reified state, which is identified with the prince’s persona: as Louis XIV would say, the French nation resides “entirely in the persona of the king.”

As a “total” concept, Bodin’s sovereignty not only provided the foundation for absolute monarchy: its essential traits were rediscovered in Jacobin nationalism, and modernity could not make it less abstract or impersonal. With Jacobinism, sovereignty was severed from natural law, and no longer was embodied in the king. Rather, it was transferred to the nation, i.e., a new embodiment of the “state persona.” According to the 1791 constitution: “Since the nation exists, it is naturally sovereign.” It is the same unlimited sovereignty, conferring the same despotic right to the power holders. As Tocqueville put it, the French Revolution created a multitude of secondary entities, but did not develop the main things that existed before it.” In this respect, the way the modern nation-state has preserved Bodin’s definition of sovereignty, while merely changing its bearer, is particularly revealing. As François Alexandrou notes: “Far from opposing the 1789 revolutionaries, the administrative centralization and standardization needed to create a large unitary state with higher power expressed their egalitarian ambitions and proved to be the state’s theoretical expression.” Antoine Winckler adds: “The stage was set for centuries to come: monopoly of law, transparency of the social space to political power, total centralization of the exercise of power. . . . The sovereign sun suffers neither from local power, nor from sharing law with neighboring territorial regimes, nor from autonomous and spontaneous social organizations; and whether this sun becomes an absolute monarchy or a democratic republic changes nothing of this monistic concept of sovereignty and its central place in political theory.” One absolutism succeeded another.

Later this week, we will evaluate Althusius’s thoughts on divided sovereignty and why they are so important for freedom in the West. As a preview, can you guess which philosophy ended with Napoleon and which led to over one hundred years of freedom and prosperity? Finally, we will evaluate why Bodin’s views defeated Althusius’s in the West’s war of ideas and what we can do to reverse the outcome.

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Bodin Defeats Althusius in America?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 27, 2012

Althusius versus Bodin

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely – Lord Acton

Power reveals; absolute power reveals absolutely – Orrin Woodward

Government and People

James Madison once wrote, “If men were angels there would be no need for government.” Since men aren’t angels, however, governments are formed to protect mankind’s life, liberty, and property. There are two overriding question are: Who is the ultimate sovereign? And how do the people protect themselves against the government’s “monopoly of force” if the sovereign disregards its intended function and begins to abuse the very people it should be protecting? These questions date back to the fall of Adam and Eve.

Absolute and Divided Sovereignty

There are two radically conflicting views pertaining to government and sovereignty. The first philosophy is portrayed in the writings of the 16th century writer, Jean Bodin. In his Six Books of the Commonweale, he wrote: “For as the great sovraigne God, cannot make another God equall unto himselfe, considering that he is of infinit power and greatness, and that there cannot bee two infinit things, as is by naturall demonstrations manifest: so also may wee say, that the prince whom we have set down as the image of God, cannot make a subject equall unto himselfe.” Charles Loyseau summarized Bodin’s political thoughts when he wrote, “Sovereignty is inseparable from the state, because sovereignty is what brings the state into being; in concreto, state and sovereignty are synonymous.” The second philosophy is best exemplified in the 16th century writings of Johannes Althusius.  His political thoughts combined the medieval and modern, birthing the main ideas of the later federalism of America’s founding fathers. Althusius perceived the State as a “coalescence” of provinces and regions confederated together. He rejected absolute sovereignty; instead, he advocated selected sovereignty over individual provinces and regions that freely combine for the benefit of all.

Althusius divided sovereignty to protect the people’s freedoms. Alain de Benoist, an Althusian scholar, writes:

By posing the question of shared jurisdictions, and by arguing that on all levels of public life the state should take care only of tasks that lower levels cannot accomplish, Althusius established himself as the first post-medieval defender of the principle of subsidiary authority. The word “subsidiarity,” which Althusius used often, is derived from the Latin subsidium, which was used to refer to troops or reserves called up to reinforce regular armies when needed. Politically, the principle of subsidiarity signifies that higher levels must always be limited in the sense that they do not intervene unless and until a lower level is unable to carry out a required task. This is a principle of equilibrium and regulation that aims to keep initiatives at the lower level, and to protect them from being subsumed by those above.

The Abysmal Twentieth Century

The question of sovereignty hinges upon man’s ability to check himself if given absolute power. Historically, the answer to this question is abysmally clear. Man, unlike God, cannot handle absolute sovereignty due to his inherently sinful nature. As Martin Luther said, “Let God be God and ruined sinner be ruined sinner.” Absolute sovereignty has always eventually fell into tyranny against the people allegedly being served. In fact, in many ways, the history of the twentieth century is simply an extended case study on the inability of absolute sovereigns to check their urge to plunder the people. From Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, etc, the historical evidence points overwhelmingly to the need for divided sovereignty. Regretfully, however, one of the few lessons learned from history is that no one learns lessons from history. 🙂  If anyone needs further evidence on how ideas have consequences, think upon Bodin’s 16th century writing. Ponder how many lives have been lost because of the adoption of Bodin’s teachings.  Quoting Alain de Benoist again:

This absolute concept of sovereignty is what triumphed in Jean Bodin’s Six Books of the Commonweale, first published in 1576, when Europe’s stability was upset by religious wars. Bodin writes: “If there be two princes equall in power, one of them hath not the power to command the other. . . . The laws of the prince are not dependant because they are pure and frankly voluntary.” The Latin word Bodin uses to define sovereignty is majestas, and his book opens with the following words: “Commonweale is a lawfull government of many families, and of that which unto them in common belongeth, with a puissant soveraigntie.” Extending the thought of French legists, Jean Bodin’s political doctrine is founded on the concept of indivisible sovereignty and on legislative power as a dominant principle. Given the state’s centrality, it is the source of all other authority. Yet, Bodin recognizes the importance of intermediary bodies, of families and “partial” societies. But he claims that they should not infringe on the powers of the prince, who is sovereign by divine law and is the pinnacle of a society conceived as a pyramid. Thus, sovereignty is defined as the “absolute and perpetual power of a republic,” i.e., as unlimited power: having no rival in the political and social order; in reality, power is exercised by the prince, who is the sole interpreter of divine right and natural law. Of course, he must respect jus gentium and the constitutional laws of the monarchy, but he is not subject to any human law, since he is accountable only to God, whose political “image” he represents on earth.

Absolute power has brought nothing but absolute horror to mankind. It is time to push sovereignty back to the people and localize its use. The federal government was intended to protect life, liberty, and property – nothing more. The founding fathers separated sovereignty between the local, state, and federal governments; however, since 1913, the federal government has usurped the sovereignty and rules absolutely over the people. Bodin, in other words, has conquered Althusius in the battle of ideas. Unless the people awaken themselves, America’s freedoms will fall as predictably as the Greek, Roman, and English freedoms fell before ours.

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 6 Comments »

The State: Consent or Conquest?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 26, 2012

The State

There are two main theories of the State – 1. Consent or 2. Conquest. Wendy McElroy wrote an excellent summary of the two types in this article. I love studying history to identify how the various theories stand up to the test of historical evidence. Which theory of the State do you believe is more historically accurate? What are the true roles of the State in society? The more leaders lead within a society, the less need there is for bureaucrats; sadly, however, the reverse is true as well. Chris Brady and I wrote Leadership & Liberty several years back to address the need for leaders to arise to maintain liberty. Enjoy the article.

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

The Consent Theory of the State

John Locke’s The Two Treatises on Government is a pivotal document in the history of individualism. In his Second Treatise, as Karen Vaugh observed, “Locke argues the case of individual natural rights, limited government depending on the consent of the governed, separation of powers within government, and most radically, the right of people within society to depose rulers who fail to uphold their end of the social contract.” The Second Treatise, from which both the French and American revolutions drew heavily, remains the touchstone for consent theory within the classical liberal tradition.

Locke believed that God had given the world in common to men for their use and he justified private property — the appropriation of a common good for personal use — by arguing that each man had an ownership claim to his or her own person. Based on this self-ownership, Locke argued,

“The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joyned to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.”

The need to protect the property of ‘life, liberty, and estate’ led men to form a Government.(7) In other words, the institution arose as a shield against the conflicts that naturally occur when individuals accumulate property in a world of scarce resources. It arose through an explicit contract by which men relinquished to the State the right to adjudicate their own disputes. For its part of the social contract, the State or Government pledged to rule in order to secure men’s claim to their property. For example, it was obliged to regulate property so as to safeguard it, e.g. through inheritance laws. Thus, the existence of private property could be said to be a cause of the Lockean State, or Government.

In the Second Treatise, Locke attempted to counter some of the arguments of the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes who also believed that the State, or commonwealth, arose through what he called ‘mutual covenants’ aimed at subduing man’s natural tendency toward constant warfare. In particular, Locke rejected the Hobbesian contention that the initial consent to the State rendered by free individuals could bind their children and succeeding generations to that State. Instead, Locke developed a doctrine of tacit consent which bound even those people who did not explicitly consent to Government. In essence, each person who lived within a community and accepted its benefits was said to tacitly agree to the rules by which that community was governed.

Withdrawal of such tactic consent was always possible. A man could relinquish his property (his ‘estate’, not the property that resided in his life and liberty) and leave the community, thus putting himself back into a state of nature in relationship to it. However, as long as you occupy the land over which the Government has jurisdiction, you are tacitly accepting that jurisdiction. After all, Locke would argue, the ‘good title’ of any property you have inherited comes from the Government who has protected that wealth and regulated its just transfer to you. A similar argument could be made concerning wealth accumulated through contract: that is, your contracts had validity only because of the regulatory benefits provided by the Government.

In essence, Locke believed that a civilized and satisfying Society could not exist without Government to adjudicate con- flicts and to provide a legal context for property. Only when Government ceased to fulfill its part of the social contract were the citizenry justified in rebelling against it. Otherwise, Government (or the State) and Society were engaged in a co- operative endeavor.
Whether or not Locke actually believed there had ever been an original Government formed with the explicit consent of every- one over which it claimed jurisdiction is a matter of debate. Clearly Locke used the concept of such a contract as an analytical tool to explore the circumstances under which civil government could be justified. His theory can be critiqued or embraced on either level.

The Conquest Theory of the State

The conquest theory of the state stands in sharp contrast to the preceding Lockean model, and attempts to ground the primitive State in historical fact rather than political conjecture. A common expression of the conquest theory runs as follows: originally there were agricultural tribes who settled in certain areas where they became dependent upon the land. Roving nomads, who were perhaps herders, waged war on the more sedentary tribes for the obvious economic benefits to be gained. At first, the nomads killed and pillaged, but they discovered it was in their long term economic interests to enslave and exact tribute from the conquered populace instead. This is used as the basic model for how the institution of the State arose.

Thus, the more extreme versions of conquest theory conclude that all states — that is, the State — originate in conflict, not consent. More moderate forms of the theory argue that warfare plays a defining role in the formation and continued sustenance of the State. But war is not the only factor. It is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the emergence of the State. Other conditions — such as the inability of a conquered people to migrate — must be specified.

Albert Jay Nock in his book Our Enemy the State defended the conquest theory of the state on an historical basis. Murray Rothbard in For A New Liberty advanced a modified version of the theory which conceded that some states may have evolved in a different manner, but contended that the conquest theory was the typical genesis of the State. Thus, down to its foundation, the State was never meant to preserve justice, property rights or the peace. The motive behind the State was and is the desire to establish sovereignty and achieve wealth through the use of force. Any benefits that a state provides are tangential and non-essential to its nature.

In arguing for the conquest theory, both Nock and Rothbard relied heavily upon Franz Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer argued for what he called ‘an economic impulse in man’. He believed that material need was the prime motivator of human beings and that progress is produced by economic causes, not by political ones. As mentioned earlier, Oppenheimer’s classic The State sketches the two basic means by which men satisfy their material needs: through their own labor or through expropriating the labor of others. The former is the economic means: the latter is the political means.

Oppenheimer discovered the origin of the State within the ‘economic impulse of man’ — or, rather, within those men who wished to satisfy this impulse through the political means. He posited six stages through which a conquering group typically passes in order to become a State. At first, a warlike group raids and plunders another vulnerable one. Second, the victimized group ceases to actively resist. In response, the raiders now merely plunder the surplus, leaving their victims alive and with enough food to ensure the production of future plunder. Eventually, the two groups come to acknowledge mutual interests, such as protecting the crops from a third tribe. Third, the victims offer tribute to the raiders, eliminating the need for violence. Fourth, the two groups merge territorially. Fifth, the warlike group assumes the right to arbitrate disputes.

Oppenheimer described the last stage in which both groups develop the ‘habit of rule’:

“The two groups, separated to begin with, and then united on one territory, are at first merely laid alongside one another, then are scattered through one another…soon the bonds of relations united the upper and lower strata.”

Thus the State that originated from external conquest evolves into one of continuing internal conquest by which one group — or a coalition of groups — use the political means to attain wealth and power at the expense of those who actually labor. The State arises and maintains itself as the enemy of Society.

Although the conquest theory has much greater historical validity than the consent theory, debate continues as to what implication the origin of the State has upon the legitimacy of current states.

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Liberty and Power

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 23, 2012

That Government is best which governs least – Henry David Thoreau

I woke up this morning with a thought. What is the best way to delineate the coercive powers of State interventions from the free influences of communities within Society? I believe this article does the job the best. After reading this article, one can quickly see why the founders bound the federal governments hands all through the Constitution. Sadly, for freedom at least, the federal government has broken its bounds and reigns as the supreme sovereign across the land.

Were the Anti-Federalist Were Right?

If historians were honest, they would have to admit the Anti-Federalists, men like Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, more accurately predicted America’s future than the writers of the Federalist Papers (Madison, Hamilton, and Jay) did. The growth of consolidation and power by the federal government at the expense of the sovereign states is inarguable. As so often happens in history, however, the losing side is forgotten despite the truthfulness of its cause. Power politics simply coerces people through “might is right” maneuvers. Influence, on the other hand, requires truth and reason to persuade others of the causes rightness and justice. Anyone can use power, but it takes leaders to influence.

State versus Society?

The State (monopoly of force) advances through power, while Society (free communities) advances through influence. Which social structure do you think ensures a person’s property and liberty better? It’s vital to follow the thought wars of each generation. For example, in the 16th and 17th centuries, a person who wasn’t educated on religious issues of the day was lost. Regretfully, because thoughts lead to actions, much blood was spilt before freedom of religion and conscience was adopted in the West.

Ideas have Consequences

Similarly, in the 18th and 19th centuries, political structures dominated the thought currents. With the Glorious, American, and French Revolutions leading the way, governmental structures aimed at providing freedom for the people were the prevalent philosophical currents of the day. Monarchies, republics, and democracies, jockeyed against one another in the battle of ideas. Liberty and power pivoted on the outcomes of these interminable wars.

Today, however, the war of ideas has changed fields. Regardless of what governmental structure a country has, the key question concerns the country’s economic perspective. Economic structures can produce liberty or despotism in a monarchy, republic, or a democracy. Governmental organization, in other words, is less vital to liberty than a proper comprehension of economics. In fact, I believe, without exaggeration, that the separation between liberty and power is tied directly to the economic understandings of the next generation of State leaders. Spiritual liberty with civil rights is still despotism if the people are not economically free.

Austrian School of Economics

The Austrian School of economics, in my opinion, is the best systematized culmination of economic truths gained over the last several millennia. When it comes to economics, the American founders can legitimately proclaim they “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” We, on the other hand, do not have the same excuse thanks to Mises, Rothbard, et al. Indeed, any politician who remains ignorant of the Austrian School of Economics has allied himself against liberty in its perpetual war against power.

Cain & Abel

The conflict between liberty and power is as old as Cain and Abel. Which side do you align with? Choose wisely for society’s sake. A limited State with a free economic system is the soil where the liberty tree blossoms. We cannot afford to remain ignorant of these historical truths. Read the article and start your education process for life and liberty.

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

One of the most important thinkers on the nature of the state was Franz Oppenheimer, who distinguished between the economic means and the political means, and defined the state as the organization of the political means. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe explains:

Franz Oppenheimer is a left-anarchist German sociologist. In The State he distinguishes between the economic (peaceful and productive) and the political (coercive and parasitic) means of wealth acquisition, and explains the state as instrument of domination and exploitation.

As Oppenheimer wrote in his classic work The State:

I mean by [the “State”] that summation of privileges and dominating positions which are brought into being by extra economic power. And in contrast to this, I mean by Society, the totality of concepts of all purely natural relations and institutions between man and man …. [from the Introduction]
There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. … I propose … to call one’s own labor and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others “the economic means” for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the “political means.” … The state is an organization of the political means. [Ch. 1]

Rothbard was also heavily influenced by Oppenheimer, writing in The Ethics of Liberty:

If the state, then, is a vast engine of institutionalized crime and aggression, the “organization of the political means” to wealth, then this means that the State is a criminal organization.
He goes on:

But, above all, the crucial monopoly is the State’s control of the use of violence: of the police and armed services, and of the courts—the locus of ultimate decision-making power in disputes over crimes and contracts. Control of the police and the army is particularly important in enforcing and assuring all of the State’s other powers, including the all-important power to extract its revenue by coercion.

For there is one crucially important power inherent in the nature of the State apparatus. All other persons and groups in society (except for acknowledged and sporadic criminals such as thieves and bank robbers) obtain their income voluntarily: either by selling goods and services to the consuming public, or by voluntary gift (e.g., membership in a club or association, bequest, or inheritance). Only the State obtains its revenue by coercion, by threatening dire penalties should the income not be forthcoming. That coercion is known as “taxation,” although in less regularized epochs it was often known as “tribute.” Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects.

If, then, taxation is compulsory, and is therefore indistinguishable from theft, it follows that the State, which subsists on taxation, is a vast criminal organization far more formidable and successful than any “private” Mafia in history. Furthermore, it should be considered criminal not only according to the theory of crime and property rights as set forth in this book, but even according to the common apprehension of mankind, which always considers theft to be a crime. As we have seen above, the nineteenth-century German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer put the matter succinctly when he pointed out that there are two and only two ways of attaining wealth in society:

(a) by production and voluntary exchange with others—the method of the free market; and

(b)by violent expropriation of the wealth produced by others. The latter is the method of violence and theft. The former benefits all parties involved; the latter parasitically benefits the looting group or class at the expense of the looted.

Oppenheimer trenchantly termed the former method of obtaining wealth, “the economic means,” and the latter “the political means.” Oppenheimer then went on brilliantly to define the State as “the organization of the political means.”

As Hoppe noted, Albert Jay Nock was also “influenced by Franz Oppenheimer. In Our Enemy, The State he explains the anti-social, predatory nature of the state, and draws a sharp distinction between government as voluntarily acknowledged authority and the State. Nock in turn influenced Frank Chodorov, who would influence young Murray Rothbard.” Nock, thus, likewise drawing on Oppenheimer, wrote:

The State, then, whether primitive, feudal or merchant, is the organization of the political means.

The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner. On the negative side, it has been proved beyond peradventure that no primitive State could possibly have had any other origin. Moreover, the sole invariable characteristic of the State is the economic exploitation of one class by another. In this sense, every State known to history is a class-State. Oppenheimer defines the State, in respect of its origin, as an institution “forced on a defeated group by a conquering group, with a view only to systematizing the domination of the conquered by the conquerors, and safeguarding itself against insurrection from within and attack from without. This domination had no other final purpose than the economic exploitation of the conquered group by the victorious group.”

Mises also focuses on the state’s use of violence as a defining feature:

The total complex of the rules according to which those at the helm employ compulsion and coercion is called law. Yet the characteristic feature of the state is not these rules, as such, but the application or threat of violence. [Omnipotent Government]

Posted in Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Leadership, Life, & Liberty

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 20, 2012

When I was 26 years old, I joined community building for one of the strangest of reasons – to get my baseball cards back. Although inexplicable to me, since I typically didn’t join anything, I realize now that God was opening up the door to my destiny. Through community building, my leadership inabilities were quickly revealed, forcing me to undergo nearly 12 years of intensive hands-on experience before finally mastering the fundamentals of leadership. The culmination of this leadership journey occurred on a private-island retreat when Chris Brady and I began a long conversation on the principles of leadership that led to our #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller Launching a Leadership Revolution.

With this initial success, my perspective changed from leadership success to life success. I started studying the principles of holistic success in a purpose-filled life, rather than just effective professional leadership. Eventually, this led me to write RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, which shares my personal philosophies on living a life that matters. In truth, without the leadership principles learned and applied that led to my personal freedom from a 9-to-5 job, I would never have found the time to invest in the reading of thousands of books needed to write RESOLVED. Professional leadership success, in other words, allowed me the free time to learn, apply, and share the 13 resolutions.  God’s blessings in one area ought to be used as blessings to others when possible. In this case, my leadership blessing led to the free time needed to capture and share the resolutions for enhancing people’s lives.

While writing RESOLVED, however, I realized that without liberty, a resolved leadership life is nearly impossible. For what good is a road map to success if a person isn’t free to drive? This led me to my third great quest for knowledge and understanding, seeking the principles underlying spiritual, economic, and political liberty. Many questions have been asked and answered during this quest. Who were the greatest “apostles of liberty” in the history of mankind? What did they teach and why? What can we learn from these men and women today? Why is liberty so important? If any of these questions are of concern to you, then stay tuned to this blog as we discuss the story of liberty and its importance in today’s society.

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Finances, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Enter to Worship; Exit to Serve

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 18, 2012

Since it’s Sunday morning, I felt this message would be perfect for the many people gathering to worship around the world. The following video is a powerful reminder to serve those around you, rather than expecting to be served. Imagine if every church community focused on serving others with the same mercy that they freely received from Jesus Christ? This simple, although certainly not easy, step would change the world. I could go on, but the video is speaks louder than words. Enjoy your Sunday and don’t forget those around you in need. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 27 Comments »

Leadership Edge

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 17, 2012

Leadership Edge picture

Below is Chris Brady’s article on the release of the Edge youth series. I am blown away by the response of communities across America and Canada. Thousands of families have signed up for this youth series CD. I knew it would be a good launch, but the need and demand is clearly bigger than I anticipated.

In fact, Kristen Seidel (a former teacher who now is a full-time compensated community builder in her 20’s) has recently been approved to launch a summer school class in one of the school districts, teaching leadership principles and the Edge series CDs. LIFE continues to expand its positive influence across the globe! If you have children, you might want to check out the Edge series. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Every once in a  while an idea comes along that is so good it makes you wonder why it wasn’t done before. Think of wheels on luggage (which, by the way, didn’t come about until years after we put a man on the moon!) or email on cell phones, for instance. But this time the LIFE gang has really done it!

Introducing the EDGE CD series, which will be available for the March subscription shipments! 

The EDGE CD series is specially designed for those on the front side of life, the younger set, those who have more life stretched out ahead of them than behind.

So often we at the Policy Council have said things such as, “Oh, if we only knew back then what we know right now!” The value of the information we’ve all been exposed to these many years is priceless in terms of what it has done in our finances, relationships, attitudes, and spiritual walks, and so much more. Obviously, right? I mean, we’ve built a whole company around this powerful information! And how many of us, after becoming exposed to the CDs and books and events, haven’t come away thinking, “Oh, if I’d only known sooner!”

Well, that’s exactly what the EDGE series is designed to do! It will impart the timeless success principles to the youth who are interested in not only living a successful life, but a significant one as well!  The EDGE series is designed to give the younger folks an EDGE in life by delivering to them the truths that we all wish “we’d have known back then!” You see? They get to learn it right now! (or at least, starting in March).

What all is included? Merely 1 CD per month, enough to digest again and again, and also, at only $10 and 10PV, cheap enough for even the younger ones to afford and therefore appreciate themselves.

What is the format? Mostly the same style of teaching and training you’ve come to love, in a slightly higher energy and more illustrative (meaning more stories and examples) format. There will also be a series of interviews with successful people from the top of their fields. Stay tuned for some surprises here!

So how do you and your younger ones sign up for it? Stay tuned to the LIFE website for details to come soon.  There will be ample time to subscribe to this exciting new series before your March shipment comes!

So spread the word that help is on the way to those who probably need it the most! And get ready for an EDGE on the rest of the world!

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development | 10 Comments »

Coming Apart or Community Together?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 15, 2012

Coming Apart book coverIn the course of answering emails, I noticed that my friend Greg Johnson had sent me a link to a blog discussing Charles Murray’s new book Coming Apart. After reading the blog article several times, I realized I had to go buy the book immediately. I’m thankful I did!

Although many believe that the complex challenges facing us today cannot be solved through the lens of the American founder’s virtues, Murray writes:

I take another view: The founders were right. The success of America depended on virtue in the people when the country began and it still does in the twenty-first century. America will remain exceptional only to the extent that its people embody the same qualities that made it work for the first two centuries of its existence. The founding virtues are central to that that kind of citizenry.

I wrote RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE to bring back character-based ethics into society and the marketplace. In truth, Murray’s and my philosophies align closely, not a shocker since Murray gathered his views from studying numerous sociological studies, while I gathered mine from over 15 years in the living rooms of America. Both methods resulted in the same conclusions: that people with satisfying work, a happy marriage, a high social trust community, and a strong religious foundation are more likely to be happy than people without these four attributes. Of the four, in fact, a happy marriage is the factor that generates the biggest improvement in someone’s happiness score. I can speak on marriage and happiness both personally, experiencing first-hand the increase in happiness when Laurie and I improved our own marriage, and professionally, witnessing many couples improve their marriages and, subsequently, their happiness levels.

Coming Apart reveals that only 10% of respondents who are unmarried, unhappy in jobs, profess no religion, and have low social trust describe themselves as genuinely happy. When a good job is added, the number of respondents stating they were happy increased to 20%. A happy marriage, however, raised the total to 60% declaring they were happy. The final two attributes – high social trust communities and strong religious faith – increased the respondents’ scores an additional 10% each. Thus, from a baseline of 10% of respondents being happy, over 80% of the people who had all four attributes stated they were sincerely happy. In other words, when someone adds these four attributes, his possibilities for a happy life increase by eight times! This is a significant increase and enough to make even the most skeptical of people pause and ponder.

Is there a reciprocal community (high social trust), where people can thrive in compensated communities (high rewards and recognition), learning proper principles for faithful marriages (marriage pack) and the development of a Biblical faith (All Grace Outreach)? There has been since November 1, 2011. Indeed, the reason the LIFE business has grown over 50% in four months is simple: it meets the needs of its community members. No matter how many fearful competitors attack our game-changing strategy, we grow because we satisfy our customers’ innate desire to be happy. People join and stay in LIFE because we focus on the big four (and other) attributes described in countless books on community, like Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. Simply put, we help people grow personally and professionally which leads to increased joy and happiness. I am not just a founder, but I am also a satisfied customer of the growth process materials.

One of the greatest secrets to be learned about life is that happiness cannot be approached directly; rather, it is captured when it’s not being sought. Happiness, in other words, is a by-product of a series of internal victories, which are eventually revealed in the external world. Perhaps you are looking for a community of learners, encouragers, and leaders? Maybe you are resolved to change? As people gather together within the LIFE communities, the world can and will be changed. One million people, here we come!

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »