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.

  • Orrin’s Latest Book

  • 7 Day Free Access to Leadership Audios!

  • Email Me

  • NY Times Bestselling Book

  • Mental Fitness Challenge

  • Email Subscription

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,445 other subscribers

  • Categories

  • Archives

Liberty, Law, & Order

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 25, 2013

Western Society has drifted from ordered liberty into increasing coercion of its members. In an article several years ago, I quoted extensively from an article by Dr. Mario Pei, who witnessed the debilitating effects of coercion upon society in Fascist Italy. Unfortunately, few seem to learn the lessons of the power pendulum’s drift out of concord into either chaos or coercion.

LeaderShift, however, can change this. It begins the educational process needed for concerned citizens to restore concord and keep Western Society free. Tens of thousands of people are rallying to the cause as many know that something isn’t right, but cannot pinpoint the root cause. Thankfully, LeaderShift has identified the cause and even proposed a fix to our present maladies.

The LIFE Business is gathering a group of citizens who are hungry to learn and serve, focuses on making a difference in society. Here is a portion of Dr. Mario Pei’s article.


Orrin Woodward

Dr. Mario Pei, who came to this country from Italy in 1908, is Professor of Romance Philology at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of several distinguished books and numerous magazine articles. The Foundation was given special permission by the Saturday Evening Post to reprint the above article. Copyright 1952 by The Curtis Publishing Company

When I first came to America, many years ago, I learned a new meaning of the word “Liberty”—freedom from government.

I did not learn a new meaning for “democracy.” The European country from which I came, Italy, was at that time as “democratic” as America. It was a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament, free and frequent elections, lots of political parties and plenty of freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly.

But my native country was government-ridden. A vast bureaucracy held it in its countless tentacles. Regardless of the party or coalition of parties that might be in power at the moment, the government was everywhere. Wherever one looked, one saw signs of the ever present government: in the uniforms of numberless royal, rural, and municipal policemen, soldiers, officers, gold-braided functionaries of all sorts. You could not take a step without government intervention.

Many industries and businesses were government owned and government run railroads, telegraphs, salt, and tobacco among them. No agreement, however trivial, was legal unless written on government-stamped paper. If you stepped out of the city into the country and came back with a ham, a loaf of bread, or a bottle of wine, you had to stop at the internal-revenue barriers and pay duty to the government, and so did the farmers who brought in the city’s food supply every morning. No business could be started or run without the official sanction of a hundred bureaucrats.

Young people did not dream of going into business for themselves; they dreamed of a modest but safe government job, where they would have tenure, security, and a pitiful pension at the end of their plodding careers. There was grinding taxation to support the many government functions and the innumerable public servants. Everybody hated the government—not just the party in power, but the government itself. They had even coined a phrase, “It’s raining—thief of a government!” as though even the evils of nature were the government’s fault. Yet, I repeat, the country was democratically run, with all the trappings of a many-party system and all the freedoms of which we in America boast today.

America in those days made you open your lungs wide and inhale great gulps of freedom-laden air, for here was one additional freedom—freedom from government.

The government was conspicuous by its very absence. There were no men in uniform, save occasional cops and firemen, no visible bureaucrats, no stifling restrictions, no government monopolies. It was wonderful to get used to the American system: to learn that a contract was valid if written on the side of a house; that you could move not only from the city to the country but from state to state and never be asked what your business was or whether you had anything to declare; that you could open and conduct your own business, provided it was a legitimate one, without government interference; that you could go from one end of the year to the other and never have contact with the national government, save for the cheery postman who delivered your mail with a speed and efficiency unknown today; that there were no national taxes, save hidden excises and import duties that you did not even know you paid.

In that horse-and-buggy America, if you made an honest dollar, you could pocket it or spend it without having to figure what portion of it you “owed” the government or what possible deductions you could allege against that government’s claims. You did not have to keep books and records of every bit of income and expenditure or run the risk of being called a liar and a cheat by someone in authority.

Above all, the national ideal was not the obscure security of a government job, but the boundless opportunity that all Americans seemed to consider their birthright. Those same Americans loved their government then. It was there to help, protect, and defend them, not to restrict, befuddle, and harass them. At the same time, they did not look to the government for a livelihood or for special privileges and hand­outs. They were independent men in the full sense of the word.

Foreign-born citizens have been watching with alarm the gradual Europeanization of America over the past twenty years. They have seen the growth of the familiar European-style government octopus, along with the vanishing of the American spirit of freedom and opportunity and its replacement by a breathless search for “security” that is doomed to defeat in advance in a world where nothing, not even life itself, is secure.

Far more than the native born, they are in a position to make comparisons. They see that America is fast becoming a nineteenth century-model European country. They are asked to believe that this is progress. But they know from bitter experience that it just isn’t so.

Milk on the Doorstep

“It is remarkable,” comments George Schwartz, an English writer, in an article in The New York Times Magazine, “how many people can see no sense in the existing order of Western society, the easiest criticism of which is that it is not order but disorder. With the milk on the doorstep every morning, the free economy is denounced as unplanned, uncoordinated, and chaotic.”

It is a valid observation. There are countries—notably Russia—that have all the necessary material resources but still can’t get the morning milk to the doorstep. Their society’s system of production and distribution is fully ordered, carefully blueprinted by government experts. But they have the plan and no milk while we have the milk and no plan.

The fact is, of course, that our economy does not exist in disorder. In the milk business, to take the everyday example mentioned by Mr. Schwartz, there are literally thousands of individuals—farmers, truckers, processors, and salesmen, and the thousands more who are their suppliers—who make the major or minor decisions that get the milk to the doorstep, and earn a profit in the process. No group of government experts could equal the input of knowledge, industry, flexibility, and efficiency that is the combined total contribution of all of these individuals.

39 Responses to “Liberty, Law, & Order”

  1. leslie gates said

    Can’t wait for the book, I”m giving it to everyone who will read it!

  2. Chad Waters said

    Great article Orin.

    Can’t wait for the book and more so to see the ripple effect of time it will create!

  3. Richard Kroll Jr. said

    Like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled alive in a pot of cool water, we too have been affected by small incremental losses of freedom and encroachments by government that we, like the frog, aren’t aware of the impending doom we face if the situation doesn’t change.

    I think hearing from someone from another country, who has lived without the freedoms we once enjoyed, but came here to America to flourish in a freedom based environment, but now sees the loss of those cherished freedoms being taken away, and relating them to what they learned from history, are in the best position to place a clarion call to us to WAKE UP to what we have lost!

    Thank you Orrin for posting this excerpt from Dr. Mario Pei’s writing. Once again we are reminded that if we do not learn from history (our own and other’s) we are doomed to repeat it!

    But not on our watch!! It’s time for a LEADERSHIFT!!!

  4. Diane said

    very interesting every American needs to read this!!!!

  5. JeanetteP said

    Great article Orrin! Well said! Don’t grow weary in well doing! God bless!

  6. keith sieracki said

    Yet another voice of concern from others who have seen the change in America over the past several decades. When will we listen to those that have experienced “govrnment-ridden” societies and start to change our course? It will take a little work from all of us but what other options do we have if we want to mnake America great again. Thanks Orrin, for holding the line and leading the way back!

  7. Matt Mielke said

    Geesh! That was written in 1951! How far the pendulum has swung in the “powershift” direction. Interestingly, a good friend of mine from Rome, Italy, is applying for a family visa so he can come over to the United States for hope of a better future for his family. He shared that in Italy there really is nothing for his children as long as the “old guys” are in power. By “old guys” I’m sure he is talking about the same government style described by Dr. Pei. America is still a beacon of light, although fading temporarily, for the rest of the world. I am all in for the opportunity to do right and help people dream again, not of modest government social security, but of free, God-fearing, prosperity.

    Godspeed to 1 million. Matt

  8. scott russell said

    Great article Orrin!! Next Great Awakening is under way. Until we as a country can truly understand where we came from, only then will we be able to get to where we need to go!!

  9. Heidi said

    Less government sounds so great! Dr. Pei paints a picture of America 100 years ago that seems like a fairy tale world. America needs to be reminded how much better life could be without all of the government tentacles! Thanks for the reminder, Orrin!

  10. Kevin Hamm said

    Great post Orrin,

    Most Americans do not know the history and are blindly following its failures. Thanks for making a difference.

    I just saw a joke you might enjoy copied below on repeated mistakes.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner flew to Canada on a hunting trip. They chartered a small plane to take them into the Rockies for a week of hunting moose. They managed to bag six.

    When they met at the plane to return, the pilot said he could take only 4 moose. The two officials objected strongly. “Last year we shot six. The pilot let us take them all and he had the same type of plane as yours.”

    Reluctantly, the pilot gave in and all six were loaded. The plane took off. However, while attempting to cross the mountains, the little plane couldn’t handle the load and went down.

    Somehow, surrounded by the moose bodies, Ben and Tim survived the crash. After climbing out of the wreckage, Ben asked Tim, “Any idea where we are?”

    Tim replied, “I think we’re pretty close to where we crashed last year.”

    Moral: Some people never learn from the mistakes of history.

  11. Cat said

    Great article again Orrin!! I think I need to order more books I am attempting to peak a lot of people’s interest in changing the direction this country is going.

  12. Matt Livermore said

    When I read articles like this, I often wonder how we can all be so blind to the reality that our freedoms are vanishing one by one.

  13. MARIO VEGA said


  14. Jason Dames said

    Wow!! I don’t want to even amagine an America with no freedoms!!! I’m glad there is a group of leaders making a difference to lead people to truth and God willing save this culture!!!

  15. Mike Coulter said

    Great post Orrin

  16. What a great way to show how government created ‘order’ is not always a good thing. There are many areas where people being free to make their own choices can create it’s own more efficient ‘order’ when it’s not being forced on you.

  17. Joe McGuire said

    Love this article!

  18. Tyler Schlosser said

    That is awesome! Thanks Orrin for being a machine in learning and education!

  19. Michael Collins said

    Orrin, living in Chicago, I know many people native to Europe, they have expressed the exact same thing . One went so far as to say “if I knew it was going to be heading this direction, I would have stayed there” Thanks, anxiously awaiting 04/16. Thanks, Mike

  20. Ken Hendon said

    Thanks for the great post, Orrin.

    In our ten trips to Poland, starting right after the iron curtain came down, we have seen the progression of a fearful, stifled people to a people who can laugh again and trust one another again. Freedom colorizes a country. Without freedom a country is completely grey in its tones.

  21. Rob Robson said

    Beautifully written. Thanks Orrin Woodward!

  22. Kristina Meinel said

    Very interesting. Thanks for the post.

  23. Steve Duba said

    Thanks Orrin,It seems relative that the misconception that we live in a “democracy” rather than a republic, along with the
    stranglehold that the”aristocracy” has on our nation keeps calling us to educate across the board the masses of uninformed citizenry.I so appreciate the courage You and Oliver have shown.Glad to be part of the greatest movement since the “Founding
    Fathers”.God Bless the entire LIFE organization and let us move towards a “meritocracy of freedom”.

  24. Jonathan said

    Great article. What a great perspective from the “outside.” I can’t wait for the book and the opportunity it will bring to get more people on board with restoring and protecting our liberty.

  25. J.J. said

    Freedom , being defined as haveing the ability to choose to do good can only be accomplished by the free market, because any other form forces the the indivuals to do what is best for the whole. While the free market runs in the indivual doing what is best for the indivual, with the understanding that the indivual makes up the whole…..We have along way to go in education on this front, younger generations have been taught to fear the free market they are consistently told of the horrid “Guilded Age” which everyone was so money hungry that they sent their children to work in factories as adults. When in reality the inventions of that area produce enuf wealth that for the first time in history Children where being removed from the work force. Thank you for bringing the truth to drive away the fear an ignorance.

  26. Brad Pelc said

    Great blog Orrin!

  27. Lisa Mangold said

    This really ought to make us think where we are heading as a country. Thanks for writing a book to help us and others better understand the problems and solutions it will take to make changes.


  28. Thanks again Orrin, for a nother AWESOME post!

  29. AR said


  30. Corey McMullin said

    Yet another great reminder that someone else’s experience is the best teacher. Keep leading Orrin.

  31. Jim Martin said

    Great post Orrin. Less government would fix a lot in this country and I know you have some great answers and ideas for this country. Also I remember not long ago hearing you speak and you had said “I want to save Western Civilization” thousands of us are with you, millions will be effected by us.

    Thanks Orrin


  32. Scott Ballah said

    The “milk” is getting to our doorsteps but only after a minefield of government taxation and intervention. It’s time for a LeaderShift!!!!

  33. Elaine Mallios said

    So good. Our perception is flawed. How can we not see this happening? Its complete complacency. The chipping away of our freedoms and the imposition of government regulations is increasing. Its just craziness! I feel like big brother is watching.

  34. Jeff Campbell said

    This is my favorite (or least favorite) part:

    “Young people did not dream of going into business for themselves; they dreamed of a modest but safe government job, where they would have tenure, security, and a pitiful pension at the end of their plodding careers.”

    As a current college student in California I can see that desire abounding. The other day one of my classes taught us specifically about job search and jobs and what not. The people that want to start their own business here at least are few and far between!

    I’m so grateful to the life business for this path that has been shared with me! 🙂

    Jeff 🙂

  35. Well done. Thanks Orrin Woodward.

  36. Peggi Kern said

    Great article! Thank you for sharing it. I look forward to learning more and can’t wait for the LeaderShift book!

  37. Jessica Sorensen said

    This is so absolutely true and so very upsetting! I long for the day when America will stand up for their rights and beliefs and stop sitting in their living rooms blaming everyone else and taking their role as Americans to fight for what was once ours but has been slowly taken away right before our very eyes. Because the world keeps us so busy in our day to day lives we fail to see it or just ignore that we do see it. Our founding fathers would be so disappointed and appalled at what we have become. Because of you Orrin and all the other leaders that have taken a stand to bring about change and strive to make this a better more hopeful world again I have discovered my purpose in life that I have been seeking God for, for quite some time. Thank ya’ll so much and I am so very excited for Leadershift to be released!

  38. The siren call from Dr. Pei was sounded well over a half century ago, however, far too many either ignored it, didn’t hear it at all, or thought he couldn’t possibly be right; however, it is quite clear when you read it, you see the wisdom and foresight in his words. Let alone, the comparison to Europe was draw out, and am sure that some of those who did the above had been to Europe as tourists and simply didn’t notice what he lived through.

    Regardless, re-posting historical antecedents like this are so very valuable to trace back the gates we missed on the way off the historical freedom shift path and onto the force shift path over the past century. Thank you, Orrin!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.