The Organizational Effectiveness of Democracy
I’ve been thinking a lot about democracy and capitalism recently so thought that I’d share a few interesting quotes—some of them conflicting messages—from some very bright fellows to whom I looked for guidance.
Before you read them, please ponder this quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
My observation is that confirmation bias has always bedeviled us, but never more so than now.
Have a happy and thoughtful Independence Day!
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
“Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. “
“A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”
“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
― Abraham Lincoln
“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
― John F. Kennedy
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.”
― Attributed to Benjamin Franklin and others
“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule—and both commonly succeed, and are right.”
― H.L. Mencken,
“I would rather be governed by the first 2000 people in the Manhattan phone book than the entire faculty of Harvard.”
― William F. Buckley Jr.
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”
― William O. Douglas
“I think passionate people seek to influence and persuade. But zealots insist on conversion. A passionate person will give it his or her best shot, but respect you if you decide to demur. However, zealots insist that not only are they right but you must be wrong.”
“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Todd coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).