The American Way of Life (Part 12 of 28)

Part 12: of a 28-part series

Now I’ll say it again: America is not a capitalist nation. Now, you need capital to start, but America is built on individual enterprise. She’s entrepreneurial, not capitalistic. Capitalistic is European, but it is not attributed to be applied to America.

Entrepreneurship has taken many forms, from the self-employed individual to the global conglomerate.  Now, watch this – in the 17th and 18th centuries, the public extolled the pioneer who overcame great hardships to carve a home and a way of life out in the wilderness. In 19th century America, as small agricultural enterprises rapidly spread across the vast expanse of the American frontier, the homesteading farmer applied many of the ideas of the economic individualist.

But as the nation’s population grew and as cities increased in economic importance, the dream of being in business for oneself evolved into independent merchants and self-reliant professionals as well. The 20th century, continuing a trend that began in the latter part of the 19th century, brought an enormous leap in the scale and complexity in economic activity. In many industries, small enterprise has trouble raising sufficient funds and operating on a large enough scale to operate most efficiently [to provide] all the goods demanded by an increasingly sophisticated and affluent population.

So in the 20th century, because of the difficulty of acquiring capital as a small businessman, we did have different corporations. “Large” was okay in the 20th century, or the beginning of the 20th century. But corporations began to diminish as we began to see [a new trend]. The modern corporation began to hire hundreds, and thousands, and tens of thousands of employees, and they depended on the corporation.

To be continued...

The American Way of Life (Part 11 of 28)

Part 11: of a 28-part series

Absolutely we’re the richest nation, because of individual enterprise -- not because of the nasty corporations. They make up only 20% of our economy. The reason [for this] statistically is that middle-class workers [are] hired by small businesses and work for small enterprise – it’s simply a family trying to take care of itself. And lo and behold, as a family endeavors to take care of its own needs and its own supply, and provide for itself, it blesses others – inadvertently, without even intending to, because it’s a natural prosperity that comes from his own productivity. There is no prosperity without productivity. If you take away productivity, you have nothing to spread around.

So what encourages productivity? You know, we have middle-class workers – that’s the largest number [of our population]. But they are workers – that means they’re hired by someone. And 75% of this class of workers is hired by small businessmen and women. That’s phenomenal.

Americans have always believed they live in the land of opportunity, where anybody who has a good idea – anybody (that’s the worth of the individual) – determination, and the willingness to work hard, can start a business and be prosperous, because they’re willing to be productive and work. In practice, this belief in entrepreneurship has taken many forms.

To be continued...

The American Way of Life (Part 10 of 28)

Part 10: of a 28-part series

Next idea – “we’re a united people pledged to maintaining a political system that guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other”. (That was [said in] 1981.) Time enough has passed from 1776 to 1787 to 1981-- the anniversary of our Constitution. And we can look back and say it is true that this country provides the greatest individual liberty that mankind has ever seen.

And so, does this idea work? It blesses all men. It blesses every man. This truth, or this belief in it, must advance—must continue to even advance within our own nation still. We’re being challenged still with these ideas. It will continue to be a challenge. We are convincing men and nations of the independent worth of the individual through his individual [identity] in Christ.

The visual, the tangible proof of exercising this idea is in the prosperity of the individual. The material manifestation of this idea (not ony political) is that he gets to enjoy the fruits of his own labor without confiscation, without robbery. [He can] enjoy the fruits of his own labor as the means of his own livelihood.

And this is the key to the pursuit of happiness – his own individual enterprise. As a nation, we began as a communist people in 1620, storehousing. We learned early that it didn’t work for us. It didn’t work for any humanity. So they overthrew it and went to individual enterprise. America’s affluence is not because of corporate enterprise, but because of individual enterprise. That’s the worth of individual productivity. It’s the proof of the pudding of this idea, of the independent worth. If you go to business magazines throughout history, you’ll see this in economics. Individual enterprise is the foundation of American affluence.

To be continued...

The American Way of Life (Part 9 of 28)

Part 9: of a 28-part series

Now, in 1776 the world was more imperfect than it is today. Do you understand? This idea has diffused to 350 million in this country. There were only 3 million then. We have grown in this idea for 200 years.  It’s a new idea to earth, and it’s being spread across the oceans and seas, little by little. It is truth, and it’s going to grow very gradually. It can’t be done by force. But it’s leaking, it’s going out, and it’s embracing more and more of the earth than it did in 1776. Only 1/3 of those people truly held to separation and independence. One million only, out of 3 million. And yet it was sufficient to affect a nation such as ours.

They knew that they would not see in their lifetime the perfection of this idea. They looked to the next generation, that it might begin with them and progress forward, with all the struggles that it would entail, with all the hiccups, the bumps, the squeaks, that it takes to advance such an idea when it’s not believed -- when a Creator is not believed in -- when a Creator who’s wise, just, and perfect is not believed in -- when the equality of men, women, and children are not believed in. And yet, it’s growing -- progressively, not without struggle.

[There are] types of perfection that were brought into the world by Christianity. These are Christian ideas. Just hang onto that for a minute. [This is the] series of thought that fought the battles of the Revolution, to build a worthy superstructure of government and law. We didn’t have a national government. They decided they were going to build a Constitution that was going to reflect this idea. That’s incredible. We structured our political system so that this idea would be the best, and not hinder men should they believe in it. It provided for the results of attempting to look not to the past, but to the future.

To be continued...