I sometimes get political because I AM focused on people and performance, goals and expectations, measurement and feedback systems and things like that. For me, improving performance is about goals, feedback and reinforcement and the issues around human competence and motivation are important ones.
Government provides services to people and people provide support to government by their granting powers and electing people to represent them. But, like most behavioral systems, things can get corrupted and off-target and we can lose alignment, generating waste and poor performance.
James Madison had a lot of interesting observations about the government, freedoms and similar kinds of issues around the operation of our democracy. Thus, I do not consider it too much of a stretch to publish some of his quotes herein.
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I run a small company that sells organizational improvement tools like Square Wheels toolkits focused on dis-un-engagement and managing and leading change as well as team building games focused on collaboration and alignment. All of these are simply tools to generate discussion about issues and opportunities.
James Madison (American 4th US President (1809-17), and Founding Father of his country. 1751-1836)
“The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.”
“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”
“It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.”
“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny”
“We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.”
“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation”
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”
“The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state”
“Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history”
“In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”
“A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments.”
Lastly, let me conclude with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. “
Yeah, and may we live in interesting times is that old Chinese curse…
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.