American Business Exceptionalism– An Emergent Call to Action


About the author: David is executive director and founder of CEOs for Liberty, a private membership-only group for CEOs, business owners, and executives with a mission to enhance and protect American business exceptionalism. David founded CFL in 2011 given his concer ... [read 's FULL BIO]

American Business Exceptionalism — an Emergent Call to Action

Today, regardless your political bent or how busy you may be, this is an emergent call-to-action for all American business leaders. 

As American business leaders — within the smallest to the largest businesses — we can no longer speculate, analyze, or wait upon “someone else” to “fix it”. We can no longer hide in our political correctness and say, “I am not a politician”. We can no longer wait for any other group to save American industry. America does not need more politicians. America needs each individual business leader to stand up and take back what is rightfully theirs — their American free-market birthright. This birthright impacts all business leaders, all businesses, and America, overall. For as goes America’s business success, so goes America. We need to rally to the defense of American Business Exceptionalism.

How do we do this?

First, we need to insure we each individually understand the key driving principles that have enabled America’s exceptional business success. As true business leaders, we can no longer accept anything but taking personal responsibility to understand the drivers of, and to protect, American business exceptionalism. Without our own personal understanding and knowledge of the drivers of America’s business exceptionalism we can be easily led around by our noses, re-actively, from issue to issue, legislation to legislation, candidate to candidate. With possibly one of the most ideologically important elections in American history less than a few weeks away, we cannot afford to be reactive. As such, we can no longer rely upon the news, pundits, talking heads, our politicians, or even what we’ve been taught in American schools and universities. We must rely upon our own research, beliefs, and resulting knowledge — asking the right questions, and pursuing objective answers. 

Second, once we understand the most important principles that have enabled America’s business exceptionalism, we need to work diligently to restore and defend these principles. To accomplish this task, we need to first understand the clear and present threats to these principles — now and over time. Then we must develop and implement solutions to ensure these threats are mitigated and eliminated. 

Finally, we must each lead by example in our “spheres of influence” to share what we know, and lead the way in our local communities, states, and at the federal level to recover and sustain American Business Exceptionalism. However, if we do nothing other than ask ourselves the right questions, as a start point, and vote according to our own answers, and then each do what we are led to do beyond this, we will accomplish the task at hand. 

Shouldn’t someone else be doing this?

Some may say at this point, “But, shouldn’t someone else be doing this? I have a business to run!” Well, if we don’t step up to defend American Business Exceptionalism, and the driving principles that enable it, who will? Can we wait for our elected officials to stop the never ending increases in regulation, taxation, and intervention? Can we wait for them to halt the non-stop, de-facto legislation and mandates from unelected bureaucrats within agencies like the EPA? Can we wait for them to stop the never-ending assault upon foundational, Constitutional principles that make America the unique business culture it has been? I believe the simple answer is, “No”. As business leaders we know when a resource is able to effectively accomplish a task, or not. Clearly, our elected officials have not been able to forestall our decline… and, often, have hastened it. 

Should we wait for large, global corporations to take effective action? Surely they should understand the clear superiority of capitalism and free-market economics. Shouldn’t they? Yes, they should. The garages in which they were born are the legend of American entrepreneurialism. However, are they effectively forestalling the degradation of our free-market economy? No. Most are not. Why? Many have become more focused on their “global” business and their “rest-of-world” revenues, than in sustaining the very DNA that enabled their success. Many large enterprises have also been poisoned by the corporatism that is Washington — working to craft legislation and deals that give them unfair advantage as this is the way our political system works. Bureaucrats, politicos, legislators and lobbyists all collude to create more and more regulation that favors their business or industry over another, at the expense of all other businesses, American liberty, and free enterprise. 

Of course, we can go on. Should we wait on the Unions? Clearly not. What about the schools? Not as long as their leadership and curriculum is defined and influenced by the NEA. What about our churches? Not until pastors are free to speak and think without fear of reprisal from the IRS, or the undue influence of the World Council of Churches or the National Council of Churches which actually encourage socialism. We cannot wait for any of these organizations to reverse our decline. Why? Unfortunately, each of these groups have been co-opted partially or completely by the many tendrils of the global “progressive” movement. 

Well then, who should take responsibility? 

Our Founders believed business leaders would — lead. They believed America’s business leaders would be the leaders in their communities to hold the flame of liberty and to sustain America’s free-market economy. They believed business leaders would be well versed in free-market economics, the principles that enabled a strong productive culture, and would also serve in government, then, go back to their businesses and individual pursuits. They also believed each citizen needed to be diligent and responsible, as well, to understand and sustain America’s overall exceptionalism. 

“Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left to individual enterprise.” Thomas Jefferson, First Annual Message to Congress, December 8, 1801

Our founders also saw business leaders as the counter-balance to those who may not understand liberty, to those who may be seduced by the power of the State, and to those who would seek to sell liberty for a mess of pottage. After all, it is those who stand to gain the most from free-enterprise — those who lead our businesses — who should be the leaders in insuring our commercial greatness remains for generations to come.  The bottom line is this, if we each wait for someone else, we will clearly fail.  

Why is it important to understand and protect our founding principles? How do these principles relate to American Business Exceptionalism? 

America’s founding principles are the core “secret sauce” of America’s unique business ecosystem, without which we would be like any other nation. The combination of our unique founding principles, lived and breathed for 236 years, became part of our DNA and enabled an entrepreneurial mindset and environment which rewarded exceptionalism, penalized failure, and motivated anyone with a dream to pursue it with vigor.

America’s founding principles also attracted new lifeblood to America over the years as millions of immigrants streamed into America to be able to pursue their vision freely. They realized the tremendous value of being able to speak and worship freely, to own property, to start a business, and to contract with whomever they desired to pursue their dreams, all with the protection of the rule of law aligned with the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Each immigrant knew that if they worked hard and smart, took personal responsibility for their actions and outcomes, that they could achieve their greatest potential. 

The American business ecosystem “secret sauce” has enabled more wealth for the broadest spectrum of races, colors, creeds and beliefs, than any other system in any other nation in the history of mankind. As such, America’s founding principles have enabled mankind’s greatest achievements. 

So, why would anyone want to diminish these founding principles if they have driven our success?  

Unfortunately, America has not been without Her detractors. Often, where you find great success, you will also find enemies of that success. From Fabian Socialism to the deceptively named “progressive” movement — which started the mid-1800’s and which has gathered steam and organization until it threatens our very existence today — America’s detractors are winning the war of attrition. 

Even early in our country’s existence our founders realized the threat of socialism, with Samuel Adams noting, “The utopian schemes of leveling , and a community of goods , are as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all property in the Crown” “arbitrary, despotic, and in our government unconstitutional.” 

Yet, even given our general understanding of this threat and warnings from many before us, the deceptively named “progressive” movement has been gradually chipping away at America’s founding principles over the last 150 years. It moved very slowly at first — with an objective to not draw too much attention to its cause and actions — until today when it is moving much more boldly, aggressively, and rapidly to the point where it has become very obvious to many. And, as our liberties and freedoms have been continuously eroded, it is no surprise that America has slipped in the global ranks of economic freedom (#10)(1) and in overall national competitiveness (#7)(2). Our diminishing freedom and competitiveness directly impacts each and every business in America.

What is the Call-to-Action?

As business owners, entrepreneurs, executives and CEOs — as business leaders — we have been blessed to participate in America’s unique free-market business ecosystem and the prosperity it has enabled during our careers… possibly more than any other group. And today, our leadership is needed more than at any other time in American history. As such, it is imperative that we work to insure the same freedoms and liberties that have enabled our vision and dreams are recovered and sustained for future generations. Please respond to this important call-to-action below, and help us restore and sustain America’s Business Exceptionalism.

How to start? For any business leader, or aspiring business leader… from a sole-proprietor to an executive or even CEO of a Fortune 500 company:

1. First, answer the following questions, do you own research, and act upon your own answers:

a. What are the most important principles that have enabled American Business Exceptionalism? 
b. What threatens these principles?
c. What are solutions to stop these threats?
d. What is my role as a business leader? 
e. Will someone else “fix it” if I do not take responsibility?

2. Watch for our next graphic and article which will review the answers we have developed in our research and work within CEOs for Liberty.org. As a group of independent business leaders, we started addressing this question as we realized it was “up to us”. 

3. As you develop your answers to these questions, ask the following question, “Will this candidate or legislation diminish these principles, or protect them?” and vote accordingly.

4. “Like” our page — http://www.facebook.com/CEOsforLiberty, and message us to join our effort to answer these important questions, learn the answers, and recover and sustain American Business Exceptionalism. 

5. Share this article to help others start thinking about these important questions. 

Will you join us and save our American birthright? Save liberty. Abolish tyranny.

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  • Please vote for Romney he will support corporations, US business, Wall St, capitlaism, free enterprise, free trade and allow us to build our buisinesess! Smaller government to boot!

    • Thanks for the comment! I appreciate your sentiments. In the spirit of the article…and to drive this discussion for business leaders who may be on the fence, not sure of which way to go, and who may not have a solid enough understanding of contributing founding principles to our commercial success in America… I would enjoy hearing what you see are, let’s say, the top 7 most important principles, in your view, that have enabled American Business Exceptionalism? ? Thanks!