In addition to thinking that we all share a devotion to two ideals – call them Freedom and Generosity – but just rank them in different order of priority, I also see these two ideals laid out in the Constitution. Both are mainstream, and we need a balance of both in order to succeed.
Let’s look at two very different parts of the Constitution: the Preamble, and the “Congress shall have power to …” in Article I, Section 8. The Preamble declares the six purposes for which powers are granted to Congress: form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.
Note that in this part, the individual is the decision-maker (We the People), the time frame is long-term (Posterity), and the paramount concern is Liberty. In the “Congress shall have power to …” part, Congress is the decision-maker, the time frame is the here and now, and the paramount concern is the general Welfare.
That’s consistent with what every organization needs to succeed: some of its people paying attention to the long-term preservation of core values as times and markets change, plus some of its people paying attention to hitting the quarterly numbers in the here and now. The “All or Nothing” approach in either direction will lead to collapse of the entity.
If all you think about is the long-term vision, then you can run out of cash in the short term. And if all you think about is hitting the short-term numbers, then you can suddenly become obsolete as markets changed while you were focused on the short-term. So a balance of both approaches is needed, in business and in politics.
Both viewpoints are mainstream, and both are needed: attention to the Preamble approach (which might be called Freedom) and attention to the “Congress shall have power to …” approach (which might be called Generosity). Neither has exclusive claim to being “right” all the time, nor is either one “wrong” all the time. We need a balance of both, and we need to respect each viewpoint.
ERpundit – 05/14/2018