Leadership Principles of Lao Tzu

Scholars debate whether Lao Tzu – author of the Tao Te Ching and considered by many the founder of Taoism – actually lived during the 4th century BC as a contemporary of Confucius, or was merely a synthesis of early Chinese thought. Whoever he was, his leadership principles are timeless and should be required reading for those who seek and hold power.

Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it. Tarp, stimulus, Obamacare, bailouts, offshore drilling bans, FDA, EPA, and the TSA are all examples of activist government robbing Americans of their constitutional liberties. The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know. Obama talks much, but says little. No president in recent memory has opined so often on so much. And yet, after his 2010 electoral “shellacking,” he claimed it was a failure to communicate and the slow progress of his agenda that turned off Americans. It’s increasingly clear to even his supporters that he’s incompetent and in way over his head. To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.

The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes. With 9% unemployment forecast through his administration, Obama’s college freshman worldview and lack of meaningful experience is hampering economic recovery. He won’t extend the Bush tax cuts; he banned offshore drilling killing thousands of jobs; and he signed into law CAFE standards for automobiles that will force car costs up. The hugely expensive and unconstitutional health care legislation is Obama’s greatest tax and assault on American liberty. Be the chief but never the lord.

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. Lao Tzu knew the marketplace long before Hayek and Adam Smith. Millions of people, self-interested and dealing with day to day complexities, need no centralized guidance. Government does not create jobs, it can only spend wealth others create. The ideal function of government, and leadership, is to remove the barriers to  growth and success. Cal Thomas is onto something when he calls for a part time congress.

When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish. The rise of the Tea Party, the loss of independent voters, and democratic control of the house, should have told the liberal ruling class that it was a mistake to take the country to the left.


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