Noblesse Oblige: The Obligation of Nobles

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What do the French and American revolutionaries have in common with those seeking early retirement and financial freedom?  They are all revolutionaries.

Think for a second how American society would change in a revolutionary manner if consumer culture took its last breath and financial freedom became the new spirit of the age.  

Think of all the people on the hamster wheel whose only free time is eating and sleeping.  These poor souls have no opportunity to develop their passions or talents, but what if the millions of people living semi-conscious lives and whose hope has been crushed by the grind and struggle of daily life, what if they tasted freedom?  What could they achieve?  What could we as a nation achieve?  

Freedom is a prerequisite for growth, growth is needed for achievement, achievement needed for progress, and progress is needed to advance Mankind.  Those seeking to ‘retire’ at 30, 35, or pick any ‘abnormally’ young age by societal expectations, are basically telling those that chose a conventional lifestyle there’s another way to live life that gives you control of your time and the freedom all people crave.

There are many ways to analyze the root cause of the flaws that exist in western society.  Those flaws include general apathy towards political affairs, an indulgence in consumer culture, and a political system that exclusively serves the powerful.  The most important part of any society is the power structure.  It’s the sufficient condition for all other major societal phenomenon.

The power structure determines what type of education the masses will receive, who the government will serve, who the justice system will serve, who the economy will serve, it affects the psychology of each person through ownership of mass communication companies, and it influences the opinions and tastes of the masses through propaganda.  

In short, the power structure determines the direction of society and the overall quality of the citizenry.  The one defining quality of those who exercise enormous power over society is their vast wealth.  Wealth is amoral.  Money is not the root of all evil and being wealthy doesn’t make you selfish, callous, or an enemy of Mankind.  Rather wealth is an amplifier.  It amplifies your flaws, strengths, values, and priorities.

If the human race is to fulfill its full potential then it’s imperative that the wealthy become enlightened or the enlightened become wealthy. 

Enlightened can be a subjective term unless nailed down with a reasonable definition.  Here is what I mean by enlightened: living life according to higher ideals including a love of truth, justice, and freedom, while transcending the primal desire to be selfish and acting to advance human welfare.

The human race is greatly influenced and guided by the wealthy.  To enlighten the wealthy or to enlighten those on the road to building wealth is to indirectly enlighten humanity.  This is simple cause and effect.  

Those with wealth have power and those with power have influence over the masses.  If a society is guided by self interested elites then the average person will suffer the consequences, but if a society is guided by benevolent elites who use their wealth to advance their fellow Man then the world as we know it takes a sharp turn for the better.

There is a French phrase that embodies the ethos of the enlightened wealthy: “Noblesse oblige,” or nobility brings responsibility. In every generation, there are wealthy people who embody this ethos and there are those who embody the unenlightened ethos of “Gain wealth forget all, but self.”

One person who exemplified the actions and principles of a member of the enlightened wealthy was President Theodore Roosevelt.  The youngest President in history was born into one of America’s wealthiest 19th-century families.  

With every advantage available to support him he entered public service becoming the youngest member of the New York State Assembly at age 23.  Three years later his first child was born and two days after that his wife and mother would die on the same day.  

Did he retreat into a life of ease supported by the privilege of being a Roosevelt?  Not even close.  

From 1889 to 1895 he served as US Civil Service Commissioner, then served as NYC Police Commissioner from 1895-1897 and was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President McKinsey in 1897.  

In the Summer of 1898, he resigned from his post at the Department of the Navy to fight in the Spanish-American war in Cuba.  When he returned he was nominated and elected Governor of New York in November 1898.  The meteoric rise continued.  In 1900 he was chosen to be Vice President under President McKinsey and in 1901 he became the youngest President in US history at age 43 after President McKinsey was assassinated.  

Roosevelt was devoted to the ‘strenuous life’, a life of contribution where privilege was used for benevolent purposes.

The future of the human race literally hinges on the battle between these two ways of thinking between the wealthiest citizens in our society.  It is my sincere hope that you will choose the enlightened side and use the power of being financially free to help people of modest means live up to their potential.

This is enlightened self interest.  The more people you help the more people will want to help you.  Humanity is as interconnected and interdependent as it’s ever been.  No one can escape this truth.  

The most basic thing we all have in common is our mortality.  How do you know that the boy or girl living in the gritty streets of any ghetto in America doesn’t have the cure for cancer in them?  No one knows, but everyone deserves the utmost opportunity to cultivate their potential.  With a new spirit of the age based on enlightened thinking, Mankind has the greatest chance to thrive in the coming century.  

Who would’ve thought that a counter culture could have the potential to inspire people to break free from their daily trance and focus on achieving freedom?  This community has the potential to inspire a nation one person at a time. 

Remember that in the process of lifting yourself out of your current circumstances you have the extraordinary power to place a ladder for those below you.  

Exercise that power.

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