The Ruddick Int'l Group  



Morris E. Ruddick



The democracy movement is not enough. The core message of Mr. Bush's 2005 Inaugural address was that we live in a world where freedom can no longer be passively assumed. Mr. Bush observed: " The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands ." The threat of tyranny, terrorism and corruption mocks and is the central challenge to our freedom.


The free-world response to 9/11 shifted the balance of power and bought us time. Referred to as the democracy movement, it encourages and gives birth to freedom and justice in lands oppressed with tyranny.


Yet, since the close of WWII, the US has had a tendency to win the battles, but not the wars. At issue is our approach to nation building. Top-down efforts alone, are not enough . Current efforts desperately need to be augmented with enduring bottom - up programs . Plus, there is a dimension that cannot be ignored, if freedom is to prevail.


The central, hidden issue in this clash between good and evil is spiritual in nature. This is not to be confused with some clerical debate, but rather with the realities driving the hatred for our way of life. In spite of the politically correct notions disavowing the realities of God and expressions of faith, taking a stand for freedom cannot endure without facing the spiritual reality.


This post-9/11 clash between good and evil has historic parallels. In the mid- to late thirties it was the rise of the Nazi movement. The anti-free world rhetoric during Hitler's rise to power was not unlike the all too-frequent theme we hear today. Across Europe, people of class and reason were convinced that the answer to threats from the likes of Hitler was appeasement. Tragically, the forces for appeasement were in power. Winston Churchill was a lone voice in his clarion call to draw the line. Yet, he was ostracized as "fear-mongering."


The same spirit that emerged during the Nazi movement and the cooperative appeasement culture in the thirties is with us again. Today, it is the efforts of radical Muslims, despots, terrorists and godless totalitarian regimes. Their unconcern for the welfare of the people, along with their perverse grasp of freedom and lust for power is similarly shared by a modern-day alliance of appeasers.


In spite of the shocking realities of the September 2001 attack, today's appeasement culture has arisen from among those once known for addressing social priorities. Responsible leaders from the liberal community have observed that liberals are no longer liberal. By redefining realities into politically correct labels and then embracing a modern appeasement approach, it has morphed and now reflects the same spiritual myopia that enabled the Nazi movement to come within a hair's breath of its goal of world domination.


The shocking reality is that the forces intent on destroying our way of life are every bit as organized as was the early Nazi movement, with a highly developed infrastructure already in place. " Modern Jihad, Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks " (Loretta Napoleoni, Pluto Press, London, 2003), traces the arteries of a $1.5 trillion "economy of terror." Underground economies, black markets and hidden power structures in support of terrorist activities are taking on proportions that have infiltrated and are undermining what are considered as above-board global governmental and financial structures. These extensive, subtle efforts have as their purpose to undermine and defeat the free world.


Another reality, with its importance and ties to freedom hidden by "political correct" posturing, is the fact that some of the most enduring and treasured values of our society are fundamental to both the Jewish and Christian faiths. From the Torah are the foundational principles of the world's most successful governmental, legal and economic systems. The free enterprise system, in its purist sense, was patterned from biblical precepts and models.


The book of Deuteronomy alone outlines the principles needed to operate godly, entrepreneurial communities . The elements of private ownership, customer relations, community responsibility, profit, generosity, employee relations, making your assets work for you, charity, excellence and fairness are clearly delineated from the Torah, Psalms, Proverbs, the Prophets to the parables of Jesus. The U.S. settled and grew, community by community, using these basic guidelines.


The struggle for domination in lands with little middle class mounts, despite the seductive calm of our neighborhoods. It underscores the strategic purpose of nation building. The reality is that the outcome will be won or lost at the grass-roots level. Godly, community-centered entrepreneurship is the tipping point against the forces intent on destroying our freedom.


The restoration of the biblical entrepreneurial community model and the foundational principles underlying free enterprise will usher in changes dramatically impacting the priorities, perspectives and approaches to win the war as well as the battles. Until we deal with the problem spiritually at the grass roots community level , we live in a society that is AT RISK.


The good news is that there IS a democracy movement underway. Unfortunately, one of the most potentially potent, yet embattled efforts of our current administration is the faith-initiatives program. Community-level programs operated by local churches and synagogues are being assaulted and maligned by out-of-touch bureaucrats whose own efforts would never set a standard in the real world of business and commerce. These entrepreneurial community building programs address not only poverty, but women-at-risk and children-at-risk.


The reality is that the middle-class is at risk in this post 9/11 world. The most consequential response to these issues is faith-based, small business community development initiatives effectively being employed in lands of persecution, tyranny and oppression. Jewish tradition maintains that the highest form of charity is to help a community member to start a business.


Yet, more, much more is needed. Reality calls for these nation-building strategies to be based on the economic and community foundations outlined in Scripture. In their original form, these biblical economic community development principles were designed to serve the people and community rather than become a system that works the other way around, by only serving the state.


In 1971, Maryland businessman, Barry Harper, along with veteran Christian community-builder, Paris Reidhead, recognized this truth and formed the Institute for International Development. IID evolved into what is known today as Opportunity International, the largest faith-based small micro-enterprise (SME) development organization in the world. Mr. Harper shares that: " every nation we went into, people got behind it on a local level and the program just spread ."


Laura Kent, Vice-Chairman of Enterprise Development International, another major faith-based SME (small/micro-enterprises) developer, indicates that: " a micro-business that feeds an entire family can be started with as little as $250 to start a seamstress business, for example, with the purchase of a sewing machine, some material and some basic promotions ." Payback of micro-loans, supporting these startups, is typically above the 96 percent level.


Still another more recently formed group, Global Initiatives Foundation, targets lands impacted by oppression and persecution with business startup programs that train community builders and encourage women-owned businesses. Biblically-based entrepreneurship, that uses sound tactics to employ the spiritual dimension to mobilize and build community will operate against all odds and become an essential step to enduring, bottom-up nation-building.


These programs provide opportunity that enhances the bottom-up, grass-roots development of a middle class in lands where freedom is at risk. They respond to oppression, poverty and persecution with the scriptural community standard of charity that promotes small business development and hope . Operating at the grass-roots level, they employ principles that are practical and bring enduring results, community by community.


By partnering with local communities, these initiatives have helped new businesses get started, build community and community leaders; along with establishing the seeds of grass-roots transformation in lands challenged by tyranny and oppression. Across the world, there is a cry due the impact and persecution from tyranny and corruption.


A clash of civilizations is underway. Top-down military and diplomatic efforts are only the first step. A grass roots impact is needed, because the tentacles of rogue regimes and terrorism are deep and spreading. It's time to read the handwriting on the wall.


These signs of the times should be a wakeup call to get behind faith-initiatives programs that preserve our way of life and reverse the curse that plague lands of persecution and corruption, by offering practical hope and establishing enterprising communities where freedom can prevail.


Mr. Ruddick is a planning consultant and author who is writing a book on the foundations of free enterprise.



2005 Copyright Morris Ruddick

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