Chuck’s Rules of Thumb

by Chuck Donovan

Pilots prefer to take complex tasks and break them down into “bite-sized” pieces.  Our government problems present us with a very complex set of tasks.  How should a representative of the people and the Constitution approach such a daunting assignment?

Here are my rules-of-thumb to guide citizens and politicians:

  1. There is no perfect solution.
    • We are talking about human beings.
    • Stop looking for perfect solutions.
    • Concentrate on finding the least imperfect solution.
  2. Government is always the worst solution to a problem.
    • One size seldom fits all.
    • Government programs are politically focused, not solutions focused.
  3. If you ask government to take something  from someone else, it will look to take something from you next.
  4. History holds enough lessons for us if we bother to pay attention to all of it, not just the history the government “teaches” us.
    • Don’t “reinvent the wheel” or experiment with the lives of American citizens.
  5. There is no single issue.
    • All human issues are interrelated.
    • It is nearly impossible to make a change to one issue without affecting others.
  6. Complex laws are never equally enforced upon all.  Instead, they get selectively enforced upon an unlucky, politically unconnected few.
  7. You must have both social AND economic freedom or you will find yourself with neither.
  8. Seek verifiable and quantitative RESULTS.
  9. Ends do not justify the means.
    • Look to the end of an accomplished fact, and you will see it has always produced the opposite of what was expected from it, if it was not established at first upon morality and justice.
    • “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Ben Franklin
    • “…and will soon find themselves without both” – Chuck Donovan
  10. When a government program is suggested, an elected representative must ask five questions:
    1. Is it Constitutional?
    2. Is it affordable?
    3. Is it moral, ethical, and fair?
    4. Is it logical?
    5. What will be all of the long-term effects?
  11. If you think it is expensive now, wait until government makes it free.

Leadership Principals I learned as a young US Marine Corps Officer:

  1. Lead from the front.
  2. Take care of your people before you take care of yourself.
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