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E ntrepreneuring F or C hrist Class Presents: Observing “Wizard of OZ” Leadership Styles in our Current U. S. Economy By Skip Elmore
“ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Frank Baum was originally written as a subtle portrait of this country as it prepared to enter twentieth century. _________________________________________
Politics, as the story unfolded, was a secondary allegory that subordinated to the major theme whenever it threatened to distort the appeal of childlike fantasy.
However, as an almost hidden parable, Baum delineated a Midwesterner's vibrant and ironic perspective of the rapidly changing circumstances during the 1890s.
The story effectively portrays “ Populism ” prior to and during the 1896 election campaign because Baum's imagery, prior to the MGM movie version, was so vivid and so easily attributable to the personalities and events of the period that it would not be accepted as a politically correct story today. The author did not care. Let’s see why.
There was a prejudicial notion in the country that farmers weren’t smart enough to recognize their own best interests, thus a Scarecrow with no brain.
The industrial workers of that time were dehumanized, unemployed factory laborers, thus the rusted Tin Man symbolized the closed factories in the depression of 1893.
3 solutions were being politically debated :
1 - Bimetallism, Gold , or Silver backed currency.
2 - Greenback philosophy: Govt. prints new money.
3 - Private Banking cartel prints money, loans it to the government and collects interest.
So – What was Frank Baum’s major concern???
Baum’s Main Allegoric Concern as depicted in the OZ Story
What are they???
“ Fractional Reserves” The beginning of the Federal Reserve.
Trade in 17 th Century Europe was conducted primarily with gold and silver coins.
Transportation and theft challenges promoted depositing holdings in their local goldsmith’s vaults and accepting convenient paper receipts that could be traded in place of the bulky coins.
These receipts began to be used when people came to the goldsmiths for loans. Goldsmiths became the bankers!!!
The mischief began when they noticed that only about 10 to 20 % of the receipts ever came back to be redeemed in solid gold or silver at any one time.
They realized they could “Lend” the gold in their strong boxes at interest several times over as long as they Kept 10 to 20 % of the value of their outstanding loans in gold to meet demands. They had created “ paper money ” receipts for loans of gold worth several times what they actually held, thus - “ Fractional Reserves ” evolved!!!
“ I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
As the economy in a population grows, the money base must grow too.
“ Bimetallism ” is not without its challenges.
The problem – Private Banker’s Greed!!!
If controlled properly a government agency can create additional wealth and fund its own functions, thus eliminating income tax.
(Lincoln funded the Civil War with 500 million Greenbacks)
The private sector would be emancipated from many of the present tax burdens.
10 possible solutions for Fractional Reserves : My opinions by Skip Elmore
1 - Congressional, state & local candidates can only receive individual contributions from within a state or voting district in which they run.
2 - Federal candidates only receive contributions from U. S. citizens (No foreign $s or Corp).
3 - All contributions to be received through independent monitored clearing houses.
4 - Penalties for violations would be so severe that no one would venture outside the rules.
5 - U. S. fiscal policy - A balanced budget amendment and balance within 5 years.
10 possible solution for Fractional Reserves : My Opinions continued By Skip Elmore
6 - FRBS becomes a non-profit Congressional distribution agency only, with accounting procedures reformatted for efficient audits. Bank foreclosures would fund private buyouts; prison terms would be in order for many.
7 - Annual FRBS & related audits conducted by 3 independent sources simultaneously.
8 - Tort reform - Losers pay all in court litigation expenses.
9 - The Freedom of information act would be enforced with easy access.
10-All special assignment (czars & agencies) be confirmed by 2/3 vote, both houses
William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee for president in 1896, was endorsed by the Populist Party as a Greenback supporter, to solve the nations’ problems, thus the political posturing of the Cowardly Lion.
When the lion first meets Dorothy and her other companions, he strikes the Tin Man but does not even make a dent in his metal body. This equates the Cowardly Lion's futile act as a parallel to Bryan's failure to win the vote of industrial labor.
Together the group journeys to Oz to visit the great Wizard who symbolizes president Grover Cleveland. Their trek is reminiscent of the march on Washington D.C. in the winter of 1893-1894.
Jacob Coxey, a populist, organized a group of unemployed workers to march on the nation’s capital in an effort to convince government to put more money in circulation for public works programs to put people back to work. "Coxey's Army”, while modest in size and easily put down, did a number of protests and brought the plight of the unemployed to national attention.
With the decline of the Populist Party, the free coinage of silver also faded as a national issue.
Coxey, very young at the time, later ran for president against F. D R. in 1932 and claimed the Greenback money printing scheme was his and the foundation for the “New Deal”.
The Emerald City isn't green in the original book, but a bland gray so the visitors are required to wear green glasses upon entry to give the city the illusion of an emerald color.
Also, in Baum’s original story, when the group visits the Wizard of Oz, he appears to Dorothy as a giant head, to the Scarecrow as a gossamer fairy, to the Tin Man as a beast and to the Cowardly Lion as a ball of fire, all of this symbolizing politicians trying to be all things to all people.
Changes made by MGM in the movie blunt the cynicism about the self-serving nature of politicians that was very obvious in the original story.
In order for Dorothy’s little team to get what they desired, the Wizard tells them to kill the Wicked Witch of the West who represents the crippled economy caused by destructive forces of nature along with the money grabbers conniving with politicians to manipulate the markets and milk whatever is left of the economy.
The Wicked Witch of the West takes her toll in the story before Dorothy kills her by dousing her with a bucket of water, symbolizing the end of the drought that had been plaguing the West during the desperate 1890s.
The populist believed the silver standard would solve the economic dilemma of the farmers and take people out of their deep depression.
The silver slippers symbolized magical powers that would solve Dorothy’s problems and take her back to Kansas.
She finally learns of their power at the end of the story, but like many people, Dorothy does not realize the magical power she possesses and the shoes are lost later when she finally finds herself back in her Kansas farm home.
When Dorothy and her friends return to the Wizard of Oz with the Wicked Witch’s broom, proving her demise, he is exposed as a manipulator who had no real magical power.
The fearsome Wizard turns out to be nothing more than a common fraud, capable of clever but mundane answers to solve self-induced needs. Like any good politician he made people think he was going to give them what they wanted.
Let’s observe the symbolic allegory from this well known novel and later, a famous movie. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
We observe 3 prevalent types of leadership :
1 - Absolute authority – The General / Admiral / King types.
2 - Charismatic – High profile persuader - One person show.
3 - The Poet-Gardner – A team mentor with mutual vision.
The typical stereotype U. S. leadership style observed throughout the 19th and most of the 20th century was gradually fading into oblivion as society changed. WHY ???
A more informed society was gaining access to worldwide communications and more rapid global transportation.
Exposed leadership behavior spawned a gradual distrust and resistance to absolute authority.
Philosophical changes in society gradually allowed greed and complicated manipulations by political influence.
Simplicity and common sense were subdued by the elite.
So – How should faith based people respond to misguided Leadership?
1st Timothy 2: 1-8, Instructions for Worship to God for others
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions , prayers , intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, 2 for kings and all those in authority , that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the Man, Christ Jesus , 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
“ Christ ”- The Title assigned to the Spirit of God’s Creative Agent.
“ Jesus ”- The Name given the Personification of that same Spirit .
“ Our Authority ” – To all who accept and host that same Spirit .
Politics in Baum’s allegory was secondary, however, before we proceed, remember:
Bad government is the symptom, not the problem!!!
So, how do we correctly interpret Romans 13:1-5 ?
1 Every person is to be in subjection to governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
IMPORTANT : Paul is addressing believers here !!!
Let’s look at these 5 passages applying God’s defense tools.
Every person is to be in subjection to governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
How do we comprehend bad government being under the authority of a loving God???
God does not will bad leaders ; He allows them because His love provides “ Free C hoice ” and intellectual capacity, ( rather then instinctive robotic behavior ) , thus allowing relationships with our authority to speak the release of His Spiritual Power .
He promised “ wisdom ” to choose righteous leaders. Satanic perversion of spiritual authority (Gen. 3:6) by the chosen sin nature leads to faulty choices. Wisdom to “ choose right ” is always available for the faithful recipient who lives by faith .
Check Isaiah 45:7 & Ecclesiastes 7:14 (Free will allows wrong choices in God’s Creation)
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted (Allowed through free choice ) , and those who do bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, (Choose right rulers. We live the results of choices, both ours and others who have gone before ) but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right (choose right) and you will be commended.
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong (choose wrong) be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath (Wrongly Chosen) to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (Who chose without Wisdom ) .
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment; also as a matter of conscience.
We reap the harvest of corporate choices.
Another reason why evangelism is important.
Let’s Review the leadership styles we have observed .
The Wicked Witch – Motivated others with Fear and intimidation . Her Cronies celebrated her departure .
The Cowardly Lion – Motivated others by Role playing scare tactics. False substance with no real answers .
The Tin Man & Scarecrow – Motivated others by appealing for Sympathy. No self worth or awareness of influence .
The Wizard - Motivated others by Role playing a Facade . Manipulative .
The Good Witch of the East – Motivated others with kind encouragement . No fear of the enemy .
Dorothy – Motivated others by projecting a Vision. Did not pretend to have all the answers, but maintained a loyal following because she was just as concerned for the needs of others as she was for her desire to return to Kansas .
The Wizard of Oz managed to provide everyone in the group with something to satisfy their desire. Everyone except Dorothy that is, because her goal is returning to Kansas, which Baum describes as a dull and gray place.
Even with all the destructiveness we see, a very stabilizing force may still remain with us in America. The basically ethical and moral foundation of our country, founded on Biblical principles, may not yet have lost its flavor . Can that Good Witch of the East come through one more time??????
Dorothy never saw herself as a leader; she never acted like one either, so why was she the most productive leader in the group???
To be a quality leader we must know how to follow .
While all followers will not become good leaders, always look for good followers when seeking out leaders.
What type of leader was Jesus?
HOW DID JESUS MODEL?
Name typical leadership styles Jesus employed.
John 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me . (Wisdom available to us when we host Christ’s Spirit)
Questions and examples:
How did Jesus keep his cool when confronting SIN?
1. Knowing the real source of the hurt needs.
2. Confronting with gentle questions rather then convicting finger pointing accusations.