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Entrepreneurial Liberals Do Exist – Fact or Fiction?

I recently attended a real estate conference.  No big surprise.  I go to a fair share.

At this particular conference, I was seated at a table with eight other Realtors.  Now, as is usually the case at these things there is the icebreaker section where you try to get to know one another through some type of contrived game or Q&A and get a little loosened up to participate in the rest of the conference.  Well, this particular ice breaker question was, “Share something that you think is unique about yourself.”

Yeah. Right.

So I leaned back on the old stand-by, “I’m a political liberal.”  I call it a “stand-by” because I have come to understand that there aren’t too many of us out there. At least not in the Realtor world.  And if there are, they sure as heck don’t mix in with the right wing too much.

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Which is a damn shame.

Liberalism and Entrepreneurship are not Mutually Exclusive

Parking for LiberalsIf you read enough of the stuff in the blogosphere you learn pretty quickly that if you want to consider yourself a capitalist you need to learn the conservative dogma of the Limbaugh/Beck/Palin triumvirate and be able to recite it chapter and verse. Ideological purity is a must.

God forbid you step out of line. You become a Socialist, at best. Or unpatriotic.

In fact, many successful capitalists are also liberal to very liberal. Yeah. Money is good.  Money can help create a comfortable environment for me and my family. Money also helps me become more involved in the society that provides me opportunity to be prosperous.

Contrary to popular myth, there are many in our society that, for whatever reason, need the compassionate assistance and generosity of others.  By working hard and making good [entrepreneurial] business decisions, liberals can create a society that truly allows economic and social justice to thrive. Giving to another does not mean taking away from me or others.

Selling my services to people who want them and can afford them is not a sin. Neither is sharing.

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Written By

“Loves sunrise walks on the beach, quaint B & Bs, former Barbie® boyfriend..." Ken is a sole practitioner and Realtor Extraordinaire in the beautiful MD Suburbs of DC. When he's not spouting off on Agent Genius he holds court from his home office in Glenn Dale, MD or the office for RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Fulton, MD...and always on the MD Suburbs of DC Blog

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    November 22, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Ugh just hit the wrong button and deleted my lengthy comment. So I’ll make this one shorter.

    We are the most giving nation in the world even in hard financial times. We all have our favorite charities and non profits.

    Have you looked at the giving records of liberals and conservatives? Is that why liberals don’t give as much? Not picking a fight just curious….

    I would rather share the fruit of my labors with those people and projects that tug at my heart strings.

    One my my long term goals and affirmations has been to be a reverse tither. That is… I hope to be able to give 90% of my income away and live on 10%. Not that I am there but it is a daily affirmation for me.

    It all boils down to do I know who I want to give to or does the Federal Government ? I choose the individual knows best. Interesting it is not the wealthy that give the most even in these hard times, it is the average middle class/ lower income class that gives the most to charity.

    • Ken Montville

      November 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm

      Missy – I almost wish I was a statistician because of all the AG folks who through statistics at me. First, it’s wonderful you have such a large and generous heart. The idea of being a reverse tither is wonderful.

      Second, if faith based or charitable institutions were really getting a lot of money through private donations, I think the need for Government intervention would be close to nil and it would be obvious. Instead, there is hunger, poverty and medical need everywhere you look and what I hear in the mainstream media is that the faith based and charitable institutions can’t keep up.

      Third, this blog post is in response to a lot of what I read here on AG, hear in the mainstream media and read in the blogosphere. There seems to be this growing resentment, especially within the middle class. I call it the “I want mine” syndrome. The middle class sees the fruits of their hard work (possibly across generations) eroding and they direct their anger at politicians and the disadvantaged. This “socialist” stuff is ridiculous. There are many in our society that simply cannot “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” or even have the entrepreneurial inclination – these are the people who make our cars and build our houses. Yet, many CEOs make an income many HUNDREDS of times that of their workers. So be it.

      What I am trying to say is that giving and advocating sound social programs is not incompatible with entrepreneurship.

  2. Bob Wilson

    November 22, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Ken, I wouldn’t complain about people throwing stats at you. It’s a more honest attempt at supporting an opinion than the generalities and stereotypes you throw at us.

  3. Lani Rosales

    November 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Oh Ken, I think you should visit Austin where entrepreneurialism is one of the largest source of employment and almost everyone is liberal (and “Palin” is a cuss word). So, if instead of a real estate conference, you went to a conference of Austin startups, you’d fit right in!

  4. Tim Wilson

    November 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Ken,

    I am not sure that I would mention politics in that situation, if only because sitting through another round of their boring mantra is not a very appealing prospect to me. I just mention something about pets or sports, and leave it at that. Like a lot of Realtors, I can smile and politely get along with just about anyone. Living in a world of Realtors has really honed that skill.

    The government isn’t perfect, chiefly because it is made up of …PEOPLE. And surely I wish it was more efficient and less wasteful. But I wish the same thing for the PEOPLE running all of the corporations that I have ever worked for, too. Ever heard of “middle management”?

    I do not really like the idea of only the “popular kids in need” getting all of the help. There are some “unpopular kids” who need some, too. Whether they are pulling on my own particular heart strings, or not.

    Finally, glad to read in these comments that there are some Realtors out there who are throwing stats at you in an attempt at HONESTY, not just to bolster their claims. Very refreshing!

    Good luck, my friend!

  5. Ken Montville

    November 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Always glad to hear from Tim and Bob. You guys are the Rush and Glenn to my Keith [Olberman]

    I guess I really jumped the gun. I didn’t really mean stats as such. Missy just mentioned that “…liberals don’t give as much…” Ok, fine. My studies show conservatives “don’t give as much”. You know what? I don’t care. I just get real tired of the “I want mine. All Government is bad and the disadvantaged should help themselves” (Just a paraphrase, boys. Don’t start to hyperventilate.)

    Thanks for keeping me honest.

    Lani – thanks for the tip about Austin. I knew there had to be some progressive business people somewhere.

  6. Bob Wilson

    November 22, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Like I said Ken, generalities and stereotypes. You dont have a flippin clue about my politics, my beliefs, or my background, yet you characterize me as right wing, which you seem to believe means absent both heart and soul.

    When I was little, my parents split and i was raised by a single mom. I had my share of welfare cheese and powdered non-fat milk. I was doing my own laundry (hand me downs from the kid down the street) at the laundromat when I was seven. If it was a good week, my sis and I got a 10 cent double scoop at the ThrIfty Drug next door. I know first hand abstract poverty as do many others on here, Being disadvantaged doesn’t come with a specific party affiliation.

    My parents grew up in the Great Depression. My dad lost his dad when he was 3. My mom lost her mom when she was 13, and her dad at 19. They taught me that there are no guarantees in life. They also taught me how to be generous and unselfish. We took people in who needed a place to stay and we shared what we had. As a result, I had no idea how poor we were until I got into high school.

    I don’t know why your politics are such that you feel you have to demonize those who don’t share those beliefs. There are many on both sides of the aisle who are fantastic human beings and do things no one will ever know about, just as there are many donkeys and elephants that are dirtbags.

    You are clearly passionate about your beliefs, but do me a favor and try arguing facts instead of rhetoric. Leave that to the politicians and talking heads. You are misjudging a lot of people with your stereotypes.

    • Ken Montville

      November 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm

      OK, Bob. Let’s take you out of the equation.

      Before I started writing for Agent Genius the only thing (from a political point of view) I was reading sounded like a Limbaugh/Beck/Palin echo chamber. Government = BAD (which is kind of odd coming from political commentators whose livelihood depends on Government in any form and a former Vice Presidential candidate/Governor/Mayor).

      Yeah, there was lots of other good stuff that was apolitical – the SEO stuff, the general technology stuff, etc.. Yet, when people decided to comment (i.e., voice an opinion) it was all “bad Government this and bad Government that”. The truth is: Government is essential for the existence of a civil society as are taxes, I’m afraid.

      It seems everything I read was not level headed, fact quoting, statistic referring, rational discussion. It was knee jerk reactions to perceived wrongs fueled by the same type of generalizations and misinformation of which you accuse me.

      End of life counseling became death panels. Competition through a public option became a Government takeover.

      There was no discussion about a $3,000,000 a year CEO of AIG thumbing his nose at the Government after we, the taxpayers, literally saved their bacon. (https://industry.bnet.com/financial-services/10005103/5103/). It was OK to dole out millions in “retention” bonuses for “talent” that, in my view, were and are as bad as the predatory mortgage and loan mod scammers on the street today.

      I’m trying to bring another point of view to the table. One that is, obviously, not shared by people who have commented thus far.

      • Lani Rosales

        November 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

        I don’t know about “echo chamber” politically, but regardless, debate is only healthy when it is two sided and I’ll agree that as a group, we’ve leaned further right than left. We’re looking forward to you (Ken) making the left leaners comfortable opining, as all opinions are welcomed. Can you imagine a world where a variety of opinions were prohibited? I know that’s how it is in most blogging worlds, but it’s so unhealthy.

        Keep it up, Ken 🙂

        And Bob, we appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts as well. Thanks guys!

  7. Bob Wilson

    November 22, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Ken, I agree with the the lack of intelligent debate backed by facts when it comes to politics. It is one reason why I no longer listen to any of them on either side. I am a history buff and info and political junkie, but its gotten to the point where its all just noise.

    I am glad there is a balance of political views from an editorial perspective on AG. Free speech that is one sided (sometimes disguised as nationalism) is as dangerous as no freedom of speech at all. I appreciate debate, but both sides lose when the debate becomes just rhetoric and logic is thrown out the window.

    I believe people want to engage, but the public debate has become so Jr Highish in nature that many have just tuned out. If you can elevate the debate on your end, you will have a huge audience, even if they don’t all agree with you. You will also force them to put up or shut up.

    We probably agree on far more than you imagine.

  8. Ruthmarie Hicks

    November 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Ironically, statistically our country gives LESS to charity generally than people of other nations when based on general income. I agree with Ken, if charity based efforts were more than a drop in the bucket, there would be no need for government programs. Prior to Medicare – people who were old and sick simply DIED. That’s the way it was. No charity was there picking up the slack and although I am sure some physicians did wonderful pro-bono work for the elderly – that this was a obviously not nearly enough to stave off poverty due to illness in old age. Otherwise there would have been no need for the program in the first place.

    There are some who give more – but among the wealthiest there is far too much of the “I’ve got mine” attitude going on. Creating a new robber-baron era only made the middle class more vulnerable. Sadly, they have had the wool pulled over their eyes in thinking the social programs are the enemy. Let’s look at money being thrown at dubious wars. Let’s look at the deregulation that led to the wild-west mentality in business and on Wall Street. Let’s look at the increasing wage gap that is no longer limited to blue collar manufacturing and has now permeated the entire middle and working classes. It was the business class all along with their clever lines and wedge issues that hoodwinked the masses to its cause. But they are also responsible for throwing them off the cliff. Liberals need to call it as we see it…and sing that song LOUD AND LONG..Keep up the good work Ken. This is result of clever and careful planning on the political right. This is the end goal that Thomas Frank’s book revealed in “What’s the Matter with Kansas.”

    Interesting quote below from that book:

    “The anthropologists caution us in their sober way about a recipe for growth that blandly accepts a permanent impoverished class, but people of Mission Hills (high end neighborhood in Kansas) are unfazed. They may be to polite to say it out loud but they they know that poverty rocks. Poverty is profitable. Poverty makes stocks go up and labor come down.”

  9. Joe Spake

    November 26, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Ken, I try not to deal directly with politics, nor do I label myself a liberal, but I think it is pretty obvious from the content that I share that I, too, am a liberal. It is unfortunate that in the USA, thanks to the constant wall of right wing propaganda on the airways, liberals are viewed as the enemies of the people.

    Social media lets us be ourselves (unless we develop some unrealistic, unsustainable, fake persona), and our audience can take it or leave it. I know that the clients that come to me through social media have already pre-qualified me and we start our relationship with common interests and ideas. So I get to work with folks I like and I don’t have to listen to the right-wing diatribe.

  10. Tyler Webb

    December 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

    This discussion is silly. We have reached a point in our society that your politics is more important than your professionalism and knowledge. I had a lady refuse to do business with us because she heard that I was a partner in a law firm that was lead by a prominent democrat many years ago . . . she is an ardent conservative. I laughed and noted she hired an agent more to her political liking . . . I have forgotten more about real estate that that agent knows. Silly!

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