The American Way: Count On Plain Citizens to Know More Than the Experts!


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About three years ago I was conversing with a very smart gentleman, originally from the Middle East. He had held high government posts in that part of the world.

At one point he disclosed that he had been one of Saddam Hussein’s professors.

“How did he do?” I asked, being a professor myself.

“I flunked him, ” he grinned.

We went on to talk about his ambitious plans to build a company in Iraq after the war ended, which he believed was imminent after the “fall” of Baghdad.

With great conviction he noted how there would be opportunities galore in the nascent democracy.

I was dubious, and I predicted it was going to be a mess over there for some time; very unstable, and by no means a safe haven for capital, of which this fellow had plenty; having been a successful investor over the years.

He retorted that “The U. S. will be there, permanently” and it will be the guarantor of smooth business activity.

Surprisingly, on most points he was off the mark, and sadly, I was much closer to it with my predictions.

How can that be?

He grew up there, was intimately connected to its folkways, and he was a very savvy businessperson. In short, he was the expert and I the amateur, yet I got it right.

That seems odd, doesn’t it?

Having earned a handful of degrees and several licenses and certifications, I’m used to respecting experience and credentials, and he possessed them. Still, he and numerous politicians, military professionals and investors have been flummoxed by the state of things in Iraq.

I contend that most Americans have been ahead of the curve in calculating the risks of the Iraq deployment. I’m not alone and I’m not clairvoyant.

The Founding Fathers of America placed their bets on non-experts, on plain citizens to decipher the best path for the country, politically, militarily, and economically. The Commander In Chief is a civilian and we have no monarch, because of our bedrock belief in the superiority of common sense and enlightened self-interest over the pronouncements of experts.

Now, as we move into midterm elections, incumbents are shouting, “We know more than you do about our enemies and our national interests. Defer to us; let us exercise our insiders’ judgment instead of following yours!”

Do you believe them?

If so, I know someone who needs to unload a nice little investment in Baghdad, and I’m sure he’d love to hear from you!

Best-selling author of 12 books and more than 800 articles, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered a foremost expert in telephone effectiveness, customer service, and sales development. A top-rated speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at: .


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