What principles do you build a business on? Glenn talks to the author of 'The Go-Giver'

Before leaving for the holidays, Glenn left a book on the desk of every employee of Mercury Radio Arts and TheBlaze. It was The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. The book presents a new way of doing business, one that puts the customer front and center. Glenn plans to use The Go-Giver as a model for his company in 2015, and invited author Bob Burg onto the radio show to talk about the incredible book

Listen to the interview below at 38 minutes into today's show:

Below is a rough transcript of the segment:

GLENN: I have Bob Burg on the phone. He's the author of a book that I absolutely love. It's called The Go-Giver. I don't even know how long this thing came out.

Bob, are you on the phone. How long did you put this out?

BOB: Oh, John David Mann and I wrote this in 2007, was in the bookstores in 2008.

GLENN: Okay. So I'm right on top of things. But I read this, I don't know this fall and I'm changing my company a great deal. And someone gave this to me and said, Glenn, this is what you're trying to do with your company. You have to read it. I was so moved by this book, I bought all 300 employees, I bought everybody a copy of the The Go-Giver and gave it to them for Christmas. You know, Merry Christmas.

BOB: I cannot tell you how honored I am by that, Glenn. To have one of my heroes embrace the book like that and give it out as a gift. It's beyond being honored.

STU: Now you've lost credibility.

GLENN: Shut up. I didn't know you knew who I was. But I'm flattered. But, Bob, tell the story of this book.

BOB: It's about a young up-and-comer. Ambitious, aggressive well-meaning guy who is really frustrated. As much as he's working hard, he's very much focused on himself. He's what we would call a go taker. We love go-getters because they take action. He was a go-taker. A guy focused only on himself. Who owed what to him and everything was about him. The very valuable lesson he learned was that shifting his focus from getting to giving.

In this context, when we say giving, we mean consistently and constantly providing value to each other. It's not only a nice way to live life, it's a very profitable way as well. It's the actual ultimate embodiment of a free market-based economy. It's about liberty. People willingly buying and selling and trading with one another. If you want to be successful in a free market-based economy, you have to focus on value, on thinking more about others than yourself. Bringing value to others.

GLENN: No. Capitalism done wrong is selfish. And you will never get anywhere. In the long-run it will all end. It's the reason why Goldman Sachs has fallen so far. They used to be, let's do the right thing for the client. Even if it's the wrong thing for us in the short-term, it will be the right thing in the long-term. Let's do the right thing for the client. It becomes service oriented. And capitalism at its best, how can I make somebody's life better and easier? How can I help people? And if you truly love whoever it is that your customer is, if you truly love them --

I remember my father. He used to love watching people -- he would come out in front of the bakery. My mom would run to the bank or something, he would work the counter. I remember my father used to give taste tests all the time to people. They would come in, oh, no, you have to try this. He would cut a slice of whatever and he would give it to them because he loved watching them eat it. He loved his customer. He wanted them to be happy. That's the secret to capitalism, is love the people you're serving.

BOB: You mentioned about Goldman Sachs and others -- capitalism is the best regulator. It's the best natural regulator because it punishes the bad. Punishes those who do not care about the customer and rewards those who do. This is why John and I say, money is simply an echo of value. It's the thunder to value's lightning, which means the value must come first. One of my great Libertarian heroes Harry Brown used to say, in a free market-based economy, profit is simply the result of satisfying the need of another human being.

PAT: Bob, something we've been talking about is this new net neutrality thing they're talking about and trying to regulate the internet, which is the freest medium we have in the world today.

GLENN: Never been more free or freeing.

PAT: Never. Senator Ted Cruz has been talking a lot lately about this. And he brought up the telephone and the telecommunications act of the late 1930s. And that froze any -- any sort of innovation for about 50 years. He said, oh, yeah, we did have the major innovation of touch-tone dialing. As soon as they took those regulations off, what happened? The world was revolutionized.

GLENN: We had the answering machine, the fax machine, all that within ten years.

PAT: Cell phones. Long-distance service went away. Just unbelievably revolutionized the world. How do you get it across to people that government regulations are not the way to go? The free market is the way to go.

GLENN: With that being said, how do you get it across to people that the best deal for you, if it's not the best deal for the end user, it's not the best deal for you.

BOB: Right.

GLENN: Stop thinking so short-term.

BOB: Here's the thing: I truly believe this. The biggest challenge and the most important thing to do is to always go back to the basic premises. For example, we know that capitalism has resulted in a higher standard of living than any other system ever. Unfortunately, because of the government or the public school system or if the media, the mainstream, what have you, most people in America -- not most, but many people in America today, they confuse cronyism with capitalism.

What you were talking about earlier, you know, buying special favors from government, from these bought and paid legislators and the lobbying. So I asked people, I explain what the difference is. And I often say that, you know, to make it stick, you know, cronyism is to capitalism what -- or I should say because sometimes people will say crony capitalism and I hate that term because it misleads. But crony capitalism is to what capitalism what Chinese checkers is to checkers. Absolutely nothing.

Only when you -- you know, when you can explain to someone -- we have to do it keeping in mind their ego and keeping in mind that they're probably well-meaning in what they're thinking. They have been educated in a certain way. They have a certain worldview. As we talked about it in The Go-giver, all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to people they know, like, and trust.

First, we need to create the relationship with them where they trust us enough to say, hmm, okay, maybe I'll listen to this person and allow what they say to kind of sink in.

GLENN: So, Bob, I actually am very -- at some point I'm really pessimistic because I see people just going down this road of, you know, giving government more power and giving crony capitalists, you know, a pass time and time again. But other times, I look at the younger generation, and I think, they've never been more free. They've never had more opportunity ever in the history of the world. And I really think that the younger generation actually does get it.

They want to do -- nobody wants to go to work and just be part of a machine or a cog. They want to go to work because they want to feel like they're making a difference. They're changing something. They're doing something of value. And do you have faith that in the world as it's changing so rapidly, that without a real champion for, you know, the principles laid out in your book the go giver, that this will catch on?

BOB: No matter how much over the last 100 years, we've grown from basically a free market economy to more of a socialistic economy, no matter how much that has happened, especially of late, the entrepreneurial spirit of the American individual is so strong, that I don't think it can be denied. And that's why despite, you know, what we've seen with all the -- the business unfriendly measures that take place, the economy still continues to grow. Not like it could if capitalism was unleashed. If government fulfilled their, you know, legitimate function as article four, section four in the Constitution. Protect from force and fraud and otherwise just create the context where people can live their lives however they see fit. If that happened, of course, we would absolutely explode.

But if I think you said, the youngsters today they kind of get it and they want to be free and they know they can create. And the thing about value is when value for value is exchanged, it creates a bigger pie. It creates a pie of abundance. We don't need to redistribute a limited pie. Instead, we create a bigger pie. And that's really what I hope The Go-Giver is about. That's exactly what I believe true free market capitalism is about.

GLENN: Tell me what the big the biggest hurdle is. When people read this big, for me, it's been hardest to convince businesspeople, old, lying businesspeople that being selfless and just saying, look, you know what, I don't want to go out of business and I won't do things that hurt our company, but I'll take the hit here because it's right for them. Let's do things -- like, for instance, next year I'll give away one of my books. I'll just give it away because I know that by giving it away, it will actually become bigger. The message is more important than any money I could make on the book. So I'll just give it away. That is a hurdle to get businesspeople to say, wait. Wait. What? I need the exchange here for that.

No, you don't. You don't. You can do things differently and look for a long-term relationship of trust and decency that will far outweigh anything you can make in the short run. Is that the hardest thing to convince people of or what is the biggest hurdle?

BOB: I think the key is to act in alignment, act congruently with your values. The people that write the check for $10,000 for their local animal shelters, they're doing that because it aligns with their values. They feel better about doing that than not doing that.

I love it when people make a profit because profit helps everyone. But the key though is to make a profit by providing much more in use value than what you take in cash value.

The accountant who charges $1,000 to do someone's tax return, but through their effort, their diligence, their caring, they save that person $5,000 in taxes. They provide them with peace of mind and security, so the person who is the buyer gets much more in value than what they're paying, but the accountant is very happy to sell his or her time for a thousand dollars.

But I love the idea you're giving away the book because you also make a profit. Your profit is the joy of spreading a message that you just really love.

GLENN: In a world that is increasingly, A, you didn't build this, it was the collective that built this. And then, B, you don't deserve it, so I'll just take it. How does a book like The Go-giver make the dent?

BOB: I have to say, that was a discouraging thing to hear from our president. To actually say something like that. I was hoping that was taken out of context, Glenn.

[laughter]

GLENN: I remember when I was young and naive too.

BOB: Yeah, that was like three months ago for me. And just, you know -- when candidates -- Hillary Clinton, you know, a couple of months ago states make no mistake about it, businesses don't create job. I mean, oh, my goodness, gracious. You know what, I just hope -- and The Go-Giver has sold about 500,000 copies. And John and I both really want to just keep moving it. We really think the message of free markets, of kindness, of doing the right thing, because you're really authentically want to be part of the solution and be part of the value giving process. I speak at a lot of sales and leadership conferences, and I always within the messages of the The Go Giver want to -- I want to point out the people like John Allison, the CEO now of the Cato Institute. The Libertarian think-tank.

And John Allison for 20 years, he led BB&T. Hugely profited. One of the few, one of the few banks in the country, one of the few banks that did not participate in subprime lending, making only conventional loans. Why? Because it was contrary to the values of the bank, which was to provide value for their customers, and he knew that didn't.

He knew that the fiddling between government and the government-sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae as well as the cronyism, he knew it wasn't beneficial. He did the right thing. When the cards came crumbling down, he didn't need or want the bailout. The tax funded bailout money. Of course, they made him take it under a veiled threat. There are a lot of people doing the right thing. I want to focus on them and use them as examples of how go givers really do better.

GLENN: Bob, I'd love to have you back on television, maybe spend an hour, and you can go through the five laws. If you really want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem and you just want a new way of looking at business, I can't recommend highly enough the The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

. It's how I'm building my company and resetting things. As I said, I bought 300 copies and gave it to every employee at Christmas. The Go-giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Thank you so much, Bob, I appreciate it.

BOB: Glenn, I'm totally honored. Thanks for having me on.

GLENN: God bless. We'll talk to you again.

By July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence reached New York City, where British naval ships occupied New York Harbor. Revolutionary spirit and tension were running high. George Washington, commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the Declaration aloud in front of City Hall. The crowd cheered wildly, and later that day tore down a statue of King George III. They melted down the statue to make 42,000 musket balls for the ragtag American army.

America's separation from Great Britain was officially in writing. Now came the hard part.

The Declaration of Independence defines who we are, what we believe, and what we aspire to be. It is a mission statement. But no one said it would be easy to implement.

The Declaration was not simply an official announcement of our split from Great Britain. If it was just that, it could've been a lot shorter. It was also an announcement that we're starting a new company, and here's what we're basing it on. It didn't just declare independence — it declared principles. It declared how we were going to organize ourselves once we were out on our own, and it set up guardrails to help ensure we didn't end up like the country we were leaving in the first place.

The Founders set us up for success, but America is now fumbling it away, largely thanks to our dangerous drift from the original blueprints.

In our national discourse, it's hard to find agreement even on fundamentals like the Declaration of Independence anymore. There's no time for old-fashioned things like the Declaration when social media can fuel our outrage around the clock.

We have lost touch with our national DNA.

How often do we jump to outrage before we have any kind of perspective on a matter? In 2017, President Trump had only been in office for one month before over 100 activists rewrote a version of the Declaration of Independence, rewording it with Trump in the King George III role. Trump had been in office for a single month. The focus has shifted from unity to partisan winning at all costs. We have lost touch with our national DNA.

Our basic knowledge of the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights is so weak that we don't have a clue how they relate to each other. As of late 2017, 37 percent of Americans could not name any of our First Amendment rights. And 33 percent of Americans could not name any branch of our government.

Here's another example of our painful misunderstanding. In a Psychology Today article written before the 2016 presidential election, Dr. Mark Goulston was trying to figure out a way to understand Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This is what he came up with:

Trump represents the Declaration of Independence. Clinton represents the U.S. Constitution.

He tries to explain that Trump supporters are eager to declare their independence from the political swamp system. For the Constitution side of things, he wrote:

It [the Constitution] may have stood the test of time for so long because it was drafted following a long, costly and awful war that the founding fathers wanted to prevent from happening again. That intention possibly enabled them to create a document that was relatively free from special interests and personal agendas. [Hillary] Clinton is more like the Constitution than the Declaration of Independence and appears to be more about getting things done than declaratively taking a stand.

Besides being a completely bogus way to interpret Hillary Clinton, this comparison makes your brain hurt because it so fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution. They are not rival documents.

He says the Constitution has stood the test of time because the founders wrote it to prevent another long, costly war. What? No. It stands the test of time because it was designed to protect the “unalienable rights" of the Declaration.

He goes on to say that we need a new Constitutional Convention because, “We may just need to retrofit it to fit modern times."

This is the primarily leftist idea that America is up against today — that the founding documents worked well for their time, but that they now need an overhaul. Progressives seem to live by the motto, if it ain't broke, fix it anyway. Rather than “fixing" things, however, when we understand the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights as they already are, we discover that they still work because they're tied to universal principles, not a specific point in time.

Here's one way to think about the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. The Declaration is our thesis, or mission statement. The Constitution is the blueprint to implement that mission statement. And the Bill of Rights is our insurance policy.

Aside from the practical business of separating from Great Britain, the gist of the Declaration is that humans have natural rights granted us by God, and that those rights cannot be compromised by man. The Constitution, then, is the practical working out of how do we design a government that best protects our natural rights?

The creation of the Constitution did not give us rights. The existence of our rights created the Constitution. The Constitution just recognizes and codifies those rights, clarifying that the government does not have authority to deprive us of those rights.

The Founders were extremely paranoid about corruption and abuse of power. They designed a system to avoid as much of that as possible.

The Progressive and postmodern idea that rich white guys founded America as an exclusive country club for enriching themselves doesn't hold water. If that had been their true intent, they seriously handicapped themselves with the emphasis on rights and the checks on power that they included in these three documents. Any honest reading of the Constitution, and of the massive ratification debates that dragged on in individual state legislatures, makes one thing very clear — the Founders were extremely paranoid about corruption and abuse of power. They designed a system to avoid as much of that as possible.

Still, this Declaration-Constitution-Bill of Rights-trifecta thing is just a conservative line, right? It's just something we say because we're stuck in the past and we're in denial about the new and improved, diverse, post-gender, postmodern America, right?

As the Declaration puts it, “let facts be submitted to a candid world."

In 1839, on the 50th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as the nation's first president, the New York Historical Society invited former president John Quincy Adams to deliver a speech. As the son of John Adams, John Quincy wrote a speech about something near and dear to his — the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He said:

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, are parts of one consistent whole, founded upon one and the same theory of government… it had been working itself into the mind of man for many ages… but had never before been adopted by a great nation in practice…

Even in our own country, there are still philosophers who deny the principles asserted in the Declaration, as self-evident truths — who deny the natural equality and inalienable rights of man — who deny that the people are the only legitimate source of power – who deny that all just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed… I speak to matters of fact. There is the Declaration of Independence, and there is the Constitution of the United States — let them speak for themselves.

They can, and they do. They don't require any interpretation or updates because our inalienable rights have not changed.

Progressives and Democratic Socialists believe our rights come from the government, but the Declaration emphasizes that our rights are inalienable and are granted to mankind by God. By the way, we usually only use the word “inalienable" now when we're talking about the Declaration of Independence, so we often don't even understand the word. It means something that is not transferable, something incapable of being taken away or denied.

We don't know our founding documents anymore and we're witnessing the disastrous results of this deficiency. We've lost sight of what made the American Revolution so unique. It was the first time subjects who had colonized new lands, rebelled against the country they came from. Government by the people and for the people is a principle that changed the world. Most countries fall apart after their revolutions. We thrived because of the firm principles of the Declaration, and the protection of those principles in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's a unique system with a remarkable track record, in spite of our human frailty. But this system is not inevitable — for it to continue to work, we must understand and protect it.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).