He Who Makes the Rules, Reaps the Gold

Ideally, public servants should be selfless and live by the rules that they make. Knowing human nature tells us that rarely does this occur.

This principle is a corollary to He Who has the gold, makes the rules.

When I was a kid, my cousin Bill was four years older than me, and I had great times on our grandparents’ farm. We fished, shot 22’s, played games, and had great times.

We both had brothers that were about three years younger than me. Typical of older brothers, we didn’t allow them to hang out with us. That denial made them want to play with us more than ever.

On one trip to the farm, poor weather forced us to play board games in the house due to the weather. Bill brought a Monopoly game, and the contest was on.

Our brothers begged over and over to include them in the game. After a long while, our boredom from playing with each other increased.

That’s when we hatched our plan.

We invited our brothers to join us, and they gleefully obliged. Little did they know what they had signed up for that day.

When Bill and I moved our pieces, we added properties and houses and hotels to our already held properties. When my brother Jerry and cousin Mike moved, we modified the rules to hurt them and help us.

Over and over, we changed the rules for our benefit.

For the longest time, they had no clue what was happening to them. Our brothers were content to be in the game. As the game progressed, Bill and I were more successful, and Jerry and Mike went to the poor house.

I didn’t understand the analogy then but later realized the benefit of consistent and fair rules of life and business. When governments change laws too quickly, families and businesses suffer because they live and operate by the previous regulations.

Like our Monopoly game, politicians, lobbyists, and business people who know of rule and law modifications ahead of time can take advantage of the changes while people who are unaware pay the price.

As James Madison said so well, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Our federal government was designed to limit an individual’s power by providing checks and balances. Unfortunately, people have corrupted the design over time for individual gain.

Therefore, since He Who Makes the Rules Reaps the Gold, We, the People need to be insistent on the highest ethics in government and business, be ever vigilant for system abuses, and strictly penalize those who prey on us by manipulating laws and rules for their personal benefit.

None of us can do it alone. The question for each of us is, what can I contribute to restricting individual’s abuse of the rules in governments, businesses, and our personal lives?

Excerpted from Conquering Life’s Course: Common Sense in Chaotic Times — 2019

© Richard V. Battle


2020 and 2021 have seen unprecedented power grabs by politicians at all levels of government and from all parties. Using the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic, the people’s compassion and confidence in their representatives enabled the transfer of individual liberty to politicians not seen before in our history.

Previously, in wartime, pandemic, and depression, government directors seized additional power to navigate mortal threats to our country and people. Fortunately, leaders returned most of the increased authority to the people fearing their political mortality if they didn’t do so.

The question for us in the middle of 2021, as politicians use the most convenient measurement (percentages) to stoke fear into the public for another COVID surge, and re-initiate rules to restrict public movement, is how we respond.

While the public consented to the “14 days to flatten the curve” rules, which stretched on for months, I think their response to new movement limitations will be significantly different.

Skepticism of the news, statistics, and effects of COVID are much higher than early in 2020. Contradictory messages, flip-flops, and the perception of partisan political maneuvers have increased government distrust to stratospheric levels.

Incessant messages, first encouraging, then incentivizing, and now threatening coercive action to have more people take the vaccine, have decreased the public’s confidence in authorities, the vaccine, and who may be profiting from its adoption. Politicians using their power in the face of current resistance may find themselves looking for a new career after the next election.

Do you find yourself less trusting of the government these days?

Does it affect your opinion in all matters, or merely on COVID-19?

Will you ever trust the government again?

What will leaders have to do to earn your trust again?

“He who makes the rules reaps the gold,” but they who are playing the game won’t continue to do so unless they believe they have an opportunity to win.

© 2021 — Richard V. Battle




Richard V. Battle is a business consultant, speaker and the award winning author of seven books including his latest Navigating Life’s Journey.

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Richard V. Battle

Richard V. Battle

Richard V. Battle is a business consultant, speaker and the award winning author of seven books including his latest Navigating Life’s Journey.

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