Listeners of The Human Action Podcast and Radio Rothbard sometimes remark on the intro and outro music from heavy metal band Megadeth.
Fans of this genre are very familiar with both the band and its founder, legendary guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine is well-known among both fans and his musical colleagues as a highly skilled technical guitarist who composes remarkably complex and unique songs. Guitar World ranks Mustaine sixth in its listing of the top one hundred metal guitarists of all time. His talent and commercial success are undeniable, especially given his career of nearly forty years in a very tough and cutthroat industry.
Yet fans and even music critics might not know Mustaine is almost entirely self-taught. He has not studied music theory, and does not read music or use guitar tablatures. In fact, during a recent interview, Mustaine discussed his collaborative relationship with bandmate and fellow guitarist Kiko Loureiro. Loureiro, in contrast to Mustaine, studied music theory, piano, and classical guitar from a young age in his native Brazil. Thus, at a fan workshop they attended together, Loureiro was able to describe the dynamics, keys, tempos, and articulation of a particular Megadeth song using the specific language of music theory—to Mustaine’s good-natured but somewhat bewildered amusement.
As Loureiro told Blabbermouth magazine:
You have to understand that people are different,” he continued. “A creator can play something and just imagine the mountain, the sea, the hell, a war—imagine things, those sounds. He can relate that riff to a machine gun or can relate that riff to a bomb exploding, in the case of MEGADETH. But he can play a chord and imagine the mountain, the sun, sailing—whatever. So some people are like this. Some other people, they need the theory—they need the names, they need the things organized to make sense. So that’s why some people really relate to the theory and love theory. I love theory. Some other people don’t feel they need theory to compose, to create, because it’s all about imagination. And, of course, the basic stuff they might know—”Oh, this is a major chord,” “This is a minor chord,” “This is the name of the notes, like E, A, D,” but in the end, it really doesn’t matter as well.
So, does Dave Mustaine use theory? No, he doesn’t.
We all recognize this phenomenon from our own experience: some people have to know and understand the whys of any endeavor while some people focus on the hows. And often the latter group is far better at execution, in business or otherwise, simply because they focus more intently on end results. They get out of their own way and have a strong, demonstrated aptitude for action over introspection.
As Dave Mustaine puts it when describing his guitar playing and songwriting: “I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know what it is that I’m doing.”
This surely is true of countless entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, athletes, parents, and successful people in all walks of life! They may have no formal training, education, credentials, or theoretical grounding in their chosen professions but succeed by doing—through a bias for action. Mustaine’s key insight, shared intuitively by such people, is a relentless focus on results rather than process. This is a vital trait common to all successful entrepreneurs.
The opposite is true of bureaucratic minds, whether in government or private companies. The work itself, rather than the end result or goals, becomes the whole focus. And so it expands to fill an allotted time, such as a forty-hour workweek or a preset product deadline. In bureaucracies, a managerial mindset grows and dominates. Credentialism and seniority become the path to advancement and raises, rather than demonstrated contributions to the bottom line. As a result of this process focus, both customers (or constituents) and employees are worse off in the long run.
The price and—more importantly—the value of any good or service are not determined by cost, labor, or some mysterious inherent quality. This key insight of Austrian economics—that value is subjective and marginal, something to be experienced by the consumer and facilitated by the entrepreneur—indirectly or subconsciously informs the work of all successful businesses. And thus a relentless customer focus—in keeping with Mises’s concept of “consumer sovereignty”—is a mainstay of the business training available on our Economics for Business platform.
The value of Dave Mustaine’s music ultimately is determined by fans, experiencing it through their own highly subjective and individual aesthetic preferences. Mustaine’s genius, both from a musical and business perspective, lies in taking his talents and drive for musical expression and creating value through a focus on results. For Mr. Mustaine and countless successful entrepreneurs, how matters more than why.
These are the leaders Christians need.
Not properly credentialed professionals from the right schools, but men who know how to expand the Kingdom of God, how to bind the assembly of God together, and direct them to victory – internal and external.
What is victory?
Victory is the expansion of the Kingdom of God, in time and on earth.
What is the Kingdom of God?
The kingdom of God is incompatible with the dualistic/pietistic worldview, and since that worldview dominates the life of the Church, this is why the Church cannot define kingdom of God or actually realise it in any realistic or coherent way. The best the Church does is merely to realise aspects of it. But the Church never gets beyond this. Of course one of the main problems as to why this is the case is the dominance, indeed the very existence, of the clergy, but I will go into that in a future article.
So what is the kingdom of God?
The kingdom of God is a counter revolutionary prophetic social order structured by the covenant of grace—the true society that God intends for mankind. This social order is what all Christians are commanded to seek now, on earth, first, before all else. It is not something that we merely look forward to in the resurrection, but something we are to seek to make a reality on earth now. Without this being the central goal of our life the assemblies of Christians, i.e. the Church, becomes merely a Christian mystery cult—which alas is what has happened today. Therefore, the most important thing we are to seek as Christians in this life is the establishing of this social order as a real community, a real society. Nothing else in our life comes before this according to Jesus, since he tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Righteousness means justice, not piety. But please note that the Church is only part of this kingdom, not the whole of it, and it is the usurpation of the kingdom by the clergy, who are predominantly dualistic cult builders, that has caused and continues to cause such problems for the building of the kingdom, and has reduced the kingdom to the Church, over which the clergy exercise control. In other words the kingdom is reduced to a Christian mystery cult, with the result that it becomes ineffective as the real agent for the transformation of the world, which is what it should be.