Getting Business Done: A Code for Virginians


seal_of_virginia.png The Commonwealth of Virginia is a terrific state to do business.

Alert Readers and my students well know the bias of Your Business Blogger(R) has toward Virginia — a talented labor pool, low taxes, and a right to work state (re: employees don’t have to join a union).

Virginia has had a business friendly culture since the county’s founding. A few decades ago the beliefs were memorialized.

Sic Semper Tryannis

Thus Always to Tyrants

A Code for Virginians

Developed by a special committee of the Virginian State Chamber of Commerce and adopted by the membership in annual session at Roanoke on April 9, 1942


Virginia was the scene of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. In its colonial legislative halls the fundamental principles of a new democracy were developed. Here the pattern of a government for a free people was evolved.

Patrick Henry sounded the keynote of the Revolutionary War. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Deceleration of Independence. George Washington led the army that made the formation of the United States a possibility. James Madison fathered the Constitution. George Mason’s Virginia Bill of Rights. Here in Virginia was launched the struggle for freedom that gave birth to a new government conceived and fostered by the sons of its soil.

It is fitting, then, that we who enjoy and seek to preserve the benefits that our forefathers provided for us, should reaffirm our faith in the principles upon which this nation was founded. We should pledge our support and dedicate ourselves, our institutions, our organizations, and our individual businesses to the principles whose adoption has brought our nation and our people to be the exemplars and leaders of the civilized world.

Since a system of free enterprise is not based upon any fundamental human right, the obligation rests upon our conduct of business that under this system the public welfare is best served.

To Virginians and Virginia institutions has come the opportunity to raise anew the battle cry of freedom, to crystallize into fulfilling action the tenets that have made of this a promised land. They who gave to us this priceless heritage will not sleep if we who now enjoy it let it slip from our grasp.

[Free enterprise may not be based on an enumerated right, but capitalism is Biblically based. The Commandment Thou shall not steal is a protection for private property and that property can only change hands — legally — with a willing buyer and seller.]

That we may express our faith in and pledge our support of our system of private enterprise the following code has been adopted by the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce to be displayed by all its members and proclaimed to the people pf this state and nation.

1. Business in all its forms, in all its activities, must command the respect, confidence, and support of the public and its own personnel. to this end it must keep its own house in order. only through the adoption and self-enforcement of ethical standards of conduct can business justify the right to freedom of action. By this means business can minimize the need of governmental regulation.

[Any human behavior needs to be protected from evil. Many cultures use government. We are blessed with self-government with self-regulation…enforced not with brute government, but with ‘intermediating institutions’ — associations between citizens and government.]

2. The privilege of doing business in Virginia is freely acquired. It is a license to serve which imposes obligations upon business to deal fairly, openly, and honestly with the public, the employee, the investor, and the government.

[Virginia has low taxes and low barriers to entry to open a business.]

3. Laws regarding business should be based on the principle of guaranteeing freedom of action to all. They should prevent the abuse of power. Fulfillment of the statutes in spirit as well as in letter in an obligation of business.

[President Jefferson said that the purpose of government is to restrain evil — not to do good.]

4. The freedom enjoyed by individuals in a democracy imposes commensurate obligations, applying equally to those engaged in business, professional, and governmental activity. All business enterprises, enjoying rights guaranteed to persons, must recognize the same obligation as are required of the individual.

5. The foundations of our established form of government rest upon the preservation of the fundamental, inalienable rights of the individual expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States of America. These rights can best be preserved under a system of free enterprise.


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