By Douglas V. Gibbs
The early colonists to America were families not trained in the art of survival. Yet, knowing the dangers, they crossed the ocean and landed on a foreign shore where the landscape was yet to be tamed. Some didn't even survive the arduous journey across the Atlantic. In Jamestown, of the first 500 brave spirits to try their hand in a new land, only 60 survived.
Separated by an ocean from Europe, the American Colonies had to learn to produce for themselves. Some of it came from trial and error, and some of it came from knowledge passed to them by the local Indians. All of it came from hard work, self-reliance, and acting responsibly. From the very beginning the Spirit of Americanism was there. This nation would become a beacon of freedom because of the hard work ethic of the people, for in this land of opportunity, if one worked hard enough, persistent enough, and long enough, anything was possible.
Fathers taught their sons the importance of a hard day's work, and the government was restrained by the Constitution so that the people could keep more of what they earned. As a result, we prospered. Anyone could be an entrepreneur if they dared fight that fight. Others were content with being an employee. Others became farmers and service providers. Inventions began pouring out of this nation. Innovation was abound. The opportunities in this nation provided incentive to "go for it," and many did.
Success is not an easy thing to achieve, and not everyone makes it. Only 2% of new businesses survive in the long run. Some of those failed entrepreneurs hang up their dreams and become an employee somewhere, while others try, try again. It is your choice to go for it, or not. It is your choice to learn from the failures, or quit. It is your choice to make money for yourself, or make money for someone else. That is the freedom of America. And it doesn't matter where you started, the economic classes are not fixed. We don't have a caste system. Dr. Ben Carson is a great example of that, becoming a successful neurosurgeon after very humble beginnings. Like Carson, and Herman Cain, there is a number of other successful professionals and business owners in this nation that became who they are not because of government, but because of the American Spirit.
Since some people do not reach the upper heights of success, and therefore never come close to achieving any kind of wealth, there are those out there who believe we have a failed system, and that it is unfair. They see failures in a society as proof that the system must somehow be slanted towards a lucky few. They believe also that money is finite, so if there is someone at the top reaching the pinnacle of success, someone is suffering at the bottom because of it (hence, the phrase, "The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer"). To make everything fair, these people reason, we must make sure the rich, success folks have some of their riches taken away, and handed down to the people at the bottom. They don't need all that money, reasons the liberal left. And if they refuse to hand out money to those that are less fortunate, than it must be the job of the government to do it by force.
This kind of redistribution of wealth has materialized into entitlement programs. And of late, the growth of these programs has been staggering. The number of people receiving food stamps, and other government assistance programs, has grown to the point that nearly 50% of the people in this nation receive some kind of aid from the government.
What is worse is that the Spirit of Americanism, which includes hard work, self-reliance, and personal responsibility, is dying. The younger generation does not see this as the land of opportunity, and they don't see how their drive for anything could result in success, and ultimately a comfortable life when it comes to the financial end of things. They have been taught that there is no need to "go for it," because the government will take care of them. Life is full of chances for easy money, these people think, so why take the risks, or engage in such hard work, to chase after the slim chance of becoming successful? And that is why also the Lottery is so popular, as well as less-than-moral actions to "take" from those that are richer than they. It is a lot easier to try and get rich through the lottery, or insurance fraud, or suing some rich guy, than it is to work for it.
If the government can take from the rich, they reason, why can't they?
An example of this mentality exposed itself to a friend of mine who is a fellow truck driver. What we drive during the week is called a "transfer." Transfers are used to deliver sand and gravel products. From the front the trucks we drive looks like any other big rig on the road, but once you get a side view, you realize they are quite different. The truck portion is a lot like a dump truck. A hook in the back attaches to a draw bar which is attached to a trailer that is designed a lot like a little red wagon like you had as a kid (except the sides go much higher). When the truck arrives on a job site where they are to dump, the trailer is disconnected, and the truck is used to dump the material in its "box." After emptying the truck box, the truck returns, and the box on the trailer can be transferred into the truck box. Then, after dumping out the material in the trailer box, the box can be transferred back onto the trailer frame, and then the draw bar can be reconnected and the truck can go along its merry way.
Because the trailer box is to be transferred into the truck box, the trailer sits much higher than trailers of regular big rigs. I can easily, by simply ducking, walk under the frame of the trailer. This height is necessary to be able to transfer the box, and creates a need to be a little more careful when taking turns. The higher center of gravity enables the potential for the trailer tipping over if turns are taken at too high of a rate of speed.
After dumping his material at a university in the Los Angeles area, my friend was reconnected, and on his way out of the zone. College students were everywhere. Some of the crosswalks near the campus actually has a moment where all lights are red, and the pedestrians can cross diagonally as well, if that is more convenient for them. At one such intersection, as he planned to make a turn, the driver noticed one of the students, with a bike, doing something queer.
As the trucker made his turn, the kid on the bike moved his wheel forward so that the tires on the back axle of the trailer would make contact with the bike. The driver immediately hit his brakes, swung open his door, and yelled, "What the [expletive] are you doing?"
The young man on the bike, caught in the act, immediately withdrew his tire, and rode his bike away from the scene rapidly.
It doesn't take a scholar to realize what the potential "victim" was trying to do. Even with the risk of harm to himself, he was going to allow the trailer tires to run over the front wheel of his bike with him still on the seat, and then sue the trucking company for enough to live comfortably for the rest of his life.
From the point of view of these folks, the big, bad corporations are swimming in money. In fact, they have so much money that the government is going after these greedy corporations with punitive taxation. Since these companies have so much money, why not get in on the action themselves? I am guessing that is what the young man with the bike probably reasoned. And who cares about ethics? Morality is out the window. It is a pluralistic society. As far as this kid was concerned, there was nothing wrong with what he was doing because the evil corporations were doing more harm than him. What would a few hundred thousand dollars be to such a large corporation, anyway?
Of course, the boy probably never considered that the driver would lose his job, and ultimately his driving career, his family would suffer, and that the small trucking company that is already barely making it because of all of the draconian regulations by the government, may be put out of business over this, leaving for the bigger corporations, that the young man hates so much, less competition.
"Who cares?" these people think. "It's easy money, and we deserve it. Obama says so. It was taken from us by the evil rich."
Or as one member of the opposition told me, "Tax rich whitey. It ain't racist to make the wealthy white man suffer."
Indeed. After all, it ain't fair, right?
-- Political Pistachio
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