It’s Official: Self-Reliance is a Vanishing Aspiration
Most of us prefer being around like-minded people. We know there is a wide diversity of opinions and personal priorities in the world and we openly accept the full spectrum of humanity.
But the reality is we feel most at home and congenial when we engage in conversation, enterprise, and leisure with people who share our ethics and appreciate the same elements of good character.
For my part, I enjoy being around people who value self-reliance, productive work, personal independence and individual autonomy. I could talk for hours about the magnificent value of human freedom over servitude and the treasure trove that comes from individual creativity instead of mass conformity.
This is why, as a non-American, I was so completely sold on the American values of 1776 and emigrated as soon as I could. America was the first place in the history of the world where the State played a clear statutory role beneath the individual, instead of the other way around.
That was the promise in America; live here and the State will stay off your back and you can thrive and prosper to the limits of your own work ethic and talents. Soon enough, that simple premise gave rise to the greatest wealth creation in the history of civilization and America became an order of magnitude more prosperous that many countries that existed for several centuries, and even a millennia in some cases.
Unfortunately there is a prescient quotation that is confusingly attributed to Tocqueville, Macaulay, and Tytler but nonetheless is very apt today: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
Sadly, that day showed itself in bold relief in a poll taken by NBC News / Wall Street Journal. I read this article about it:
It reveals that today 57% of Americans polled want “more government in their lives.”
I could weep.
You could argue that 250 years ago zero percent of Americans wanted that. (Which is why they came across an ocean.)
Lamentably, today most Americans want less independence, less self-reliance, and less personal freedom! They want more Big Brother, more Nanny State, more authoritarianism.
They actually believe the centuries old lie that without a Chieftain, Pharaoh, King, or President they could not be as well off.
They believe the lie that without having 40-50% of their lifetime production siphoned away to the ruling class they could never have the comforts they have. So they want more taken from them – they want more government.
In 1776 the public knew that was BS. They knew they didn’t need a King. They knew they could run things themselves.
Today it seems like only a few of us know that independence works. Only a few of us can look at a Venezuela, Soviet Union or Mao’s China and see where total reliance on the State leads.
In the face of this economic and social trend many will run to the State’s public trough and find a way to get some of the largess before things really fall apart. Those aren’t my ‘like-minded’ people.
My ‘like-minded’ people are the ones who know that imploring a politician to increase their income or find them a job is an exercise in futility and disappointment. Whereas making a personal plan to do the same from your own work ethic and determination will pay off infinitely faster.
Question: “Who can double your income faster: You? Your Congressman? Or the Fed Chairman?
Who is better positioned to reduce your taxes? Find a better place for you to live? Improve your medical insurance? Deliver a healthier environment and lifestyle? Provide deeply meaningful work?
Most of us with the gumption can do all the above inside of a year. Did Clinton, Bush, or Obama do any of those for you in twenty-four years? Will Trump double your income? Please.
Put your energy where it can do you some immediate and significant benefit.
It’s getting harder to find people who have the desire and drive to improve their lives through self-reliance and a love of personal freedom. Even in the one country that was founded on those ideals.
But we’re still out there.
If you want to be part of our like-minded circle you’d be very welcome as a member. I’d love to help you build the independent life politicians want to take away from you in order to buy more votes from the folks who don’t share our values.
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