Where we are today.
Many Americans no longer view those who have created much wealth by producing much value for others as models that help the rest of us see what excellence means and what is possible. Americans today tend not to view the successful as sources of inspiration.
For more than 75 years, growing numbers of Americans have come to view those who create much wealth by producing much value for others with envy. In the classic, Aristotelian sense of the word, they experience pain at the sight of others’ success.
And let us be clear: Every form of collectivism, whether it be labelled “progressivism,” “democratic socialism,” “communism,” or any other -ism, is rooted in envy. Every form of collectivism opposes the idea of individual freedom and private property, in the final analysis. Every form of collectivism prefers universal poverty and equal misery over the inequalities of success, wealth creation, and choices that are inseparable from free societies.
While many modern Americans don’t want to be among those who create much wealth by producing much value for others, nonetheless they want to have what the wealthy have. For more than 75 years, it has been bothering them, deeply, emotionally, morally, that others have things they do not.
More, those who have not created wealth by producing value for others actually think they are entitled to have what others enjoy, what others have invented, what others produce, offer for trade, and deliver. If someone has something, by golly, many Americans today insist that everyone is entitled to have it, too. And the question of who, then, is obligated to produce and provide what others are entitled to, is never to be raised or discussed. It does not matter. The only thing that matters is that some do not have what others do. Period.
The fact that some do not have and do not enjoy what others have and enjoy has fueled not mere anger, but raw hatred toward those who create much wealth by producing much value for others.
For more than 75 years, politicians have been saying openly, publicly, that successful entrepreneurs and profitable businesses are great threats to the American people, stoking the fires of class hatred.
Listen to how many Americans today spit the word “profit” from their mouths with contempt and moral disgust. Among the most effective public insults one can hurl at another, today, is to accuse the other of being “rich.”
The envy, sense of entitlement, and hatred that has been growing in the United States for more than 75 years has led to a culture of mutual civic distrust. Citizens no longer trust one another, especially if the others are business owners, property owners, or anyone discontent with the quality of life that some insist is all they “need.”
Many citizens today are thoroughly convinced that their fellow citizens, if left alone, if not regulated, taxed, and controlled day in and day out, will hurt others, cheat others, steal from others, defraud others.
So, instead of trusting ordinary fellow citizens, many Americans declare and advocate for the idea that the only people worthy of trust are those in positions of government power over our lives. There is no limit to the ways that many Americans demand other Americans be regulated, subsidized, or both, by government bureaucrats and politicians. There is only one logical conclusion: have those in government control everything.
In other words, people in government with the power to confiscate our private property, legally, and to command how we use the property they allow us to keep, and even put us behind bars or execute us—all backed by the power of law—should be trusted without question or doubt. But ordinary citizens who have no legal power to take anyone’s property or control anyone in any way, should not.
RESULTS DON’T MATTER
Government being what it is—the monopoly on legalized force that simply takes what it wants because it never has to persuade a customer to agree with what it is selling—it typically fails at almost everything it attempts. Government programs almost never produce the results that are promised by the politicians who market those programs to voting constituents. (Except war, widespread death, and destruction. Governments are quite good at producing those results.)
Domestic government programs almost always are inefficient, counterproductive, cost far more than the original price tag offered to the public, open the door to cronyism and other forms of corruption, penalize those who are trying to compete honestly in open markets, stagnate innovation and invention, and incentivize idleness and associated social pathologies including many forms of abuse and dependency.
And are always funded by spending other people’s money. Always.
Yet, for more than 75 years, growing numbers of Americans have simply ignored the results of government programs—they pretend (or actually believe) results don’t matter when it comes to government policies, programs, subsidies, and regulations—because those in government, allegedly, are the only ones worthy of widespread civic trust.
CALL TO ACTION
If you have read this far, all of the above is what we are trying to change at Speakeasy Ideas and our sister organization, Upward Business Academy. It is why I created these organizations. The challenge is not small. It’s daunting, in fact. Still, the effort is both necessary and good. Some might even say noble, if that old fashioned word is still used. I hope you will follow and support our work. Sign up for our free newsletter. If you are ready to do something, to take action, click on the “Contact Us” page and send us a note. Thank you.