This is a guest post by Tim.
A whole lot of us are unemployed today. If you ask the unemployed “Why?”, what would they say? They’d probably say that they are unemployed because no one will give them a job.
A woman made the news recently, and the Democratic National Convention, because she wants someone else to pay for her birth control. She can’t afford to pay for it herself, so we should give it to her for free.
Despite high pay, great benefits, summers off etc., the Chicago teachers went on strike. They felt unappreciated. Nothing is more important than our children, so we should make sure that we give our teachers everything to make them happy.
For years many on the left have wanted socialized healthcare. And we got the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Promoters of this plan brought forth the poor. “The poor cannot afford healthcare; we need to give it to them,” they said.
We’re told that global warming climate change global warming is going to ruin the planet. “Green” jobs and “green” energy are the way of the future, we’re told. They cannot compete with the established companies, so we must give them subsidies to help get them started.
General Motors and Chrysler were going bankrupt. We needed to give them huge “loans” to get them through their tough times, or else they’d go down and take thousands of jobs with them.
Many big banks were declared “too big to fail.” If we did not give them huge “loans,” then they’d go down and take our economy with them.
Women and minorities don’t have the “correct” number of jobs in certain fields. There is a “glass ceiling” holding them back. They need laws to make sure that they are given more jobs in certain fields.
Many of those who are unemployed were outraged when their unemployment benefits expired after 99 weeks. “We need those checks to live on. Give us unemployment benefits for a few more weeks,” they said.
This isn’t the attitude that built this country. Our ancestors didn’t move here in order to get stuff from others (through the government or otherwise). The West wasn’t settled because the settlers expected to get healthcare and birth control handed to them. People don’t flee countries like Cuba because they weren’t given enough “green” energy. Wealth isn’t created when successful people are forced to pay for the mistakes of the banks or auto makers.
What kind of a world do we live in when people are unashamed of demanding that other people provide things for them?
We need to get back to self sufficiency. If we keep demanding things from the people who actually create the wealth, who create the prosperity we live in, then many of them may decide to stop producing. They may decide to “go Galt.”
Ayn Rand’s famous novel couldn’t be more timely. Atlas Shrugged described a world where the people unable to take care of themselves get more, and more, and more, from those who can. She describes what happens when the people who do all of the real work decide to strike. What happens when the productive (the rich) decide to stop supporting those who cannot support themselves.
We are moving closer to that world with each new appliance law and new government program. We are moving closer to that world each time that we give up or freedom in favor of security (which we will not get) or any benefit at the expense of another.
240 years ago Benjamin Franklin saw this. He knew that people must take care of themselves and not demand to live at the expense of others.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
I listened to Rush Limbaugh for a few minutes the other day. A caller called in to talk about politics, ideology, and the biased media. He also called to say that his union, his union that was supposed to serve him, had taken half of each paycheck and had let him be fired when they ran out of work. He called to say that he had had enough with that system. He started his own company mowing lawns. He and his wife sold all that they could sell so that he could buy his equipment. And he’s now “seeing in color.” He can see now, despite the 6 licensees that he needed to get in order to mow lawns. He can see that self-sufficiency is better than living at the expense of someone else.
We need to get back to the idea of taking care of ourselves. It was our ancestors’ own strength and ancestors’ own desire that made the United States the greatest country in the world. They did it without handouts. They did it without subsidies. They did it without “green jobs.” They did it without teachers’ unions, unemployment checks, and without bailouts for the companies that fail. For the first time in history people lived for themselves, not for others, and not at the expense of others.
Humans have always been smart and always worked hard, just like the man said. Our brains are no larger today and we certainly exert ourselves at a tiny fraction of what it took to survive in previous millennia. Economic exchange has been around forever, likewise for language, communication, and invention – humans have been smart and hard working economic beings for tens of thousands of years.
And yet all of the trappings of modern living that we have come to depend on have just come into being in the past 200 years. Ask yourself why. Why did this not take place in any of the other two-century stretches in the history of our species? They were smart, they worked hard, they understood mathematics, and the iron and oil and coal was right there in the ground the whole time. What changed?
America – that’s what changed.
For the first time in the history of the world, the person who “built it” got to keep it. Liberty – that is all that it took to free the unlimited human capacity for enterprise and advance the living standards of the human race beyond comprehension.
Those of us with our own problems need to take charge of our own lives and not demand anything from anyone else.
That guy who called in to Rush said that all he needed to do was put an ad in the paper—“$25 for an average sized lawn”—and the customers came.
Don’t demand something from others. Don’t ask that others provide for you. That will not work, and it leads to death.
Provide for yourself, don’t ask that others work for you.
Tim blogs at Spootville.
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