Work Hard

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This
is a time when many of us are making wishes and resolutions for
the New Year. Before I tell you my wish let me provide a little
background by contrasting today's theory of how things work with
what we believed in the past.

On
September 21, 1939, a CBS radio station recorded its daily broadcast
from sunrise to sunset. These radio recordings were placed in a
time capsule to be opened in the year 2000. In the magazine article
where I read about the content of these recordings, I was first
struck by the similarities with today: soap operas, baseball games,
game shows, news programs and, of course, commercials. But I also
noticed differences and one item particularly grabbed my attention.

At
the end of his regular radio show, famous comedian Joe E. Brown
gave this advice to students: "Work hard at your studies. That's
the only way you'll ever amount to anything." The writer of
the article said this about Brown's comment: "He seems to feel
that if you amount to nothing, it might be your own fault. In 1939
this strange idea was widespread."

In
the decades since 1939, we have moved away from the concept of individual
responsibility. Our current theory is that success or failure is
a result of social conditions. Those who don't succeed are simply
held back by the biases of a cruel society.

Can
you imagine anyone today making a public comment like Brown's? If
a television entertainer made such a public statement, the flood
of complaints that followed would surely force a public apology
and probably cause sponsors to cancel their support.

In
1939, an employee who failed to get a promotion or salary increase
might have tried to improve their job performance or, possibly,
look for another job. Today, they would file a grievance with a
government agency. And, because a large segment of the population
has bought the theory that citizens are simply pawns moved about
by societal conditions, the Federal government has been able to
implement so many controls on private companies as well as special
preference programs, that it has essentially become a wet-nurse.

If
people can be made to believe social conditions have more power
than individual effort, their motivation as well as their work ethic
diminishes. To make matters worse, our politically correct, non-judgmental
philosophy provides them a rationalization for sloth. Their increased
dependence on the state gives the state even more power over their
lives as well as ours. Thus more freedoms are lost.

The
feeling of individual responsibility empowers people whereas dependence
on others debilitates them. Only the self-reliant can experience
the gratification and pride that come from knowing one's achievements
resulted from one's own efforts.

So
my wish for the New Year is that we begin to scrap the "cruel
society" alibi and wean people away from a maternal Federal
government. I admit that this is a far-fetched wish but if enough
voices join together, it may be attainable.

December
31, 2001

Gail
Jarvis [send
him mail
] is a CPA living in
Beaufort, SC, an unreconstructed Southerner, and an advocate of
limited government.

LRC

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