I keep trying to write but things keep happening. And in the meantime, topics get moved or lost or lose relevance. However, one question that I keep coming back to is: “Have we crossed the point of no return?”
Has the United States become effectively another country than it was even thirty years ago, different in fundamental ideas and assumptions about what even made America the world power it became? Can we return?
This question may seem like a turning back the clock question, and maybe it is, but the question is vital. If we are a new country using new assumptions on governance and we cannot turn back, the future looks very different.
The assumptions that built this nation of freedom and liberty and the ability to pursue success drove our industry and wealth to levels never seen before in the history of the world, especially as it pertained to a middle class. We developed a level of comfort for most everyone never before seen. Yes, there were poor persons, but the ratio of wealthy to middle class to poor was far favored the number of wealthy and middle class. What drove this was a desire to earn more by individual American citizens. Working hard and pushing oneself to earn more and provide more was just something people did; few expected to be given anything accept a chance. The assumption was that work was required and that assumption was primary.
Now, I am not sure that assumption exists as the primary. When I look out in the affairs of American men and women, I see not a primary rush to work, but a primary rush to ensure equality. The assumption has shifted from working to expecting to be treated a certain way, and therefore being given certain things.
The work required to succeed has been supplanted by the grievance that all should be equal. Does this mean people won’t work? No, I don’t think that is the case. I believe people are still willing to work, but before they work, they want recognition that they are equal. This hampers work and distorts the paths to success, and yes, though most still work, a new population has come to expect to be given wealth and comfort apart from work.
This shift has disastrous long term effects on the nation’s ability to provide the levels of comfort we created in the 19th and 20th centuries. We cannot provide the levels of comfort this new population seeks if we do not have the motivated persons to create the wealth to begin with. Yet, the motivated are now decried for the motivation that gives them the wealth.
Have we gone too far in this new direction to return? I believe we can still return, but there is going to be a lot of pain to get there, as people face the reality of true poverty. The hope is that as they experience this pain they recognize what works and that wealth and poverty truly do not discriminate. Currently, I am not as hopeful as I should be that they will learn this lesson.
Should I be more optimistic about these prospects?