Sunday, May 06, 2007

Crossing Borders

I am going to post this here instead of my political blog simply because I want to.

I was recommended to the movie The Pursuit of Happyness a while back and immediately went out, got it, and enjoyed every bit of it. What I enjoyed most was the statement it made (even if inadvertantly) toward the benefits of the society in which we live.

For those who have not yet seen it, other than my recommending it to you (and I'll try not to put any spoilers in here), the story is a true one of a man who is in dire straits with a negative income and a wife who leaves him because of this downward spiral which she sees as his life. He sees oportunity, seizes it, is beaten soundly about the head neck and shoulders by life, and turns it all around. My point behind all of this is that he did this with no help from the government. No mandated handouts, no tax loopholes, no social contract with America. He makes it with sheer determination, and the natural charity of private organizations and individuals.

THIS is capitalism. THIS is America at its finest. An America without opressive governmental regulation (which would have probably taken his son away long ago had they been privy to the conditions in which he was living.)

The America I live in is of this premise. You do not need the Government to mandate the social structure of the people. Equality in America does not mean everyone has the same amount of stuff, it means we are all endowed with the same opportunities. Don't give a man a fish, teach him to fish.

If we as Americans expand our government social programs to give more money to families with meager incomes, what have we done? Patched a hole? Sure, in some cases we have. I'll admit there are some families who use these programs only for a short time until they are back on their feet and then go on to do great things. The movie Cinderella Man comes to mind... also a great story of determination and self sacrifice. The main character uses only what he needs from one of these programs during the Great Depression and in the end, pays it all back to the penny. But what are we creating by virtue of this government charity? How many families become so dependent on this handout that they miss opportunity staring them in the face? It becomes easier to get the handout than it is to apply themselves. It breeds decay. It slowly destroys the inner drive and the successful spirit inside everyone.

Everyone has the chance to succeed here. Sure it might be easier in some regard for those "with" than it is for those "without", but neccessity being the mother of invention, are there not more opportunities for those without?

I remember an interview I watched as a kid of my grandfather who grew up during the depression and hid out in libraries to avoid the truant officers because it was the last place they would look. He was told during this time, "Kid, you're going to do great things, you're going to be a success in this world if for no other reason than you've got nowhere to go but up." Now, I'm paraphrasing here, and anyone who knows my grandfather would know that he has a penchant for telling stories, but the point remains. Grab yourself by your beltloops and go. The thing holding you back is not society, its not the government, its not corporations...

The only thing holding you back is you.


Now go.


Josee said...

Speaking of goverment mandating the social structure of the people ... There was an article in today's paper about a study promoting higher taxes for men than women to promote equality in wages and participation in the work force. The researcher pointed out that the state already uses taxes to effect social change, so why not apply it further? Yikes!

I'll email you a link to the article.

maryellenlewis said...

Well said Tim. I loved the movie too. Josee, which article is this? From the Nando? I must have missed it.