Hard work, competition and autonomy: martyrs in search of equity
May 31, 2021 Hard work, competition and autonomy: martyrs in search of equity
Trophy for you … trophy for you … trophy for you … participation trophies for all!
It may sound familiar to T-ball and soccer parents, but sadly, this type of pampering – enacted only to avoid disappointment or defeat – has buried itself deep in the most important institutions of American civil society. It, and the premises behind it, sacrifice essentials to America’s exception and opportunity, in exchange for the comfort and illusion that everyone should succeed in everything alike, and that the only one The reason why one would not be perfectly successful is because the victim of “systemic oppression”.
Like a depressing ideology. How destructive to the American dream and to the truly successful pursuit of happiness.
Hard work, competition, and self-reliance are uniquely American and have been central to our culture – and especially our capitalist economy – throughout America’s 250-year history. This is part of the reason our country is more prosperous, has a higher standard of living, and has lifted more people out of poverty than any other major nation state in the history of the world. But recently these qualities have been sacrificed by our government leaders, business leaders, and school administrators amid calls for fairness (not equality before the law).
The United States government spends billions of taxpayer dollars on welfare benefits that disincentivize citizens to get jobs.
The University of California-Berkeley (among many others) no longer assesses test results for school admissions.
The Virginia Department of Education attempted to eliminate Math lessons to strengthen equity and inclusion.
Business meeting rooms are more concerned with the color of their skin than the quality of their contributions.
And capitalism is attack, especially since so many next-generation Americans have been falsely taught that this is an evil and selfish economic system.
What do each of these developments have in common? They make hard work fruitless.
Why work if the government will save me? Why study for this test if it doesn’t help me get into college? Why improve my math skills if it doesn’t set me apart from my classmates? Why work to advance if the country in which I live oppresses me because of my skin color? Why pursue difficult efforts when I can sing “poor me” when the others are surpassing me?
This lazy, whiny rhetoric and tale of victimization are fatal blows to a thriving society.
How did we get here?
Many political thinkers, including Stephen Soukup in his new book The dictatorship of Woke Capital, “Long march of the leftists through the institutions”. This march began after WWII in Europe, as the Marxist-influenced Frankfurt school began to poison academia. Gradually, in nearly 70 years, this left-wing collectivist ideology has infiltrated our homeland.
Universities, Hollywood, big business, the Big Tech oligarchy, and the mainstream media have each been victimized. The “long march” is not just an invented political fantasy, but a reality, and it shows a frightening trend towards the dismantling of the very institutions that have made our nation so special.
Yet of all that radical leftism and wokeism seek to dismantle, there is one American attribute that I fear is most seriously at risk: the capitalist mentality.
One of the left’s secret formulas to win the “long game”Goes through the control of the academic course. If you control what is taught in our schools, you control how the next generation of Americans thinks. It is no coincidence that so many students today deplore capitalism and are increasingly enthusiastic about the prospect of a socialist America.
This thought process condemns to death the fundamental drivers of the capitalist mindset: hard work, competition and self-reliance.
Capitalism is not bad. In fact, capitalism has reduced human suffering more in the last generations, since its inception, than anything else in the previous ten thousand years of human development.
Dissenters from a capitalist society argue that such a system leads to greed and selfishness, and puts wealth in the hands of a few, creating informal caste systems. However, there is a major flaw in this argument. The wealth obtained by an aristocrat in the caste system is not produced by market activity. A feudal lord is not required to serve consumers in order to maintain his power, and he is not held responsible by the displeasure of the majority.
A wealthy capitalist, however, has proven that he can meet a desired need of the masses (or his ancestors did and he is the natural object of their benevolence). In order for it to thrive under capitalism, it must meet a set of real wants and needs for a sufficiently interested number of people in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Otherwise, a capitalist companion who will discharge this duty more effectively will take up his position. This leads to one of our unique American qualities: competition.
When entrepreneurs and capitalists work aggressively to produce the best product, each demands the best of the others, which in turn increases the quality and decreases the cost of the product for the masses. It lifts everyone up. When we fear competition just because we are too emotionally fragile to handle defeat, we sell ourselves low and also damage the efficiency of our economic system.
And it is this fear of competition and defeat that leads so many next-generation Americans to find solace in centralized agendas and government-run economic solutions. They chant income inequality and point to capitalism as the perpetrator, but fail to understand that Big Brother’s redistribution of wealth will make us both equal and poor. Capitalism can widen the income gap, but it raises the masses above what they would be in a system of redistribution. Not to mention the fact that there are no historical examples of success among nations foolish enough to try socialism.
By banishing our capitalist mentality, we are abandoning a system of freedom and autonomy. In a society that adopts centralized solutions, an individual’s life is frozen and constrained. One loses any kind of motivation to be the best version of oneself, and blame is easily thrown on a systemic problem whenever inequalities are seen.
People underestimate how fundamental our capitalist system is to our freedoms. The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not give us our freedoms; they simply set out rules to protect these state freedoms. A free market system is one of the defining characteristics of a nation that values individual freedoms. Ludwig Von Mises, in his delivered The anti-capitalist mentality, clearly describes this notion:
In the market economy, people have the opportunity to seek the position they want to achieve in the structure of the social division of labor. They are free to choose the vocation in which they intend to serve their fellow men. In a planned economy, they do not have this right … The individual depends entirely on the good graces of power.
Although Mises describes a communist regime when he uses the term “planned economy,” and our nation is far from the evil system of communism, do not be complacent: the trend to the left is a slippery slope. As President Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than a generation from extinction. We do not pass it on to our children in the blood.
Freedom in a capitalist system emphasizes the decisions of the individual, regardless of the cards that have been dealt to him at birth or throughout his life, and offers him the opportunity – through hard work. – to realize his wildest dreams: the American dream.
As everyone strives to pursue this quest, there is an organic stream of competition that subconsciously benefits the masses, creating a better future for the people through innovation, creativity, better products and lower prices. . Thus, dependence on government is minimized.
We must protect these precious qualities; these are the character traits that lead to the American dream. When they cease to exist, our country will cease to be the beacon of opportunity on the world stage.
Davis Soderberg is Associate of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Follow him on twitter @soderberg_davis.