Skip to comments.Trashing Achievements (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 07/18/2012 10:57:26 AM PDT by jazusamo
There was a time, within living memory, when the achievements of others were not only admired but were often taken as an inspiration for imitation of the same qualities that had served these achievers well, even if we were not in the same field of endeavor and were not expecting to achieve on the same scale.
The perseverance of Thomas Edison, as he tried scores of materials before finally trying tungsten as the filament for the light bulb he was inventing; the dedication of Abraham Lincoln as he studied law on his own while struggling to make a living these were things young people were taught to admire, even if they had no intention of becoming inventors or lawyers, much less President of the United States.
Somewhere along the way, all that changed. Today, the very concept of achievement is de-emphasized and sometimes attacked. Following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard has made the downgrading of high achievers the centerpiece of her election campaign against Senator Scott Brown.
To cheering audiences, Professor Warren says, "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You build a factory out there, good for you, but I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate."
Do the people who cheer this kind of talk bother to stop and think through what she is saying? Or is heady rhetoric enough for them?
People who run businesses are benefitting from things paid for by others? Since when are people in business, or high-income earners in general, exempt from paying taxes like everybody else?
(Excerpt) Read more at creators.com ...
As a minor aside, Edison's bulbs used carbon filaments, bamboo carbon being longest-lived.
Tungsten filaments didn't come along for another 20 years (developed by Franjo Hanaman).
By that time Edison had a whole paid research lab working on this problem. Although it is not the same as Obama's "the government really did it, serf, so hand over your wealth" attitude, citing Edison is still getting into a tricky place if you are giving examples of sole perseverance.
Thanks for posting, jazusamo.
I am feeling pessimistic today. Sigh. Thirsty for any good news.
Reading Dr. Sowell’s works at the very least makes me feel less alone. I am not the only one who sees things this way...
Now I don’t think for a minute that the Barak Obamas and Elizabeth Warrens actually believe this, but they make their political living by telling functionally illiterate people that if you and they are standing there staring at an egg, if you pick it up and make an omlette, you somehow owe them for their being present and not capitalizing on the egg, and that they are diminished by you taking away the egg they could have capitalized on if they had had your initiative.
Warren does not seem to know that these rich business owners paid millions in taxes vs the poor employee who paid hundreds in taxes. And it was the rich business owner who hired the poor man, so both he and the poor man could pay taxes to the government to build the needed roads. So both contributed.
Remove the poor man, a second poor man takes his place. The owner goes on paying his taxes. The second poor man pays his. Remove the rich business man, nobody takes his place, and the poor man loses his job, with no replacement needed. No taxes are given to the government. And the road goes back to seed.
Individual aspiration and achievement are threats to the left, whose bible says: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
I reject the idea that I owe anything to anyone because they don’t have what I have. I have had to work hard for what I have, and, by the grace of God, my efforts have been rewarded - not at the expense of anyone else, but by my own efforts and initiative.
When the 43% (who don’t pay taxes) stop aspiring to be one of the 57% and believe they are entitled to what the 57% has, we are in trouble. I can’t say that all of the 43% have an entitlement mentality, but a significant number of them do - we are in trouble.
” Reading Dr. Sowells works at the very least makes me feel less alone. I am not the only one who sees things this way...”
Correct, there are millions of us.
” When the 43% (who dont pay taxes) stop aspiring to be one of the 57% and believe they are entitled to what the 57% has, we are in trouble. I cant say that all of the 43% have an entitlement mentality, but a significant number of them do - we are in trouble.”
If and when the 43% exceed 50%, we are finished.
It was his first book which I read that got me hooked on his genius.
Thanks for the ping to another spot on musing by Dr. Sowell jaz. Appreciate it.
Sowell is my favorite writer, period.
I have been reading his work for decades.
All I have to say is that Henry Ford was in SE MI before the Dearborn infrastructure was fully developed, in fact, the auto industry built Detroit up to be one of the premier cities of the world. Government started grabbing and devouring stuff and look at it now!
Business people are creators, government drones are destroyers. Every where you look that is proven as an absolute truth.
Sowell is all knowing and when you hold up two fingers you are displaying OBmummer's IQ!
Arabic numerals or Roman? Knowing who we're talking about, I'm assuming Arabic.
I know I was being GENEROUS.
If it is by the grace of God, it isnt by your own efforts alone - but it is not the result of the government, either.SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.The government is not society. Accept no substitute.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil - Thomas Paine, Common Sense
I promote that book regularly. I first read it 2-3 years ago. It’s way up there, right behind, say, The Road to Serfdom and The Law.
I know I was being GENEROUS.
Obama isn’t half as dumb as his voters.