Through my teens, my father would frequently say to me “you are going to have it better than me.” Unfortunately, I cannot say the same to my daughters. Yes, my wife and I are committed to giving them a good education, the lessons of self-reliance, a sense of achievement, a disciplined work ethic and the philosophy that “we are limited only by the triviality of our visions.” We are also teaching them that hard work, effort and sacrifice are the keys to success. Even with all this, however, I firmly believe that the political, social and cultural environment that they will be immersed in will counter much of these disciplines. The basis for my belief is that this country is going down the road of bigger and more intrusive government. Individual freedoms, entrepreneurial spirit and aspirational thinking are all under attack in the name of equality. Individual successes are being branded communal and collectivist. There will ultimately be little incentive to compete, to excel. Whether you produce 15 widgets per day or 100, the recognition and compensation will be the same. Moreover, with the growing involvement of government in our everyday lives, future generations will become more and more dependent on government assistance further stifling self-reliance and personal responsibility. Paternalism at its worst!
Remember Obama’s statement saying if you have a successful business, you did not build it by yourself. And the more recent response by Obama’s supporters after Romney pointed out that the country is trending toward individual achievements being cast as “collective” (Romney amplified his point by saying left-leaning thinkers feel that a child who makes the honor roll didn’t achieve that success by himself. They feel that it was a communal effort and even the school bus driver should share in the achievement). Obama’s supporters unanimously and quickly agreed that most, if not all, achievements are collective. This kind of warped thinking is moving human aspirational thinking in the wrong direction. Sadly, our children and grandchildren will not have the opportunities that we had. Since our best chances for individual growth, social mobility, global competitiveness and the country’s future success reside with our young people, collectivist thinking does not bode well for our next generation and ultimately our nation. For the good of our country, productive Americans want the government to simply leave us alone and allow us to grow and flourish.