(Originally Posted: 10/27/97)
The Good Life. What is it? To most, it is a beautiful home, at least one car for each member of the household, vacations in the summer, maybe even the winter, the ability to do things freely and a relaxed atmosphere in which to live. But in every case, it is the goal of feeling secure as a person wherever you go, in all facets of your life.
Over the past fifty years, those who preach the mantra of “equality” have told us how those who have less should be given opportunity and I whole heartedly agree. Opportunity in the form of admission through Ellis Island is what was given to my ancestors. Opportunity is something that everyone should have. However, I seriously question whether my fellow Americans recognize the misguided actions that have been taken by our elected officials under the guise of helping those who are less fortunate. I also wonder if the Yuppies are willing to recognize the hypocrisy in what appears to be their feigned concern for the working poor and their actions toward themselves. Let me take a moment to explain.
Opportunity is best described as an auspicious combination of circumstances. Any way you look at it, opportunity is a positive. However, it is a combination of circumstances. That means that that individuals, people, must recognize these circumstances and act upon them. Unfortunately, these fortuitous circumstantial confluences are being either ignored by those who could benefit in a long term manner, or they are being removed by governmental agencies.
At the present time we are badgered into believing, under the threat of being called racist or sexist, that wealth one person has accumulated through hard work should be redistributed to “maximize the opportunity” of others. Such a mindset, however, neglects three very important items:
- the fact that one person having more than another is not a bad thing,
- the fact that opportunities are resources,
- the fact that resources are discovered, not handed to people.
Opportunities, whether they be tangible (such as being able to buy something) or intangible (such as an education or arriving at a stronger comprehension of a concept), are lost instantly whenever they are not recognized as resources that can be applied to an individual’s life. This is because the next logical step cannot be taken, which is to recognize that tools must be used in order to make something out of those resources. This may be difficult for some to follow, but bare with me. If we, whether individually or as a society, begin to see opportunities as resources, then we can begin to apply intellectual tools to those opportunities to make something of them. The tools I am talking about are: learned knowledge and intuitiveness. Regardless of the amount of resources given, unless a person is given the tools to mold, shape and husband the resource, the resource will be wasted. The very fact that resources are meant to be discovered should allow us to make the connection that they must be found. Finding a resource means that we will search. Any search requires that the searcher can draw upon past experience to find the resource and, once found, that resource can be utilized.
Consider for a moment the following. At the present time, the government has a social policy that proceeds under the assumption that a resource (money) should be given to anyone who qualifies under a certain set of parameters. There is a problem here. For the better part of twenty years, the government has merely given the money away without giving a set of tools to use the money, such as a strong, foundational education. Certainly one can argue that money has been given to schools to offer a strong foundational education. But that is a weak argument at best because it supposes that money is a tool. It is not! Money is a resource. (It is necessary to remember that a government cannot create wealth, it can only use it or redistribute it. Wealth is created by individual people who work with others to meet a certain short term goal.)
The shakiness of the support I alluded to earlier can be seen in the lack of training and development given to those less fortunate. At the present time, the US gives out tax dollars to those less fortunate. However, one must question how that resource is perceived by the recipient. Is it recognized as a resource, something to be harnessed to become a better person? Or, is it seen as a recurring, yet controlled item that allows the person to continue existing?
This brings us to heart of the giving of the good life. Too often those who demand equality are, in fact, demanding that resources be redistributed. However, this resource redistribution assumes that, in receiving the resource, a person will feel secure. Yet no thought appears to be given as to whether or not those who receive this redistributed resource know how to use it to make themselves feel secure.
If a resource is given to a person without that person working for it, how can we assume that there will be a respect for that resource since it has not been earned?
If there has been no training or development in the use of the resource, how can we think that it will be used wisely or effectively for the benefit of the person?
How can merely redistributing wealth give the person the good life?