I’d like to step back into politics with a post about the eclipse. Yes, the eclipse.
How long did the majority of Americans known there was going to be an eclipse on August 21? I’d say at least 3-4 months. I first heard about it back in March and marked it on my work calendar. Given the extensive coverage, it’s difficult to believe anyone knew it was coming for less than a month. But what did we see in the 2 weeks leading up to it? We saw the whole country go into a mass scramble trying to get eclipse glasses so we could watch it. It got so bad that scammers started making their own “glasses” out of construction paper and selling them online. The weekend of August 11-13, Amazon had to inform people that had just purchased glasses on that site may have fake glasses that would result in ocular damage if used. That’s pretty typical of Americans – wait until the last minute, panic, and generally go nuts up until the event. This makes it easy for crooks to pounce. I was part of it too – I only got my glasses 2 weeks ahead of time. But at least I got them. And they are plastic frames that I will be able to use going forward. I’ll keep them as backups to my regular sunglasses, which I’m bound to lose, because I always do. The eclipse came, I had my glasses, and even though I have weaker vision than everyone else, I was able to view it comfortably, and it left me in awe of God. There was 98% coverage of the sun in Charlotte, and there was still enough light that drivers didn’t need their headlights, and I, who can NEVER be outside on a clear day without shades, was able to take my eclipse glasses off when I wasn’t looking at it, and easily see and converse with people around me (the parking lot was packed with gawkers like me). I really got a sense of God’s power looking at this celestial masterpiece and was in awe.
When I went back to my desk, I pulled up the Charlotte Observer website to see what they were saying. There was an article from McClatchy, the company that owns the Observer and a bunch of other newspapers, about what to do with your eclipse glasses once the eclipse was over. The article was titled, “You were lucky enough to get eclipse glasses. What do you do with them after today?” You see what they did there? The implication is obvious. If you had the glasses, you only had them because you were lucky. It’s not because you thought ahead and acquired your glasses well in advance. It was only dumb luck that you had them. You are one of the “fortunate,” and those that didn’t have them are the “less fortunate.” If you didn’t have them, there was nothing you could have done to get them. You just weren’t lucky enough.
This is a crucial component of those that believe in wealth distribution. If you are in poverty, there’s nothing you could have ever done to avoid being there, and there’s nothing you can do in the future to move up. You are stuck because those that are luckier than you have all the wealth.
There is a drastic difference between those at the top of the wealth ladder and those at the bottom. That is obvious. In some cases, it seems very wrong. There are people on the top rung that are genuinely rotten people. If there was a dollar bill in the gutter, and they saw an 80-year-old frail woman reaching to grab it, they would likely kick her square in the dentures and take it away. On the bottom, there are tons of very good people, who for myriad reasons are in a job that doesn’t pay the bills, or can’t find work at all. This seems like a terrible injustice. This perceived injustice gave rise to government and economic theories such as Communism and Socialism, where a government entity could take wealth from those who have the most and channel it to those that have the least. It sounds good in theory, but, up to this point, has failed in every society in which it has been attempted. Debate has endured for centuries. One thing not many people talk about is a fundamental assumption that doesn’t always apply in real life.
This assumption is that the amount of wealth a person can accumulate is 100% out of the person’s control. Liberals speak of people as “fortunate” and “less fortunate.” Richard Gephardt, a Democrat Congressman from Missouri for many years, often referred to wealthy people as people who had “won life’s lottery.” For wealth distribution to work, it has to be true that nothing a person does can influence where they are on the economic scale. It’s all about luck – being born in the right place, to the right people, in the right race/ethnicity, in the right gene pool, in an already-advantaged economic situation. A person’s individual effort must not be a factor. If you allow the individual factor, the moral obligation for wealth distribution crumbles. If how hard you study, how hard you work, the decisions you make with the money you have, and other such factors are allowed into the equation, then you can’t make an effective argument for taking wealth from one and giving it to another. Traditional media outlets, staffed almost entirely with those holding a liberal view of the world, do everything to perpetuate the myth that luck is the only factor that determines your wealth.
There is another component that goes hand-in-hand with this, and that is the belief that no additional wealth can be created. There is a finite amount of wealth that exists in the universe; there can never be any less and there can never be any more. If true, this means that every dollar a person earns is a dollar that no one else on Earth can earn. This assumption then would extend to tax revenue. If there is a finite amount of money in existence, that means there is a finite amount of income that can be taxed. Every dollar of tax burden taken away from one person must then be reclaimed somewhere else. This results in the “pay your fair share” concept.
But here’s the problem: both of the assumptions – that holders of wealth are determined wholly and only by luck, and that there is a finite amount of wealth in existence – are absolute, complete and total hogwash. Hot garbage. Bird droppings. Man-made myths. LIES!
Let’s tackle the second one first. If there is a finite amount of money in existence, then wages and prices would never change. We would still be earning the same wages and paying the same prices we did in 1789 when the USA as currently constructed officially went into existence. But wealth can be created. It has been in a state of creation since the beginning of time. The creation of new wealth leads to higher wages. Higher wages, among other things, leads to higher prices. And so the race is on to increase wealth at a faster rate than the increase of prices, this creating more disposable income and more consumption of things beyond what is required to keep you alive. Wages and prices keep increasing as wealth continues to be created.
The first factor does have complications. There is absolutely no question that the playing field is not level. Some people really are born into no-win situations. Some people are born into already wealthy families and have a leg up, being able to go to college without having to graduate with six-figure student loan debt. And yes, some Caucasians have built-in advantages over blacks who have to live under the cloud of the jacked-up names their mamas gave them that scream that their money is going to be made as a guest on the Maury show (“When it comes to 8-month-old Ashley… Kartavius, you ARE the father!”).
That being said, it’s stupid to believe good fortune is the one and only thing that can change your situation. You can choose to apply yourself in school, even if other kids ridicule you for doing so (“why you tryin’ to be white?”). You can choose not to associate with kids who engage in illegal activities. This will put you in better position to go to college or trade school and acquire the knowledge you need and some skills. You can choose to apply yourself there and finish this portion of your life with skills and knowledge that will make it easier to market yourself. If you truly have no access to this path, you can start young in an unskilled job, do the best you possibly can, make good decisions with the money you do earn, and as your skills increase, you can advance to better-paying jobs. Your work ethic and decision-making can have a much greater impact on your ability to acquire wealth than simply the situation into which you were born.
Of course, the most liberal politicians don’t want you to know any of that. They want you kept in the dark, believing luck is the only thing that determines your wealth, and that additional wealth cannot be created and those that have much are taking away from you by accumulating more. That way you will willingly enslave yourself to them as they pledge to “serve justice” by leveling punishing taxes on those lucky rich people and promise to give the proceeds to you and others who “deserve it.”
This system never works. Every American alive today has seen socialist or Communist governments in what was once known as the Soviet Union, Cuba and Venezuela. Every one of us knows that in those countries, not only did the wealth taken from the rich never make it to the poor, but nearly the entire nation was left in abject poverty. All the wealth was held by the dictator and a few friends while 90% of the population lived on the brink of starvation.
Whenever someone tells you, “You deserve more; I’m going to take some stuff away from someone and give it to you,” DO NOT believe it. They may in fact keep the first part of the promise, but when it comes time to give what was taken to you, the thief will disappear, keeping the taken goods for himself.
Like I said, every one of us has seen this system fail in epic proportions. Why do our citizens keep falling for it? The best answer I can come up with is that it is akin to texting while driving. We know that is dangerous, but we keep doing it because we think the accident won’t happen to me, it will happen to someone else. In the same way, While we have seen wealth distribution fail every time it has been attempted, we are somehow convinced that it will work when we try it. It will not. I only hope enough people can be convinced of that before it’s too late.
One other thing to consider… I believe in the goodness of the American people. When presented with a genuine need, we rally to meet it. Look at all the wealthy people – yes, including President Trump – who gave large sums of money to Hurricane Harvey relief and spearheaded fundraising campaigns. I saw it at the eclipse. There is a small surface parking lot at the back of my office building, and as the eclipse reached its peak, the lot was full of people. There were a bunch of people that came in groups, people that are neighbors in their cube farms. Some of these groups had just 1 person with safe glasses. But they willingly passed them around to others in their cluster. I remember thinking to myself, “hey, lots of sharing going on here. Everyone making sure everyone else gets to see this.” That’s the spirit I’m talking about. If we can get the government out of our pockets, and make sure the needs of others stay in front of us, I believe Americans will do what it takes – with money and time. We can really crush each other on social media, but when you are looking eye to eye with others, a lot of that fades away. There is good in most people. We just need to tap into it.