Rathbun: Am I my brother’s keeper?Written by Gary Rathbun | | GaryRathbun@PrivateWealthConsultants.com
A couple of weeks ago I had to fly to Florida for a few days and as always I needed something to read on the plane. A new book was available called “A Nation of Moochers” by Charlie Sykes. For the first time in my life I wanted a flight to be longer so I could finish the book in one sitting.
According to Charlie, many of the people and companies of America have become addicted to “getting something for nothing.” This creates the “moral dilemma” that so often gets mentioned. A person, who is self-sufficient, works hard, pays their bills, educates their children and generally wants the government to stay out of their lives, yet, they end up feeling like suckers because they know people who don’t do any of those things and live life happier and don’t work at all.
I truly believe that most of this attitude is not in our American culture but has been put there via generations of government indoctrination and the elimination of shame. It is no longer perceived as a failure or a lack of effort to live off government support. Pride is no longer defined as self-reliance but how much one can scam the government.
Those in government today assume that all of us are incompetent and cannot make good decisions for ourselves. Everything from how much water a toilet uses to which light bulb is best. An entire generation of “moochers” has been created.
In “A Nation of Moochers,” Mr. Sykes states, “You cannot be a moocher without surrendering, roughly in this order: your self-respect, your independence, and ultimately your freedom.” This totally changes the relationship between citizens and the government. The more pitiful one can be, the more sympathy one can get, and ultimately, the more money and the more stuff one can get.
Now, none of this really bothers me with the exception that the government puts a gun to my head and takes the results of my hard work and gives it to the moochers. Even worse, I am supposed to feel obligated to share my wealth because I have been lucky, or greedy or whatever guilt-imposed reason they hurl at me. As Ayn Rand said, “guilt is a rope that wears thin.”
Living at a government-determined level is not a right. Life is a right. As are liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but not the guarantee of happiness.
The trouble is that a person’s wants become needs and needs become entitlements and entitlements become rights. I personally refuse to recognize a person’s wants or needs to be a claim on me. Just because someone has something that you do not does not mean you have a right to it also.
Moochers not only feel they have a right to things they want, they also want it on their terms. People want to have as many children as they like and they want someone else to take care of them. They want to use drugs or alcohol and are a victim of the consequences of those actions and are disabled.
A new “four-letter word” I would like to introduce into the vernacular is “fair.” Never before has a single word destroyed so much liberty and private property than this one four-lettered word. Life is not fair, nature is not fair. No matter how many laws and regulations there are, some people will make decisions that will result in some people getting and having more than others. I have often said that if you took away everything I own and drop me in a strange city with nothing but a suit and my mind, in two years I will have everything that I had before the action.
At this age, I really don’t want to prove that true but I believe I could.
This entire discussion is critical because if we are going to save this country from the slope it is on we need to get back to the strength and spirit of being an American. I travel all around this country and it never ceases to amaze me that we settled this country with not much more than a few hand tools and our will.
As long as there are moochers who vote for the people who take wealth from others and give it to them for that vote, we will continue to destroy this country. As Margaret Thatcher once indicated (and I paraphrase), the trouble with giving money to the poor is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.
Next time we will look at the same situation from a corporate standpoint and how companies no longer look to produce anything; they look to get everything they can from the government through the use of the ultimate moochers, or as they are commonly known, “lobbyists.”
Gary L. Rathbun is the president and CEO of Private Wealth Consultants Ltd. He can be heard everyday at 4:06 on “After the Bell with Brian Wilson and the Afternoon Drive,” and at 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout Northern Ohio on “Eye on Your Money.” He can be reached at (419) 842-0334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.