Vail Columnist Cal Thomas (“My View,” The Vail Daily), motivated me to write a follow-up to my post on Misplaced Worship.
Thomas was apparently motivated by the interest the Democratic Party is showing in nominating Oprah Winfrey for their presidential candidate to run in the next election. He questions why the Democrats would be so desperate for power that they would nominate a celebrity like her, particularly since they have been so critical of our current “celebrity” president. In politics, of course, it’s all about the power, and Thomas states that politicians on both sides of the aisle hold on to their power by typically promoting dependence on government over encouraging self-reliance.
He reminds us that the Puritans and our founding fathers favored self-reliance, and it is self-reliance, not reliance on others, that has made our nation great by encouraging hard work, obtaining a good education, being thrifty and living within one’s means. He maintains that reliance on others encourages envy of others, greed, and an entitlement mentality, and this prevalent mindset in America today is what is holding us back from becoming great again.
Thomas touts the virtue of reliance on self in calling it the parent of many other virtues. He quotes blogger Col Gornam Singh who surmises that “the self-reliant man is patient and persevering. He does not envy others, nor does he think of begging favours of others. He faces his misfortune with a quiet courage. Therefore (Ralph Waldo) Emerson calls self-reliance ‘the essence of heroism, the first secret of success’. The self-reliant man feels neither fear nor shame to labor with his own hands, if necessary. He is always learning new lessons, gathering valuable experience. His example is an inspiration and his achievement is an example to others. This confidence in himself wins him the confidence of others.”
Thomas makes a good point when he tells us that, as political power increases, our individual power decreases “by way of higher taxes, greater debt, and more regulations on business and individuals.” He really drives the point home that if government could make our life better through our dependence on it, we wouldn’t be in the sad shape we’re in today.
He concludes by saying, “People who look to Washington and Hollywood for deliverance are always disappointed in the end.” He says that this faith is misplaced and will do us no good in the end. Instead of “progressing,” our nation has regressed from its origin. We’ve dug for ourselves a deep hole as a nation, and the only way we can climb out is for our government to encourage its citizens to be more self-reliant, not more dependent on them.
Of course, the problem needs to be recognized before it can be addressed, and I fear it will take a revival or a revolution to put us back on the right track again.