I don’t usually believe labels are worthwhile. Labeling people is an unproductive endeavour. All too often you come up short, and in the end it is just this type of thinking that is at the root of conflict the world over. He’s a Christian, she’s a communist, they’re racists, I’m a doctor, and my wife’s a lawyer. All these labels conjure up images which are based on one’s preconceived ideas, and may not necessarily be anywhere near the truth.
With the above caveat in place, I have found that there are essentially two types of people in this world, falling into two broad but distinctive groups. Let’s see which group you identify with (we have a feeling we know the answer…).
Entitled Scrounger with One Big Pie
The first is a group who believes that the world, its peoples, resources, skills and wealth are one giant pie. They essentially believe that individuals don’t have a right to their own bodies, efforts and thoughts. In their vision the pie does NOT increase or decrease in size, but what happens to the pie is that the slices get shifted around between various groups of people within the world. Their major concern is with how much of the pie they personally get relative to others. The aggregate amount is not as important as the relative amount.
What is preferable for them is getting less pie, provided others are getting twice as little. They will opt for this rather than receiving twice as much, where others are receiving four times as much. They couch this view of the world, and distribution of aforementioned skills, wealth and resources etcetera in platitudes such as “equality”, “fairness” and “justice”.
This group of people will typically support “free healthcare”, “free education” and any other “freebies” that they will not directly have to pay for. They will be ardent supporters of bigger, more intrusive government, as this is the only avenue they see available for the execution of their perfect world. Articulating it as such would be difficult for many of them, as it exposes their view of the world as one completely lacking in freedom of the individual.
Self-Made and Building Their Own Pie
The second group of people realizes that there is an existing pie, but are not overly concerned with its size or distribution, since their thoughts typically revolve around building their own pie and adding to the size of the existing pie. They don’t see the pie as a stagnant concept, but rather something that they themselves can participate in forming and shaping.
This second group believes they have the right to their own bodies, efforts and thoughts. They accept that there are others in the world that will have a greater slice of the pie than they do, but since they obtain their value and self-worth from building the pie, this concerns them little. They understand that the journey and not the destination are what matters.
Since they have the courage and a belief in their own abilities they find the idea of relying on others to support them through “free” anything to be immoral, and although not all will articulate it, they are distrustful of anyone purporting to “help” them, especially when it comes at no cost. They choose to slog their way through the world on their own merits, and give back by creating wealth and opportunity for themselves and others.
I know which group I prefer to do business and spend time with. Which group do you identify with?
“Be glad that you’re greedy; the national economy would collapse if you weren’t.” — Mignon McLaughlin
I would prefer to do business with people who realize that some people, whose only fault is having the wrong parents, don’t have access to the resources that others do and understand that these “free” services are actually investments that help to grow the pie for everyone. Personally, I wouldn’t have been able to go to school if not for the “free” public school system. Now that I am older and have money, I am more than willing give up some of my pie so that someone else can have the same opportunities. Don’t get me wrong; I am all about personal responsibility and rewarding hard work. However, if you think that you have succeeded solely on your own merit without the help ANY communal resources, you’re kidding yourself.
And honestly, the “producers” vs “takers” labels are bs as well. It’s amazing how many self-described “producers” were first in line for handouts as soon as the economy got ugly while the “takers” of educational and other resources were left to fend for themselves. Wealth produces wealth. If you have it, it is easy to use it to “produce” more. If you don’t, then it is damn near impossible.
Some great points.
To be clear we have no issue with the voluntarily giving of resources. This is vastly different to having ones resources distributed according to a bureaucrats version of “fairness”. It is not uncommon in the west now to find a populace wholly dependent on the “free” system. Whether we like it or not this is ultimately only sustained where the net benefit of living in such a society outweighs the net cost.
It is natural for humans to take the easiest route or path of least resistance and I am no different. What is important though is to acknowledge that a system can and does swing from one extreme to another and the pendulum in socialist countries has turned.
“Free” services no matter how much we may wish them to exist can only exist at the expense of someone else and there exists the real threat that such a system can and does become overwhelmed. This is the situation that much of the west faces with rising debt levels, rising taxes, rising inflation as a result of central bankers attempting to inflate their way out of all the “free’s” that have been promised and paid for in IOU’s.
Realising that nothing is free and never will be and understanding that building a wealthy prosperous society cannot come from a mindset of taking with force from those who produce is what builds prosperous societies.
I agree with most of what you’ve said here. There are clearly egregious examples of unnecessary giveaways in our society that freeloaders exploit to their own personal benefit. I just don’t think that access to affordable education and health care are the good examples. I tend view these more as equalizers in our society that give everyone the necessary (but not sufficient) tools to succeed if they are willing to work for it.
That aside, I just found your blog last week and I really like it. Keep up the good work!
Thanks. Great to have the discourse Keith. We appreciate intelligent discussion and you’ve provided it. Excellent!