Achievers are Not Robber Barons

By Reggie Jones (Opinion expressed are not necessarily those of the BTWS).

It’s that time again, and I am frustrated. Politicians are heading into the home stretch, blathering nonsense about a segment of society to which we owe more than any other. They and their sycophantic pundits parade their bigotry with inflammatory rhetoric that turns especially virulent as we approach the culmination of an election cycle.

The code phrase for this class-oriented bigotry is, “the rich.” It’s wielded by leftists who just can’t stand the most productive members of society. Their vitriol is never directed at Marxist dictators or criminal elements. Rather, it is directed at the real public servants, people I call “achievers.” Just two examples: former House Leader Dick Gephardt referred to achievers as “the rich and the lucky.” And more recently, Sen. John Edwards, a former presidential wannabe, just couldn’t stop talking about “two Americas.”
Well, at least one of those, ummm, ‘Americas’ shut that randy dandy up.

Achievers risk time and money to invent, improve and provide things that can and do make our lives better. Each of us is free to choose whether to reward them for the fruits of their labor or not. This is a fundamental tenet of capitalism – a system in which everybody can be winners.

But politicians just don’t get it. Why not? Because they live in another world. A world in which the name of the game is zero-sum – for each politician who is a winner, there must be a loser. The pool of winners cannot grow. The more “experienced” at winning a politician gets, the less he or she can fathom the potential of a ‘win-win’ situation. From their perspective, if the rich get richer, then surely, the poor must be getting poorer.

Suppose achievers became quitters after experiencing their first failure. Suppose they chose not to risk and endure the agony of failure and rejection time and again until they (hopefully) hit pay dirt. That is, until creating or doing something the world wants enough to pay for.

These are real American heroes, but there are no monuments in Washington to them.

Instead of textbooks labeling them as “robber barons” what if young people were inspired with the wisdom of Booker T. Washington who said, “…Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”

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