Is government ultimately our only option out of this financial crisis as President Obama has recently suggested? Perhaps it is for those who seem to forget, or may not be familiar with the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention”.
There is an inverse relation between self-responsibility and the need for parasitic government bureaucracies. With every headline in the news talking about the “stimulus” package that appears to balloon with entitlement programs by the trillions, it seems government officials are attempting to inch us further away from the impetus that has allowed us to achieve a standard of living we dangerously take for granted.
There was a time when immigrants who came to the US by their own will and not on slave ships had no option but to create their own opportunities. Long before there was the faintest fantasy of internet access, let alone telephones or even telegraphs, most Americans had to farm, hunt or do both in order to ensure themselves a day’s meal. The idea of government doling food stamps, welfare programs, or Section 8 housing vouchers was as unfathomable as an iPhone.
And so was born the “entrepreneurial spirit of America”. But entrepreneurialism had flourished throughout other parts of the world in varying degrees before being snuffed out by suffocating levels of governmental oversight under the absolutist rule of kings, dynasties or tyrannical theocracies.
By the late 1800’s, even former slaves, such as the famed North Carolinian Lunsford Lane who bought his and his family’s freedom, took to the entrepreneurial spirit. Not because it was the “American way”, but because essentially, it was the only way for anyone choosing to not only survive, but thrive.
Fast forward a hundred years or so and many Americans, have in a sense become the spoiled, cynical, and whiny inheritors of our ancestors’ collective fruits of labor. Many of us fail to give much thought to how or why food materializes at local grocery store shelves, or internet access is delivered to our homes, or how far medical care has come in the form of over the counter pharmaceuticals that keep us from dying from the very same ills and diseases that took the lives of even kings and noblemen centuries ago.
There is a way out of this global financial crisis. But it involves realizing that dire economic consequences such as record foreclosures, job losses, and looming hyperinflation are actually Darwinian wake up calls to usher in a new age of self-responsibility. We need to return to a way of thinking our immigrant ancestors simply couldn’t take for granted. One where government was hardly the only option, since usually some form of government was what they were fleeing from in the first place.