The Land of Opportunity

November 3, 2010

I love that my country is known throughout the world as the land of opportunity. That’s not just a statement about making money. You can’t have opportunity in a corrupt, third world hell hole with no right to property, a right to fail, or a right to succeed. It is protected by the will of the people, and piggy backs on top of man’s natural desire to create resources, then use them on his family, his community, and even his charities.

Show me an oppressed person, sloshing through mud in a poverty stricken far off land and his hope is that America will provide him with an opportunity. The world’s economic slaves don’t dream that France will do something about his plight. They put no moral expectation on Saudi Arabia to help them. The world hates America because they expect so much from the leader of the free world. If their hope is in their Cuban government, they’re screwed. No business owner in Mexico hopes Mexico will help him, he’ll get more help from the crumbs that drop from our country’s table before he’ll get help from his own.

My parents were average Americans, and that means they are exceptional. By no other luck, or act of God’s grace was I born here, into the world’s greatest system of government, and into the world’s greatest people to grasp a charter by a handful of brilliant visionaries. My mother a teacher’s aid and my father a carpenter had an artist who made a decent living at the arts… which is near impossible if you ask most artists.

I worked crap jobs, but I did work. If I worked a shift at Wendy’s or shoveled molten cow fat at Foster Farms, I learned from my parents to work not just harder than anyone else, but to work in a way that honored my dad’s name. I learned from church to work as if God was my employer, not just because I would earn my money, but because excellence at work was the right thing to do. I failed at that task, but I always had that ideal in my mind, and it transferred perfectly into the arts.

But the hardest lesson I ever learned was by running my own small business in California. We made video games. It was by far the hardest thing I’d ever done. The stress kept me up at night, grinding my teeth with stress and being such a time burden it even put my marriage on the rocks. From that point on, I came to not only respect all business owners, but I had a deep gratitude for what they do. They provide jobs. So the usual socialist attitude of many artists that demonized “the rich” didn’t find a home in my heart.

There’s nothing that eats away at a man quite like not having a job. A man who works to provide and carry his own weight is an empowering, honorable thing that repurposes a man’s trouble making hands into something constructive. In that sense, given America is the world’s most powerful economic engine, we are also the most empowering of the individual.

As I saw my country over the last four years lean away from providing opportunity for our great work force and lean toward “compassion”, bail-outs, redistribution of wealth and a demonization of high wage earners (aka employers), I grew worried that we might have lost our charter. I couldn’t believe that we changed, but it seemed like America suddenly forgot what made us great, what made us unique from Europe, and what provided the grease for the wheels of liberty.

Nothing could shake us from the spell of Hope and Change quite like 10% unemployment. Take away a man’s job and see how much he cares if his car is run by fossil fuels or solar panels. Crush an economy and see if he would prefer “a new kind of politics and unity” over a job.

We’re still the land of opportunity. Not perfectly so, but good enough for now. That’s what last night’s election was about. The GOP didn’t win because we’re pro life, for gun rights or for freedom of speech. The GOP just looked like the only change of course available to a frustrated, industrious people who want nothing more than for government to butt out and let us get to work.

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20 Responses to “The Land of Opportunity”

  1. nick Says:

    very well said

  2. P Mike Says:

    this is what opportunity looks like to the Dems.

    I keep hearing today that the great unwashed people just aren’t happy with the economy, they really WANT Obama’s & Pelosi’s America. I’m of the opinion that people are watching the economy crash & burn while the Dems have been fronting the attidude in the video; “you don’t have to work, let Uncle Sam support you while you just let your creative jucies flow.” Kind of like Nero & Rome.

  3. HarveyD Says:

    YEAAAAAAAAH! AMERICA!!!!!!


  4. So much wisdom and Truth here, Doug. Thanks for expressing it so profoundly. :)

  5. Doron Says:

    There is a lot of resentment towards America because of its oppressive military and economic presence in every key region on the planet. The opportunities you speak of exist in this country due in great part to the resources and wealth (primarily energy and manpower) acquired via the constantly unchecked expansion of American influence in areas where opportunities do not exist, areas whose economy is locked in a position where it is serving America and its interests and not its own population’s. America has no interest in changing that since it is benefiting greatly from the situation. Hence the resentment.

  6. Enu Says:

    I haven’t commented on your site before, but I feel I need to jot something now. I knew you were conservative, I knew you were Christian. Some things have irked me in some of your blog posts, but nothing serious.
    But this kind of nationalistic display is just laughable. America has no right to talk of liberty, and the kind of opportunity you’re thinking of brings the word ‘opportunistic’ to mind. And not in a good way. I’m not trying to claim some other country as better or more just (though I pretty easily could, even though they’re not my homeland or the country I’m currently in).
    People in ‘third world hell hole’s’ are more afraid of having something US wants/needs, because they know you will try to ‘liberate’ them.
    Your economy is not that great if you care to actually look around you, your country has twisted and forgotten its noble ideals, you mistake small-business owners with the ACTUALLY rich. Please take of the star and stripe coloured glasses.

    • tennapel Says:

      Someone can say they love just about anything sentimental and the skeptics feel called to come out and remind everyone that their dark cloud hangs over the world.

      I noticed you didn’t name a country that is better because you can’t. And if you can’t then that’s tacit agreement with my point. Put up or shut up. What country has spent more of their people’s blood to liberate others? And if you’re going to claim some Marxist ideal that we only war for resources, you need to show me the oil we were after in VietNam. How about our single bloodiest battle, where we fought ourselves in the Civil War?

      So the impoverished man in the third world hell hole thinks of his plight and wishes America was more like Norway so he would definitely be left alone, instead of being exploited by Nike or liberated by U.S.

      My country hasn’t twisted it’s ideals, it’s one of the few that even has ideals. What are Norway’s ideals besides the 30 hour work week and 3 month’s vacation? Our noble ideals are just fine, it’s the ingratitude of people that is the problem. And you haven’t seen global bloodshed, abject poverty or a collapse of liberty until you see America fall from being the leader of the free world. Good luck with that. We’ll be here on the watchtower while you complain and make wine and cheese.

      • BandyRandy Says:

        lol owned.

        Seriously though, while I understand OP’s disenchantment with American moral posturing, I find it laughable that he thinks Doug of all people is viewing the world through rose-tinted lenses. This blog is rife with examples of criticism of America’s failure to live up to its highest ideals. That’s not a reflection of America as a moral/cultural enterprise. That’s a reflection of the people who comprise America. I’m not gonna say that weak-kneed shrill whiners like Enu are the root cause of all that ails us – merely a symptom.

        TL;DR version – lurk moar, Enu. Also, check your self-righteous, liberal loftiness at the door. “Irked”… are you kidding me? Like anybody has an obligation to justify themselves against your touchy sensibilities in their own forum… like your pretension to moral superiority isn’t “irksome” to Doug or anybody else here…

  7. Esteban Says:

    “third world hell hole”
    this is really insulting.

  8. Ricardo Says:

    Doug,

    I don’t think we’ll see eye to eye on many issues. I think the welfare services and the tax cuts for the elite 1% are BOTH contributers to the defecit. I think it’s about time something is done so we can have far less dependence on sucking the governments teets. I don’t see the left or right caring.

  9. GaryJHarris Says:

    Doug, you have the brilliance, passion, and heart I remember. I didn’t agree with everything you said, but I WILL defend your right to say it.

  10. Ian Says:

    As a life-long liberal, I admit nothing irks me more than a conservative making decent points in a thoughtful manner. In the words of Robert Heinlein, “There is no more unforgivable a crime in all the universe than being right”.

  11. Chicken Says:

    A message to the Haters.

    I’m proud of my country.
    Words like that would cause an uproar. So many people say “How can you be proud of a country that enslaved ‘African Americans for generations, pushed ‘Native Americas’ off their rightful land, and on top of that sent ‘Japanese Americans’ to internment camps during WW2?” etc, ect.

    I may not be proud of some the people who run America, or even some of the things they have done, but I’m still proud of my country and the people who died to secure my right to be proud and your right not to be.

    What Doug has said pretty much sums up how I feel too.

  12. peter huppertz Says:

    I do appreciate your reasoning. It is well thought about.

    I have to agree with a previous poster, though, that the display of nationalism that it arrives at is amusing. A country that actually caused the Credit Crunch to happen (by printing money to sustain war efforts, deregulating Wall Street, and allowing the Housing Bubble to happen, thereby effectively putting American home owners out of their American homes) is really no better than a country that has a 30 hour work week and 3 months of vacations.
    Of course, it gets worse if that last country is a fabrication of the American mind. I *know* Norway. I’ve been there, and I’ve done business with their engineers. They don’t have a 30 hour work week, and they don’t have 3 month’s vacations, so I don’t know where you got that.

    While it is fairly easy to pick a couple countries that would be better to live in than the USA, there is no “greatest” country, and there is no country that can currently boast to be “the grease of the wheels of liberty”, as anyone in current Iraq, or current Somalia, or current Afghanistan, can tell you.
    History tells us that this claim was true 55 years ago, but that’s about it, really. And even that intervention was only sparked off because USA’s interest was compromised directly (at Pearl Harbor).

    If the USA is a great country, it is the American people causing it to be great, not their leadership. And I’ve seen most greatness of the American people to not come from Republicans, or Democrats, but from people. It is not the Republican who cares for the fellow citizen that has fallen by the wayside, it is the American, whether he be Mexican, European, or native. It is not the Democrat who fights for the freedom of the individual, it is the American, be he native, European, muslim or Asian.

    It is not the Libertarian who builds America, it is the American.

    This whole polarization thing is getting ridiculous. We’re in this world together. Let’s make it work rather than be all high and mighty and separatist about it.

    Let’s just stop polarizing. Polarizing is stupid. Let’s stop it. Now. Let’s make this thing called a world work.

    • tennapel Says:

      “If the USA is a great country, it is the American people causing it to be great, not their leadership.”

      Both the people and the leadership would agree with you.

      “And I’ve seen most greatness of the American people to not come from Republicans, or Democrats, but from people.”

      But most people are Republican or Democrats. We’re not made great by nihilists. Then again, nobody is.

      ” It is not the Republican who cares for the fellow citizen that has fallen by the wayside,”

      Simply not true. If you go look at the Philanthropy index or read the book “Who really Cares” Republicans are more generous and giving toward the fallen-by-the-wayside than our opposition. You don’t have to say Republicans are great, but you can’t say we don’t care. It’s more true to say that those who say that Republicans don’t care about the poor are the kinds of people that don’t really care about facts.

      “it is the American, whether he be Mexican, European, or native.”

      American is an American. Some are from Mexico, some from Europe, some are native. But the key difference is that people who come to America to participate in our identity are more generous than their counter parts at home. So an American of Mexican heritage is better than a Mexican. A polish man who joins in our credo is better than others in his home land. We attract the most freedom loving people in the world.

      ” It is not the Democrat who fights for the freedom of the individual,”

      I’ll say.

      ” it is the American, be he native, European, muslim or Asian. ”

      You’re right. It is the warlord in Darfur, not the American who fights for freedom of the individual. What college did you attend? Or should I say, What graduate degree did you get?

      “It is not the Libertarian who builds America, it is the American. ”

      Libertarians don’t build AMerica, they build razor-wire walls around their compound.

      “This whole polarization thing is getting ridiculous.”

      I know. Saying that it’s not the American who spreads liberty around the world is pretty polarizing of you. I accept your apology for your incoherence. But you’re better than most. Most don’t catch themselves so quickly.

      “We’re in this world together. Let’s make it work rather than be all high and mighty and separatist about it.”

      Right, let’s unite! So don’t separate yourself from people like me that think America is the greatest country in the world. I love unity! Come on over.

      “Let’s just stop polarizing. Polarizing is stupid. Let’s stop it. Now. Let’s make this thing called a world work.”

      Yes, glad to have you on board. The USA is the greatest country in the world! The world works because we’re here and if we weren’t here the world would be completely jacked. And polarizing ourselves from the most jingoistic patriotic Americans is to be judgmental and intolerant of those who think differently that we do.

  13. peter huppertz Says:

    “So an American of Mexican heritage is better than a Mexican. A polish man who joins in our credo is better than others in his home land.”

    I rest my case.
    This sounds so bloody judgemental, I’m having trouble even imagining that you’re not being sarcastic here. I’m at the verge of wanting to think you’re being sarcastic in stating the above.

    If you really, seriously, mean what you are saying in the above quote, I am about to give up hope. This really sounds that we can be on the same page *as long as we agree that you are right and we are wrong*.

    If that is not polarizing, I don’t know what is. Reagan’s not dead, he just smells funny.

    • tennapel Says:

      “If you really, seriously, mean what you are saying in the above quote, I am about to give up hope. This really sounds that we can be on the same page *as long as we agree that you are right and we are wrong*.”

      Is a German who adheres to 1940s Nazism better than a German of the same time who is an American citizen, fighting on our side? Let’s pretend that you just said “No, Nazi Germans aren’t as good as American Germans.” Would it be wise of me to assume that if you demanded I agreed with you that your only value was in people agreeing with you? Is it possible that you could be talking about a higher value than just agreeing with your personal opinion?

      “If that is not polarizing, I don’t know what is. Reagan’s not dead, he just smells funny.””

      Not sure what you mean by bringing up Reagan. I have no problem with polarization if everyone’s clear on what we’re polarizing about. If someone else thinks Mexico is more influential and better for the world than America then I’m all too happy to be polarized from those people. If the cost of showing harmony, unity and a lack of judgmentalism is to says stupid, incoherent things, then I’m not willing to pay that price.


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