I may be a hardcore conservative today, but I think you’d be surprised how liberal I was in the past. Back in college when I was in scholarship and I had to make do with a very small amount of money, I was a socialist. In fact, socialism is probably not going to do justice to the range of beliefs I had. It’s probably closer to communism. I definitely read a lot of Karl Marx.
It really is very interesting to note that when you do not have any money, it’s very easy for you to believe in ideologies that require other people to give money to you. In other words, I was an easy mark for socialism after all, I didn’t have any money.
However, when I looked at all my classmates and they were driving around with Mercedes Benzes and BMWs, I saw inequality. I saw that life was unfair. Why did they have all the good stuff when I didn’t have any? Why do they live in big houses on hills in Los Angeles and Hollywood and Santa Monica, and I lived in a working class, depressed area in the Valley?
This is not fair. I demand justice. That was my mindset and guess what? Communism or hard-core socialism provided that justice because they fed into my very twisted version of what would really be a neutral human question. All of us ask “What’s in it for me?”
I don’t care whether you spent time in a convent, some sort of monastery or you do meditation. You’re always thinking that way. That’s part of the human condition. That’s the nature of the beast.
However, socialism has a way of pulling a trick on that question by twisting it around. The question becomes what am I entitled to from other people? That’s really the unstated assumption of socialism because if you are really honest about it, you’re entitled to nothing. There, I said it.
The world doesn’t owe you squat. You’re only as good as your last achievement, and the only value you bring to the table is the value you are willing to produce. In other words, you have to work for it. Nobody is going to give you a million dollars out of the kindness of their hearts without you doing anything. This is not a fairy tale. Santa Claus is not real.
Unfortunately, when you are a socialist, you believe that Santa Claus is real because Santa Claus is the state. It’s everybody else putting their money in the form of taxes, and they have somehow some way an obligation to give some of that to you. I know this sounds simple. It definitely sounds like the ramblings of a five-year-old kid, but that’s precisely what it is.
Socialism really is a backwards form of thinking. It’s not rooted in reality, and a big part of what makes socialism so appealing and downright and sexy to so many people today is the idea of change for the sake of change. In other words, traditions are for nerds. They’re for people who are behind the times. They’re not cool.
Instead, we are supposed to embrace the future, and we are supposed to embrace the brave new world that is made possible by technology. I mean, at some level, it’s very appealing because it’s very forward-looking, and it focuses on really maximizing human potential. It talks a good game. Believe me I believed in this for so long that I really drank the Kool-Aid.
However, things began to change when I started a business, and I had to pay taxes. I had to pay employees. Things really began to change when I got married. Now, there’s this other person in my life that I have to take care of, I have to provide for and I have to make comfortable because I’m responsible for her. Then, things really went to the next level when I had a child.
My point here is that this whole idea of seeking change for the sake change is a dead-end. It costs too much money. It usually is not the best solution. Believe it or not oftentimes the best solution is to do nothing. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.
Look at the Great Depression in the United States from the 1920s. You’d be surprised that in 1920, the US actually had a worse depression than the one they had in 1929. However, you don’t hear about the Great Depression of 1920 because the government, ran by conservatives, did nothing and guess what? The economy fixed itself.
That didn’t happen in 1929 because the people running the show wanted the government to step in, and it made matters worse. Just how bad? Well, it took until the end of World War II for the US to finally get out of the Great Depression. That’s a good sixteen years.
So, do yourself a big favor focus on what’s already working in your life instead of getting all fascinated by how sexy innovation is because the real innovation is simply just working with traditional methods and updating them to address current challenges. Funny how that works, right?