Recent reports of Amercan boxer Evander Holyfield's imminent destitution at his own hands has whetted one of our most outrageous desires: that people might actually learn something.
For financial fiascos such as Holyfield's are played out hourly in free market economies across the globe, sometimes in public disasters of Hindenburgian proportions, more often times in small pathetic little foreclosures, repossessions, and subpoenas hidden in the gloom of obscurity. The lesson, however, is always the same: wealth is more than the possession of money. Conversely, poverty is more than the absence of money.
It is this second aspect upon which we wish to elaborate, for doing so is not only at present taboo (i.e. great fun!), but also essential to ensuring that the aforementioned free-market economies remain, in fact, free..
At one time in the mores of Western culture, most particularly American culture, poverty was considered more a state of mind and a condition of habit than the mere want for products and services. Indeed, the vast majority of citizens were lacking staples, comforts, and conveniences even the poorest Americans today take for granted. What was not lacking, however, was the clear understanding that far more often than not, "poverty" was the product of feckless, foolish, and irresponsible behavior.
One could certainly choose to demonstrate unconditional Christian charity toward one's shiftless louse of a neighbor, but it was never expected - let alone mandated by government - that one do so. Furthermore, there was a keen understanding of human nature which maintained that doing so often made the "poor" person's "poverty" worse, as aiding them amounted to encouraging their disastrous ways. This had nothing to do with race. This had nothing to do with party affiliation. This was simply a mature appreciation for the responsibilities of all human beings interested in sustaining liberty and justice for all.
But as the 19th century outbreak of materialist thought took hold of the mainstream in the early 20th, human understanding of wealth and poverty shifted from focus on the principles and actions that produce them, to mere observation that they exist. “Some have and some have not and this is not fair,” became the full breadth and depth of analysis on the matter. Having effectively eradicated the quaint notions of the human soul and a Creator who endowed that soul with certain unalienable rights (and responsibilities), it remained for the State alone to fix this apparent economic imbalance. Thus the rise in the 20th century of socialism, communism, totalitarianism, and their smiley-faced American cousins The New Deal and the Great Society.
Today, advocates of “economic and social justice” point to the ravages of slavery, institutional racism, and greedy corporations as the roots of poverty in America and around the world; which brings us back to Mr. Holyfield and friends.
Mr. Holyfield is black and, at one time, a millionaire many times over, as were Michael Vick, Mike Tyson, Marion Jones, Latrell Sprewell, and many of the 60 percent of NBA players the Toronto Star recently reported as destined for destitution five years after retirement. It would seem no vestiges of slavery, nor racism, nor corporate greed prevented them from supping unrestrainedly at the table of American bounty.
Are we suggesting then that this riches to rags incompetence is a “black thing?” Dorothy Hamill, Jack “The Ripper” Clark, and countless Caucasian casino-rats, lottery winners, and one hit wonders now equally destitute provide ample refutation to that argument. (Beak-tip to Mr. Brian Cuban for his excellent documentation regarding the above!)
No, what we are suggesting – nay declaring – is that poverty in America is largely the result of willful stupidity; very human, very tragic, yet very avoidable stupidity. In the current highly flammable environment of political-correctness, however, to say so is to instantly disqualify oneself from any debate of consequence on the issue. Poverty is the result of racism, greed, and injustice and that is final!
Thus, the cancerous legacy of The New Deal and The Great Society metastasizes unchallenged, devouring America’s vast treasure of hard-earned wealth and character through endlessly increasing entitlement spending, making dependent children of American posterity in every possible sense.
Seeking to ensure this cancerous legacy continues further into the 21st century than it already has, is Mr. Barack Obama. His recently released “Emergency Economic Plan” for instance, recommends “forcing big oil companies to take a reasonable share of their record breaking windfall profits and use it to help struggling families” as well as pumping $50 million (any guesses as to whose?) into the economy to help states and local communities shore up the fiascos they’ve made of their own budgets. This comes on the heels of Mr. Obama’s sponsorship of the Global Poverty Act, an epic of sexy United Nations-sponsored socialism, making the United States legally accountable for eradicating extreme poverty worldwide by 2015. .
So much for the land of opportunity. Enter the land of giveaways. And when the bill arrives for all this, from whom might we expect remittance?
Mr. Obama recently suggested Americans take personal responsibility for reducing their dependence on foreign oil through individual actions such as inflating one’s own tires and tuning one’s own engine. Does not the same principle apply as regards poverty? By inflating one’s own personal initiative and tuning up one’s own can-do attitude, Americans could reduce their dependence on government hand-outs and reclaim the mantle of individual liberty and free enterprise that once was their glory.
The latter is as ridiculous to Lefties as is the former to Conservatives. Pity.
Regardless, we heartily endorse the extraordinary curriculum put together by Mr. Holyfield and friends and encourage children and Lefties everywhere to consider the lessons provided therein. Poverty is more than the absence of money. In free market economies it requires willful stupidity, a sound sense of entitlement, and leadership committed to exploiting the lot in order to ensure it’s blessings for one’s self and one’s posterity.
Take it from those who know, you are well on your way!