Misconception: The rich became rich because they lied, cheated and stole their way there.
Why is there this growing backslash against the rich in this country? Why are so many people vilifying the rich and their methods of capitalism? Why are the underachievers in the world suddenly viewed as virtuous and the overachievers viewed as evil, corrupt, or greedy? There is such praise for the hardworking middle class, but disdain for the harder working upper class? Where is the common sense in any of this? There is this belief, inspired by the media and current administration and spread by the lazy, that every member of the upper class has achieved that state by lying and cheating, or they inherited it. The government is using this lie to make individual achievement and success look bad, so that they can instead push forth their collectivist agenda. The lazy use this lie as an excuse for their underachieving. But the fact remains, it is indeed a lie. The majority of the wealthy in this country have gotten there by the same means open to all of us, by the use of capitalism and hard work. It would be naive to believe that there are not some that are in fact dishonest, and sacrificed morals and principles to achieve wealth. For such, I have the utmost disdain. However, it is even more naive to believe that most or all successful people fall under that category.
If we can move past the lie that the rich are only rich because they are dishonest, we can instead investigate the real means of their success. How do the rich become rich? Now I am not rich by any means, but I hope to become so. Fortunately, I know some who are, and have read about others, and they all seem to have a few things in common. They work, they risk, they give, they think, they create, they believe. Their path is not the easy one, if it was then everyone would take it.
“The successful person is the individual who forms the habit of doing what the failing person doesn’t like to do.”
— Donald Riggs
But it is a path open to all.
Misconception: Only some people are able to achieve financial success.
Let’s apply common sense:
1) We live in a country that embraces freedom (for now).
2) This freedom applies to our employment (no one is forced to work a particular job, no one is forced to accept a certain level of compensation, no one is prevented from seeking new employment, no one is prevented from starting their own business, etc)
3) There are numerous examples of “rags to riches” stories, so much so that the term “rags to riches” exists. As does “self-made man”.
With these facts in mind, we must conclude that anyone can become rich. Literally, every man and woman in this country has the opportunity to become upper class if they want to. It does NOT mean that it is as easy for every person. Only that it IS possible for EVERY person. I believe in the human spirit, I believe in human ingenuity, I believe in human capability, therefore I believe in everyone. I believe the man in a homeless shelter can go out and achieve greatness, because I believe in the unconquerable drive of human motivation.
Slight digression, but I would ask you too, who has more compassion on the homeless man? One who believes that his circumstances are a result of his upbringing; one who tells him that his life is no fault of his own, society forced him there, so he should not feel bad about being homeless? Or one who believes that his circumstances are a result of his choices, and thankfully so because he can choose to remove himself from them, he can choose to succeed, and he can choose to become anything he wants to. Who has more compassion on that man? One would rob him of hope by giving him justification; the other would rob him of justification to give him hope. And if you believe a homeless person cannot possibly achieve greatness, you need to watch “Pursuit of Happyness”, based on a true story.
“A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did.”
Misconception: Being rich is wrong and evil.
Lets appeal to the Christian Lord for help on this one. The Lord throughout the scriptures has blessed His people with prosperity. When they are righteous they prosper, meaning that they gain wealth and riches. Now, these riches are also a trial, because if misused then they will become a curse. The point being, the Lord wants to bless us with prosperity. Common sense also dictates that prosperity is pleasing to the Lord, because it frees up a person to focus more time on the sharing of the gospel and serving others. Also, one with financial means can and should lift the burdens of those that are struggling. Riches, when used properly, are a blessing to the life of the person who has obtained them, as well as to those around him.
“the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ.”
4 Nephi 1:23
Misconception: Spreading the wealth will benefit everyone.
There is a lot of talk right now about spreading the wealth. This has been outlined as a goal of the current administration and supported by the masses because both are operating under the three previous misconceptions. Putting forth policy born under such false premises is a dangerous course of action. The government wants to levy a punitive higher tax on the rich, and one large group in this category is business owners. Business owners who have sacrificed to get where they are, taken risks, overcome failures, lived with uncertainty, scraped by during hard times, etc etc. But because they have achieved this success, now they must be punished? Why? Do we punish kids in school for getting good grades, because some kids got poor grades? Do we punish the winner of the race for beating the losers? Do we punish the accomplished musician for being accomplished? No, because it is ridiculous. Why then, are we trying to punish the successful for being successful? Congratulations on your hard work and sacrifice as you built your business to the point of success, as your reward: higher taxes! It makes no sense. Couple that with the point that we are taxing you to take your money and give it to those who have not achieved your level of success, those who have not taken risks, lived with security, and not put in the same amount of time and effort, and you have truly backwards policy that defies common sense.
Why do we want every kid in the class to be dumb, instead of smart? So that the dumb kids don’t feel bad? Why instead would we not encourage the dumb kids to study and work hard. Now they may need to work harder than other kids, but if they really study, they can be smart as well. Wouldn’t that line of encouragement just make more sense? Is it any different with the rich? Why wouldn’t we encourage the poor to work hard and smart. Now they may need to work harder than others, but if they are willing to do it, they can be rich too. Wouldn’t that make more sense than telling the poor that the rich are evil, and we should punish them, take their money and spread it around. Then everyone can be poor together. Again, common sense is gone.
Shouldn’t our goal be to encourage everyone to succeed? Instead of trying to pull back the successful so that the unsuccessful don’t feel bad, why don’t we focus on lifting the unsuccessful? The one and only true way to do that is to establish a country where every man and woman has the same opportunity to succeed. A country where their success depends on their own actions, not the dictates of a person or government. A country where one can freely pursue any career they desire. A country where success is rewarded and encouraged. A country EXACTLY like the one our Founding Fathers established, and which many today are trying to destroy. We don’t need to reinvent our country, we need to rediscover our country, but that is a discussion for another time.
The Constitution was never intended to guarantee people equal results in life, only guarantee them equal opportunities. The results are up to the individual, as it should always be.
Here is an excellent example of how our tax system works, and who is really footing the bill:
Tax System Explained
Note: The words “rich” and “successful” are used interchangeably in this post. That does not mean that the only way to be “successful” is to be “rich”, nor does it mean that all “rich” people are “successful”. However, when riches are used for good purposes and obtained in an honest way, they absolutely are a sign of success and should be considered as such.
“Hey being conservative can be hip to hazizzzzzl” watch this video you’ll see what I mean!