In 1836, William Barrett Travis saw the writing on the wall and then made a move that will forever define the true American sprit—grit. The situation at the Alamo was certain. The Texans were outnumbered, surrounded, and had little reinforcements; they were going to die. The 26-year old lieutenant colonel gathered his men together and drew his sword. His blade scraped a single line in the sand. His words presented the last choice they’d ever consider: run or fight. All but one stepped over the line. All but one died. All but one are legends.
The moment didn’t make the man, moments never do. Men like Travis are made of sterner stuff than mere moments. He was made of something else: something that’s found in every noble leader who’s hoisted the flag of this country upon his bloody shoulders; something that, when it comes to life or liberty, encourages him to stare death in the face . . . and spit.
Grit. Good old American flint.
Last week Sen. Rand Paul went to Howard University to discuss the problems of big government. One particular freshman answered Paul, “I want a government that’s going to help me . . . I want a government that’s going to help me pay for my college education.” The logic and economics of how financial aid actually increases tuition costs could constitute its own article. For now I’m going to focus on the freshman’s major premise: I want a government that’s going to help me.
That freshman embodies the fundamental problem in our country—the great divide as to why our house can no longer stand. Our problem is not so much conservative versus liberal, as it is desired independence versus desired dependence, in which liberals foster the latter. For the majority of the older generation and the minority of the younger it is about the intrinsic reward of saying, “It was damn hard, but I did it all on my own.” For the minority of the older generation and the majority of the younger it is about the extrinsic reward that comes from saying, “It’s too painful, I want help.”
Help, by its very nature, is dependence. Dependence, by its own nature, is an absence of self-sufficiency. It follows then, that if one wants or needs help, then he either chooses not to be or isn’t self-sufficient. Notice, the freshman used the word “want,” not “need.” (Also notice the source of what he wants to be dependent on.) Certainly we all need help at times but only certain people want it—the mentally and spiritually weak. The freshman wants help; that is, that he wants to not be self-sufficient. This is the reason I don’t want help from anybody for anything: I’d rather be self-sufficient.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying help is a bad thing. We should all be willing to help others and, of course, we all need it at times. But I am saying wanting help and giving it to the wanter is bad. In fact, I argue that it is nothing short of evil.
Dependence atrophies the skills necessary to rise to the task. Once those skills are eroded, the natural result is more dependence in the future. After enough dependence one eventually loses all the skills necessary to be self-sufficient. With the ability to be self-sufficient now gone, her dignity also is chiseled away. The helper has essentially stolen the individual’s inherent human dignity under the guise of charity. To take a person’s dignity under the notion of being Christ-like is purely evil.
The inept who depends on society begins to drag. With enough dependents, the collective whole can no longer pull the non-producing freeloaders. The result, a choice: drop the dead weight or fail with them. Since society deems it inhumane to cut off those who want help, it eventually stalls and every member then reaps the same state as the dependents. Independence cannot exist where an individual’s resources are regulated to help those who desire dependence.
Indeed, it’s ironic that our society deems it inhumane to release the wanters from the system, yet it finds moral justification for stealing their inherent dignity by way of fostering their dependence on it.
America’s gears are cranking and stripping. Its engine block is cracking. By helping those who want to be dependent we are hurting everyone, especially them.
It’s time. I’m drawing a line. If you want help from government, stay on the side of the dependent at Howard University. If you desire the intrinsic reward that comes from grit and grease, and then realizing your potential on your own, no matter the difficulty, I invite you step across. Step across and evaluate the prospect of moving to a free state—a state where you can do it on your own—a state where the government hasn’t created a regulatory web in order to force you to help the dependent and then become a dependent yourself.
The time for heated rhetoric is past. The “leaders” in Washington are too caught up in politics to hear the engine dying. So instead of looking around, waiting for some new leader to rise up, let us each become our own leader. Shake off the chains of desired dependency. The conservative ideals of independence from government will always be the American majority because that is what America was built on. It is the exact reason why conservatives are being so viciously attacked—if desired dependence was dead, so would be the liberal agenda.
Though it seems we’re surrounded, outnumbered, and have little reinforcements, we’re not. The problem is that not enough are making a stand. Let me remind you, there is nothing noble about silencing truth and lessening your results to keep from offending other people.
We have the same choice Lt. Col. Travis presented to his soldiers 177 years ago.
Time to choose. Time to organize. You either want independence or you want dependence. Middle ground is no longer a choice.
Here’s the line.