The Sickness of Our Day

(Cross-Posted at Examiner.com)

I postulated recently that society is suffering the lack of great thinkers. While I hold to the veracity of that statement, further dwelling has brought me to the conclusion that a lack of intellectual and philosophical titans is not, at least in itself,  the greatest ailment that befalls us. It is great actions, more than great words, that are missing from our society. A centuries long battle rages in the hearts and minds of society, a battle whose most visible confrontation has been played out in the headlines of American newspapers since before the inception of our great nation, and a battle whose wounds are inflicted far more deeply than the loss of lives and the taking of captives. This battle threatens every good purpose of mankind, even as the villains twist and define evil as virtue and the highest of human achievement as grave sin.

These villains proclaim with the certainest of moral imperative that social justice is the paramount virtue, invoking mantras such as “Jesus was a socialist,” while fighting with the desperation of a drowning house cat to install government in every purpose and place reserved for God. The greatest ailment, is that man now believes that unbridled productivity is contrary to all that is good, is contrary to man’s purpose, and is contrary to God. The instinct to build structures, conquer terrestrial obstacles, and innovate for the sake of profit is punished as vice. Wealth is treated as a pie, whose slices must be cut smaller to indulge the masses, while those that grow wheat for the crust, fruit for the filling, and pour labor into the careful assembly of the ingredients are scowled at for their greed in claiming rights to the fruits of their labor, and interest on their investment of time and money. Their productivity is welcomed by the masses only if the masses are permitted to pilfer that which is created.

I say this is the greatest ailment, not because I am a cold, calculated realist. It is this deference to the “looters,” as Ayn Rand affectionately called them, that has encouraged so many down the path of destitution, worthlessness, and helpless dependence. This societal condition has carved out the beating heart of greatness that is man’s created purpose. God did not create man to struggle through a miserable existence. Man’s purpose is greatness, the full display of his talent and ability, driven by competition, not to confiscate the results of another’s effort, but to challenge others to constantly improve, so that the market may choose with whom to barter. The instinct, the drive, the longing to be the best is not an ugly, primitive condition. To the contrary, our drive to competition is the greatest deference to our Creator. To be created in the image of God, as the Bible says, is to emulate creation, productivity, and pride in everything we undertake. It is not by accident that the words “it was good” are dispersed throughout the verses of Genesis 1. Creation was intended for the pleasure of the Creator, yet the model we follow today tells us that all that we create is to the purpose and pleasure of those not ambitious enough to have produced wealth of their own. School children are taught that failure, whether by lack of ability or effort, is not a thing to be ashamed of, but rather a cause for them to receive sympathy and awards. The winners, the ambitious, the talented among our children are taught that gaining any more recognition for their effort than anyone else is selfish, and damages the psyches of the academically challenged.

The human instinct is to be free, productive, and creative. It is to prosper, and to create opportunity for others to share in prosperity by the sweat of their brow. It is to conquer mountain after mountain, river after raging river, not only in pursuit of wealth, but more importantly to look back on a life of calculated purpose evidenced by that which was created. It is not by accident that Jesus was a carpenter by trade, as carpentry is the act of creating structures of beauty, function, and value. The surreal satisfaction in laying eyes upon a finished house, after the shedding of so much blood and sweat, brings even the most crass, ruffian framer close to God in that moment. It is not, in the end, the possession of wealth that gives worth to a man; wealth is only the measure of what he has done with the finite minutes of his life. To confiscate, in the name of social justice, the fruits of a man’s labor is to take from that man his life. The act is no less heinous than that of strangling the air from his lungs.

There is no greater evidence of these truths than to observe the way a man chooses his mate. Observe a man truly, completely in awe of his wife, and you will observe a woman of great character and high standards, a woman not easily conquered, but a woman whose perfect affection was earned much like scaling the northward face of a great mountain. That which is of value comes with the vulnerability of risk, and the man most in line with his purpose will pursue the woman who he will never doubt deserves the full extent of honor and deference. He will go to unthinkable lengths to earn her affection, but at the moment of success, the fruits of his labor are distinctly and irreversibly his.

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