November 25
by Harris Green

We’ve all heard it said of somebody, “He’s a self-made man.” I beg to differ. Except for perhaps Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a wolf, there is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.

Yes, most high achievers are more brilliant and hard-working than the average person, but none of them is self-made. Their achievement is due much more to what was done FOR them than for what they did for themselves.

The parents of the “self-made man” kept him alive through infancy and gave him valuable tools for coping with life’s challenges. Relatives and friends of the family also contributed to his development. He greatly benefited from being born into the United States of America, where we have more than enough for every citizen to be comfortable, and where there is no sectarian strife which could make daily life a nightmare. We owe our American way of life, the envy of the world, to the servicemen who fought wars on our behalf, to the policemen and the firemen who protected us at home, to the school teachers who taught us the three R’s, and to the priests and ministers and rabbis and imams who nurtured our spiritual life. And none of those people ever made much money doing what they did. But without the help of all those “little people” the so-called self-made man wouldn’t even exist.

As a nation we must stop worshipping all the high achievers and start appreciating the contribution of the legions of ordinary citizens who make our very existence possible. When some privileged blowhard starts talking about how he’s not going to spend his “hard earned money” paying for health care for lazy poor people, we should tell him three things:

1. Your money wasn’t hard-earned. Go to a third world country if you want to see money hard earned.

2. It isn’t your money. Your share of what you make is but a small fraction of what was earned by those who nurtured, taught, and protected you.

3. Without those wretched poor people you wouldn’t even exist.