My Thoughts by Rick Stephens

Food, Shelter, Clothing, and the Internet

Posted in Attitudes,Personal Opinion by Rick on the December 23rd, 2010

Food, Shelter, Clothing and Internet

My oldest son will be 40 in a couple of months, but I still consider him part of the younger generation. Still, we often have some very stimulating and spirited discussions regarding life and the circumstances we live in.

Although he will not admit it directly, my son leans toward the liberal side of thinking, while I am very much a conservative. Therefore, many of our discussions revolve around capitalism vs. entitlements.

Over the years I have come to believe that those who think with a liberal bias must see life through a gloomy set of eyes. For them the glass is always half empty. It seems that the younger generation (at least in this country) fails to understand the importance of free enterprise and how capitalism has been the foundation for what they now consider entitlements.

For instance, on one occasion we were discussing the new health care legislation. I pointed out that the government had no business mandating that I buy health insurance. My son countered with, “They require us to buy car insurance.” Of course, my response was that car insurance is not mandatory unless you want to drive a car on public roads. His response was that a car is a necessity to life and therefore car insurance becomes mandatory.

I just can not seem to explain in a convincing enough way, that a car is not a necessity. A car is simply a product of our choice. He argues that it is impractical to believe that a car is a choice considering the requirement to be so mobile in our society. But the reality is that we can make the choice, though it may not be a very pleasing or convenient choice, to live without a car. We could live on a farm, take a bus, call a cab, let friends drive us or, heaven forbid, walk.

Our most recent discussion revolved around the Internet. In his mind, the Internet has become so pervasive in our lives that it has become a necessity. Again, I believe it is a choice we make to enhance our lives, but far from a necessity.

When the FCC recently began regulating the Internet with its “Net Neutrality” rules, I completely rejected and disapproved of the move. According to my son, we need to prevent the ISP from becoming a conduit to the web just so they can “grab money from our pockets.” This is exactly the type of comment that makes me believe that our younger generation sees life through gloomy eyes. It seems they believe that big corporations exist only to steal or rob us of our hard earned money and prevent us from enjoying the luxuries that we have come to know as necessities.

I believe that The Unites States of America is the greatest and the most benevolent and generous country to have ever existed on this planet. We give more to the under privileged people in this world than any other country, not only as a nation, but as a people. We believe that the individual has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and as such we give so much, that our own people are now beginning to believe that this out pouring of compassion is somehow a necessity and something they are entitled to.

Let us remember that there are only 3 things in life that we need; Food, Shelter, and Clothing. Everything else is either a luxury or a choice. No one is entitled to a job. No one is entitled to a guaranteed retirement or even health care for that matter. But as a nation, our compassion for the welfare of our human brothers is so great, that we are willing to contribute a portion of our wealth to help those who are less fortunate.

But to all who feel entitled and believe that corporations are a bad thing, please understand that had it not been for capitalism you would not have the luxuries you now enjoy. It is because of big business that this country has become so well off and prosperous compared to any other nation. Yes, some have not benefited as much as others. But still, every person in this country has the opportunity do better by making the right choices, not through entitlements.

And if you are not as well off as I am, please remember that my money is not your money. I worked hard to earn what I have and yet I am willing to pay my fair share of taxes and to contribute to charitable causes to help you when you are down. But I fully expect that you will also work hard to achieve a better place in life, make the right choices, and stop expecting that you are entitled to my money.

When people stop expecting life to be handed to them on a silver platter, and instead begin to appreciate the generosity of those more fortunate then they, this country will begin to pull itself out of the debt we are in, be able to help all of those in need, and once again achieve the respect and stature that we know has been given to us only by the grace of God.

To Your Success,

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