Equal Opportunity or Equal Results?

America is known as the land of opportunity. We have even tried hard to make America a land of equal opportunity. However, to some extent that is impossible. As someone once said, “it takes money to make money.” T hose who come from a more privileged background have a better chance of success. However, we have a number of programs to assist those not so fortunate, no matter what race they are. There are some racial issues still in America, and where they exist, they should be dealt with. However, there are a whole lot of poor white folk, too, and I think to deal with the issue of poverty we need to stop being racist about it.

What does “equal opportunity” actually mean? Is it a guarantee of results? While the answer has to be “absolutely not,” many of the well-known crusaders (you all know who they are) have created an expectation of equal results, and the result is an addiction to government handouts and a guarantee that the poor will remain poor. (Of course, if the problem of poverty was ever really solved, these crusaders would have no one to crusade for.)

You can’t guarantee equal results – you shouldn’t even try. There are too many factors, including the individual’s aptitude, and especially attitude, to guarantee anyone anything. America was not founded on the principle of equal results. In fact, I doubt that the founding fathers even thought of guaranteeing equal opportunity – again, some came over rich, some came over poor. There wasn’t a program for “handicapping” immigrants (that is, giving them an equal footing – even homesteading took much work and commitment), or giving handouts to anyone – at least until the welfare programs started.

Speaking of welfare programs, I recently found an interesting quote from FDR (that’s Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President who introduced Social Security):

The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America. Work must be found for able-bodied but destitute workers. The federal government must and shall quit this business of relief.” (emphasis mine)

I was raised a relatively poor “dirt farmer” in the mid-west, where we constantly faced the potential of loss due to extreme weather and floods and low grain prices. Pain and suffering were not damages to be sought in lawsuits, they were a way of life. My dad taught me from an early age that government hand-outs were not the solution; government subsidies and hand-outs could never be the long term solution to anything, and he resisted these attempts at the government “buying off” the farmers. To guarantee results only promotes laziness and a sick dependence on the government, and resulting tax increases to pay for it.

I fully support charity and assistance to the poor and down-trodden, and the Biblical charge to take care of widows and orphans, but that is one thing – a guarantee of equality is another. The concept simply defies good sense. Socialism, in any form, fails. It is a fundamentally flawed concept to guarantee equality; as Orwell put it, “… some are more equal than others.” It’s just a fact of life.

William Hung will never be an American Idol, or a great singer. However, he managed to make himself famous and is reportedly doing a great job at simply being an entertainer. He did not have an equal opportunity, and to guarantee equal results is ridiculous. However, by his own perseverance and determination, he’s doing ok. Who would have thought there was opportunity for an entertainer with no talent whatsoever? That’s called creating your own opportunity. It can be done.

The fact that some “people of disadvantage,” whether that be financial, race, family background, or talent succeed, dispels the belief that there is no opportunity. It can be done. There is potential. However, I think that the notion must be dispelled that we are somehow entitled to a car in every garage or a big-screen TV in every living room. (If we are entitled, I want one; and a living room big enough for one.) The reality is, there is no such thing as true equality, we are entitled to nothing, and life and opportunity are gifts for which we should be thankful. I’m sorry, but that’s life. There is nothing that any government can do to change that. The quicker we learn the true meaning of opportunity, the better off we will be.

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