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I just saw an ad for an article in The Atlantic titled “The Myth of Pulling Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps,” with a subtext saying “It’s time to challenge our country’s dangerous obsession with self-reliance.” I don’t have a subscription, so I don’t know what the article actually says but is the ad a description of where we are?
I don’t think it was ever a myth during my working career but I have little doubt it can quickly be made one by the socialist-oriented government we now have. I don’t think it was a myth because I did exactly that. I started with nothing, had a marriage in which we reared three children, all are college graduates without debt to be repaid or forgiven, none of whom has succumbed to the use of illegal drugs or committed crimes, and all are living productive lives not dependent on government largesse. They are self-reliant individuals and family members who love and care for each other.
Now, that is not to say it works that way for all. I have seen numerous reports of individuals who inherit fortunes and proceed to lose it all and become dependent on other methods to make it through life. And I don’t even have the words to describe what it means to make one’s way in the manner of a Hunter Biden. There might even be some things there worth an article in The Atlantic. Of course, there are those between these extremes, many of whom lose the ability to be self-reliant through misfortune, frequently not of their own doing.
But none of this justifies calling the possible achievements of a self-made person a myth. And how does self-reliance get to be an obsession?
Sometimes I’m not sure what world I am living in.Published in