Once upon a time, America stood on the idea that anyone could achieve anything. It wasn’t just allowed, but encouraged. This nation knew that greatness was a worthy goal, that immortality could be achieved through achievement itself. We marveled at self-made millionaires and billionaires. Men like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt were encouraged to achieve all that they could. Do they always do it right? No. Humans do stupid things from time to time, so they made missteps along the way.
Fast forward to today. America will still, to some extent, permit a man to achieve greatness. However, culturally, we have shifted to where that’s no longer desirable. Our culture seems to revere people who work for no monetary gain, which has a nobility to be sure, but curses the men who strive to achieve things that will net them wealth. “I want to be rich,” is now seen in a similar light to “I want to kill someone.” Instead of it being accepted by many as a different goal, it’s looked at by some as being a form of anti-social disorder.
Far to many people understand that it was those wealthy men who made this country what it is. A welder may be a wonderful welder, but without someone to employ him, he’s no different than anyone else without a job. An engineer may have a wonderful idea, but without investors to make it reality, it will stay in the formless void of imagination.
Today, the wealthy are being beaten up. The protestors on Wall Street aren’t without some valid arguments after all, so some of the beating is warranted. But not all. We need to recognize where we’ve come from and understand that without brave men questing for greatness, we will achieve nothing more of note. So far, we haven’t ruled the whole thing out. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook notoriety, for example, may be the most famous modern example.