This wasn’t a robotic suburban life. It was a satisfying, moral way of living. Ben lived according to an ethos of what you might call “earned success.” Arthur Brooks has a good description of this ethos in his new book “The Battle.” As Brooks (no relation) observes, the key to happiness is not being rich; it’s doing something arduous and creating something of value and then being able to reflect on the fruits of your labor.
For Ben, right and wrong is contained in the relationship between effort and reward. If people do not work but get rewarded, that’s wrong. If people work and do not get rewarded, that’s wrong. But Ben believed that America is fundamentally a just society. He loved his country because people who work hard can usually overcome whatever unfairness is thrust in their way.
But when Ben looked at Washington, he saw a political system that undermined the relationship between effort and reward. People in Washington spent money they didn’t have. They just borrowed it from the Chinese. People in Washington taxed those with responsible homes to bail out people who’d bought homes they couldn’t afford.
People in Congress were caught up in a spoils system in which money was taken from those who worked and given to those with connections. Money was taken from those who produced and used to bail out the reckless, who were supposedly too big to fail.
This was an affront to the core values of Ben’s life.
Hey David, welcome to the Tea Party!
For years, these people like Ben you describe have compassion for people down on their luck but politicians have enabled the reckless to continue being so. People like Ben are sick and tired of being called racist when even the conversation of affirmative action is brought up.
He's sick and tired of being a sexist for simply believing in traditional family values.
He's tired of being call an unsympathetic douche bag while dumbasses are allowed to live in half million dollar homes rent free (awaiting a foreclosure bailout) all the while he lives in his 1300 square foot mansion.
He's tired of being called a xenophobe simply because he thinks it's a good idea to enforce immigration laws that every country on planet earth enforce.
He's tired being called fortunate while watching "poor" people cash $5,000 earned income credit checks while he pays taxes.
All this because he simply did the shit you are supposed to do in life; went to school, worked hard and didn't spend money beyond his means. Yet politicians and media members, like you David Brooks, sit in your Manhattan and DC hovels condemning us as part of the problem.
This column is another pretentious, east coast condescension of the little people in flyover country who are too damn stupid to know what they are doing when they support certain politicians and attend Tea Parties.
Yes David, I am Ben, but I'm not part of the problem you dolt. It's your Ivy League dumb ass elitists who are. It's those politicians who "go along to get along." Now leave us alone and enjoy your Pinot Noir.
Maybe someday David can give us one problem a government has actually solved rather than exacerbate.