Thursday, January 10, 2008


Do you work better under pressure? Work harder when there's a deadline? Do you resent external accountability while you are under it, but feel exhilarated when you successfully accomplish what might have been in doubt? Do you, when it comes down to it, need and actually desire brushing up against the hard edge of failure - motivating yourself with imaginings of what success and failure might mean?

Then you begin to see why economic conservatives believe that those things might be good for others, and good for people in general.

There are pressures too great, of course. While any obstacle might be overcome, combinations of them might be a bridge too far for all but the most exceptional people - clever, driven, resilient folk. Ayn Rand to the contrary, there is nothing wrong with having a society which insists on some measure of rescue or protection for those who have been dealt the most difficult hands. But conservatives believe that in general, we intervene too quickly to rescue, depriving people of the opportunity to succeed against the odds. False kindness allows the giver to feel special at the cost of a little cash, robbing the recipient of self-respect and joy.

The scriptures teach us to give to those who ask. Fair enough. But we should be actively seeking to give to those whose need overwhelms. Giving encouragement (and conservatives are sometimes very bad at this) may be the greater gift for the others.


SukieTawdry said...

Yes, I do work better under pressure and my professional life was pressure packed. And now that I seemingly have all the time in the world, I find myself procrastinating until a sufficient amount of pressure has been applied. It's ridiculous.

A helping hand is almost always appropriate, as is the occasional hand-out, but our liberal fellows are all too eager to eliminate any need to succeed. It starts early as educators scorn competition and the concepts of "winning" and "losing" and instill the idea that self-esteem can be bestowed upon one by others instead of learned and earned by oneself. It serves our children ill. Very ill indeed.

David Foster said...

I wonder about those "educators" who scorn competition, especially the administrators. Are they themselves noncompetitive people? Does someone become, say, a high school principal without having a competitive bone in their body?