Subsidized Self Reliance (EP.144)

Self Reliance


Subsidized self reliance is an oxymoron, a self-cancelling phrase. Like civil war, or jumbo shrimp. In yet another triumph of doublethink (from Orwell’s 1984), over reason and integrity, it is being sold as being humane and compassionate. It is precisely the opposite. 

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute blog/podcast.


It has long been true that if allowed one false premise to build upon, then just about anything can be “proved” to be true. For example, when the prevailing belief was that the earth was flat, it was easy to “prove” that a ship going a distance in any direction would fall off the edge of the world. More recently, when 1930s Germany promoted the false belief that Jews, homoexuals, gypsies, etc., were not people, it allowed those who accepted that thinking to treat the people in these groups in horribly inhumane ways. With apologies to Bertrand Russell, here’s a fun example: 

Someone once challenged Bertrand Russell to prove that, “If  1=2 (the allowed false premise) then you, Russell are the Pope. Russell replied, “Either the Pope and I are one person or we are two people. If 1=2 then in either case we are one person. Therefore, I am the Pope.”

Allowing the false premise of subsidized self reliance to stand will lead to claiming that subsidizing people will make them self reliant. In other words, if I just keep giving you new a fish every day, you will eventually learn how to fish. And more importantly, you will be motivated by all the free fish to provide your own fish after a time of being giving them for free. (The people esposing this way of thinking are silent on just how long the free fish have to be given out before, like spontaneous combustion, learning and motivation flare up.)

Pause for a definition. The kind of subsidies we are talking about here are the long term and extended giveaways like “Healthcare is a human right” and free college with the forgiveness of current student debt. As in $1.5 T for trillion in student debt. One third of our annual federal budget. That’s more than all of the outstanding credit card debt. Hey, why not pay that off for everyone as well? We are not talking about the temporary subsidies that have correctly existed for many decades, like good public schools (when they were good), merit-based scholarships and efficient public transportation–where that exists. All subsidized, and all good investments, designed to give the individual what they need when they need it. And allow and encourage them to wean themselves from the subsidies. Eventually to contribute to subsidizing others either through appropriate taxation or personal charity. 

Let’s take a quick re-look at a drawing that deals with the issue of what is a good, effective and compassionate subsidy and, well, what isn’t. This Can’t v. Won’t drawing is a useful guide. 

“Can’t” and “won’t” are completely different. Much of how we see and deal with ourselves, family and society depends upon how we define those two terms, those two states of mind, and how we apply those definitions in our lives.

For example, we all want to help people who can’t and don’t want to help those who won’t. 

As we go forward together with these podcasts, this can’t or won’t distinction will become more important as we begin to outline a complete political, personal and financial philosophy. A way of looking at, living in and contributing to the world around us.

This definition, this distinction, is a good example of the many places in our lives where there is a lot of grey, but we need to make–and act on–firm choices. And just having an honest, non agenda-driven discussion will be hugely beneficial. And advance everyone’s thinking in useful directions.

Today’s Key Point: Don’t surrender the word compassion to those who want to convince us that the more you give away for free, the more compassionate you are. When you give away too much for too long, it is the opposite of compassion. It is the deliberate or unintentional, but still damaging, creation of dependency. Kinda like becoming dependent on opiods. There are voices out there who are ready to hold the manufacturers and prescribers accountable for destructive opioid dependency. Who is prepared to hold the various levels of government accountable for the growing economic dependency that is destroying so many lives?

I am.

Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.

If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper. 

Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”

  • Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
  • Comment in the blogs. Let others know what you are thinking.
  • Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
  • Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
  • From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.

And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.

Links and References

Can’t v. Won’t



As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden
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8 Responses

  1. Gary O. Reply

    Will, you are banging the nails squarely on the head. One of the easy themes picked up here is this: your thinking is not about party, its about policy.

    Thanks again,

    Gary O.

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