I was recently involved in a day of meetings with small business owners in the American Midwest. It was both encouraging and sad at the same time.
What I Found First
Overall, I found a large room full of productive human beings. It was uplifting. Most of these people were between thirty and seventy years old, more men than women, and they were all productive people, the kind who get up early every day, make sure that complex systems are producing properly, fix anything that is broken or near breaking, plan for the future, cooperate with large numbers of other people, and then go home at the end of the day and love their families.
If all the world lived like these people, we’d be halfway to a paradise by now. And that was a thought that made me sad.
Why? Because these people – by any standard of decency – should be left alone to create their better world. But instead, they are forcibly tied to wasteful, parasitic, and destructive systems. Half or more of their earnings are taken from them every year. Their actions are restricted by their moral inferiors. They live less than half the rewarding lives they should be enjoying, and for no defensible reason.
The Other Things
Beyond my overall happy/sad impressions, I found quite a few particular things:
- These people would have preferred to discuss the practical particulars of their businesses – tools, materials, technical obstacles and solutions, and so on. But instead, they were forced to discuss government compliance. Almost every subject discussed from the front of the room dealt with government regulations. Most of the subjects discussed on the sides involved tools, equipment, business strategies and so on.
- Dealing with employees is a major issue, especially involving the immigration police. These people are justifiably concerned with fines and indictments, just from hiring employees who are clearly long-time Americans. (That is, not Hispanics or other recent immigrants.) A few of the comments I heard:
“Good luck trying to explain that to an ICE agent.”
“Do NOT waive the 72 hour waiting period.”
“Do NOT allow them to enter your facility or inspect anything without authorization from counsel.”
- Nearly all of these people agreed that government in America is out of control, abusive, and oppositional to their happiness. I think that’s a positive opinion, since it reflects reality, meaning that they have stopped looking at the world through myth-colored glasses. The sad part of that is…
- These (good) people don’t know what to do about it. The system they grew up believing was their friend has turned against them. They’ve gathered the considerable courage required to face that, but they don’t know what to do next. They are working within the system as they can, trying to avoid its hazards, but don’t see any clear alternative – and no path of escape. They’d like to do other things, but they also need to feed their kids, and don’t know what to do about it all.
- Bitcoin is spreading everywhere. One of these business owners, in a very rural area, has built a Bitcoin mining operation. And not only Bitcoin, he is also mining for the other cryptocurrencies. And, he’s telling everyone else about it. I was surprised (and pleased) by this, since this meeting had absolutely nothing to do with computers, economics, or anything else that usually connects to cryptocurrencies. This man simply saw a great opportunity and jumped on it.
All In All
All in all, I came away from the day more confident in the future than I had been the day before.
We are exposed to so many horror stories every day. The images thrust upon us show a world filled with danger and discouragement. The reality, however – once you remove yourself from the newsfeed – is that there are a lot of very decent people who are generally doing the right things.
Our job now is to define newer and better ways to live and to spread that information to as many good people as we can. And to remind them they DO have the right to live good, happy, prosperous lives.
Please do everything you can along these lines. Thanks.
12 thoughts on “A Report from Middle America”
Yes, you’re correct. Probably close to 90% of people are decent, caring and productive people.
Then there are the sociopaths and psychopaths whose joy in life is trying to tell the 90% what, when and how to do just about any and every thing. It’s probably always been that way.
I love those people too. While growing up in Oklahoma, I connected early with the risk taking, entrepreneur. No one in America has the character of private sector business owners. There used to be a system that they could count on but not anymore. They should be left alone to fulfill their dream. Great piece Paul, thank you.
As I tell my 3 grown children, all of whom are gainfully employed or in their own business – while you are working hard to provide for your family, there is a whole entourage of politicians and bureaucrats who are feverishly engaged in plotting to take it away from you – now and even after you die.
You might not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you – specifically your money and your children!
I believe that these comments are correct. Politics is politics. Most people are very productive and that stands for the 99%.
What’s baffling to me is that, while most people are honest and caring, the vast majority of them support evil government actions: theft, arbitrary prohibitions and mandates, and general thuggery. What weakness in human nature causes this split?
Hearing and Doing
…23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does
But most people ARE “doers” in their own lives, I think: they don’t steal from their neighbors and don’t try to micromanage them. Yet, the minute the government does these things, suddenly it’s ok, in their minds. I don’t understand how it can be that this disconnect is so prevalent.
The “dumbing down of America” starts in public education. We see through it. Unfortunately most don’t.
You ask a good question, I don’t have the answer for it. Why is theft not theft when guberment does it, why is murder not murder when guberment does it, who are these people that hold this double standard and how did they get like this? Maybe other poster is correct, public education indoctrination? Maybe it is an inherent mob rules mentality for some people? Maybe they are devil worshippers regardless how many times a week they attend church?
I wish I had the answer, I would give it away for free…
Here’s something I happened across yesterday that relates to the question: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/you-are-as-evil-as-your-social-network-alexander-haslam-on-what-the-prison-experiment-got-wrong .
They’re saying that in the Milgram and Stanford Prison experiments, people didn’t so much obey the authority figure as actively identify as a member of the group represented by the authority figure. Interesting reading.
No offense Paul but think of all the time wasted simply blogging and talking about politics, defending ourselves from state. What a drain…
After you study this stuff for a while, you learn to boil it down. Socialism is a philosophy of death.
Most people want new cars, they don’t particularly care how they come by them. They also want cheap gas so they can drive around … they haven’t stooped to fighting for these things, like the Syrians … but tomorrow?
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