The Land of the Free, Not Freeloaders

Thursday, 13 Oct 2011 09:47 AM

By Neal Asbury

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Many people are comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Arab Spring uprisings and even the French Revolution. There’s a big difference.

America is a Democratic Republic — no such government existed in France at the time or in the Arab countries where enraged mobs took the place of civil order. In this country, we make our voices heard through voting, not rioting.

If the government isn’t working for you, elect a new government. That’s what drives the Tea Party movement.

Most Americans have no idea what the Occupy Wall Street movement wants, and truth be told, neither do they. They are protesting against and for everything: global warming, gas prices, corporate “greed” and free college education.

The Constitution does not guarantee that U.S. citizens will be rich. But it does provide a fertile framework for free enterprise that encourages and rewards entrepreneurs and visionaries who take risk to build companies that create jobs and wealth for all Americans.

It’s called capitalism, and it is the bedrock of our economic system. Not a single successful American company was built on handouts from the government. They grow through innovation, hard work and reinvesting their hard-earned money back into their businesses.

If you need an example of American free enterprise, look no further than the tributes to the late Steve Jobs, who at the age of 16 teamed with 21-year-old Steve Wozniak to build the first Apple I computer.

Armed with just a purchase order from their first customer, the team got the financing they needed to build the computer that led to the creation of one of America’s most iconic brands. Though they didn’t have an easy ride, through sheer determination, they succeeded and grew incredibly wealthy – without a dime from the government. They should be great role models for the Occupy Wall Street crowd, but all they see is the personal wealth, not the hardship and sacrifice that got them there.

Envy has never been a principle that advances American values. Yet, this country has a sordid history of mobs trying to take vengeance on those that create wealth.

As early as 1765, mobs lead by a shoemaker named Ebenezer Macintosh destroyed the home of a rich Boston merchant named Andrew Oliver, which was followed two weeks later by looting and destroying the home of Thomas Hutchinson, another wealthy Boston merchant. The reason for the attacks? They were successful.

At noon on Sept. 16, 1920, a horse drawn buggy loaded with 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of cast- iron slugs exploded in front of the J.P. Morgan headquarters just across the street of the present day New York Stock Exchange. The explosion blew out windows for blocks killing 38 innocent people, most of whom were messengers, stenographers and clerks. Many of the more than 400 people wounded suffered severe, life changing injuries.

You can still see the shrapnel damage on the limestone exterior of 23 Wall Street. The damage was left as a reminder of this mindless attack and in defiance of the anarchists that perpetrated this heinous crime.

The America of envy, self-pity and mobocracy is not what our forefathers envisioned.

I grew up in an America where I was able to create a successful business by hard work and taking advantage of some breaks along the way. Fundamental to the free enterprise system is the right of individuals to make their own choices and then live by them. I have failed at many things, and will fail at many more to come. What I have learned is to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep fighting to achieve my dreams. Someday, I will get there.

Nobody handed me money, and I didn’t expect any. Neither should the Occupy Wall Street protesters. If I believed the only way to succeed was through my ability to protest until I received a handout, then I could never have acquired the skills that make me successful.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote: “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

I don’t blame the frustrated unemployed who need jobs for their families. But I do blame movement leaders and the progressives that are cheering them on who are fueling discontent by demanding things that they know will never happen.

Jobs for most Americans aren’t created on Wall Street. It’s time for the Occupy Wall Street protesters to stop protesting against Wall Street. They should be rooting for Wall Street to provide our job creators the resources they need to hire.

It’s not about personal wealth, it’s about opportunity.

And no country on earth creates more opportunities than the United States of America.

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