Deferral of Gratifications

This weekend, my wife and my three boys took me house snooping. To buy a new moderately nice house in this little area of California large enough to accommodate a five person family will set you back 1.5 to 2 million bucks. The houses we looked at weren’t bad, but I didn’t see the one I wanted; that one probably will cost 4 or 5 million dollars. I need to make a lot more money if I am going to purchase something like that.

Each week I read a dozen or more columns, most are links on this website. One of my favorite columnists is George Will. Not only do I marvel at his intellectual prowess, but I hope by reading his stuff each week some of his writing talent might rub off on me.

Whether or not my writing skills ever rise to the level of eloquence and intellect he exhibits in his work is unimportant, the information he disseminates is valuable, informative, and instructive.

I don’t write to profess the scholarly views nurtured in academia anyway, I write to give a blue collar point of view many academics might have difficulty contemplating with full understanding and empathy. While I often defer to the scholars for information and policy analysis, my writing is colored with the pedestrian experience of a guy who has traveled America’s road of opportunity without the aid of advanced education or wealth.

This week George’s commentary described the enormous task facing France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy. The plight of a welfare state’s inability to provide the economic growth necessary to finance the appetite of growing entitlements demanded by a socialist people was centerpiece to his discourse. He gave plenty of explanation to the contradictions which also encourage capitalism’s downfall. Primarily, as capitalism provides for wealth and prosperity it eases the strenuous efforts required for said wealth and prosperity, and such, encourages sloth, and allows for an entitlement attitude within the people to emerge, who in turn adopt policies which pour water on the fire of drive. The drive which they depend on to finance their desire for entitlement I might add.

Provocative arguments explaining the contradictions were balanced by Mr. Will’s report of qualities most important for capitalism’s proliferation, among those, a deferral of gratifications. In essence, it is sacrifice now which compounds interest for payouts tomorrow.

Contemplating Will’s aphorism I am reminded of my Mother’s simple but wise, It’s not how much money you make Jimmy, but what you do with the money you get.

Generally, I have experienced Mom’s words to be only too accurate. My personal net worth has continued to grow over years while the wealth of many colleagues and friends has not, even though they have often made far more money than I have.

My deferral of gratifications will sometime award me the 5 million dollar house and other accoutrements due wealth. Leftists will prescribe my success to luck, my exhibition of wealth, greed, and my tenacity to encourage the free-enterprise policies which would enable others to secure similar wealth, racist.

I won’t get credit for creating jobs to scores of workers, for paying millions in tax revenue, or providing a good or service of high value to American consumers. The essence of business is profit, and that profit, the profit which provides for all these commendable side effects (jobs, tax revenue, products), will demonstrate to all socialists my inhumane and selfish aspiration to chase the American dream. The feeble minded will cheer the ridicule.

So how do those productive entrepreneurs and capitalists protect American culture and prosperity? We fight for righteousness with every fiber of our soul and do our best to convey the dangers and destruction inherent in socialist policy. But, as the human animal, we also venture to protect ourselves and investigate other options.

When a rabidly productive and patriotic guy like me begins to consider that perhaps there is another country on earth where he might be better off to be expending his efforts, we have planted the seeds of discontent that can only grow to America’s detriment.

The country won’t be destroyed in ten years or twenty, and there won’t be some mass exodus anytime soon, but when some smart country decides to adopt the concepts and policies that America did over two hundred years ago, policies our populace has been enthusiastic to cast aside, the exodus will come, and it will come fast and bitter.

Copyright 2007 Jim Pontillo