Attacking The Cart Pullers

More than a decade ago, I wrote a column about the cart-pullers; those of us who lead the way, take the risks, create and provide the jobs, and quite candidly, keep the country running. We don’t ask for notoriety, gratitude, or attention…we just ask that you not vilify us vis a vie envy. So much for that, as here we are again.

On the lighter side of this topic, I saw a headline last week as the baseball lockout was ending that read “MLB owners retain their billions.” Long story short, said the article, was that millionaires will again be playing baseball this spring, paid by billionaires, and for some reason, the 30 people that own a baseball team are somehow the bad guys. Sure, I get it…defending wealthy people is less popular now than ever before, and to be completely candid, many of them are, in fact, scumbags. But this ongoing childish call for wealth redistribution under the guise of life not being fair is not only infantile, it’s founded in fallacy. Yes, those big, bad, evil MLB owners will remain billionaires; and do you know what else will remain? Hundreds of jobs in each of their organizations, ranging from the office staff to trainers, coaches, and even mascots. Around the country, thousands of vendors, ticket takers, security guards, members of grounds crews, scoreboard operators, and even PA announcers will go to work in stadiums every day earning a paycheck. Yes, a paycheck far smaller than those horrible owners, but a paycheck nevertheless, powered by very rich people who took risks to get to where they are and reap the rewards of it today. Let’s not forget the endless hotel rooms that will be booked by not just traveling players and team members, but also fans; Then there’s the airline flights, rental cars, drivers, the bars and restaurants surrounding the stadiums, and of course, the endless money made from thousands of games being broadcast, thus bringing in more revenue through advertising while also employing thousands of network personnel.

I could go on, but if you don’t get the point by now, you’re either dumb or a total loser who views everyone else as the reason for your miserable life and endless failures.

Then there are the oil companies; another group of wildly unpopular people who basically print money at will and somehow take the blame when we decide to drive more, world events drive up speculation and have the audacity to want to make a profit. A wildly large profit, yes, which is what leads to asinine comments like “who needs that much money?” It’s not far from that question to “each according to his ability to each according to his contribution,” the literal mantra of Socialism. The answer to the first question is that no one needs “that much money,” whatever your amount is, but it’s there for those who want to strive for it and earn it. I won’t bore you with the MLB owners like list of all of the jobs that grow from the tree of big oil, because again, you either get it or you’re a bum.

Oh, oops, did I trigger you with the use of “bum?” I understand that’s a slur nowawdays. My bad.

All of this is the backdrop for one of my favorite annual stories, the World Happiness Report, which has pretty much the exact same results every year as follows:

Finland once again ranked the happiest according to people’s self-reported assessment of their lives on a scale of zero to 10, with zero being the worst possible life they could have expected to have, and 10 being the best.

Finland’s neighbors, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway, all ranked in the top 10.

I’m not even going to waste time on the folly of “self-reporting,” particulary when it comes to things as fleeting and subjective as a person’s own happiness. Asking people to rank their own happiness is about as scientific as throwing darts at a map to determine the answers.

More importantly, though, is that one thing you have to appreciate about the Scandanavians is their self-awareness. The reason, they openly admit, is that they’re constantly reporting themselves as so “happy,” is that they have very few failures or set-backs, since none of them strive for anything. They just exist.

Scandinavia’s happiness rankings aren’t the result of the country’s sterling quality of life, but because people in those countries have a lower bar for what they think their best possible life could have been.

“The Nordic countries are united in their embrace of curbed aspirations,” wrote Jukka Savolainen. “People are socialized to believe that what they have is as good as it gets — or close enough.” Put another way, good enough is good enough. Why strive for more when I have only what I need and striving would mean, by definition, occasional failures which hurt, and make me temporarily sad. Boo hoo.

As reported by a correspondent for the Economist, when a Cabinet member of the Finnish government was introduced at an international conference as “the representative of the happiest country in the world,” he responded: “If that’s true, I’d hate to see the other nations.”

Way back in 1993, 60 Minutes featured a segment on Finland, which opened with this description of Helsinki pedestrians going about their business: “This is not a state of national mourning in Finland, these are Finns in their natural state; brooding and private; grimly in touch with no one but themselves; the shyest people on earth. Depressed and proud of it.”

All of this is the result of Nordic countries providing decent lives for their citizens and prevent them from experiencing sustained periods of material hardship. Moreover, they embrace a cultural orientation that sets realistic limits to one’s expectations for a good life. This mindset explains why Finns are the happiest people in the world despite living in small apartments, earning modest incomes—with even more limited purchasing power thanks to high prices and taxes.

Now…seriously…all name-calling aside, what type of person, other than a lazy loser would embrace any of that as a way to live? It’s pathetic, and quite candidly, cruel.

I’m no oil barron nor will I be owning a baseball team in my life, but I did grow up in a middle-class, paycheck-to-paycheck household where as much as my parents tried to give me everything, often told me “no, we can’t afford that.” My friends rode Mongoose bikes while I rode a Huffy. I didn’t get to go to Washington D.C. with my 7th grade civics class, and I certainly didn’t have a college fund. Today, and for the last 20+ years, I’ve owned my own company, employed dozens, and helped an unknowable amount of small businesses grow beyond their wildest dreams. Countless sales people, radio managers, and far less talented radio cretin have seen an improved quality of life merely by the existence of my team. This is provable; it has been stated publicly multiple times that were it not for the RAD show, 98 ROCK in Sacramento wouldn’t be 98 ROCK today, it would be 98 POP or 98 Country.

I don’t want to be thanked, honored, revered, or recognized. To be honest, I’m too busy pulling the cart too many people are riding in. All I ask is what most of us doing the pulling ask; leave us alone, get out of our way, and let us keep pulling.

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