In Danny Westnead’s contentious column, ‘Self-made’ myth divides us (Seattle Times, July 26th, 2010), he seems to come to his keyboard with some mighty preconceived and insulting assumptions about Eastern Washington farmers.
Westnead summarizes Senate candidate Clint Didier’s reason for running for congress as, “…to preserve the America of ‘rugged individualism’ from socialism’s creep.” I don’t see a problem with this, however I do believe creep should be plural, unless Westnead’s referring to the President. If he is, I’m not sure he should be referring to our nation’s leader as a creep, but I didn’t say it, he did.
Satire aside, Westnead seems to intentionally, perhaps subconsciously, wander into the shadowy crevices of conflation. Because libertarians, conservatives, and many independents fight against big government, Westnead infers this exhibits a dislike, or even abhorrence, of all government. Similarly, Westnead seems to think being self-made means having to achieve without any help from anyone—ever—or you’re disqualified from the title.
Be serious. If this were the case, then yes, the rugged, “self-made,” individualist would be a myth. But achieving as an individualist, but with the occasional help from your neighbors, and while helping your neighbors, is not mutually exclusive.
He also taints Didier for his association with the NFL, as if getting drafted by the league as a player somehow makes him responsible for all of the shenanigans engaged in between the NFL and the government. Didier put forth his effort as an exceptional professional athlete and was rewarded for his efforts according to his contract.
Last I heard the NFL is a private organization, not the government; if it chooses to operate in a less than libertarian fashion, they have the liberty to do that. If the government grants the league special privileges by the government, then if Clint Didier wins the election, he owes it to us to fight to eliminate all “corporate welfare,” not just the NFL.
That FDR’s welfare state explosion, the WPA, and federal power grab in general forced certain “communal” resources on farmers, and forced farmers to destroy crops and to leave fields unplanted in an attempt to centrally control the nation’s food production, which, incidentally, led to those long food lines you see in those old black and white news footage reels, is not the farmers fault, and does not take away from just how difficult farming is.
Any farmer who willingly works toward increasing the subsidy (welfare) system should rightly be criticized, however, the murky situation of those stuck within a broken system, who’ve inherited subsidies from their fathers and grandfathers, should be recognized. However, they should be emulating limited-government folks like Clint Didier, not criticizing him, and work with him toward ending the subsidy system and returning farming to the free market.