A friend left me a note last night: “My life has been crazy—But with God’s help it will get better.” I’ll come back to my friend. Let me first turn to another quote that drives many Americans crazy and as a result is endangering the life of my friend:
In fact, the more we try to speak of ourselves as self-made men, the more we contradict ourselves. Virtuous “self-made men” are understandably proud of their property which they hopefully charitably share with others. Yet property cannot exist without society — if there are no other people around it makes no sense to speak of property. If there is no one you can ask to get off your land, what could it possibly mean to say that the land is yours? To be a self-made landowner, you therefore require others. But then how can you be a self-made man? As John Dewey puts it, “...[T]he more we emphasize the free right of an individual to his property, the more we emphasize what society has done for him: the avenues it has opened to him for acquiring; the safeguards it has put about him for keeping...” To claim to be a self-made man is thus to renounce the claim.