The bootstrap fallacy

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You’ve heard the saying:

If you work hard you’ll succeed.

or

God helps those who help themselves

It’s called the bootstrap philosophy and it’s a total mythology. Thoughtless people in various forms use this idea to advance various dead ideas, such as a laissez-faire market economy, the dangers of socialized healthcare, the elimination of social security or welfare, etc. To whit:

chris.brown it is apparent you are one of the true believers of the mantra that “I can’t do it, so I need someone else to do it for me”. Too bad. That is why we are in the shape we are in. Every campaign is run with the “what can you do for me” question being asked by the public. The candidates fall right into the trap. Everyone wants a handout. The Democrats have perfected the art of telling the country that “you need us to save you from the evil rich!”. It gets old for anyone with any common sense or ability to think for themselves. The economy is a complex thing, no answers are simple. Maybe part of the reason for the bad economy is “Average Joe’s” greed. Yes, that is right, Average Joe. The guy who just wants to go to work without all the pressures of owning his own business or company or the responsibilities that go with it. However, he wants a retirement package, paid health care, weeks of vacation, sick leave. He doesn’t want to do it on his own, but thinks he is “entitled” to everything because he works for some nasty “corporation”. Of course, from the corporate side, you must pay for all these benefits, pay for all the government regulations that apply to your business, and try to turn a decent profit so the stockholders, which may very well be “Average Joe’s” retirement plan, are satisfied. In the meantime, the “mean” corporation is not paying enough taxes! But don’t tax me, Average Joe!! And then wonder why our jobs are going overseas…. — Bemused

Which garnered an acclimation from “BH” and the following from me:

Bemused & BH, do you two enjoy the benefit of that which you rail against, such as the subsidized healthcare of an employer or the government? Or do you both subscribe to individually-paid plans as an homage to your self-reliance? Or do you pay out-of-pocket to prove that you, truly, practice what you preach?
What I find is that the apologists for extreme self-reliance so seldom follow their own pronouncements. “I am merely the signpost,” they say. — Samson

Which elicted the following response:

Samson-

Yes, I pay for my health insurance coverage. Out of my own pocket. With my own money. Not yours, not the taxpayers, nobody else’s. This is what the left doesn’t get, that you can survive without being dependent on the government to take care of you! Your snide little comment at the end of your post shows you are truly a believe in big government. I am not a millionaire (yet! but I hope to be before I retire if I work hard enough!) and I have not inherited a dime. I started at the age of 16 working for myself and I have been in the same business ever since. I am in a business that is highly regulated, I know what it is like to have to work around government red tape. It scares the heck out of me to think what they would do to our health care if they were left in charge! — Bemused

My turn:

Bemused, good for you! And I really do hope that you become a millionaire: you will need every penny to pay for your care as you age, or, god forbid, should you contract an illness that requires a lengthy stay in the hospital. I work in healthcare and I can tell you that the cost of care will only go up. I have also seen the disparity in care between those who are insured and those who are not. I pray you don’t run out of money during your stay or your indigence.

However, is it your expectation that everyone become a millionaire? The economic consequences aside, you must realize that not everyone is as lucky as you to be in the position you’ve achieved. Many work hard their whole lives only to end up poor due to circumstances beyond their control (sickness, injury, bankruptcy, etc.). How do you propose we assist those individuals?

Your myopia involves being focused on yourself without regard to the fate of your fellow Americans. The overwhelming majority will never own their business or be millionaires. You would have them suffer the effects of debilitating illness because you don’t believe it’s your patriotic duty to protect those who need it. You would rather the entire nation pull itself up by its collective bootstraps or be damned. — Samson

Bemused is all for the boostrap fallacy because for him it is a truth. For the time being. I wonder how he will feel when his house is in foreclosure to pay for his long-term care bills.

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