Optimism is our only choice

Editor: One of the great things about blogging is the way it brings forward new voices, bypasses credentialism, and stirs the currents of thought in valuable, unexpected ways. I never expected that lunch in the university dining room with CCU's young soccer coach, newly transplanted from Wisconsin to the Rockies, would connect me with a conservative kindred spirit and fiery patriot who also blogs entrepreneurially on personal finance issues. But that's how it went on the day I met Josh Caucutt. Backbone America is delighted to welcome him as a new contributor. Optimism is our only choice

    “Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.” “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” --The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien

I believe we are in difficult days. I believe that history shows us that we might be headed for some of the worst days that the United States has ever known. This Congress has added a huge weight of debt around the neck of every man, woman and especially every child. Furthermore, all of the talk of the future seems to hold only the dim promise of new taxes, higher taxes, more debt and greater levels of government involvement in our daily lives. We are on the precipice of socialism. In the name of crisis, our government is choking the lift out of small businesses, entrepreneurs and all who desire to pursue life, liberty and happiness with as few government entanglements as possible. Even a great thinker like Thomas Sowell is in the clutches of pessimism.

These forces conspire to pull us ever closer to total government dependency and inevitable total government control. Sometimes it seems like we are caught in that frequent science fiction movie plot where the townspeople are slowly being turned to zombies or possessed by aliens until the hero is the only person left with his senses intact. He runs around looking for help, but everyone to whom he turns is already working for the evil that he seeks to defeat. He struggles and flails until some glimmer of hope motivates him to act and eventually he obtains the Hollywood ending that we all expect. Except we are not guaranteed an “ever after” ending in real life.

Yet American culture has always held that glimmer of hope - that belief that everything is going to turn out all right. We find it in our history, our literature, in our movies and in ourselves. We must be optimistic about the future, it is our only choice. To wallow in pessimism or apathy is to give up and admit defeat. Optimism spurred the War for Independence, optimism emancipated a race of people, optimism carried the day on June 6, 1944 - optimism and a commitment to duty no matter the cost.

It's true that recently my own little blog has focused on what is wrong with the direction of our country -- but while I believe there is cause for concern, I want to personally act optimistically and I hope that my readers will do the same.

Don’t make excuses for coming up short. Find a way to get it done. Fear can be a good motivator. We don’t know how far we can stretch until we are really pulled. Quitting never fed a family, never ran a business, and never got someone out of debt. Avoid allowing government to take credit for your success. Be the difference in your life and the lives around you. Don’t let government be your excuse for failure. Government can make things difficult for people, but government can never squelch the drive, innovation, creativity and independent spirit that is alive and well in this country.

Freedom is difficult to win and difficult to keep, but if there is any group of people on the earth who can accomplish both, it is us.

Joshua Caucutt blogs three times a week at Rocket Finance.