I was recently asked to deliver a lecture about the virtues of capitalism, entrepreneurship, and the rules of business success at Harvard University. I am thrilled to report that capitalism and entrepreneurship are alive, well, and still celebrated — even at one of the world’s greatest institutions of intellectualism and liberalism.
Students actually reported after my speech that the direction of their lives was changed by my words — they now want to be entrepreneurs.
The lesson here is that, if presented properly, Obama can be defeated and his anti-capitalism views debunked, even among his biggest group of supporters — college students. The key is that capitalism and entrepreneurship must be presented with enthusiasm, passion, energy, and unique, colorful personal stories.
President Obama, speaking at a university in Florida a few weeks ago (at virtually the same time I spoke at Harvard), described capitalism as “a broken-down theory," blaming it for the current economic problems. Free-market libertarians and fiscal conservatives need to muster the courage to enter the lion’s den and speak at universities with the polar opposite message. We need to be evangelists.
We need to recruit and sell our exciting vision to students. We need to explain how only capitalism gives young people the opportunity to change their lives and live their dreams. Only capitalism lifts people from poverty, or the middle class, to the life of their dreams. Only capitalism creates true hope and opportunity. Only capitalism motivates the creators and producers of this world to make the impossible, possible.
We need to teach young minds that only capitalism created the cure for polio, and capitalism will someday cure cancer and AIDS. Capitalism created desktop computers, the Internet, smartphones, iTunes, iPads, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, texting, and DirecTV.
The things that shape our world were not created in Cuba, the Soviet Union, or the old People’s Republic of China. In those socialist economies, people wait in line for hours to find one loaf of bread. In America, because of capitalism, everyone has all the bread they want — at lower prices, with no wait, and an iPad too!
Government didn't create any of this amazing success. It was all created by entrepreneurs hoping to change the world, and get rich doing it.
The key is to tell our unique personal stories about capitalism and what it has done for each of us. Obama and those who hate capitalism don’t have those stories. They have never created anything with their own work ethic, smarts, creativity, or gut instincts, while risking their own money. They’ve never created jobs, donated millions to charity, or dramatically changed lives with their innovations, products, or payrolls.
All those in the "Obama cabal" know about is taxing the job creators and financial risk-takers, and redistributing it as bribes to their voters. The Obama cabal knows as much about capitalism, entrepreneurship, and the rules of business success as I know about ballet — which is absolutely nothing.
I spoke to hundreds of students in Professor Michael Parzen’s class (one of the largest at Harvard) about the exciting ups and downs of my career. I spoke about the relentless battles to build my businesses. I spoke about the failures and lows I’ve experienced, as well as the remarkable highs. I told them how entrepreneurs don’t need alcohol or drugs — we get high on life!
I told them about the remarkable results, against the longest odds, I’ve achieved as an entrepreneur and dreamer. I taught them how a blue collar S.O.B. (son of a butcher) became a Vegas oddsmaker, self-made millionaire, and vice presidential nominee. I taught them it was all made possible by capitalism. As Don King would say, "Only in America."
I told them about the leap of faith required of entrepreneurs — to believe in and pursue your dreams against the negativity of critics, cynics, and naysayers. I told them about the mental, physical, and spiritual strength required to survive the rejections, disappointments, and challenges. I told them about the amazing rewards achieved when you turn your dreams into reality.
I taught them that success requires you be relentless. You must never stop believing in you, your dreams, and your talents. You must never stop fighting like a cornered wolverine. You must never lose faith in God, country, or yourself. That's how you turn lemons into lemonade.
I told them to find their passion, because passion unleashes your enthusiasm. I told them to attack each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. I told them to say “YES” to every single request made of them in the business world. That’s how you make yourself irreplaceable — even during the worst economy of our lifetimes.
Then I asked the Harvard students to raise their hands if they agreed that I had energy, enthusiasm, and passion. All of them raised their hands with big smiles. Yes, they all agreed ENTHUSIASTICALLY that I had enthusiasm.
Then I asked them to compare my energy and enthusiasm with an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The auditorium went wild! Smiles. Laughing. Sparkles in their eyes. Everyone got it. With this example even college students at Harvard clearly understood the difference between entrepreneurs and government employees.
That is the reason our economy is in shambles and there are no new jobs. Because the wrong people are in charge of the economy. The solution is simple — only the private sector can truly create jobs. Only the heroic “fly boys” of the business world, the guys and gals with the massive levels of energy, enthusiasm, and confidence can turn around the U.S. economy.
Entrepreneurs and their small businesses create 75 percent of new jobs. Those are America’s heroes. They must be appreciated, motivated, and rewarded — not punished.
Those with enthusiasm, energy, and can-do spirit go into business. Those without those talents, skills, or attributes often go into government. I have no problem with either kind of person. There are heroes in both groups. But you can't let those without the energy, enthusiasm, or can-do spirit make the rules for the economy. Just as you shouldn't ask me to run the ballet.
Government can't save us. Government can only make things worse. We are currently letting the wrong people run the economy, create the rules, tax the motivation and inspiration out of our entrepreneurial heroes. They are strangling hope, ruining ambition, dampening enthusiasm, and killing the American dream. President Obama is killing too many jobs.
Capitalism and entrepreneurship are the answers. That's how you rescue the U.S. economy. Many of the students at Harvard now understand this.
If only I could teach Obama.
Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. He now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee. Read more reports from Wayne Allyn Root — Click Here Now.
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