The U.S. Constitution was designed to preserve the freedom and rights of all citizens. Our Declaration of Independence states all men are created equal and that we have certain God-given rights. With documents like these, how have we arrived at the state of such discord between purported haves and have-nots in our society?
Some will try, of course, to discount any discussion of this topic by talking about the treatment of slaves, indentured servants, Native Americans, and others who historically were not treated well. I am willing to acknowledge the same human frailties which characterized societies throughout the world found their way into America, but it is unfair to demonize a nation and its many constituents based on the shortcomings of some of its members.
Those who condemn America for its past seldom talk about the tremendous good and generosity demonstrated by the U.S., a nation which cannot be denied the title of being the most benign in the history of the world.
One reason I find the concept of royalty and celebrity amusing is watching people putting on airs, trying to act like someone special when they are acutely aware, in fact, they are just like everyone else. In my opinion, either everyone is special — or no one is special. America is supposed to be a place of equality, and whether a person is homeless or a billionaire, they should be treated well and equally.
There is no social class or political class that has the right to lord over everyone else unless we the people confer such power upon them, or allow them to confer it upon themselves without resistance.
Obviously, the billionaire can afford to pay for certain things like luxurious homes, cars, the best seats on airplanes, and at the theater. There is nothing wrong with that. It should not cause resentment in a society in which anyone is free to work hard and use their God-given talents to excel, increasing their own value in the marketplace.
Some will not admit it, but our society would be pretty dreary if everyone shared the same level of poverty with no chance of advancing themselves economically — through their own efforts.
I realize that it is not a politically correct thing to say, but the real problem is not the existence of wealthy people among us. Rather, it is the feeling of helplessness and dependency that has been propagated falsely throughout many facets of our society.
Perhaps it would be wise for our government to look back at the history of our nation and realize that the unprecedented rise of America to pinnacle status occurred because people knew if they worked hard and were innovative and productive, they and their families would be the beneficiaries of such labor.
I am not saying taxes should not be paid in a fair manner, but I am saying the government will never be successful in resolving income disparity and other social problems by taking from the haves, giving to the have-nots.
The great equalizer in America remains education. A good education, or the acquisition of technical skills, provides tremendous options for everyone — regardless of their birth circumstances.
We live in a country where people are free to move without penalty to any state where jobs are available. We need to emphasize the fact almost any kind of employment confers knowledge and skills which become valuable when trying to move up the economic ladder. One also acquires contacts that can be quite useful for those with knowledge and skill.
Those who have achieved great financial success should be encouraged to invest in their fellow Americans, with the return on investment being the transformation from dependency to proud achiever of the American dream.
Dr. Ben Carson is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and has been awarded more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and dozens of national merit citations. He has authored more than 100 neurosurgical publications and has written five best-selling books, including "America the Beautiful." For more on Dr. Carson, Click Here Now.