Richard Needham: Now that’s rude!

I hope Mr. McCoy will not think me rude in suggesting that “The price of greatness” (Sierra Sun, Nov. 5) ignores reality. The tortured logic by which he, with superficial historical analysis, concludes that Americans are rude due to greatness is, well, tortured.

I’m not sure what he means by the “American philosophy of self-reliance.” Apparently it’s possessed by businessmen while the rest of us teachers, restaurant workers, truck drivers, doctors, nurses and farmworkers can’t take care of ourselves. How humans survived until self reliance was invented by American entrepreneurs is a mystery to me!

Not just any entrepreneurs though! The kind that don’t want any interference from government, guilds or bureaucracies. Sounds a lot like the 19th century robber barons: unsafe working conditions, 12 hour days, no vacation or health care. Not that great.

When I think of American greatness, it’s stuff we do together. The unions in the 1930s that brought decent working conditions. People relying on each other brought reforms likes social security, medicare, the civil rights movement, the defeat of fascists in World War II.

Mr. McCoy calls rudeness a byproduct of entrepreneurialism. How about other byproducts: polluted air and water, global warming, poverty and job discrimination. These are also byproducts of men who want to do with their money whatever they want without government interference. Of course, building roads, railroads, and public education for their workers is OK.

If you invent a new product and sell it, great. I hope you make some money. But don’t expect power like the despots of old. Our problems can be solved by uniting and relying on each other. Remember “united we stand, divided we fall”? That is the source of American greatness. The results can be a better life for all, not rudeness.

Richard Needham

Tahoe Vista

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