“A man then must stand erect, not be kept erect by others.”, p. 208, Book III, 5That might not sound like anything more than John Wayne in one of his movies but Wayne was the old America, not the Post Modern America.
The American Republic was founded on the idea of individual rights and individual responsibility. The world was your oyster if you were willing to dive and crack shells. The history of the United States is full of examples of individuals coming from poverty and climbing to wealth and power. Of course it was also full of those who crashed and burned, but in between are the large numbers who bettered their lives without becoming Carnegie’s or Rockefeller’s.
Did they know how to work together? Of course. But it was not the type of working together that is being fostered in our modern culture. Rockefeller had a large group of highly talented men who supported him in his drive to the top. He could not have done it alone. They, however, were clear that they were supporting him, not building a group empire. All prospered but it was his dream and his dynasty. Although people knew how to work together, they were judged as individuals, not as members of a group.
Children today are being taught that they deserve their dreams because they are part of a group. That is the root of the nonsense that is going on at our colleges with the demands for free education and equality instead of excellence. It is at the root the diversity training going on in our businesses. It is the opposite of what America was about and what Aurelius felt was key.
We need to get back to standing on our own feet and save the support for times of genuine crisis.
Aurelius, Marcus. The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, from the Harvard
Classics, Vol 2. New York: P.F. Collier & Son Corporation, 1937.
homo unius libri