Sun Tzu teaches that we cannot see our own position clearly. We need the viewpoints of others to give us perspective on our situations. But what happens when that perspective comes through an increasingly political and dishonest
media? One part of the answer comes from in this article about America's general unawareness of its own material financial success
Yet despite this long-term, across-the-board upward economic mobility, the number of Americans who describe themselves as belonging to the "have-nots" has doubled in two decades. What does all this mean? It says that the offensive and divisive claims of an economic "societal divide" work. When Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards speaks of "two Americas," people buy into it.
Today, 34% see themselves as "have-not." Twenty years ago, when the nation and the poor were much poorer, only 17% saw themselves this way. The problem with so many Americans positioning themselves this way is that they are psychologically cutting themselves off from improving their position. If we allow politicians to define us and our potential, we are automatically the idea that only more govenment can improve our lives. The truth is that we are the only ones that can control our lives, and that more and move "government" (i.e. people in authority over us) ensures that we have less and less freedom to improve ourselves.
If the world was a zero sum game, having so many people take themselves out contention by their own defeatist attitude would be a good thing. However, since we all benefit from the productivity of each other, it is a very bad thing. It means that a quickly growing percentage of Americans are increasingly disconnected from their own personal power.