A discussion starter:

The reason Palin has become such a lightening rod, a kingmaker and a punching bag, a celebrity and a power player, is simple. It’s because she’s so gosh darn happy. …

Nothing raises the ire of cynical liberals more than a happy-go-lucky, totally unburdened, freethinking and self-assured conservative woman who has everything she wants and then some. And without anyone’s help.

Sure, she’ll tell you that Todd, her parents and her children are an invaluable support system. But after eight years of hearing that George W. Bush was a nepotism experiment gone wrong, Sarah Palin has made it here (wherever this is) on her own. John McCain‘s imprimatur certainly launched her into the national spotlight, but she became the youngest and first female governor of Alaska all on her own.
How dare she?

Liberalism, after all, needs to imagine an unhappy populace. Passing sweeping entitlement programs and convincing voters that big government is the answer only works if people are frustrated with their stations in life.

42 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t mind folks being happy, if that’s their disposition.

    What I object to is the idea that she did what she did on her own, even become governor. Saying you become governor on your own is like claiming a ringmaster is the entire circus. She went to public school (or private school still paid for by others) she has “debts” to her family and community. As governor she was supported by the people directly financially and an office full of dedicated persons moving the levers of office for her. It’s all just a silly delusion that we “deserve” what we’ve “earned” at the expense of the rightful respect of all those people who supplied our successes.

    Be happy. While I consider myself good humored, I don’t have the brain chemistry for constant maintenance of such an attitude. That’s fine. But don’t think that any such thing as self-made exists. It’s simply ungrateful and narcissistic.

  2. The Caleb Stegall-versions are wonderful. Others… not so much. I could also go for Patrick Deneen-type “self-government” and Medaillian “socialism.”

    The point about liberalism and unhappiness is more or less true, I think; one can’t help pity those (at least a little) who place their trust in the State rather than the one who has overcome the world.

  3. I totally agree with David. I also think the whole “liberals don’t like her because she is happy” thing is a bunch of hooey. I don’t know whether I would be considered a liberal (some would say I am, I actually don’t think one particular label like that applies to most people), but the fact that she is happy has nothing to do with my thought that she would be a disaster as a national office holder. My concern goes to her lack of intellectualy curiosity, apparent unwillingness to apply herself to learning about issues in some depth, and her “casual” relationship to the facts.

  4. I dispute the notion that she is in any sense “happy,” save happy with the money she makes and the attention she receives. I think the distance between Palin and happiness is the exact distance between a sneer and a smile.

  5. It’s amusing that immediately after an election dominated by Tea Party anger and fear, a conservative accuses liberals of needing frustration to win an election.

  6. What if we expanded our meditation beyond the part about “happy” to other parts in Caleb’s title, like “rugged individualism” and “self-reliance.” Mrs. Palin is actually able to do things like hunt game and dress her kills that seem Front Porchy – being able to live off the land is got to be a Front Porch kind of thing, right? How many Front Porchers here can do those things? That has to count for something?

  7. I stand corrected, Caleb. I thought I was unhappy about what she was saying. BTW, we used to call someone like this a Happy Warrior. Remember Hubert Humphrey? He could get happy about Vietnam.

  8. Happy, huh? If Sarah Palin were ugly, would she have become Mayor of Wasilla, much less governor, much less VP candidate, much less media sensation? I’m not saying her general attractiveness is the sole reason for her success, but it’s an integral, critical part.

    That aside, no, I don’t much like rugged individualism and self-reliance and optimism. The last quality, in particular, seems joined at the hip with Progress. In my experience, the former two are inevitably tied with arrogance and a lack of compassion and empathy, a lack of the necessary charity required to understand another human being. That kind of libertarian ideal is a useful way to shift all the blame for suffering back on the shoulders of the sufferer.

    A friend of mine of the self-made sort (his reading list mostly involve growing your business, increasing your efficiency, and being a successful entrepreneur) recently expressed how much he despises sympathy for gay teens who kill themselves. “Some of my friends are into feeling sorry for people,” he said. “I don’t understand that.”

    • I think I mostly agree with Mark’s comment about optimism. Of course, as I mentioned below in a response to Caleb, I’m not sure I think optimism, and the reactions it elicits from some people, tell us much about the individualism or self-determination of certain folks, one way or another; it seems to me more likely to be died to one’s one religious faith, or lack of it. But that being said, it is absolutely true that the cult of Progress manifests a highly rarefied, and I think dangerous, kind of “optimism” towards human nature and society; it is to be avoided. Historically, I tend to believe that one could argue that much of the early Progressive movement was torn over this “optimism”: Theodore Roosevelt had it in spades, whereas Woodrow Wilson was, by all accounts, a pretty Calvinist sort. Certainly no one who reads Jane Addams carefully would conclude that she was an “optimist” about her reforms, though there were plenty around her that were. Were William Jennings Bryan and the early populists “optimistic”? Mostly not, I think, but perhaps I’m wrong there.

  9. Mr Stegall,

    Your mistake was to use Palin as a door into this discussion. I am a big fan of rugged individualism, self-made people, self-reliance and can-do optimism. But Palin? Dumb, narcissistic, and borderline delusional. She occupies that ever growing segment of humanity… those who avoid the difficult realities that these days present, and escape into a world of idealistic fantasy and self-worship. You either need to be some combination of intelligent, affluent and good-looking to believe that you belong as the hero or demi-god of your own storybook fantasy, (and she scores on two of these counts), or poor, stupid or ugly enough to be so insecure as to need to worship someone like Palin. Perhaps I go to far, but you get my point.

    It was also silly to suggest that “Liberalism, after all, needs to imagine an unhappy populace”. Why throw in such inflammatory, and misleading statements that only distract from the issue you wish to discuss?

    But to the question:

    As an extremely liberal thinker, but an extremely conservative-living man, I would agree with RAF that the world is not what it used to be and one cannot live on one’s own terms without having to consider others, (if that is indeed RAF’s basic stance). However, I do not believe it is an Either/Or. While I live in extreme isolation and consider myself an exceptionally free thinker who refuses to be led around by the nose, I believe I have a responsibility… Nay, I am compelled by what I see with my heart and spirit to seek justice for those less fortunate in the sphere of my own influence.

    Perhaps when day-to-day survival was less certain and more difficult it was useful to create a “rugged” persona with which to bolster oneself against one’s environment and circumstances, but in the modern world labeling myself as a “rugged individual” or “self-made man” only leads me into selfishness, greed and arrogance. It requires more strength and humility to live in community than it does to live in isolation.

    • Again, Palin is not the point. I did not write the blockquoted material. Neither is the question about what one “labels oneself.” Most commenters here are ignoring the deeper question in favor of rhetorical point scoring or are just skipping on the surface. The deeper question goes something like this:

      First, as a matter of political identity, there is a certain “ideal American” that existentially experiences himself in both his creaturely and his social modes as, at least in some measure, master of his own destiny (or, more classically and in deference to tragic forces beyond his control, i.e., the farmer or the old man at sea, as captain of his own soul, see, e.g., Invictus). It is far too simplistic to assert that this experience excludes all possibility of collective action. It doesn’t. Like all experiences, this one can be had directly through certain engendering experiences that generally arise in the context of scarcity, challenge, strife, conflict, etc., or, more likely in an attenuated, vastly differentiated and centralized society like ours today, they will be experienced secondarily through the sacred texts and myths of a shared identity and partaken of “sacramentally” as such experiences are ritualized as “anemnetic” plays that draw real meaning out of the original, remote experiences. (It may be ironic and cause for sneering to see the broadly projected “American experience” of the rugged individual as a collective identity, but so what? It does not render the phenomena any less real and neither does it pass any kind of intelligent judgment upon it.) The phsycospiritual motifs or tropes of this existential experience are littered across our culture and can hardly be denied. Given the real presence of this idealized type of American experience, what ought to the Porch to say about it? Is there any coherent analysis the Porch can made that cuts below the surface and addresses the root experience, both as an idealized type, as a real phenomena, and as a mythic identity? If there isn’t, why not?

      This is the kind of analysis and discussion I think it would be most helpful for us to have. It is made tremendously more difficult, however, by such snide, and frankly stupid, comments as certain folks are making here. Especially considering they come from those who have written otherwise very insightful books on matters that touch on these very questions.

      • I think if you didn’t write the words, you should cite the source, and not by just providing a link.

        And as for your assessment of the response you have received, I would disagree. It’s a complex discussion and most of the comments I have read seem considered, coherent and to the point.

  10. Caleb,
    Are you a psychologist in disguise? No insult intended.
    It seems you have come up with a marvelous Rorshach test.
    I find it amusing that people who have a far better than average intellect are so snarky about a woman who happens to be better looking than average. If I knew where Bob Cheeks was I’d look for an “Amen.”
    Let’s say the former Governor does recognize and use her good-looks to further her cause. Is that all that different than using devices like 85+-word sentences to impress folk with one’s erudition–or at least ability to remember the beginning after one gets to the end? (I pretty much gave up in the middle.)
    I join with JS in chiding you for using such inflammatory language. You should stick to descriptions that take the high-road, like “Dumb, narcissistic, and borderline delusional,” not to mention self-worshipping.”

      • I asked after him awhile ago too, but got no response. I assume he tired of all the “commie dems” around here.

    • Haha. Fair enough about my language.

      Although what does Sarah Palin’s being “better looking than average” have to do with my assessment of her? Do you assume that is why I am being snarky? If so, you are missing the reason why I find her sad, and by extension, why so many others find her disappointing.

    • For the record, I am NOT AT ALL saying that Palin should, you know, uglify herself or be embarrassed that her looks have helped her get ahead. I don’t have any problem with that.

      It does, however, undercut the whole self-made person ideal. “You, too, can be successful based on your own hard work and ambition… so long as you aren’t ugly.” Again, it’s not a criticism of her using her looks (as if she could choose to not use her looks in any case). It’s a matter of denying that being good-looking qualifies as a merit somehow.

  11. Palin isn’t the point. Or at least wasn’t my point. What I am curious about is how the crowd writing on this site (both posters and commenters) views the ideal of the rugged individual, the self-made man, the freethinking, owned by no one, self-sufficient citizen who refuses to be fitted with a golden nose ring to be paraded about by one master or another—an ideal that obviously still resonates with at least a certain segment of the population. I can think of a number of different responses:

    1) The overly literal response already offered by David that there is no such thing as a self-made man because no man is an island. Well fine, but that’s just semantics and avoids the heart of the question.

    2) The view that the ideal is actual a pernicious lie spread to sucker hapless GOP voters and thus fit them with the golden snout rings which are in theory to be resisted (the Thomas Frank approach).

    3) The response that the rugged individual may have been a valid ideal in simpler times but today’s modern society is so complex as to render it obsolete (this, I take it, is my friend RAF’s basic stance).

    4) The response that the self-made man is a pipe dream reinforced by those lucky few who have already attained the pinnacle of meritocratic success solely as a method of dampening down the power of the masses to check the power and wealth of those few.

    5) The “rising tide” view of Reaganesque optimism that the self-made man is an inspiring ideal that motivates (or ought to motivate) all men to better their condition.

    6) The communitarian view, or, what I might suggest ought to be the Front Porch view, which is that healthy, well-ordered, self-sustaining, decentralized political communities are only possible in, among, and between the fraternity of self-made men—that is, between men of a certain class who are both competent and able to provide for the basic needs of themselves and their families, who come by their own opinions honestly and absent any artifice born of “mass culture,” who as such are beholden to no one, but in most of whom arise (there will always be black sheep and recalcitrant hermits) a loving affection and bond of the heart that forms the “ties that bind” (i.e., a living tradition).

    • This is a fine typology, Caleb; I appreciate you expanding upon your initial discussion prompt in this way. As for how you characterize me (no. 3), it’s certainly not fundamentally inaccurate. Of course, as you could probably guess, I would argue that my position is actually the “communitarian” one, in that want to see “healthy, well-ordered, self-sustaining, decentralized political communities” revived, and recognize what I take to be the obvious truth that, as very few people will want to dispense with all or even most of the equalizing benefits of modern life, we have to find some way to bring about contexts of “simplicity” (to use your phrase) wherein such communities could flourish, while preserving elements of egalitarianism. Hence, the need to think in terms of radical (perhaps distributist, perhaps socialist, perhaps populist, but always democratic) reforms–with all of their inevitable compromises with complexity–to try to make it happen. Whereas I would maintain that your “communitarian” view does not pay sufficient respect to the egalitarian accomplishments of modernity, and hence looks towards reforms which depend too much upon the promotion of a certain kind of independence, which often slides into a libertarianism in which the maintenance of property and rights is more important than community ties.But all of that partakes of a long, important, fascinating, philosophical debate, which issues in some very major political disagreements at some points (the ACA, for one), but which in practice also puts relatively little daylight between us. We’re both all about competency and self-sufficiency; I just wish I was half as competent and self-sufficient as you!As for my reaction to the original post, I do think liberals (or at least the stereotype of them) are confused, and possibly intimidated, by a certain sort of go-lucky, confident happiness. But I think that’s more a function of the secularism of those stereotypical liberals, than some annoyance at individualism itself. They may not be religious, your typical liberal reader of the New York Times, but they are likely to every bit the ambitious, self-promoting go-getter that Palin has turned out to be, unfortunately.

          • To call it just a matter of semantics, to me, seems disingenuous. What else would most people think of, when confronted with the rugged individual, self-made man, that something rather like an island? The fact that most people who’ve commented on this post thought exactly of that isn’t insignificant. If you want the “rugged individual, self-made man” to be a strong, intelligent (etc) member of a community of man, then I suppose that’s fine… though I think that’s a very odd usage of the terms.

          • I don’t think it’s disingenuous, Kevin; I think it represents a genuine position, one which exists (necessarily?) in tension with other, less “individualistic” positions on FPR. There is a way of viewing the sort of local community which Caleb and I and presumably just about everyone else who comments here prizes, that sees it as requiring a high level of independence and self-sufficiency, in a material as well as a moral sense, to be capable of generating the virtues which we associate with it. I happen to think this way of viewing local community is wrong, or at least skewed; I don’t think exercising (or, to speak more democratically, participating in) sovereignty over one’s place, and experiencing and being able to share the respect that such makes possible, is really so dependent upon such a high degree of “independence.” But it’s a serious debate, one that in the American context is as old as Jefferson.

          • I’m fully aware that there can be a genuine localism that is more “individualistic.” What I was calling disingenuous was the claim that the people who expressed distaste for the “self-made man” because there is no such thing as “self-made” were simply playing with semantics.

            Again, I think the term “self-made man” will tend to be seen as just that, a man who is an island unto himself. If you use that term and mean something else, that’s fine, but don’t expect others to understand you perfectly, and don’t be surprised if they say “but wait, there is no such thing as a self-made man”

          • I can see why you might hesitate with the language. For some, “self-made man” conjures up an image of Wall Street “masters of the universe” whose individuality is one of self-exaltation at the expense of crediting the real contributions of others, being a law unto oneself, and ignoring the consequences of their actions on a larger community/polity.

            For others, however, the independent “self-made man” refers to one who has taken appropriate responsibility for his life within communities and made something of that responsibility and consequently of himself. In contrast to the “master of the universe”, this individual takes responsibility for his actions and their consequences on his community. His independence is linked to “property rights” not in the sense that his use of property is always justified, but in the view of the truth that a man requires property ownership to develop the virtues and disciplines necessary to be a good member of a community. Show me a man that has never owned some sort of property and had responsibility for it at a significant level independent from others such that he and his family/neighbors suffers from his failure to use it properly and you’ll show me a man who has not developed the virtues, discipline, and existential knowledge necessary for the survival and flourishing of his people. I suspect all of us have some sense of what I mean here; in my own experience, for a small example, getting a car and having to learn how to take care of it with the true knowledge that my failure will mean real trouble in my life because I am independent to the extent that neither Daddy nor a government agency is going to perfunctorily give me a new car to replace it has helped me become more responsible. This doesn’t mean fathers should never give their sons an inheritance or that others didn’t help me gain the resources to take care of my car. That’s not what’s in view. What is in view are the cultural expectations embodied in institutions that either cultivate men who help their people flourish or do not. And I think the right sort of “self-made man” who helps their people flourish rather than the “master of the universe” version is something we should aim for. And if so, the independence that property under a version of property rights gives people is necessary for the cultivation of the good sort of “self-made man” and consequently the cultivation of a community.

            That is what I meant in my previous post with respect to the Caleb Stegall-version of the self-made man, etc.

          • That’s fine. I can respect the independent man whose worked hard, has stake in the world and takes responsibility, in turn using that to help others, my issue is with the radically atomic individual presented as an ideal in some circles (e.g. some libertarians). It’s not simply a matter of there being “no such thing.” True, there isn’t, but we can still old that as an ideal, the ultimate end for man, and such an ideal is highly destructive.

            The problem for me is that that is indisputably what the term “self-made man” means. It says it, right there, a man who is of himself, unfettered, etc.

            I suppose the word can be claimed for something else, but it seems an odd term to claim for what you’re wanting to give credit to.

          • But then one misses the entire point of the post, which is not to have a discussion about to what extent particular terms which mean subtly different things to different people should mean only one literal thing with no room for context or connotation. This is known as thread-jacking. If you want to have a discussion about the appropriate use of the phrase “self-made man,” it would have been more productive to simply state so and wait for that topic to arise. One notices, however, that no FPR contributor has seen fit to raise that issue in a separate post which is itself a clear evaluation of the uselessness of the project.

            Unfortunately, the discussion have been so derailed into pointless bickering over a subject that isn’t important enough to raise on its own. This is unfortunate and precisely why thread-jacking is looked down upon.

    • What I am curious about is how the crowd writing on this site (both posters and commenters) views the ideal of the rugged individual, the self-made man,

      If I ever meet one, I’ll tell you what I think of him. By the way, what language to you suppose he would speak?

  12. Wendell Berry has an essay on rugged individualism in his book ‘The Way of Ignorance,’ but I don’t have the book with me to quote any of it. Perhaps someone else does?

    S.E. Cupp wrote the piece that Caleb quoted from. Interesting that — one rather attractive conservative woman being puffed by another rather attractive conservative woman.

  13. Based on what I know of FPers–considering the many posts I have read–they should gain a fair amount of inspiration from French sociologist/theologian/jurist Jacques Ellul. In his earliest work “Le presence au monde” published in 1948 he said this:

    “A critical fact of this civilization is that, more and more, sin has become collective and individuals race to participate in it. Everyone lives with the consequences of the failures of all the rest.”

    Now, some may not be comfortable with the word “sin” here but replace it with something like “systemic injustice” and you get the sense of what Ellul was talking about. Given our embeddedness in this civilization the idea that there is such a thing as the rugged individualist or the self made man/woman who is self-reliant seems kind of ridiculous. We should neither hold it out as an ideal nor celebrate it when someone claims it for him/herself. It is a fairy tale we tell ourselves to absolve ourselves of our responsibility to role up our sleeves and slog through the hard work of community building. Frankly, what passes for “rugged individualism” in our day feels to me to be more inspired by Ayn Rand than anything else.

  14. Mr. Stegall,

    I basically like #6. I would suggest, though, that you drop the word “self-made” from your description of the rugged individual because it leads people to think that you’re talking about #1. Your position seems to be (please correct me if I’m wrong) that rugged individuals don’t just come from nowhere, but that a community must raise up enough strong men who will become pillars of the community, yet who will also be sufficiently independent of the community to withstand popular pressure at times, and thus cultivate and pass on the tradition.

    Allow me also to point out that #6 sounds very aristocratic, in the best sense of the term. I have no problem with that, but it would seem to run counter to the proudly democratic rhetoric usually used around here.

  15. I would reject the notion that any man or woman can be self made or even self reliant. Both seem to me to be notions attached to the liberal (by which I mean classic liberalism) inanity of individualism. Everyone receives from others and perpetuating a myth of individualism, self reliance and self making perpetuates the notion that people are not connected to each other and to community – that we need community. The self reliant self made person has no problems rejecting the notion of “place” or tradition – because they suffer from the illusion they do not need such. The notion that the only choices are dependence or independence is nonsense – humans are interdependent – we both receive and must in turn give to make our lives successful as well as nurture the wellspring of human success – our relationship to family and community.

    Sarah Palin has not made it anyplace on her own – and if there was anyplace where I would expect to find people who recognize the dangerous fallacy of such a position it would be here at FPR. NO one makes it on their own. No one can be self reliant. That is the dangerous myth of individualism – an individualism which has taken us to the place we find ourselves in now.

    • I agree, Cecilia, and I think yours is the best and most succint reply so far in this discussion. The human condition is one of interdependence. Modernity has unfortunately given us the delusions of “self determination” and “absolute autonomy” which have torn asunder the bonds need for true independence from centralized power.

  16. Preface: I’m tired and not entirely coherent. I mostly agree with what I’ve written, but please don’t hold it all against me. I might clarify once I’m awake again.

    I do agree with a few of the posters that bringing Sarah Palin into the discussion was a bit of a mistake. She’s too much of a lighting rod and she too easily becomes the issue itself, instead of being merely an example of the issue you wanted to talk about.

    But to the real issue as I see it, I tend to want to combine a few of your types. But before I get there, let’s start at the start. The ideal of a rugged individual implies an individual as a basic unit. As I prefer to think of the Front Porch, the individual can’t be the basic unit. The individual, as I think Mr Médaille may have pointed out elsewhere (though I may be confusing him with Fr. John Riccardo), can only exist, in the strictest sense, in relation to others. To have an individual it is necessary to first have a mother and a father for that individual. So the trinitarian family has to be the basic unit, since nothing lower than that is possible (at least, not if there are to be any future individuals). It’s, I think, a symptom of the fall that we even use the idea of indivisibility to describe only one person, and I would point to the scriptural ideal of marriage, the two becoming one flesh, as something close to proof of this.

    To get back to your types, I want to combine #1 and #6. If we change your #6 from ‘a fraternity of self-made men’ to ‘a community of self-sustaining families’, I think we’ll be much closer. And I hope that by interacting with RAF and others, Médaille prominent among them, we might find a way to make the Front Porch a practical reality.

  17. People come in two groups, they either like the bootstrapper, or dislike them.

    Those that like them, like them because it shows them what they can achieve.

    Those that don’t like them, don’t like them because the bootstrapper shows them what they are not achieving and will never achieve because they dont want to try. This makes them secretly ashamed and angry. They want to justify their own position by discrediting and stealing from the achiever.

    Why do you think the Jerry Springer show is so popular? Because the people who watch it don’t want to try, and yet, can still feel good about themselves because they are better than the people on the show.

    And yes, I know man is not on an island, not entirely self made. But, by the grace of God, can pull himself up by the straps.

    I love those kind of people. They inspire me.

    -J

  18. There is something else here. The self made mad is directly tied to the idea of Liberty. It is hard to pull yourself up by the straps if you keep hitting your head on the ceiling of your cage. I often feel caged. I think it is a product of the general unhappiness of people today. If I’m not happy, then gosh darnit, why should others be happy? I’m going to make a bunch of rules to control them so we are all on the same level of the happy scale.

    We are being bound tighter and tighter by the laws and restrictions of men. Freedom is a sales pitch nowadays, not and idea. Some men still wake up, and still rush to face life with snarling teeth, but the truth is, most men cower and hide. And they want everyone else to do the same. They get all up in everyone’s business. They make so many laws in every aspect of life it is hard to push through those branches to free yourself from the forest. Most want to lick the hand that feed them. Shame on those people. For shame. Take your ball, go home. See if I care. Just don’t come back and tell me how to play my game.

    Liberty is a dying idea, and thus, so is the self made man. You can call it whatever you want. But whatever God you believe in is ashamed of you. Bury your talents in the ground, go ahead. But leave me alone.

    Rodney Dangerfield gets it, and I agree…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTv1Dmu5CYc

    I don’t take shit from no one. I chose to live. And that scares people.

    -J

  19. The premise that former Gov Palin achieved the position on her own is probably spurious. I suspect there were a few volunteers, some mentors, people who contributed funding and steered her thoughts and opinions. Perhaps these folks made a small contribution to the success she had.

    Liberalism is indeed focusing on an unhappy populace, but there are success stories to be had. If Liberalism might consider a return to its roots of protecting our liberties. It could aim to enfranchise and empower a populace that is increasingly being disenfranchised as we educate people to be compliant employees and consumers and not empowered citizens. Americans have historically had a can do spirit, but are increasingly feeling the burden of BIG — big government, big banks, big corporations, big shots — that controls their lives. There are joyous sound bites to be had in liberty if the concept could be revived.

    Note how in the face of bollixed up education, we are now using spelling as an excuse to disenfranchise citizens. This, when there is no ambiguity introduced by a candidate with a similar name in the field. This winning at all costs, ends justifies the means harkens back to the Nixon days as opposed to a brave new world.

    By our constitution, citizens must depend on elected representatives. One member of the House of Representatives may be speaking for over 650,000 Americans. Once elections are over, citizens are left to urge, plead and pray at their doors as they watch their potency erode. How does this encourage people to be “happy-go-lucky, totally unburdened, freethinking and self-assured?”

    Former Governor Palin may have triumphed on her. If so, she learned a great many political lessons along the way about the value of providing help to others. These lessons certainly bore fruit during the recent election cycle.

  20. Palin spends much of her time thinking up ways of dissing other human beings. Hardly a definition of a happy person!

  21. Rugged Individualism in America usually amounts to denying others choice in their lives. The syndrome of “You can work for me but don’t challenge me on how I want to run things”! How much more satisfying at the end of your life to look in the mirror and see someone who tried hard to maximize choice for others!

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