Hard Work

I think you can just about characterize anyone’s views and outlook depending on how they respond to this statement from Bookwormroom:

America is far from perfect, but it does a better job than any society ever created at ensuring that everyone who works hard has a chance to succeed.

If you get some horrified look at the very suggestion that America is good or if you start getting hemming and hawing about the wonders of Cuba and its free medical care – in either case you know that you are dealing with someone who has been successful in America but doesn’t want anybody else to have that opportunity.  Someone who hates the freedom that America represents to the world.  Somebody who believes that what some twit in Germany or France thinks about our country is more important than what we ourselves believe.

Why does hard work contribute to success in America?  For one thing we try to make sure everybody has the tools to succeed.  Take education as an example:

The goal of the conservative is to ensure that even those who do not start out with many advantages can succeed if they work hard.  For example, free public schools are a conservative invention.   They are a statement that every child, no matter how poor, will have access to the basic tools of success.  Granted, some schools are better than others, but the biggest difference between school isn’t funding, or materials, or the quality of teachers.  The biggest difference is the students.  Students in successful schools work harder than students in unsuccessful schools.  They arrive at school every day, ready to work hard and learn.  Compare absenteeism and drop-out rates in successful schools and unsuccessful schools and you’ll see what I mean.  Even in our worst public schools, the student who works hard and tries to learn will learn and will obtain the tools necessary to succeed in life.

Now we are not talking about equality of outcome – merely equality of opportunity.  It is up to the individual to take advantage of the freedom in America.

Conservatives teach to the test.  Liberals teach, uh, unearned self-esteem.  Conservatives reward accomplishment.  Liberals reward, uh, breathing.  Conservatives reward hard work.  Liberals denigrate hard work.  Conservatives believe you earn the right to move on to the next grade by passing the test.  Liberals beliieve in social promotion and would rather eliminate the test.  Conservatives don’t give a hoot about things like skin color, religion, and gender that have nothing to do with accomplishment.  Liberals are obcessed with skin color, religion, gender, etc.  Conservatives abhor discrimination.  Liberals eagerly discriminate against white males (God help the person who by unhappy circumstance is born a poor white male in American — he has all of the handicaps that accompany poverty but lives in a society that assumes he is rich and punishes him for being white and male).

And in the end, rewarding hard work is only practical:

Conservativism is more practical than liberalism, too.  Societies that reward hard work have always been more successful than societies that do not.  Why?  Because most people simply will not work all that hard if they see the rewards for their labor taken from them and given to someone who did not work at all.  They recognize the unfairness of this at a gut level, and ultimately, rebel by not working so hard.

As real-world examples like Russia and Cuba and Maoist China have shown.

So do you believe in Hard Work?

As US Troops Succeed, Media Retreats from Iraq Stories

Not really surprising, but the disappearance of Iraq from the front pages and the newscasts is predictable as the situation improves in America’s favor.
clipped from www.mrc.org

After months of improving security in Iraq, the big network morning shows on Friday cited one horrific suicide bombing as proof that “mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad,” as CBS correspondent Mark Strassmann put it. But over the last five months, the broadcast networks have consistently reduced their coverage of Iraq, as if the story of American success in Iraq is less worthy of attention than their old mantra of American failure in Iraq.
On all three networks, however, journalists are admitting that the U.S. strategy is yielding success. “As a new year begins, overall violence is falling and hope seems to be rising,” fill-in anchor Harry Smith announced on the January 1 CBS Evening News.
  blog it

What Went Right in Iraq

Aside from our fortune in having George W Bush as commander in chief- here are some very good points from Ralph Peters:

We didn’t quit: Even as some of us began to suspect that Iraqi society was hopelessly sick, our troops stood to and did their duty bravely. The tenacity of our soldiers and Marines in the face of mortal enemies in Iraq and blithe traitors at home is the No. 1 reason why Iraq has turned around.

Gen. David Petraeus took command: Petraeus brought three vital qualities to our effort: He wants to win, not just keep the lid on the pot; he never stops learning and adapting, and he provides top-cover for innovative subordinates.

He ignored the naysayers and supported what worked.

Oh, and under Petraeus our troops have been relentless in their pursuit of our enemies. Contrary to the myths of the left, peace can only be built over the corpses of evil men.

The surge: While the increase in troop numbers was important, allowing us to consolidate gains in neighborhoods we’d rid of terrorists and insurgents, the psychological effect of the surge was crucial.

The message sent by the surge was that we not only wouldn’t quit, but also were upping the ante. It stunned our enemies – while giving Sunni Arabs disenchanted with al Qaeda the confidence to flip to our side without fear of abandonment.

Fanatical enemies: We lucked out when al Qaeda declared Iraq the central front in its war against civilization. Our monstrous foes alienated their local allies so utterly that al Qaeda in Iraq is now largely a spent force – the hunted, not the hunters. The terrorists have suffered a strategic humiliation.

Religious fanatics always overdo their savagery – but you can’t predict the alienation time-line. Al Qaeda’s blood-thirst accelerated the process, helping us immensely.

The Iraqis are sick of bloodshed and destruction: This is the least-recognized factor – but it’s critical. We still don’t fully understand the mechanics of black-to-white mood shifts in populations, but such transitions determine strategic outcomes.