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A Service Story

May 16, 2024

Freedom or Slavery . . . Make Your Choice

March 29, 2019
A review of the dangers socialism presents to a capitalist society.

America is increasingly an envy-based society and the HVAC industry is not immune.  This is bad for the nation, bad for the industry, and bad for your business. 

A stunning amount of anti-capitalist and pro-socialist rhetoric is being slung around the nation today. It’s a symptom of the growth of American envy.  In a 1948 speech at the Scottish Unionist Conference, Winston Churchill warned that “socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; it’s inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  Socialism is the crop that rises from the soil of envy, turned by the blade of entitlements.

For the first time in modern memory, self-identified socialists have ascended to leadership positions in our nation’s govrnment. Serious proposals have been advanced by serious people to raise income taxes to take 70 cents (or more) out of every dollar top producers earn, to start confiscating a portion of a person’s wealth when politicians deem it too great, and to take 77% of a person’s estate from his designated heirs. This is the politics of envy.

In his 2019 State-of-the-Union speech, President Trump asserted that we will never become a socialist nation.  And yet, we are close.  A Gallup poll in 2018 found that only 47% of Democrats view capitalism positively, compared to 57% who viewed socialism positively.  In 2020, the Democrats take the Senate if they flip three Republican seats while holding serve on their own. There are 22 Republican senators facing re-election and only 12 Democrats. It’s not inconceivable to see them taking the Senate, holding their majority in the House, and taking the White House.  Can you say "Hello, Green New Deal?"

The truth is socialism has never performed well.  You cannot base a society on envy and entitlements.  Make things too unfriendly for capitalists and they will leave, taking their capital with them.  Capital always migrates to places where its welcome, which is why there’s been an exodus of wealth generators from high tax states to low tax states.

Ultimately, you are witnessing the latest chapter in a great struggle between freedom and slavery. Freedom is bathed in responsibility. When one is free to make his own choices he is responsible for the results.  Socialism repeals the responsibility of one’s actions, replacing it with the cloak of a protective government that inevitably becomes a straightjacket… enslaving, confining, and restricting one’s ability make his own choices.

At the contractor level, the HVAC industry is fundamentally capitalist in nature. Yet, many contractors fall victim to the envy mindset that drips down from the national debate.  Instead of seeking to emulate their more successful peers, they envy them.  Like snakes in the grass, they bite at the ankles of the successful, grousing that they must have cheated to succeed.  In doing so, these contractors are failing to take responsibility for their own actions and inadequacies.  They are ceding their freedom and ability to control their own destiny to an unfair world. It’s a miserable way to live.

These contractors excuse their own lack of success by blaming customers for being cheap, millennials for their lack of worth ethic, and the government for its regulations. These may be very real obstacles, but none is insurmountable.  The fact that virtually every town has one or more very successful contractors is testament.

Since few contracting companies have maintained high levels of success for more than a generation, it means that contracting success remains readily attainable by anyone and everyone practicing in the field today.  No matter what stage of life you find yourself, success can be yours for the taking.  It starts with a decision.  It starts by deciding to give up envy and its excuses and accepting the freedom that comes from accepting responsibility for one’s own actions and choices.

Freedom can be scary. The marketplace keeps score and does not award participation trophies.  But in a capitalist system there is not a loser for every winner. In a capitalist system, not only can anyone win, everyone can win. 

Ignore the drumbeat of envy by the media, politicians, talking heads, and other contractors. Find a successful contractor and ask him how he became successful.  More than likely, he will tell you and you will realize that you can become successful as well.

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