• 63°

Cal Thomas: America and the death of innovation

The death of one of the great innovators of our time, or any time ó Steve Jobs ó brings a question asked by Pete Seeger in another context. To paraphrase: Where have all the (creative) people gone; long time passing. Jobs and fellow computer innovator Bill Gates represent if not a vanishing breed, then at least one that might be classified, were it an exotic animal, as endangered.
In a country that used to encourage, promote, honor and reward innovation, why do there now seem to be far fewer innovators? In our past, they propelled us to higher standards of living and made life more enjoyable and comfortable. If you missed them while studying sex education in school, try Googling ěinventors and innovatorsî and see what pops up.
Once we applauded innovation. Now, politicians like President Obama denounce the successful, maliciously labeling them ěmillionaires and billionaires,î as if success were a flu virus that we needed an inoculation to protect ourselves from. If we penalize and stigmatize success we are likely to get less of it. If we promote and encourage the principles that can lead to success, we are certain to get more successful people and the entire world will benefit as a result.
Instead of admiring the principles that propelled people to become successful and encourages others to follow the example of a Steve Jobs, President Obama and so many in the liberal political establishment, treat them like shoplifters who have stolen what rightfully belonged to others, even though others may not have worked as hard, taken as many risks or invested as much capital. For one of many examples, look at the ěWall Street occupiersî who are clogging streets and buildings far from Wall Street.
When you plant, water and fertilize a field of seed corn, you get a bumper crop. When you deny the field these basic elements, you get nothing. It is the same with inventiveness and innovation. Benjamin Franklin noted, ěHe that is good for making excuses is seldom good at anything else.î We make excuses for failure and mediocrity and get more of both. Celebrity and sex occupy more and more of our time and attention, as opposed to hard work and commitment.
Thomas Edison, another great innovator, observed, ěOpportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.î
Or, if you prefer Auntie Mame: ěLifeís a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.î
Why work when you can get a government check for doing nothing? Why be motivated to achieve when blaming someone else for your lack of achievement makes you feel better? Whatever happened to that little phrase I was taught as a child, ěIf at first you donít succeed, try, try againî? Today, the failure to succeed just once can lead to a discrimination lawsuit.
Instead of persistence when we fail to accomplish a task or satisfy a desire, we call a lawyer to sue someone for blocking our way. Accountants and bankers too often focus on quarterly earnings, not the long haul that sometimes requires spending on projects that donít work until one stumbles upon a project that does.
Alexander Graham Bell failed many times while attempting to transmit his voice over a wire until he finally succeeded. A quote attributed to Bell: ěWhen one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.î
Sometimes doors must be broken down, but, today, breaking down doors is more likely to get a person’s business success regulated and taxed to death by government.
Steve Jobs was an innovator and pioneer in the grandest American tradition. He was a descendant of forward-looking people more common in Americaís past, but in shorter supply today.
Long time passing; long time ago.

Contact Cal Thomas via email at tmseditors@tribune.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

Local student surprised with horse-drawn ride home from school

Local

Pedestrian hospitalized after being struck by police car

Local

Torch Run returns to Rowan streets, raises money for Special Olympics

Crime

Fish arcade company drops suit against Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

Crime

Man faces kidnapping, assault charges after woman escapes at Webb Road Flea Market

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration