Reduce Poverty By Teaching How America Became Great
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Rush Limbaugh. We discussed why people outside our nation are envious of us and want to bring down our great nation, as opposed to trying to become more like us. We also discussed what needs to be done to increase prosperity around the world. Here are the transcripts.
Me. Hi Rush. Long time listener. It's an honor to have this opportunity to talk with you. Rush. Thank you, sir. Me. There are a lot of people who, I don't know if they hate America, but they seem to be envious of us. They see how prosperous we are. But instead of trying to understand how America became so prosperous, they talk bad about America. They say that we are overly materialistic. They say that we have become prosperous at the expense of other people or other nations. You have people like the pope saying we need to create a larger government to take money from greedy Americans and share it with poor people in America and poor nations around the world. They say that we need to keep our borders open and allow anyone who wants in in. You even have people inside our own country who think this, such as Obama, which explains why he won't do anything about the invasion of immigrants. What do you think? Rush. Let's start with the pope. It's almost as if in his mind and in the minds of many other people, in fact, that you have the world, and it is what it is and then there's this one place in the world where it's much, much, much better than anywhere else in the world. It's richer. It has more opportunity. It has more freedom and more liberty. It's vastly more prosperous. The standard of living is way, way higher. It's got all kinds of weapons to protect itself and so forth. It's just better, it's just demonstrably better. Me. Uh huh. Rush. And then the rest of the world is kind of eating the dust of this one really special place. And it's as though nobody ever stops to ask how did this one special place become special? They just assume that it was made that way, or that fate, or maybe in this case God, ordained it. And because there's only one special place in all the world, one place that's so much better, so much more advanced, so much more prosperous, however you want to define and characterize it, this place is so special, but it just happened. It's just the way it is. Me. Exactly. Rush. And, as such, everybody else in the world is entitled to go there, simply because it exists. Everybody's entitled to go there, and anybody who wants to go there should be permitted to go there. And there ought not be any complaining about it, because in this special place, this one place that is far and away better than anywhere else on earth, everybody that's there was once from someplace else.
So everybody that's there had to go there to get there. So why should people going there to get there today not be permitted when everybody in the past was? No, I'm talking about the United States of America, not the Vatican. One special place, United States of America. It's far and away superior to every other place on earth, in terms of lifestyles, liberty, and freedom. In terms of the human condition, there's no place like it. Me. Exactly. Rush. It's so special, everybody wants to go there. And there's not a thought given to how it got special. It's just assumed it was made that way, I guess. It's just assumed that it's just there. And it's also assumed that it's always going to be there. Call it the golden goose or whatever you want but everybody saying that we have no right to keep anybody out because nobody kept us out, we all had to get here. Nobody here now actually started here. Of course, that's no longer true.
But the whole construct of this is that, yeah, this is a special place, but not because of anything the people here did to make it special. It just happens to be. And the people who were here are here simply by winning life's lottery. It's all fate; it's all luck. And if anybody else in the world wants to come to this one special place, then nobody has the right to tell them they can't because we are all immigrants.
And nobody ever stops to ask in this debate, nobody ever stops to consider how did it get special? Because it wasn't made that way. We didn't just wake up one day and here is the United States of America, and it is the gem, the shining city on the hill, however you want to describe it, it had to be built. It was not there. But from the moment it began to be built, isn't it interesting that everybody in the world who heard about it wanted to go there? Me. It is. Rush. Maybe I should change the tense. Everybody who heard about it wanted to come here. And now the people who lead this special place don't seem to have any appreciation for how it became special. In fact, if they have anything, it's guilt over how it became special. And so they either want to open the borders and let anybody in because it's not fair that we are here and we're able to get here and others who want to come here are not, it just isn't fair.
So this special place in the world, the United States of America, it just happened. It just is. And it's our responsibility, as those who are lucky and fortunate enough, to happen to have been born here. It is incumbent upon us to share that same luck and good fortune with everybody else. Otherwise we are mean, selfish, polarized, partisan, extremist, racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, whatever. Me. And Greedy. Rush. So it seems even from the pope, immigrants, anybody who doesn't live here, has an automatic right to come here just because there's no other place like it on earth. And what is never discussed is how it got so special. How did it happen? Why is it so prosperous? Why is it so free?
See, the correct thing to do would be to answer those questions and spread those answers all over the world. And that's what, to me, if I had the ability to command the attention of the peoples of the world, that's what I would tell them. I certainly wouldn't stand for policies that are gonna end up destroying this special place, because once this special place is destroyed and is no longer special, then where is everybody gonna go? Me. So, basically, rather than look at America as the model and trying to reproduce it, rather it seems everyone wants to tear it down. I think it points to the root of the problem we have in this culture and around the world. There's envy and there's a begrudgingness. Envy is something that can be a positive because I can be envious or you can be envious of someone's possessions and use that as a positive to try to strive to achieve whatever you need to, to get those possessions in terms of a job, education, whatever it is. And neighbors can be envious of what the other person has yet still be happy for what they have and the relationship will endure. However the problem we have is a begrudgingness. People see what other people have and they don't want them to have it. And if neighbors have a begrudging feeling towards their friends' possessions, eventually it's gonna eat away and destroy the relationship and they're gonna look at ways to try to take away what their friends have. Rush. There's no question, that happens in neighborhoods, I mean, that happens among friends. I mean, you're right, that's a natural human emotion. That's called jealousy. That's called covetousness. If you covet what somebody else has. Me. Right. And that's why I think the problem is people are so busy worrying what other people have and looking for ways of taking it away from them, they don't appreciate the things they have, and people can really work on not looking to take away what everyone else has, you know, look at it as a positive. I'd much rather be in a country where the median income was maybe a hundred thousand dollars because it tells me, okay, I have a chance of getting that median income, rather than living in a country where no one has anything so I can't be jealous of someone's fancy cars. Rush. Exactly. But let me refocus the question, because I was not speaking per se. I'm glad you called to enable me to make this clarification. When I asked the question when others around the world look at the US, why don't they seek to emulate it and spread that specialness all over the world rather than everybody trying to get here. You're right, there's someone to tear it down. But the answer to the question, "Who wants to tear it down?" I'm asking about other leaders, powerful people, people who have the ability to lead movements that would emulate the United States around the world or Americans who would try to proselytize about the American way of life.
We've had those. And they've been called renegades and conquerors and imperialists and so forth. But the real reason is that most of the world's leaders are tyrants. That's another reason that we are special and why we are so hell-bent opposed and frightened of tyrants. We don't want dictators, which is what most people live under. Most people were born to tyranny and bondage and dictatorship, and most, to this day, are still subject to it in one way or another, or in many ways. Those people, the tyran... Do you think Fidel Castro wants his people to be free? Do you think Raul Castro wants his people to be free? Do you think Stalin, old Joe, wanted his people to be free, or Lenin? Do you think Hitler wanted his people to be free? How about the ChiComs? Do you really think they want their people to be free? Me. No. Rush. No. They want them to be controlled. The leaders in these tyrannies and dictatorships do very well economically. They are literal thieves. They plunder and steal the national wealth of the countries they lead, a la the Castros, a la the Soviet leaders. Look at the oligarchs even today there, Putin and his buddies. The thing that stands in the way of that is a free people and a runway economy. A growing economy with prosperity for all. That's, again, what explains, illustrates, defines the specialness or uniqueness of the United States, and it really is a rarity. Me. Most people want to make their nations like ours, but their leaders don't want that. So most people around the world continue to have their natural rights denied. Rush. My question was all of these leaders that I'm talking about, these tyrants and dictators, if you listen to them, what are the names of their countries? The People's Republic of whatever. The people don't have a say in anything in these countries. The leaders who claim to be for the little guy, who claim to care about the oppressed, who claim they're gonna get even with the rich, claim they're gonna get even with those who have their jackbooted thugs on the necks of the little guy, don't mean it.
If they did, they would be trying to emulate the United States, and they would attempt to seek the stature and credit one would attain from founding, establishing, leading such a nation, such a prosperous nation. But that's not who these people are. They're dictators. They're tyrants. They rule by the use of force and intimidation and imprisonment. And that is the story for most of the people in the world. And in light of that fact, it infuriates me even more when I have to listen to people both in this country and visitors to this country blame us for the problems in the world. Me. And they do try to blame us. They blame us for all the poverty of the world, such as the pope is saying nearly every day; that we need to spread the wealth rather than create it. Rush. It really steams me. It really ticks me off when they start going down this road of climate change and how we're destroying the world and we are destroying the planet. I can't tell you, I get so insulted, I get so angry when I hear this. The dictators, and many others who seek to run and rule countries, do not want a free people. Me. So if these dictators truly wanted to help people. If the pope truly wanted to help the poor, what is it that he ought to be preaching. What is it that dictators need to be doing to truly create wealth and benefit the people of theire countries.? Rush. You cannot distribute wealth or redistribute it unless what happens first? Me. It has to be created. Rush. Sure, the U.S. is going to give 350 million, governmentally, and that's probably not the last figure. Privately, U.S. citizens are going to donate even more, probably double that amount before it's all said and done. Where does this money come from? Me. Capitalism. Rush. So the real point of this, to me, as a great economic exercise, is to note that the real important thing that makes all this possible is the creation of wealth. Many of our nation's teachers also don't realize why poverty in developing countries is declining at such a rapid rate." It's not because of the redistribution of wealth. It's because of the redistribution of resources and the redistribution of capitalism, something I have long advocated on this program. We don't need any more wealth redistribution. We need a more widespread distribution of capitalism, and it's happening. Me. Right. Rush. I have an interesting story that cleared yesterday from, of all places, the San Francisco Chronicle, and it is a piece by Jim Klauder, who is a vice president for the Foundation for Teaching Economics, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving economic understanding amongst the peoples of the world, and listen to some of this. Here's the headline to the story: "Ignorance Shrouds Capitalism's Profound Impact on Reducing Poverty ? It should come as heartening news that 2004 was one of the most prosperous years in history. Not because the U.S. economy grew by a solid 4.3%, but because developing countries experienced an explosive 6.1% economic growth. According to a recent study by the World Bank, 2004's growth reflected 'an expansion without precedent over the past 30 years.' Equally encouraging, the report notes that 'the rapid growth of developing economies ... has produced a spectacular, if not historic, fall in poverty.' Me. So why don't teachers teach this? Why is it that our kids don't learn that it's capitalism that creates wealth? Rush. They have to be taught themselves that capitalism is good for the poor because they think it's bad. They think capitalism is bad. It's like the left's definition of trickle-down economics. The left defines trickle-down economics as the rich leaving their homes, going to the park, robbing the homeless of what they have, and getting even richer. I know it makes no sense, but that's how they argue it. They argue that rich people become rich because they steal from the poor or they deprive the poor of their "fair share" or what have you. It's bogus. It's outrageous. It's stupid. Me. So what should teachers be teaching? Rush. The poor get out of poverty by virtue of capitalism and opportunity: the creation of wealth. This culture, if spread to the rest of the world, would be the greatest thing that could happen for the people of the rest of the world Me. We are running out of time. Do you have any concluding words. Rush. Well, if they (the left, dictators) really cared about the little guy, if they really cared about the little guy, and want the little guy to have an improved life, more contentment, more happiness, then the United States is what you would emulate. You certainly wouldn't tear it down. So it must not be true when they tell us what they really want is to help and assist and elevate the little guy, 'cause they don't elevate anybody. The people I'm talking about try to make things fair by punishing and penalizing people at the top. They seek equality and fairness by reaching for the lowest common denominator they can find. Equally shared misery seems to be what their utopia is. Me. If you could influence all the people of the world... Rush. So if I had the good fortune of having the ability to influence people all over the world every time I spoke, I would do my best to make sure people understood why the United States of America is special, and then I would suggest that everybody who wants to come here, "I don't blame you, fine and dandy, there's a legal mechanism for this. We're not denying people the right to come to our country. There's a legal way to do it." That's another thing people forget, including the pope. We're not talking about being anti-immigrant. We're talking about obeying the law. The law exists for lots of reasons. In this case, the law exists to maintain the integrity of this special place. We allow immigrants here, happily so. Me. Right. Rush. You have this special place, you want it to remain special, you better find out why it became special. And then after that, as I say, if I had the ability to influence people all over the world just by speaking or writing, one of my objectives would be to find out how this special place became special and then tell everybody. "If you want what happens in the US, it can happen where you are, too. This is how." And I'm not talking about replicating our history with wars and this kind of thing. I'm talking about economic systems, human rights systems, everything that is combined to make this place special. This is no means the only place that can be special. Isn't it odd that it's the only place that is? And isn't it even further intriguing, so many people want to blow it up. Why? Obviously it's a threat. There hasn't been a military force like the United States of America in the history of the world. Me. Thanks, Rush, for taking time from your busy schedule for this interview. I could listen to your wisdom all day long. Rush. Thank you. Further reading: