ERR: “You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

I get, on nearly a daily basis, emails proclaiming the sky is falling and life is seemingly not worth living with the current political forces in play. Some exclamations are quite humorous, some are shameful, some will make you sick that civil people would actually forward such nonsense, some are good, some are worthy of my commentary. This one came today:

This is probably the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read. This is one paragraph that should be in every book in every school room in every city in every state in our great Union . Our educators should make a lesson plan on this one statement and beat these words into every head in every class in every state in these United States of America .

Profound short paragraph:  “You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.  When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”   Adrian Rogers, 1931-2005

Besides being misquoted (as expected from the political doom-and-gloom conservative contingent), I concentrated not so much on the good pastor’s real message (see below) as I did on the lead-in paragraph. My “reply all” response back to the group went something like this:

I’m never one to promote the “beating” of ideas into kid’s heads at school (unless it might illustrate pros and cons of political TERM LIMITS). This “profound short paragraph” is not a problem of, or for the kids.  Nor is it a responsibility of “every school room in every city in every state in our great Union”. It is a problem of parenthood setting an entitlement example for kids. As long as mom and dad feed at the welfare (gimme, gimme) trough, junior will see that as the only gravy train in town. The problem compounds and we(they) will soon be out of biscuits (money) to go with that gravy. Cut the carbs for mom and dad, and then junior might realize his belt has more than one notch and his footwear has bootstraps.

This suggestion only perpetuates the primary problems with public education, that being kids are sent to school for a different type of education today that is unlike you and I received years ago. Parents now view the primary role of “school” to be custodial. That means school is, in order of priority:

  1. babysitting (just listen to all the parent complaints if school is closed for any reason on a weekday)
  2. disciple (aka detention of and dealing with an unruly child),
  3. healthcare (ask any school nurse),
  4. nutrition (look at all the free and reduced “welfare” lunches served),
  5. teaching for government reporting (so more money can be had, or government intervention be deemed necessary for crying out loud)
  6. sports (the policy-relaxing of “No Pass, No Play”), and finally
  7. the byproduct: if kids can get something of a fundamental education, well then that might be alright.

Having served 12 years as a school board trustee in Texas, these, and other social issues already misguide the minds and do a disservice to “education” our nation’s youth. Why would we think of imposing more social moralities (or immoralities) and chip-on-the-shoulder politics (partisan or not) on the education system? The national politics need to keep their nose out of education; the State politics need to let the Local politics do their jobs. George W. was a wonderful education governor when in Texas – his confused intentions were bureaucratically inept when he thought as President it necessary for the Federal government to step in (No Child Left Behind – don’t even get me started on that program)   Give me a break – let’s get an education voucher system at the local level and let the personal biasness curriculum be promoted in private schools….and we’ll see what happens with that social experiment in 10-20 years.

Parents: it’s high time a grip is grabbed on your kids. Make them, and while you’re at it, yourself accountable of personal and social responsibilities. Influence your kids with political attitudes while sitting at a dinner table together, consuming food bought with your paycheck, from your own honest-day’s work and prosperity. It’s not the schools job to raise your kids. Let the three R’s come back to school and be important once again as the foundation of education.


For anyone interested, Arian Rogers‘ quote actually reads:

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of it. You don’t multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn’t first take from somebody else. Whenever somebody receives something without working for it, somebody else has to work for it without receiving. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for half of the people to get the idea they don’t have to work because somebody else will work for them, and the other half to get the idea that it does no good to work because they don’t get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

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