Sales! Dave Ramsey had a $10 book sale, so I bought Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired book, and I bought Dave’s “The Legacy Journey” book. He had a Legacy Journey class first, a followup to Financial Peace University. More philosophical. Then more recently he wrote a book covering the material. I bought the MP3 version of both.
I’m on chapter 5 of The Legacy Journey. Like Ramsey’s other material, it emphasizes personal responsibility. It takes a much different approach modeling how we relate to others with wealth than current liberal thinking.
In current liberal thinking, inequality is evil, rich people are evil, and the solution is to redistribute wealth indirectly via a variety of “progressive.”
A progressive tax is a tax in which the tax rate increases as the taxable amount increases. The term “progressive” refers to the way the tax rate progresses from low to high, with the result that a taxpayer’s average tax rate is less than the person’s marginal tax rate.
But isn’t it interesting that most people associate progressive with progress? And that, if we take the opposite of progress and associate it with the opposite party, it’s an insult?
Anyhow, in this book, Ramsey basically argues that individuals are responsible for their own personal development. First for taking care of themselves and their family, and then for using the extra for short term and long term (e.g. investing) charity. He emphasizes that people are not perfect, that they make mistakes, but that over time, with hard work a person can improve themselves, prosper, and greatly help others. In Dave’s view, charitable giving is an act a person does in order to be more like the Christian god, since that god gave his only son, and is (by definition) perfect.
This contrasts greatly with the liberal view of wealth. In that view, money is to be taken from people by force. In that view, the money will solve the problems of the poor people it is given to, and there will be no significant consequence to the people it is taken from. Liberal stories are all about victims, and the resolution to the victims’ plight is to take money from anonymous rich people, and there is no consequence for doing this except that the money solves the victims problems. Rich people is kind of code for white men.
Let’s back up. Which version of events is more appealing to me? Well, Ramsey’s, of course. In Ramsey’s view, I control my destiny, and I’m not born a villain.
There are a few times in college I remember having a distinct impact on me. One of those was listening to one of the MIT professors who wrote my mechanics textbook discuss boost phase missile defense. How difficult it was, and how bad at it we were. The US government continued funding the program but classified the test results.
Here was this completely brilliant guy, and for everything he new about rocket science, the most important voice in the room was the politician, because the politician had the power to direct the public money wherever he wanted, whatever the science. That’s the power of sales. Why be a scientist when a salesman has the real control?
This experience definitely pulled me away from science. I feel the same way about discussions on race. If a person studies the history, even if they show their race has been systematically wronged over time, if you can’t convince people who are alive today to give you money, what good is it?
It is this POV that has me thinking about, well not about what is historically true, but about what kind of messages people will respond to. What kinds of messages will inspire people to act in ways that increase their happiness and the happiness of people around them?
You can say the same thing, and different audiences will hear different things. If you say different things to different audiences, people will call you false. What can you do about that?