by Libertas Omnium
The famous “marshmallow experiment” was a study in delayed gratification conducted in 1972 by psychologist Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford University. The participants, children aged 3 to 5, were each given a marshmallow. They were told that they could eat it right then, but if they waited 15 minutes, they’d get another marshmallow. In the end, the children who had the discipline and self-control to wait ended up being generally more successful later in life than the children who opted for instant gratification.
Having self-control is all about giving up what we want now for what we want most. It’s about giving up the easy, fun things that entertain us for the meaningful hard things that make us better.
You know what I’ve noticed? Self control is something Americans don’t have.
To start with the small things, too many Americans choose to sleep in instead of getting up early.
Too many Americans choose to waste hours watching tv instead of spending their time improving their lives or improving the lives of others.
Too many choose to gain weight instead of exercising.
Too many choose to spend money they don’t have, instead of saving the money they do have.
Too many choose to lie instead of being honest.
Too many choose to live off federal stimulus when they could make an honest living.
Too many choose to let the government “solve” their problems because they’re too lazy to solve them themselves.
When they vote, too many people choose the candidate who promises them the most free stuff, or the candidate they believe is the lesser of two evils, instead of choosing the candidate they believe will do the best job at protecting their rights.
Too many choose false security over freedom.
Too many choose to let others do their thinking for them instead of doing their own thinking.
Too many choose to let themselves be controlled, because they have no self-control.
As journalist Dan Rather put it, “Americans will put up with anything as long as it doesn’t block traffic.” Americans are dedicated to freedom, as long as it doesn’t become a little bit dangerous or uncomfortable. In short, Americans as a whole are consistently choosing to do the easy, fun thing instead of the harder, right thing.
What’s the big deal, though? Does it really matter, and do the decisions of each individual American really have that big of an impact on our country?
You bet they do. The USA isn’t just a slice of land in the middle of North America, it’s 328 million living, breathing people. When the people are generally hard-working, the country prospers. When the people are generally lazy, the country suffers. Which do you think is easier to take over: a country filled with strong, valiant men and women who value principles over pleasure, or a country filled with lazy, apathetic couch potatoes who care less about freedom than about staying comfortable and well-fed for the rest of the day?
In order to reverse the direction our country is moving in, we’re going to have to go through the withdrawals. We need to say goodbye to welfare programs. We need to let go of the lie that the government can give us something for nothing. When governments try to enforce mask and vaccine mandates instead of letting people make their own health decisions, we need to stand up for our rights. We need to simply say “no”, even though it isn’t easy. Change is a hard process, and nothing good ever comes easy.
When water flows, it always goes downhill. You never see water flowing uphill, because it always takes the path of least resistance. The same applies to America. If we continue to take the path of least resistance, always doing the easy thing regardless of what’s right, it will only be a matter of time until we hit rock bottom. In order to attain the majestic heights we are capable of individually and as a country, we need to embrace the upward struggle that comes with doing the right thing.
There’s nothing wrong with ease and luxury, but when America decides that avoiding hardship and discomfort is more important than doing the right thing, we know our country is headed in the wrong direction. Consider this quote from C. Alan Paton:
“I shall no longer ask myself if this or that is expedient, but only if it is right. I shall do this, not because I am noble or unselfish, but because life slips away, and because I need for the rest of my journey a star that will not play false to me, a compass that will not lie…. I am lost when I balance this against that… I am lost when I ask if men will approve… I am lost when I ask if this is safe… Therefore I shall try to do what is right, and to speak what is true. I do this not because I am courageous and honest, but because it is the only way to end the conflict of my deepest soul. I do it because I am no longer able to aspire to the highest with one part of myself, and to deny it with another. I do not wish to live like that, I would rather die than live like that. I understand better those who have died for their convictions, and have not thought it was wonderful or brave or noble to die. They died rather than live, that was all.”
America needs men and women like that, who are willing to do what is right, no matter the cost. It is only then that America can rise up and break the chains in which she is bound. Will you choose to blend in with the mediocre masses, or will you choose to stand up and be strong? Will you do what is easy, or will you do what is right?