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A Millennial on Affluence and Guilt

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Heartland, Wisconsin.  Hi, Steve.  You're next.  It's great to have you here.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush, thanks for having me on your show.

RUSH:  You bet, sir.

CALLER:  You know, I actually called in last week about the Millennials and pessimism and the book Atlas Shrugged, and so I want to talk about something else today.  I'm an 18-year-old college student, and I grew up in an upper middle class family. And my parents always gave me good opportunities and a good life, and sometimes I feel like I have to feel guilty for being dealt a good hand in life, and sometimes --

RUSH:  Wait, wait, wait, wait.  Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.  Let's take this step by step.

CALLER:  Okay.

RUSH:  Your parents gave you good opportunities and a good life.

CALLER:  Yes.  They worked hard to do that.

RUSH:  Well, explain that.

CALLER:  Well, I mean, my dad's a small business owner, and so we've had a lot of good opportunities. We've been able to travel a lot. And sometimes when I'm in different neighborhoods I kind of feel like I tell 'em what school I go to, and they're like, "Oh, that's the rich school. Oh, you guys are the rich people," and --

RUSH:  Yeah. So the guilt is not coming from you.

CALLER:  Yeah, I guess it's society.

RUSH:  Well, your father works, obviously, right?

CALLER:  Yeah.

RUSH:  If somebody said, "Did your father earn what he's got?" would you say yes?

CALLER:  Absolutely.  I mean, he's worked so hard to give us a good life. 

RUSH:  So what in the world is there to feel guilty about?  That others don't have the same opportunities as you?

CALLER:  I don't know.  I guess I've just always grown up with people, I don't know, criticizing me for being dealt a good hand, and I'm not really sure why, and --

RUSH:  Are there people who have more than you do?

CALLER:  Oh, yeah.

RUSH:  Do your friends' fathers have more than you, are you envious of them?

CALLER:  No.  I mean, I'm happy with my life, and I feel like it's my goal in life to make the next generation behind me have a better life than I had.

RUSH:  Okay, so you feel guilty, and you think others are trying to make you feel guilty.  Obviously you don't want to feel guilty, so what are you doing about it, if anything?

CALLER:  Well, I mean, I have good opportunities, and so I'm using my God-given talents to serve the community.  I like to think that I've had an impact in my Boy Scout troop and teaching Sunday school and I just want to make the most of what I have.  I mean, I have a lot of potential, I feel like, and --

RUSH:  See, this is interesting to me because all you're doing is living your life, and you're trying to make the most of it you can, it sounds like to me. It sounds like your father did the same thing.

CALLER:  Yeah.

RUSH:  But there is a stigma.  There is a stigma in our culture today attached to success.  It's deemed to be unfair because not everybody is, particularly in a bad economy like this. You're no different than anybody else in your situation, but you do really have to fight it because guilt is giving other people way too much power, and you're not gonna be able to do anything about it.  If you were to throw away what you call your opportunities, if you were to discard these things, it wouldn't help anybody else's life.  It wouldn't make their life any better.  It wouldn't make 'em feel any better.  It wouldn't do anything for you.  Don't ever succumb to the temptation to diminish yourself in the face of all of this as a means of making people feel better.  That isn't the way to do it, and it doesn't work that way anyway. 

CALLER:  Something else is that it doesn't matter if you're upper middle class, middle class, lower middle class, and that's a totally different issue with how we judge people based on class, but it doesn't matter where you are, as long as, like, if you're happy where you are, that's fine.  But if you want to advance yourself, there shouldn't be anything wrong with that.

RUSH:  Exactly right.

CALLER:  Sometimes I feel like there is something wrong with that.

RUSH:  And you shouldn't have to hide it if you succeed at advancing yourself.

CALLER:  Yeah. 

RUSH:  Now, it's perfectly fine to be humble.

CALLER:  Yeah.

RUSH:  It's perfectly fine to be well-mannered and polite and all that, but it's like Buckley said, back in the thirties, the days of FDR, it was said that we had to go collectivist or socialist because there are too many poor people.  Now we have to do it because there are too many rich people.  The left just can't decide.  They just can't be happy.  And at the root of it anyway is control over people.  They just offer whatever excuse they think will sell at a given time to try sell socialism. 

Somebody like you comes along and you end up being the problem.  You are pointed to as a problem.  You're pointed to as a rare example of what's wrong with the country, and it's just the exact opposite.  You've had influences that have inspired you.  You can do the same thing for other people.  That's the value in success.  That's the value in achieving things. It has the ability to inspire others to want to emulate it, and you can further that along. 

Fight the guilt.  There should be no guilt whatsoever if everything you've come by is genuine.  Now, if you've cheated people out of it, if you've stolen from people, that's a whole different game, but you haven't done that, doesn't sound like your father has.  So there's no reason to feel guilty.  Actively fight it.  It's a prison that you are gonna put yourself in.  And you're gonna fall prey to the class warfare that the Democrats use. That it isn't fair for people like you and we have to take from you 'cause you're not paying your fair share. You've got more than you should have. You've got more than you need. You don't need as much as you have. We're gonna come get it. 

The danger is that there are lots of other Americans who will agree with that and who don't even know you that will end up resenting you or disliking you or what have you.  It's a tactic that the left has used, the Democrat Party has popularized it.  And you're impressionable, you know, you're 18, and so forth.  You still have lots of failure ahead of you, too.  Not everything's gonna work out.  You have a lot of opportunities.  You're gonna botch some.  It's called life. 

You're gonna see both sides of this, and you'll have a greater appreciation for success as those things happen.  Everything is a learning experience.  You'll see what I'm talking about.

END TRANSCRIPT

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