CALLER: Rugged individualism that you were saying that only I can do that. I can’t rely on other people. I can’t depend on the government or depend on somebody doing it for me. I had to be the one that paid for any college. I had to be the one that studied, and you’re the one that gave me that message and hammered it home.
RUSH: Well, thank you. I appreciate that. You know, the important point about that is that all of these things that Arnold said last night or the things that I’ve said, we didn’t invent them. It’s constitutional Americanism. These are the principles embodied in our Constitution, folks, and that’s why the Constitution is so important to me. I think the root of conservatism is found in our Constitution. Limited government, power to the people, all of these things, it’s right there. And that’s why it’s so important to be educated on it and understand and hold onto it and try to preserve it and fight the efforts to rewrite, redo, tear up, build, expand, or whatever the Constitution, because it’s a timeless document as it is.
But in other countries, for example, what you just said, Susan, that you did is not possible. And that’s the great thing about America. In a totalitarian regime you can’t pull yourself up by the bootstraps. They’re not going to let you. And there’s no opportunity anyway. It’s denied you. That’s the great thing about this country and one of the things that’s so frustrating to me about liberalism. Liberalism looks out over the landscape and they see nothing but doom and gloom, and they see people that can’t do anything. And they see no opportunity unless somehow they, the liberals, are involved in it. And it’s just frustrating as it can be. And people for so many years have heard this, slowly but surely, and it’s just crept into their being, and most people don’t have any idea of their potential.
Most people have no — well, I don’t know if it’s true, “most” anymore — but there are way too many, a lot of people have no clue how good they are. A lot of people have no idea how much they can accomplish. And it’s simply because — there are a number of factors — but most limitations are self-imposed. “Well, I can’t do this because then I would have to do that. Well, I’d have to move to do that and I want to stay here”. All right, fine, but nobody is stopping you but yourself in these scenarios.
But in other countries, you either don’t have freedom of movement or freedom of speech or freedom of much of anything. So whatever your potential is goes to waste because you don’t have a chance to exercise it. And that’s what’s so frustrating to me. In this country everybody has that freedom, and everybody, whatever potential and ambition and desire and passion they want to bring to anything, nobody here stops you. There may be obstacles in everybody’s way. Some people may get discriminated because of their skin color, they may get discriminated because of their size, whatever, we all have things that are obstacles. Nobody has the way paved for them, except the Kennedys who inherited a lot of it. But I mean for the most part, we all have obstacles.
Nothing is a smooth highway. But still the opportunity is here. If you want to invest in yourself, you can do so here, and that’s the message of conservatism and that’s why it’s easy for me to recite it, it’s easy for Schwarzenegger to recite, because we understand it. In Schwarzenegger’s case and mine, too, we’ve lived it, as have most of the people in this country. And I think we sometimes get caught up in our need to feel sensitive or sorry for people who may not be doing as well as we are, may not be doing as well as we think they should be doing, and so we extend this sensitivity to people, and then we assume, “Well, maybe it’s just not fair for them, I had it lucky,” and most people are not willing to fully credit themselves for their achievements because we’ve also been taught to be humble. And we’ve been taught not to be braggadocios. And I agree with all that. Don’t misunderstand. Those are great characteristics. But at the same time, when you’re the one that does something there’s nothing wrong with telling yourself you did it. Everybody needs achievements in their lives because achievements build stature. They build confidence, and they teach. When you show yourself you can do something you’re inspired to do even more. And somebody comes along and makes you think that whatever you did you didn’t really do on your own because of all the help you got, well, then it sort of diminishes what you’ve done. And way too many people agree, or because of their false notion of what humility is, downplay their own achievements. And I’m not talking about bragging about them; I’m talking about how they think of themselves. And that’s also limiting in its own way.
Achievement is a powerful thing. This is the whole point of welfare reform, is teaching people to earn what they have, have a little pride in it, they’ll want more, have much more appreciation for it than if something is just given. This is human nature. And this is among the many essential aspects of conservatism. But I’m struck, again, by the idea that this speech last night by Schwarzenegger or when anybody says it. You know, people still stand up and cheer and I think that’s all good, but one of the reasons they stand up and cheer is because they don’t hear it very much. It’s still unique to a lot of people. It’s still not common that you can do what Arnold Schwarzenegger has done. It’s not commonly believed. It is commonly done every day in this country, but for some reason it’s still reacted to as though, “Yeah, boy, that’s the way!” Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they love hearing it said because they know it can be done and is done and there aren’t enough people saying it to encourage others. Whatever. It’s true what he said regardless where he came from and who you are and how you heard it, and it’s true because of freedom, and it’s true because of liberty, and these are the kind of things we want for people around the world. And this is the kind of thing we try to spread, this is the kind of thing we try to share, because it only strengthens our own freedom and our own liberty to have as much of it around the country, around the world as possible.