Imagining himself in the role of Mitt Romney, answering how a man worth $250 million can possibly relate to the American people, Whittle made a case for gratitude:
The reason that I have two-hundred and fifty million dollars in my bank account is because I and my associates have [produced] approximately five billion dollars of wealth for this society. Five-thousand-million dollars is about the number we’ve generated, which means that the two-hundred and fifty million dollars that I’ve kept is but a sliver of the total amount of wealth that we’ve generated for everybody, people all across this country. Thousands, if not tens [of thousands], if not hundreds of thousands of people have gotten paychecks as a result of the work that we do. We haven’t just given them handouts. I pay taxes so people can have handouts. We have paid salaries, and that’s peoples car payments and it’s their children’s college tuition and its mortgage payments. All of this is generated by the work that we do, of which I have kept a tiny sliver, which is 250 million dollars.
Put another way, it is not possible to become rich through consensual trade without making other people’s lives better. It is therefore appropriate to not only tolerate the wealthy, but thank them for their contribution to society.
This observation led the editor of The Objective Standard to encourage a new perspective for Thanksgiving:
Thank you profit-seeking businessmen who produce and sell everything from groceries to computers to automobiles to electricity. Your work—although often condemned—is in fact supremely noble and heroic.
Thank you scientists and engineers who discover and harness the elements and laws of nature, thus making possible the countless processes and goods—from air conditioning to chemotherapy to hydraulic fracturing to fighter jets—that enable us to live and flourish.
Were we to embrace such a spirit of gratitude, our discourse and policy would take a dramatic turn toward the productive. Author and talk radio host Dennis Prager rightly regards gratitude as the most desirable attribute in a human being. Grateful people are good people who treat each other warmly. Ingratitude, a sense of entitlement and victimhood, is the common denominator of the criminal.
So I am reminded when I wield my coveted Samsung Galaxy S III. The value it adds to my life is not of my creation, but available for a reasonable price. For that I am grateful and primed for the next unforeseen innovation which will further inspire the human spirit.
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