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December 11, 2010
The land of lost opportunity
One of the great lessons I remember from George Orwell's 1984 is that you can change thought simply by redefining words. It is a lesson our government have learned well. Taxes are now revenue. Spending is now stimulus. One word we hear our government use continually is opportunity. America used to be the "Land of Opportunity", but today our "Land of Opportunity" is lost.
A common definition of opportunity goes something like this: "a situation or condition favorable for attaining a goal." Obviously, opportunity is a positive word that no one will argue against. Who doesn't want an opportunity? But our government's has rearranged the definition of opportunity to focus on the outcome rather than the favorable condition. Now our government's new definition is "attaining a goal under a favorable situation or condition." With this new definition, our government can now go on its merry way ensuring equal outcomes in our public schools, spending untold billions of dollars forcing this "opportunity" on parents and children who don't value education. Then of course there is the source of our current economic problems, the government's view that everyone should have an "opportunity" to own a home. The extension of unemployment for another year ensures that everyone has the "opportunity" to get paid whether they are working or not.
It is difficult to conclude whether this redefinition of opportunity is a nefarious plot of the liberal left or simply a reflection of our country's great success the past 100 years. We are a generous people and want to share our success with others. But in doing so, have we lost the capacity to watch our brethren fail to take an opportunity or worse yet fail to attain a goal when they take an opportunity.