(This article is adapted from remarks delivered to the combined classes of the Jesse Helms School of Government at Liberty University last February 21.)
SOMEONE ONCE SAID there are three types of people in the world: Those who make things happen; those who watch what happens; and those who never know what happened.
Let us presume for a moment that you, personally, have become well-educated, that your thirst for knowledge has enabled you to learn how to make things happen, that you have already achieved a number of remarkable successes, that many people recognize you as a rising leader.
Are you home free? Are your problems over?
You see, success brings its own, unique set of problems. The Bible often gives examples of how pride goeth before a fall. A run of success, like power, tends to corrupt. That is not to suggest that you shouldn’t strive to be successful. Far from it. You have an obligation to put your God-given talents to their best use.
In college, you should strive to be the type of student your professors find it a thrill to teach. In business, you should become someone with whom it is a pleasure to work. In politics, you should act effectively for your deeply held principles.
So there’s no question that intelligent, moral people should strive for success. And striving prudently for success quite often actually does bring success.
But when you strive for success, as you should, you should always keep in your mind that success brings with it its own, new set of problems. Be prepared in advance to deal with the problems of success.
Foremost among the problems of success is the temptation, once you’re really successful, to believe that you are so special that the rules no longer apply to you, that you’re so important you can do as you please, without regard to the standards, ethics, and morality which contributed to your success.
FOR A YEAR NOW, THE NEWS MEDIA have heavily covered the troubles of a prominent national lobbyist named Jack Abramoff. You’ve probably heard a lot about him, almost all of it bad, very bad.
Jack Abramoff made tens of millions of dollars. On the other hand, he has pled guilty to numerous felonies and is almost certainly going to jail for a number of years. The scandals surrounding him may destroy the careers of a number of politicians and could have a major effect in next November’s elections.
You probably have heard nothing good at all about Jack Abramoff. But I’m here to tell you the whole story, which is not to be found in the headlines. His entire story should be highly educational to you and to any other young conservative who strives for success.
Jack Abramoff had a sterling reputation. Yes, a sterling reputation.
I met and trained Jack Abramoff during the 1980 Youth For Reagan effort, which I oversaw as a volunteer. My faculty and I trained young men and women in five Reagan Youth Staff Schools that year and hired 30 of the best for campus organizing in the 1980 fall campaign.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online