The progressive, “woke” view is that Americans should reject the value of working hard to achieve success. They should focus on economic equality instead. This is a basic fallacy. The two are not mutually exclusive. Both hard work and equality can and should be fully pursued. People of all races naturally tend toward taking the easier path – this is basic human nature. Denigrating hard work will lead many young Americans to take the more undemanding and effort-free path, leading to inevitable life frustrations and bitterness. There is an impression among many that discrediting and vilifying hard work is the current predominant American view. This is clearly not the case. Below is an excerpt from Commentary magazine, with a link to the complete article right below.
“The promise of upward mobility is dismissed by progressives who promote equity of outcomes over meritocracy. Progressive ideologues have collectively denounced numerous traditional American values such as hard work, self-reliance, and politeness as sinister aspects of ‘white dominant culture.’ These absurd views of America’s ideals regrettably have been gaining currency in the press, on college campuses, and have percolated down from there into society at large.
“To cite one especially egregious example, the Smithsonian Institution, the country’s repository of culture and history, claimed in recent years that it is a racist idea and part of the dominant ‘Aspects and Assumptions of Whiteness in the United States’ to regard ‘hard work’ as ‘the key to success.’ The Smithsonian backed down and apologized for giving credence to this argument, but progressives continue to promote the same tropes.
“But there is a problem for those who peddle this poison: Most Americans assent to the idea that hard work is likely to result in socioeconomic advancement. Thanks to a number of Pew Research Center opinion polls and a new survey of more than 1,400 people, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times and Reality Check Insights after the November 2020 elections, we have a better sense of how the public currently thinks about the relationship between hard work and success. Simply put, the woke view is unrepresentative of how most Americans regard work. In fact, the data reveal an uptick in the belief that work is the path to upward mobility. Respondents were asked whether advancement in society will come by working hard or whether work offers no guarantee of success.
“Throughout the Obama and Trump presidencies, positive views toward hard work declined appreciably. In the 2000s, during the Bush presidency, three-quarters of Americans believed that they could get ahead if they worked hard. By the time that Obama and Trump were in the White House, that figure had declined to just 60 percent who believed that they could get ahead if they diligently worked toward a goal. In 2019, 61 percent believed that hard work would guarantee success for most people. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, the number of Americans who held the optimistic view that hard work can lead to success climbed, and now 65 percent of the nation subscribes to the belief that hard work often can lead to success, an 8 percent increase, and a clear directional change.
“Thinking about the 2020 election a bit further, we see that the data reveal minimal geographic differences based on Trump states compared with Biden states. Sixty-seven percent of those who live in states that went red and voted for Trump support the notion that people who work hard can make it, while 64 percent of those in Biden states feel the same way. This is a minimal difference, and Biden even campaigned on the idea that the ‘basic bargain in this country [is] that when you work hard, you [are] able to share in the prosperity your work helped create.’
“When correlated with income, these views consistently show that the majority of people across the economic spectrum believe that hard work is the ticket to advancement. As one moves up and down the income ladder, this value does not change appreciably at all; hard work leading to upward mobility is widely embraced.
“Contrary to ugly stereotypes of young people being lazy, looking for handouts, or being unwilling to work hard, the survey found that they too value working hard. For instance, 71 percent of Baby Boomers believe in hard work to achieve one’s success. That level of support falls to 61 percent for Gen Xers, 61 percent for Millennials, and 63 percent for Gen . Those in their 50s are as likely as those in their 20s to support the idea that hard work leads to success. And large majorities of Americans are not looking for handouts but are prepared to invest themselves in hard work to advance.
“Significantly, there are pronounced racial differences in responses to the hard-work question. While only 49 percent of black people feel that hard work will help them get ahead, other minority groups are far more positive. Seventy percent of both Asians and those who are mixed-race feel that hard work leads to success, and an almost identical proportion of Hispanics (69 percent) feel the same way. Two-thirds of whites also believe that they can get ahead with hard work and achieve the American Dream. The lower level of support among blacks may be the result of older perceptions of racism in the workplace or internalization of discrimination encountered in the past, but the fact is that overwhelming majorities of non-whites and people of Hispanic descent feel that they can get ahead in this country and that upward mobility is still very much possible with grit and determination. Fortunately, belief in the value of hard work and the rewards of upward mobility is embraced by large majorities of Americans, offering hope that if progressive ideology is rebuffed, this country will continue to benefit from the fruits of hard work—innovation, enterprise, and upward mobility.”
The Woke Threat to America— and to American Jews https://www.commentary.org/articles/samuel-abrams/wokeness-threatens-america-and-american-jews/
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