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Thursday, June 10, 2004

"Talkers" and "doers" 

Cassandra points us toward Thomas Sowell's new column, which tells it like it is. Agree with his politics or not, we are divided as he describes:
The big divide in this country is not between Democrats and Republicans, or women and men, but between talkers and doers.

Think about the things that have improved our lives the most over the past century -- medical advances, the transportation revolution, huge increases in consumer goods, dramatic improvements in housing, the computer revolution. The people who created these things -- the doers -- are not popular heroes. Our heroes are the talkers who complain about the doers.

Those who have created nothing have maintained a constant barrage of criticism of those who created something, because that something was considered to be not good enough or the benefits turned out to have costs...

Why can't the talkers leave the doers alone? Perhaps it is because that would leave the talkers on the sidelines, with their uselessness being painfully obvious to all, instead of being in the limelight and "making a difference" -- even if that difference is usually negative.

Of course, as great as Sowell is, his irony stash is insufficient to support an acknowledgement that he himself is something of a talker, at least in his public life. To his credit, though, he has betrayed the talkers with his honesty, and in his treason he has earned the status of honorary doer.

Sowell's essay brings to mind my favorite quotation, the only famous saying tacked up over my desk, from TR:
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

As I wrote once before,
if this sentiment appeals to you, you probably do not "hate" George W. Bush, even if you object most strenuously to his policies. Whatever his failings, and they are legion, he has not been a cold and timid soul who knows neither victory, nor defeat. He knows both better than most of us.


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