Most families who flee countries in turmoil to find happiness, health, and considerable wealth in a new land would consider themselves to be living something of a dream.
But don’t tell that to Seahawks offensive lineman Russell Okung.
According to Okung, the “American Dream” is “one of the greatest lies ever told.” In response to an essay from Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, in which he discussed income inequality, Okung had this to say:
“Some think working hard solves the problems of poverty and institutional oppression and the lack of social mobility. Some think that by sheer determination, one can overcome such issues. But economic inequality isn’t the symptom; it’s the virus that attacks. You, Graham, like the rest of America, have been deceived. You are a victim of the American Dream, the belief that anyone who works hard can move up economically regardless of his or her social circumstances. American cultural optimism is one of the greatest lies ever told.”
Well, he’s kind of right.
I mean, it is an absolute lie that the American Dream means that hard work automatically means you get whatever you want. Because that’s not the American Dream. What the real American Dream promises, is that in this country your hard work has the potential to translate into fame and/or fortune like nowhere else. Because the freedom and potential here for someone willing to put in the work are infinitely higher than anywhere else.
But it’s no guarantee.
No, the only guarantee is that if you ascribe to the defeatist, victimized, Barack Obama/Russell Okung worldview where ‘income inequality’ defines your entire sense of personal/moral worth, you might as well stay in whatever country you’re in. Because our freedom is wasted on you.